Potassium is another mineral that the body utilizes in fairly large amounts. It is another important electrolyte and its effects are antagonistic to the action of sodium. It is the 3rd most abundant mineral in the body and just like sodium, it also tends to find you. 98% is found in cells mostly muscle cells (80%), 20% in bone cells, and the rest in the liver and red blood cells.
It is in various foods and in large quantities. Bananas are one great source and they have been praised well enough as a dependable source of potassium. Vitaminfood products have adequate potassium to meet your recommended daily intakes. Use them for supplementation and you will definitely retain your healthy status. Vitaminfood banana flavor is a special boost for your potasssium intake. Remember to keep a couple of these in stock.
The unfortunate truth is that despite it being well represented in various foods, most people do not meet their optimum bodily requirements for sodium. For sodium, many people have an excess and this causes health issues. A potassium high diet is healthy and not only helps reverse the effects of excess sodium but comes with many other benefits as well.
Uses of potassium in the body
- Regulate fluid content in the body.
Potassium is the main electrolyte in the intracellular fluid while sodium is the main one in extracellular fluid. This means that potassium is important in osmoregulation across the cell membrane so that cells have an optimum fluid content and that the osmotic pressure is well balanced for the sake of healthy tissues and organ systems.
It is an important electrolyte in the fluid balance
- Nerve signals and muscle contractions.
Nerve impulses to be conducted as electrical signals are generated by a change in action potential within the nerve cells. This change in potential is due to an exchange of Na+ and K+ in and out of the cells respectively. Potassium is needed for efficient and effective nerve impulse generation and transmission as well.
The transmission also involves the progressive movement of that transfer in a wave-like manner. With inadequate potassium in the body, this process is affected in terms of nerve sensitivity and reaction time.
- Regulate heartbeat
All muscles need adequate potassium for the sensitivity and excitability.Potassium is relevant in the nerve transmission and the contractile activity within muscle cells. Potassium is especially needed for the contraction of heart muscles and so it’s a great impact on the regulation of the heartbeat.
Potassium is essential in the synthesis of protein and metabolism of carbohydrates and the conversion of glucose to glycogen as a cofactor for these reactions. Potassium is also required
during glycogenesis. It also helps in the transfer of
phosphate from ATP to pyruvic acid and probably has a
- Counteract effects of excess sodium
These are the health benefits of having a potassium-high diet. It lowers blood pressure and this is more significant for people with hypertension than it is for healthy people. It controls fluid retention within the body by promoting the excretion of sodium in the kidneys. It also helps with heart complications arising from high blood pressure.
- Helps in preventing osteoporosis and kidney stones
Osteoporosis can be a result of massive loss of calcium from the bones causing thinning and reduction in the density of the bones. This excess calcium which shouldn’t have been lost increased the workload on kidneys and if not excreted in time, the amount builds up and is deposited within the nephrons and kidney cells resulting in kidney stones.
Kidney stones and osteoporosis are both undesirable conditions and the effects of both cause extreme pain and wild health turmoil. But the good thing is that they are in this case dependent on each other (not mutually exclusive) and sorting out one prevents the other in respect to calcium ions.
Hypokalemia – the condition of low potassium levels
This refers to the low level of potassium in the blood serum which could have minimal effects if mild but has severe consequences if the deficiency is extreme. The larger portion of the population actually has a mild deficiency.
Muscle and especially leg cramps
Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal losses
Folic acid deficiency
Some medications and steroids
Some factors like chronic alcoholism and aging increase the risk of developing deficiencies.
Inadequate dietary intake
Some effects include:
Elevated blood pressure resulting in chronic heart diseases
Abnormal heart rhythm.
This is an increased level of potassium in the blood. This is a rare occurrence as most people are actually struggling to get enough potassium for optimum body functioning. Healthy amounts of potassium and potassium-high diets are highly advocated and campaigned for. This is mainly because of their ability to counteract excess sodium almost neutralizing its effects. Potassium high diets come with many more health benefits.
Nevertheless, pursuit of these benefits has in several instances resulted in one having an excess of potassium ions in the body, often from the use of supplements.
This occurs also because of Addison’s disease, advanced renal failure, dehydration and shock.
Symptoms of this toxicity include:
Dilation of the heart
Small bowel ulcers
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