Published: 08/07/2018 - Updated: 03/08/2020
Author: Dra. Loredana Lunadei, PhD
After calcium and phosphorus, potassium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. This mineral is very important to the body because:
- It keeps normal pressure in both the interior and the exterior of cells.
- Regulates water levels in the body.
- Reduces negative effects of excess sodium, and plays a role in the contraction and relaxation of muscles (especially in cardiac patients)
Benefits of Potassium
Potassium (K) is involved in important bodily reactions and functions like:
- Nervous system reactions
- A balance between calcium, magnesium, and potassium plays a part in regulating all cellular functions, especially excitability of the heart, nervous system, and the muscles.
- Is indispensable for myocardium movement.
- Activates the enzyme systems.
- Indispensable in muscle work and healthy maintenance.
- Regulates water content within cells, along with their circulation, preventing leaks.
- Maintains acid-base balance, and along with sodium, potassium restores water in the body to normal amounts and distributions.
- This mineral plays a part in building proteins.
- Increases neuromuscular excitability.
Foods that contain potassium
- Potassium is abundant in bananas, dried fruits, raisins, dates, marine vegetables, avocados, and apricots.
- Fresh vegetables
- Fruits and legumes
What you should know about potassium
- Around 90% of the potassium in our body’s is absorbed in the small intestine.
- It is eliminated through urine.
- Excessive consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol, and/or sugar increases loss of this macromineral.
- Daily potassium requirements are around 3.5 grams/day
- Ineffective kidneys and not drinking liquids leads to too much potassium in the blood.
- People that suffer from kidney diseases can’t absorb potassium normally, and have to keep an eye on their potassium consumption so as to avoid suffering cardiac disorders.
Potassium deficiency could be due to
- Poor nutrition.
- Strict dieting.
- Excessive or unusual sweating.
- Use of diuretics or medications.
Deficiencies can cause:
- Muscle weakness.
- Stomach distension.
- Cardiac irregularities
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