Why is potassium important?
You probably know that the bananas They are an important source of potassium, but you may not realize the important role this mineral plays in your body. Potassium regulates muscle contraction, regulates heart rate, protects the health of the cardiovascular and nervous systems and helps restore glycogen stores after physical exertion.
Moreover, potassium accelerates diuresis and intervenes in the process of eliminating sodium – often in excess -, thus ensuring an effective elimination of toxins and a normal activity of the adrenal glands.
It also helps to relax the blood vessels and keep blood pressure under control. A diet rich in foods containing potassium and reducing sodium intake can reduce the risk cerebrovascular accident by 21% and reduce the risk of heart disease, according to a study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Potassium inhibits kidney stones and osteoporosis, being calcium’s “partner” in maintaining healthy bone structure. In addition, it has an important role in the treatment of allergies.
Recommended daily dose of potassium
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is essential to achieve the daily dose recommended by experts of 4,700 mg.
The recommended daily dose of potassium is 400 mg for children between 0 and 6 months, 700 mg for children between 7 and 12 months, 3,000 mg for children between 1 and 3 years, 3,800 mg for children between 4 and 8 years, 4,700 mg between 9 to 13 years, 4,500 mg for adolescents between 14 and 18 years, adults and pregnant women and 5,100 mg for breastfeeding women.
Causes potassium deficiency
- Diarrhea, prolonged vomiting, excessive sweating
- The administration of diuretics, laxatives, antibiotics (in intensive weight loss programs and in cases dissociated regime)
- Magnesium deficiency
- Certain diseases of the kidneys
- Alcoholism (insufficient caloric intake)
- Kidney disease (Liddle’s syndrome, Cushing’s syndromeBarterre’s syndrome)
When potassium deficiency is mild, clinical manifestations may be absent. This is exactly why it is important to see your family doctor if you suspect you are suffering from a potassium deficiency.
Hypokalemia is diagnosed by measuring potassium levels in the blood. In mild forms, a diet rich in potassium can be recommended, and in more severe cases – potassium supplements (in the form of pills or intravenously).
Potassium deficiency: symptoms
Potassium deficiency can be manifested by weakness and muscle cramps, fatigue, digestive disorders (constipation, abdominal pain, bloating) and heart rhythm.
A small amount of potassium in the plasma produces a condition called hypokalemia (or hypokalemia). This can happen as a result of medication consumption, some diseases or very rarely due to insufficient food intake.
1. You are tired all the time
If it seems to you that you never get enough rest and that you do not have enough energy, a potassium deficiency could be a possible cause. Every cell in your body needs potassium to function. If you’re tired even though you’re getting enough sleep, a lack of potassium could be to blame.
An unhealthy diet, stress or lack of sleep can all be the cause of chronic fatigue, so you should not jump to the conclusion that potassium deficiency is the main cause before a visit to the family doctor!
2. You have muscle spasms
Potassium plays a key role in muscle contraction, including the heart muscle. Therefore, muscle spasms (cramps) are symptoms that betray a lack of potassium.
A severe potassium deficiency not only affects the proper functioning of muscles, but it can even lead to the destruction of muscle tissue, causing the appearance of I rhabdomize.
3. You feel dizzy or weak
Potassium levels can vary throughout the day, and a large drop can slow your heart rate, make you feel faint, caused by low blood pressure. This reaction is not a common one and it is possible to be triggered by other factors, but it is important to go to a consultation. Tingling, heat and numbness in the hands and feet are other signs that you should not ignore.
Potassium deficiency is very dangerous for the health of the kidneys. The permanent feeling of thirst is another result of urination often determined by the lack of potassium in the body.
4. palpitations or high blood pressure
Without enough potassium, blood vessels can become damaged, leading to high blood pressure. Palpitations are one of the main symptoms of potassium deficiency in the body. This affects the rhythmic contraction of the heart and causes strong and accelerated heartbeat.
5. You feel bloated all the time
When potassium deficiency occurs, the body tries to control sodium levels and affects the muscles of the stomach and intestines, causing bloating, abdominal pain, cramps or constipation.
Best source of potassium
Potassium is found in large quantities in fruits and vegetables such as bananas, potatoes, plums, tomatoes, raisins, spinach, almonds, sunflower seeds, dried apricots, mangoes or fish (salmon, cod and sardines).
For example, a medium banana has about 450 mg of potassium, and a baked potato with skin has about 930 mg.
Attention! Potassium levels in the body decrease when we consume alcohol, sugar or coffee in excess, white bread or refined sweets.
Supplements with more than 100 mg of potassium per pill should only be consumed under the supervision of a specialist!