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Potassium


Potassium helps regulate the transfer of nutrients to the cells and the transfer of fluids across cell walls. It is an essential electrolyte needed to maintain the function of the nervous system, and is also important for proper muscle contractions, normal blood pressure, production of adrenaline, and healthy skin. Potassium increases the metabolic rate and is helpful in stroke prevention. It is antidepressant, antihypertensive, antispasmodic. Potassium is absorbed through the intestines and is stored in the cells, bloodstream and kidneys. It is lost when excess sodium (normally from salt) is excreted, and as a result of taking diuretic drugs.

FOOD SOURCES

Meat and poultry, seafood, nuts, legumes, pulses, whole grains and seeds, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, tomato juice, sea salt.

SUPPLEMENTATION

Potassium ascorbate, potassium aspartate, potassium benzoate, potassium carbonate, potassium chloride, potassium gluconate, potassium hydroxide. Many salt substitutes contain potassium chloride, and can be helpful in maintaining blood potassium levels, but care must be taken to avoid excessive intake (see Daily Requirement). Consult your doctor before supplementing with potassium salts if you have: Addison's disease, chronic diarrhoea, heart disease, intestinal blockage, stomach ulcer, or if you take: diuretics, heart medication, laxatives, salt substitutes.

SIGNS OF DEFICIENCY

Constipation, bags under the eyes, unsteadiness and muscle weakness, shaking, irregular pulse, lack of appetite, altered heart rhythm, mental apathy, muscle cramps while exercising, muscle fatigue, physical and mental stress. Deficiency is common and can occur with excessive fluid loss from sweating, diuretic medications, diarrhoea, or excessive sodium (salt) intake.

SIGNS OF TOXICITY

Apathy, lack of appetite, arrhythmia or tachycardia, black or bloody stools, nausea, vomiting, numbness of extremities, difficulty breathing, confusion, diarrhoea, paralysis of arms and legs, hypotension, convulsions, muscle fatigue. In extreme cases, neural failure resulting in coma, cardiac arrest.

DAILY REQUIREMENT

2-3.5 g approx.

 

 

 

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