Potassium

What is it?

Potassium is an electrolyte that works closely with sodium. It is needed to regulate the acid/alkaline balance of the body; fluid balance; blood pressure and heart function; nerve impulses and muscle function.

Function How it helps
Fluid and sodium regulation

Around 98% of the potassium in the body is found within the cells where it helps maintain the proper balance of fluid within the cells by controlling the amount of sodium that can enter a cell.

Nerve & muscle health Cardiovascular health Potassium works with sodium to trigger nerve impulses which in turn trigger muscle contractions. It also plays a role in the storage of glycogen that fuels muscle function.
Stress Sustained stress depletes potassium in the cells and retains sodium. Long term depeletion of potassium can lead to fatigue and exhaustion, hypertension and other cardiovascular problems, neurological and muscular problems.

 

What is it used for?
Cardiovascular health

High blood pressure

Fluid retention

Fatigue

Stress

Muscle weakness

 

Best food sources
Bananas Oranges Avocado
Potatoes Lima beans Plums
Mushrooms Watercress Parsley
Tomato Raisins

 

Deficiency Symptoms

Hypertension

Irregular heart beat Muscle cramps
Muscle fatigue Poor stress tolerance Constipation

Supplementation dosage range

3.5g per day

 

Other information

You may need more potassium if you have high blood pressure, heart problems, a high risk of having a stroke, a familial history of kidney stones, excessive perspiration.

Cautions

  • If you have kidney disease you should not take potassium unless on the advice of your doctor.
  • If you have kidney disease potassium toxicity can lead to muscle weakness, appetite loss, hypotension, paralysis of legs and/or arms, irregular heart beat, coma or even fatal renal or cardiac failure. Potassium toxicity may occur if dietary intake and/or supplemental daily intake exceeds 18 grams (18,000mg.), although it is very rare in individuals with normal renal function.
  • High doses are also not recommended if you have digestive system ulcers, intestinal obstruction, severe dehydration, serious burns, heart blockage or Addison’s Disease.
  • High doses of potassium should not be usedif you take ACE inhibitor medication, potassium-sparing diuretics, NSAIDs (especially in the elderly), heparin or trimethoprim/ sulfamethoxazole.
  • Supplements or medications containing high doses of potassium salts (potassium chloride, etc) may in some people cause abdominal cramping, diarrhoea, nausea and/or vomiting. Digestive ulcers may also occur, especially in those taking high doses of modified-release potassium. Such symptoms will generally not occur with equivalent amounts of potassium from food sources.

 

Factors which deplete levels, impair absorption and/or inhibit activity:
Sweating Diarrhoea Stress
Laxative Cisplatin Tetracylince
Gentamycin Theophylline Thiazide
Corticosteroids Haloperidol Felodipine
Loop diuretics Losartan Neomycin

 

 

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