POTASSIUM: IMPORTANCE, SOURCES, OVERDOSE, DEFICIENCIES & TREATMENTS – ZIGIHOW.COM.NG
What Is Potassium?
Potassium is a mineral Which is founds in some foods we eat. It’s also known as electrolyte. This mineral is classified as an electrolyte because it’s highly reactive in water. When dissolved in water, it produces positively charged ions, this property allows it to conduct electricity, impulse throughout the body system.
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Consuming foods extremely rich is potassium can offer so many benefits to the health, it can help reduce blood pressure and water retention, protect against stroke and help prevent Osteoporosis and kidney stones.
Potassium is third most abountant mineral in the body. Roughly 98% of potassium in the your body is found in your cells, 80% is found in your muscle cells, while the other 20% can be found in your bones, liver and red blood cells.
Our body does not produces it’s own potassium, so it’s adviced to consume right balance of potassium-rich foods, beverages and Fruits. Low intack of potassium can lead to some serious health issues, however too much intake of potassium can lead either temporary or long-term health issues.
Best Sources Of Potassium
Below are excellent source of potassium
- Beet greens, cooked: 909 mg
- Yams, baked: 670 mg
- Pinto beans, cooked: 646 mg
- White potatoes, baked: 544 mg
- Portobello mushrooms, grilled: 521 mg
- Avocado: 485 mg
- Sweet potato, baked: 475 mg
- Spinach, cooked: 466 mg
- Kale: 447 mg
- Salmon, cooked: 414 mg
- Bananas: 358
- Peas, cooked: 271 mg
You can also get enough potassium by eating balanced diet. If you can’t get potassium from foods you can meet your doctor to prescribe some potassium supplements.
Importance Of Potassium To The Health.
Consuming right balance potassium-rich foods can lead to so many health benefits, which includes below:
Potassium can help reduce blood pressure
A potassium-rich diet may reduce blood pressure by helping the body remove excess sodium. High sodium levels can increase blood pressure, especially for people whose blood pressure is already high.
A research of 33 studies found out that when people with high blood pressure increased their potassium intake, their systolic blood pressure decreased by 3.49 mmHg, while their diastolic blood pressure decreased by 1.96 mmHg.
Another research study which involves 1,285 participants aged 25-64, results proved that people who ate the most potassium had reduced blood pressure, compared to people who ate the least.
Potassium Can Help Prevent Strokes.
Stroke occurs when their is lack of blood flow to the brain. Several studies have proven that eating potassium-rich foods may help prevent strokes from occuring.
According to the studies that involves 1,285 participants, scientists found out that people who ate the most potassium had 24% low risk of stroke than people who ate the least.
Potassium Can Help Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a bone disease which decreases the bone density, thereby weakening the body which leads to multiple bone fractures and breakedowns which is linked to lack of calcium.
Right balance intake of potassium-rich foods can prevent osteoporosis. According to some scientists studies, potassium-rich food can help prevent osteoporosis by reducing how much calcium the body loses through urine.
In a study in 62 healthy women aged 45–55, scientists found out that people who ate the most potassium had the greatest total bone mass. You can learn more on all your need to know about osteoporosis.
Potassium Can Help Prevent Kidney Stones.
Kidney Stones are hard mass materials formed in the kidneys. calcium is the most common mineral in the kidney stone, and several studies have shown that potassium citrate lowers calcium levels in urine. In this way potassium may help fight kidney stones.
In a four-year study which involves 45,619 men, scientists found those who consumed the most potassium daily had a 51% lower risk of kidney stones.
Potassium Can Help Reduce Water Retention.
Water retention also called fluid retention occurred when there is an excess fluid in the body, this can cause stiffness of the joints, skin discoloration, aches and tenderness in the limbs and weight gain.
Over the years potassium has been used to treat water retention. Scientists studies suggests that a high potassium intake can help reduce water retention by increasing urine production and reducing sodium levels.
