In this post, we are going to have a closer look at the macro element potassium and we are going to find out what the benefits of potassium for your body are and why your heart loves potassium, the bioelectrician.
Why does your heart love Potassium, the Bioelectrician?
Potassium has two main functions in our body. Firstly, it conducts electrical impulses to muscle and nerve cells. Secondly, it is responsible for the continuity of the water balance in our system. With its function to conduct neural stimuli, it´s very important to the proper function of our heart. Without the right amount of potassium, the nerve conduction to the heart can be disturbed, what may cause heart rhythm disorders. In this case, your heart muscle cannot work diligently.
To let your muscles, especially your heart muscle, work fine, it is suggested to get enough potassium through your diet.
What is Potassium?
Potassium is alkaline, water-soluble and an essential macro element for us, as we have to get our amount through nutrition.
What is the demand of Potassium?
Depending on the age, health and lifestyle the daily demand for an average and healthy adult for potassium is at least
2000 – 4500 milligrams (mg) per day.
Where can you get Potassium from (Top foods)?
Here are the top foods, which are rich in potassium:
1. Soybeans (up to 1800 mg/100g),
2. Apricots dried, Avocado, Pistachio, Tomato paste (up to 1000 mg/100g)
3. Sweet potato, swiss chard (up to 950 mg/100g)
4. Lentils, Spinach (up to 750 mg/100ml)
5. Green leafy vegetables (up to 600 mg/100ml)
Tip: Potassium promotes the resorption of magnesium in the gut.
What are the functions and benefits of Potassium?
As mentioned above, the two main functions of potassium are the bioelectrical transmission of nerve and muscle impulses and the maintenance of a balanced water circle in our body. Within the first important function, it also is the purpose of potassium to ensure the bioelectrical potential of the cells. Within the second important function, it is the task of potassium to make sure that the osmotic pressure between the fluids in the environment of the cells and the fluids in the cells is balanced. Moreover, potassium is there for vascular protection, the right blood pressure, the regulation of the acid-base-balance, cell growth, the release of hormones, carbohydrate utilization and protein synthesis and it is necessary to form digestive juice. Potassium truly is a real all-rounder.
What deficiency symptoms of Potassium exist?
As we have much food with a high dose of potassium a lack of this macro element is seldom. But there are some incidents, which can cause a deficiency. These are the loss of potassium through dehydration and a high consume of salt or licorice. Symptoms caused by a lack of potassium can be as followed:
- disturbance of the conduction of stimuli, which may cause disorders in muscles like arrhythmia or twitching
Tip: A high consume of salt, which contains sodium, leads to an increased excretion of potassium. Be sure to limit your daily salt intake to about 1.5 – 2 g/d. It is Ok to exceed this limit sometimes, but not every day.
What overdose symptoms of Potassium exist?
Surplus potassium normally is excreted through the kidneys. An overdose of potassium with supplements is possible and is more likely if your kidneys don´t work properly. The symptoms can be:
- muscle weakness or cramps
- disorders in the function of the heart, arrhythmia
- gastrointestinal complaints like diarrhea
What else may you have to consider about Potassium?
The bigger the intake of sodium is, the more potassium is excreted.
Potassium and sodium work as counterparts. A good relation of potassium and sodium is received with 3.5 g potassium and 2 g sodium.
Over 90% of the potassium is working intracellular, whereas over 90% of the sodium is working extracellular.
The word potassium derives from potash, from which it first was isolated.
Potassium is a true all-rounder and a very important essential macro element for our body, as it is, together with sodium, responsible for the bioelectrical potential and the osmotic pressure of the cells, intracellular and extracellular. Moreover, potassium is necessary for the right function of the cardiovascular system, the water balance, the supply of energy and the formation and release of proteins.
Now you know how important potassium is and why your heart loves it. Potassium will help you to maintain a good working heart and muscles and it ensures the right distribution of water in the cells of your body.
In the next blog posts, we will have a closer look at the remaining essential macro elements.
Now to you. What was interesting here for you or do you want to tell us something? Let us know in the comments.