Potassium

Formal Names:

Potassium Acetate

Supplement forms:

Pills, food, liquid

Recommended daily allowance (in mg):

Baby

Infants

400 - 700

Child

Children

3,000 - 4,500

Adolscent

Adolscents

4,700

Adult

Adults

4,700

Pregnant

Pregnant Women

4,700

Lactate

Lactating Women

5,100

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What is...?

Potassium is fundamental to the processes in the body, being not only a mineral but also an electrolyte. It is important in regulating the heart and reducing high blood pressure. This mineral, in tandem with other minerals, maintains the fluid balance within the body, assists in waste disposal in the kidneys, helps in protein synthesis, and aids in energy production and muscle functions such as contractions. Adequate potassium is available through a healthy diet, but can be rapidly depleted by the overuse of coffee, sugar, alcohol, and diuretics.

Bodily functions

Potassium is essential for building proteins, using carbohydrates, and sustaining good body growth. It is crucial for heart function and regulates the heart by controlling its electrical activity. Potassium builds muscle and makes muscle contraction possible. It also controls body fluids and acids. Potassium makes protein synthesis possible and working with sodium and chloride, balances electrolytes in the body. This mineral must be present for nerve transmission to occur which is especially important for heart function.

Deficiency Symptoms

Potassium deficiency symptoms include the following: Fatigue, muscle weakness, abnormal heartbeat or palpitations, anemia, headaches, high blood pressure, intestinal pain, diabetes, swelling of glands, electrolyte imbalance, nerve dysfunctions, water retention, mental confusion, kidney complaints, excessive thirst, vomiting, irritability, and/or excessive perspiration.

Foods

Bananas, citrus fruits, dried fruits, vegetables, grains, salmon, chicken, whole milk, almonds, fresh fruit juice, nuts, lima beans, potatoes, poultry, lean meats, fish, avocado, tomatoes, spinach, kiwi, asparagus, beets, carrots, broccoli, green peas, summer squash, and corn.

Side effects

Burning or tingling sensations, paralysis, dizziness, mental confusion, general weakness, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heart attack, intestinal gas. Hyperkalemia means the blood has too much potassium; too little potassium is hypokalemia. Either condition can have serious side effects. To keep the right balance of potassium, the body also has to have the right balance of sodium and magnesium.

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