In rats, a diet depleted of potassium caused a significant hypokalemia and hypermagnesemia, a diuresis and natriuresis, a decrease in urinary and fecal excretion of potassium, a magnesiuria, and a decrease in fecal excretion of magnesium. Balance studies revealed that potassium metabolism was negative in potassium-depleted rats and that magnesium metabolism was positive and higher than in control rats. In potassium-depleted rats, potassium and magnesium contents in muscle were reduced, whereas the sodium level was increased and plasma aldosterone was significantly lower. Therefore, the elevation in plasma concentration of magnesium induced by a diet poor in potassium is the result of a more positive metabolic balance of magnesium and of shifting of magnesium from the tissue into the plasma compartment. Results of additional preliminary studies support the possibility that the hypermagnesemia may be mediated through the depression in mineralocorticoid activity induced by the depletion of potassium.