What Is Potassium Good For?

Potassium, present in most of the foods we eat, moves into the bloodstream after the absorption by the mucosal cells lining the gastrointestinal tract. Potassium is an essential mineral for the proper functioning of the body’s cells, tissues, and organs. In addition, potassium promotes healthy functioning of the heart, as well as maintenance of healthy skeletal, muscular, and mental systems. The body requires at least 4700 milligrams of potassium each day. The healthiest sources for potassium include fruits, vegetables, legumes, dairy products, meats, and some fish.

WhatIs Potassium Good for Your Body?

1. Brain Health

Stroke Prevention

People who are at high risk of strokes often have potassium deficiencies. The body needs enough potassium to carry oxygen to the brain to stimulate neural activity and increasing cognitive function. Potassium has vasodilator properties and helps release tension of blood vessels throughout the body. When blood flows more freely through the body, the risk of blood to clot and break off reduces, thus lowering the risk of stroke.

Brain Function

Potassium channels are important for maintaining the electrical conductivity of the brain. They are also involved in higher-level brain functions like your memory and learning ability. Potassium deficiency results in the dysfunction of potassium channels, leading to serious mental ailments such as epilepsy.

2. Muscle Health

ŸMuscle Disorders Prevention

What is potassium good for the muscle disorders? Most of the potassium ions in the body exist in the muscle cells Potassium allows muscles to perform normal contractions and relaxations. It stimulates neural connectivity of the muscles and the brain, helping us to keep our reflexes fast.

ŸMuscular Strength

Potassium is vital in stimulating muscle cell growth, as well as ensuring the proper utilization of the metabolic energy. Potassium deficiency in your diet can make your muscles prone to paralysis.

3. Bone Health

High levels of potassium lead to higher levels of mineral density in your bones. Potassium also helps in neutralizing various acids in the bodywhich retain calcium and make it inaccessible to use for strengthening of your bones.

4. Heart Health

What is potassium for your heart? Potassium allows the heart to beat at a healthy rate. Increased potassium intakecan also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease when the amount of sodium in your diet decreases. Prominent research studies have proven that, as the ratio of sodium to potassium in one’s diet increases, the chances for heart disease increase significantly.

5. Kidney Health

Interestingly, diets rich in potassium also help inhibiting the growth of kidney stones. Through neutralizing acidity in the blood stream, potassium can help to decrease the accumulation of urine calcium, which prevents calcium's deposition in the form of a stone It must be noted here, however, that while diets rich in potassium may have been proven to maintain kidney health in individuals who have normal kidney function, it is also true that patients who suffer from various kidney-related issues should avoid drastic increases of potassium in their diets, in order to avoid adverse effects.

6. Blood Pressure Regulation

One of the main causes of high blood pressure is tension of the blood vessels. The vasodilating properties of potassium help to relieve tension of blood vessels. This further helps to lower the risk of heart diseases and other complications.

7. Anxiety and Stress Relief

You may wonder "what is potassium good for your mental health?" In fact, potassium helps the regulation of various hormones in your body, including stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. It helps in ensuring efficient mental performance and is a powerful stress reliever.

8. Electrolytes

Potassium helps to regulate the level of fluids in the body and assists a number of critical body functions. Potassium also transmits electrical charges throughout the body from the brain and nervous system, so the whole body can function more efficiently.

9. Water and Chemical Balance

Potassium works together with sodium in order to move nutrients and fluids inside and outside body cells in the most efficient manner possible. Enough potassium prevents the cells from collapsing or bursting.

Do You Have Enough Potassium?

The recommended intake of potassium from dietary sources is as follows:

Category

Adequate Intake (AI)

Children

0-6 months

400 mg/day

7-12 months

700 mg/day

1-3 years

3000 mg/day

4-8 years

3800 mg/day

9-13 years

4500 mg/day

14 years and up

4700 mg/day

Adults

18 years and up

4700 mg/day

Pregnant women

4700 mg/day

Breastfeeding

5100 mg/day

Do You Have Potassium Deficiency?

Now you know "what is potassium good for?" it is important to watch for potassium deficiency and overdose. The condition hypokalemia refers to dangerously low levels of potassium in your bloodstream. In normal circumstances, the level of potassium in your blood should be between 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter. If the level of potassium drops below 2.5 millimoles per liter, it can become life threatening.

There are various causes of hypokalemia. The most common among these is the excessive excretion of potassium via the urinedue to the ingestion of diuretics or even prescription water. Another cause of excessive loss of potassium is through diarrhea and vomiting.

Symptoms of hypokalemia include: weakness, cramps, constipation, and fatigue. More worrisome symptom is arrhythmia, and this could indicate the onset of heart disease.

Precautions for Potassium Overdose

Hyperkalemia – the opposite of hypokalemia – indicates a higher than normal level of potassium in your bloodstream. When the blood potassium level surpasses 7.0 millimoles per liter, it can become very dangerous. The most commonly cited cause of hyperkalemia is kidney failure.

Symptoms of hyperkalemia should always be noted: muscle fatigue, weakness, arrhythmia, nausea, and paralysis. If you notice any of these symptoms in your body, and if you have reason to believe that the level of potassium is high, you should talk to your doctor immediately. You should also make sure to only take potassium supplements after discussing the dosage and requirement with your doctor.

Click here to find foods rich in potassium.

 
 
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