Potassium & It’s Supplements – A Complete Guide
As one of the seven essential macro minerals, potassium holds an extremely high significance in the human body. Similar to sodium and calcium, potassium is also an electrolyte.
It is said to be an electrolyte because it reacts with water to produce positively charged ions. The production of these ions enables it to give rise to electricity, and electricity is required to help cells interact with each other and make processes happen.
Functions of Potassium
- Builds muscle strength
- Improves metabolism rate
- Monitors water balance
- Cures blood pressure by countering the bad effects of sodium
- Helps the nutrient movement inside the cell
- Filters out waste
- Reduces stress and anxiety
Benefits of Potassium
Monitors Brain Health
You may have heard banana being referred to as the “superfood for the brain”. It is because of the high amounts of potassium present in it. Potassium enables more and more oxygen to reach the brain which increases neural activity. Therefore potassium is a key ingredient in helping our brains perform well.
Further, potassium also prevents the risk of a brain stroke. It’s a no-brainer that people who suffer from the risk of a brain stroke are usually potassium deficient.
Potassium allows blood to flow smoothly throughout the body and hence prevents blood from clotting at a particular place or bloodstream getting broken off in the middle and causing a stroke.
Balances Blood Sugar
If you have a lower amount of potassium in your body, the blood sugar level also goes low. And decreased blood sugar in the body may cause tiredness, weakness, sweating, and headache.
Therefore, it is advised for people with diabetes to maintain a healthy potassium level. Potassium helps prevent a sudden increase in insulin by balancing blood sugar.
Prevents Muscle Pain
Pain in the muscle is a common symptom when the potassium level in your body goes really low. To counter this, it is advised to eat one banana every day because banana is a powerful source of potassium content.
Maintains Healthy Bones
Certain nutrients in potassium work by preserving the calcium content in our body which makes it easy for the bones to maintain it’s strength.
Regulates Blood Pressure
When sodium imbalances blood pressure in our body, potassium has the power to counter its effect. Therefore potassium plays a key role in normalizing blood pressure which further decreases the risk of heart problems.
Another way potassium normalizes blood pressure is through vasodilation where it works by releasing the tension in the blood vessels which is perhaps the biggest cause of high blood pressure.
Promotes Muscle Strength
Potassium ensures the healthy growth of muscle tissues and it also makes sure that energy is properly released during metabolism which is extremely important for muscles to stay strong.
Also, potassium provides the much-needed contraction and relaxation of the muscles.
The adverse effects of low potassium on muscles can go as far as muscles being paralyzed.
Balances Out The Water Content
As we all know, our body is a complex mechanism, and due to that, different cells in our body require different amounts of water to function efficiently. Potassium is the mineral responsible for helping these cells acquire the right amount of water and regulate the overall water balance in the body.
Carries Out Functions As An Electrolyte
As mentioned earlier, potassium is an electrolyte. And electrolytes help transfer electrically charged energy through different parts of the body, from the brain to the nervous system.
Hence potassium as an electrolyte assists a huge number of important body functions.
Ideal Potassium Intake Chart
Foods With High Potassium Content
One should not underestimate the importance of potassium inclusion in your diet. Highly processed foods are usually low on potassium content as the methods of processing greatly lower the amount of potassium in foods. The best sources of potassium come from whole, unprocessed foods.
Apart from that, it is also advised to consume less salt in order to maintain a healthy potassium level. Because due to salt, the level of sodium rises, along with the amounts of potassium required to prevent sodium from affecting the blood pressure.
- Dried fruits
- Sweet potatoes
If you consume a well-balanced diet that is filled with leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits and beans then you should not worry about getting enough potassium in your system.
Do You Have Potassium Deficiency?
When potassium levels in your body fall below the required limit, you are likely to experience the following symptoms,
- Lack of energy
- Overall feeling of tiredness
- Pain in the joints
- Muscle aches
If you experience any of the above-given symptoms, you should visit your doctor, who would probably recommend a blood test, and if diagnosed with low potassium levels you can make modifications to your diet in order to include more potassium and also supplement your diet by taking potassium supplements.
If proper care is not taken, these symptoms can escalate to the point of severe medical conditions like a failure of the respiratory system, paralysis and pain in the gut due to severe constipation.
Potassium Supplements – How They Help?
If you look at the above-given chart, even though the ideal potassium intake limit is around 4000 mg, very few people actually consume a sufficient amount because of their hectic life schedules and poor eating habits.
Even regular multivitamin tablets don’t help much as they don’t contain a huge amount of potassium content. Therefore it becomes imperative to supplement your diet with potassium supplements like the ones given below,
In the most basic form, potassium gluconate is designed to balance fluids in the body, distribute those fluids and maintain a healthy pH balance. Further, it also helps with muscles, cells and nerve functioning. Hence they are ideal for people who complain of muscle weakness and feel tired on a regular basis.
Apart from that, potassium gluconate is also said to treat several heart issues therefore it is prescribed for people who wish to monitor their heart activity because they are experiencing heart palpitations in an unexplainable way.
If you are looking for a supplement with a high absorption rate, then potassium citrate is your ideal potassium supplement.
In principle, potassium citrate is prescribed for the prevention of kidney stones by making the urine less acidic which in turn helps the kidney lose uric acid.
Minerals are such an important part of our diet please explore this site to learn more about them.