potassium and your body

September 12, 2017

Potasssium is an essential dietary mineral or electrolyte. Contrary to many other nutrients, your body needs quite a bit a potassium on a daily basis. Dieticians typically recommend anywhere between 3500-4700mg of potassium per day. While magnesium requirements are around 400mg per day.


According to the National Institute of Health, potassium has the important benefit to offset sodium intake, an important factor in high blood pressure management and prevention, and also helps to regulate heart beat and muscle contractility. 


The body maintains electrolyte balance by homeostasis. Fluid transport happens via active or passive diffusion, flitration or osmosis throughout the compartments in different spaces of the body for cell function. Fluids are found in the intracellular space, extracellular space, interstitial space, intra vascular space, joints, peritoneal, pleural,  pericardial, and cerebrospinal spaces. 


When there is a change in the environment, such as with dietary insufficiency or excess, dehydration, fever, or vomiting, this can greatly influence electrolyte balance. Overt electrolyte deficiencies or excesses in the blood will produce more significant or urgent symptoms.


However, long-term effects of dietary electrolyte depletion may also pose consequences. For example, with insufficuent dietary potassium intake, one may observe non specific symptoms such as ongoing fatigue and feeling wiped out, loss of muscle strength, numbness, constipation, and high blood pressure.


It is important to look at diet, via a diary, and determine whether you may benefit from a little extra K+. Good sources include sweet potato, white potato, black beans, white beans, butternut squash, spinach, yoghurt, beets, and of course, bananas! 




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