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What is Potassium

Potassium is the first metal in the intracellular space. Unlike sodium, 98% of potassium is found inside the cells.

Potassium levels in the body are kept normal when there is a balance between the consumption of potassium-containing foods and the elimination of the excess potassium mainly through urine and to a small extent through faeces and sweat.

The regulation of serum potassium concentration is achieved mainly through the kidneys.

Potassium is the 3rd most abundant metal in the human body and is a very essential nutrient.

Potassium Benefits

Regulates blood pressure

Potassium is essential for regulating the volume of intracellular fluids. The difference in the concentration of sodium and potassium across the cell membrane regulates blood pressure.

When there is a low concentration of sodium in the extracellular space and a high concentration of potassium in the intracellular space, there is little water retention outside the cells, so the heart does not need to increase blood pressure in order for oxygen and nutrients to enter the cells.

This action of potassium in regulating blood pressure seems to be the reason why potassium reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Effect on brain function

Potassium channels in the brain play a dominant role in memory and learning. Some studies have shown reduced chances of stroke in people who followed a potassium-rich diet.

Contraction of smooth muscle fibres

Potassium is one of the most important components for the proper functioning of our body’s muscles as well as for nerve function and the smooth transfer of messages from one part of the body to another.

Improves bone health

There are certain properties of potassium that neutralize various acids throughout the body, which helps in retaining and maintaining calcium.

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Stimulates Nervous Activity

Potassium plays an important role in maintaining normal brain function by allowing oxygen to reach the brain, thereby enhancing neural activity and increasing cognitive function.

It helps to prevent the occurrence of stroke and since it acts as a vasodilator, it relaxes blood vessels, preventing blood from clotting.

New research shows that Potassium-rich diet reduces risk of stroke in postmenopausal women.

Read Also: Neuroactiv6 Review: Best Brain Boosting Nootropic?

Stabilizes blood sugar

A decrease in the amount of potassium causes a drop in blood sugar, which can cause sweating, headache, weakness, tremors and nervousness. This is why diabetic patients are encouraged to keep their potassium levels normal.

Prevents cramps

Muscle cramps are a common result of low levels of potassium in the blood, a condition called hypokalemia.

Increases the metabolism

Potassium helps in the metabolic processing of various nutrients such as fats and carbohydrates. Studies have shown that potassium is also an integral part of protein synthesis, which helps in tissue regeneration, cell growth and a balanced overall metabolism.

Reduces anxiety and stress

Potassium can help regulate various hormones in your body, including stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, excessive amounts of which can be very damaging.

Read Also: This ”Magic” Herb Removes Stress, Boosts Memory And Immune Defense

Boosts heart health

Ensures good function for both the heart and the kidneys. Helps the kidneys to remove waste through the excretion process.

However, it is recommended to consult your doctor about the dosage because potassium often makes the body absorb more calcium than necessary, which can eventually cause kidney problems.

Maintains the balance of water and fluid levels

Another important role that potassium plays is maintaining an optimal balance of fluids in the human body.

Different types of cells require proper water balance for efficient functioning and potassium helps them to regulate it. Because it is also an important electrolyte, it helps regulate fluid levels and transmit electrical charges throughout the body.

Potassium Deficiency

The occurrence of potassium deficiency is rare, because potassium is found in several foods that we consume daily, such as orange juice, bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach, beans, lentils, salmon, yoghurt, skimmed milk.

Potassium deficiencies are due to:

  • Excessive diarrhea
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Low calorie diet (<800 calories/day)
  • Chronic alcoholism
  • Excessive physical exercise
  • Chronic use of diuretics and laxatives

Some of the symptoms of potassium deficiency are:

  • Feeling tired
  • Weak muscles
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Severe headaches
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Tremors

Recommended Daily Intake

The recommended safe intake of potassium is 4.7g per day. The Recommended daily intake is between 2600 to 3400mg for adults (1 gram = 1000 milligram).

The table below will help you choose foods rich in potassium. Eat potassium-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Potassium balances high sodium concentration and can reduce the effects of salt on blood pressure. Also consume potassium-enriched foods on the market, such as margarines and yoghurt drinks (e.g kefir).

Foods Rich in Potassium

FoodPotassium (mg)
1 cup of orange juice975
113g almonds786
150g roasted sweet potato694
150g baked potato with skin610
½ cup baked beans595
250g non-fat yoghurt579
½ cup tomato paste549
113g salmon470
1 medium banana422
½ cup roasted spinach419
113g chicken410
½ cup roasted lentils365

Precautions

Excessive doses should be avoided in patients with the following conditions: chronic renal failure (especially in the elderly), gastrointestinal dysfunction or ulceration, peptic ulcer, peptic ulcer, Adisson’s disease, cardiac blockade, severe burns and acute dehydration.

Adverse reactions

Adverse reactions that may occur are: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea cramps, and gastrointestinal ulceration – especialy when potassium is taken on an empty stomach.

Hyperkalemia is extremely rare after oral supplementation if normal renal function is present. A daily intake of more than 17 g is required to cause toxicity.

Potassium: Benefits, Foods, Deficiency, RDA
Source: VeryWell Health

Hyperkalemia Symptoms

Hyperkalemia is when blood potassium levels are above 5.5 mmol/L. Most patients with mild hyperkalemia have no symptoms or mild symptoms that can be overlooked.

If potassium rises to a concentration >6.5 mmol/L then cardiac problems are caused that require immediate medical attention.

Hyperkalemia (elevated potassium in the blood) causes the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chest or chest pain
  • Chest pain, chest pain, chest pain, chest pain, chest pain, chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in the limbs
  • Nausea and vomiting

Hypokalemia Symptoms

Mild hypokalemia causes no symptoms or causes mild symptoms that may not be noticed. Severe hypokalemia is when the blood potassium level is below 2.5 mmol/L.

Hypokalemia is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Muscle contractions
  • Muscle cramps or muscle weakness
  • Muscle cramps or muscle weakness or muscle weakness
  • Arrhythmia
  • Kidney problems
  • What causes hyperkalemia and what causes hypokalemia?

Changes in potassium levels (hyperkalaemia and hypokalaemia) may be due to the following conditions or causes:

Increased potassium (hyperkalemia)

  • Excessive intake of potassium
  • Acute and chronic renal failure
  • Chronic and chronic chronic chronic or chronic renal failure
  • Hemolysis
  • Infections
  • Acidosis
  • Dehydration
  • Addison’s disease
  • Pseudohypoaldosteronism
  • Drugs (spironolactone, antibiotics, digoxin, captopril, isoniazid, etc.)

Potassium reduction (hypokalemia)

  • Insufficient oral or intravenous intake
  • Burns
  • Diarrhoea
  • Diuretics
  • Hyperaldosteronism
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Renal tubular acidosis
  • Ascites
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Renal artery stenosis
  • Trauma
  • Fanconi syndrome
  • Bartter’s syndrome
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Alcoholism
  • Vomiting
  • Medications (aspirin, insulin, glucose, ACTH, cortisone, testosterone, etc.)

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