You are probably aware that magnesium is very important, but it is very easy to forget that potassium is critical as well.
The body needs adequate potassium intake each day. Potassium serves as an important electrolyte in the body. In fact, the body needs potassium for just about everything it does including proper heart function, muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
The Institute of Medicine recommends 4,700 mg per day to support proper muscle function, keep the heart beating regularly and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Unfortunately, most Americans are not even meeting minimal potassium requirements due to the Standard American Diet and micronutrient depletion of conventionally grown foods.
Palpitations occur when you can feel your heart beating irregularly. Potassium is a key mineral that regulates contractions of all muscle cells, including those of the heart. Low levels of potassium can lead to irregular heart rhythms including bradycardia, tachycardia or atrial fibrillation. Potassium also helps to transmit electrical impulses in cells, which aids in muscle contractions. In fact, the majority of the potassium in your body can be found in muscle tissue. The heart is a muscle and potassium the mineral that is key to heart muscle health.
High blood pressure is often the result of inadequate potassium levels. Potassium plays an important role in relaxing and dilating the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure as a result. It also helps to balance sodium levels. If you have high blood pressure, the first thing you should do is lower your sodium intake and increase your potassium intake. This includes getting rid of processed foods (rich in sodium) and adding in fresh fruits and vegetables (rich in potassium).
One of the initial signs of low potassium levels in the body is fatigue. After that, one can also start to feel general weakness throughout the body. This is because potassium is essential to the functioning of all of the body’s cells and tissues. Therefore, depleted potassium levels can lead to low energy and fatigue.
Muscle cramps occur when there are uncontrolled contractions in the muscles. Often these uncontrolled contractions can be due to low potassium levels. Adequate potassium is needed to support proper muscle functioning and relay signals from the brain to the muscles to stimulate normal contractions. Low potassium levels result in increased muscle tension, muscle contractions and muscle cramps.
Potassium acts as a key conductor to relay signals from the brain to the digestive muscles. These signals are required for the digestive system to contract effectively and propel food through the digestive tract. When potassium levels are low this can weaken the digestive system and slow the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract. The result is often digestive symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain or constipation.
Reduced potassium levels in the body can contribute to shortness of breath, also known as “dyspnea”. This is because low potassium concentrations can cause irregular heart rhythms, which leads to inefficient pumping of blood and oxygen in the body. Additionally, low potassium can impact the diaphragmatic muscles resulting in an inability to effectively take a full, deep breath.
Potassium is needed for proper never function. If potassium levels become too low then the body can’t send proper nerve signals throughout the nervous system. The result is often numbness and tingling. Impaired nerve function is one of the hallmark signs of a potassium deficiency.
Low potassium levels have been associated with an increased risk for mental disorders and depression. In fact, research has shown that an increased intake of potassium can help to reduce symptoms of depression (Source). Additionally, produces anti-depressant effects. Potassium also helps the brain to be able to effectively utilize serotonin.
Get your potassium levels checked with the best micronutrient testing in the world. This micronutrient test analyzes the level of micronutrients (like potassium) that are in your blood and also the level in your cells (where these nutrients belong).
80% of the potassium in the body is found in your muscle cells, while the other 20% is found in liver, bone and red blood cells. This is why intracellular testing is imperative. You must analyze the amount of potassium in your cells, not just your blood.
If you think you could have a deficiency, it’s important to get your blood and cellular levels measured regularly.
When potassium levels become low, cellular processes can become impaired. A potassium deficiency can lead to increased muscle cramps and spasms. Over time, if left untreated, it can lead to breakdown of muscle tissue, a condition known as rhabdomyolysis.
A severe potassium deficiency in the blood is known as hypokalemia.
Low potassium levels can occur for a number of reasons including medications (water pills, diuretics or laxatives), kidney disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, or poor diet.
A potassium inadequacy or deficiency can be treated with a potassium supplement and a proper Paleo diet rich in potassium food sources.
We recommend our Potassium Boost supplement. Dissolve one teaspoon in 6 oz. of water, or as directed by your physician.
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