Other Benefits And Importance Of Potassium To The Health Includes:
- Promotes digestive system.
- Helps muscle Contraction.
- Improves nerves impulse.
- Regulates heart rhythm.
- Balance PH level. (acidity and alkalinity)
When there is a low intack of potassium in the body, it can lead to deficiency of potassium.
Other Factors That Can Cause Potassium Deficiency includes:
- kidney disease
- overuse of diuretics
- excessive sweating, diarrhea, and vomiting
- magnesium deficiency
- use of antibiotics, such as carbenicillin and penicillin
- Excessive use of alcohol
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Diuretic (water retention relievers)
- Excessive laxative use
- Folic acid deficiency
- Primary aldosteronism
- Some antibiotic use
Symptoms Of Calcium Deficiency
1. Weakness and Fatigue.
When blood potassium levels are low, your brain cannot rely signals which stimulates the contraction of the muscle.
Since potassium helps regulate muscle contractions, deficiency may result in weaker contractions. Also, some evidence shows that a deficiency may impair the body’s handling of nutrients like sugar, which may lead to fatigue.
2. Muscle Cramps.
Potassium helps start and stop muscle contractions. Low blood potassium levels can affect this balance effect, causing uncontrolled and prolonged contractions known as cramps.
3. Digestive Problems.
Potassium deficiency may trigger problems like bloating and constipation because it can slow the movement of food through the digestive system. Some evidence shows that a severe deficiency can paralyze the gut, but it’s not completely clear.
4. Muscle Aches and Stiffness.
Muscle aches and stiffness can also be a sign that the body lacks potassium. These symptoms can also indicate muscle breakedowns also know as rhabdomyolysis. The blood levels of potassium helps in regulating the blood flow in the muscle, in a situation whereby the potassium blood levels are severely low, the blood level contracts and restricts blood flow in the muscle.
5. Heart Palpitations.
Abnormal heart beating rate such as beating harder, faster, and skipping beats may be as a result of potassium Deficiency.
Potassium helps regulate the heartbeat, and low levels of potassium in the body may cause symptoms like heart palpitations. These palpitations may also be a symptom of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, which may be a sign of a serious heart condition. You can learn more on how to keep a healthy heart and prevent arrhythmia.
6. Breathing Difficulties.
A severe potassium deficiency in the body can cause breathing difficulties. This is because potassium helps relay signals that stimulate the lungs to contract and expand. A result whereby the blood potassium level is low in the body, the lungs may not expand and contracts properly, and this may stop the lungs from working if no medical action is taken.
What Happens When You Take Too Much Potassium? (Overdose)
Well it’s rare to get too much potassium, though it may occur when you take too much potassium supplements.
Excess blood potassium mostly occurs when the body cannot remove the mineral through urine. Therefore, it mostly affects people with poor kidney function or chronic kidney disease.
There are some evidence that proves that taking too much potassium supplements can be dangerous to the health. This is because consuming too many supplements at once may overcome the kidneys’ ability to remove excess potassium.
However it’s important you ensure to get Adequate amount of potassium per day.
How Much Amount Of Potassium Do We Need Per Day.
Ensure you get a maximum amount of 3,500–4,700mg of this mineral per day from foods. People who need more potassium should aim towards the higher end. A healthy adult should aim to consume 3,500–4,700 mg of potassium daily from foods. Certain groups of people should aim to consume at least 4,700 mg per day.
Treatments For Imbalanced Potassium Levels.
The treatments for Imbalanced potassium levels are different, that depends if the levels of potassium in the body is too high or too low.
The first call of action to take in treating low levels of potassium in the body is to take Potassium supplements under your doctor’s perscription.
Severe hypokalemia may require IV treatment, especially if you’re experiencing an abnormal heartbeat.
Mild cases of hyperkalemia can be treated with prescription medications that increases potassium excretion. Other methods include diuretics or an enema.
Severe cases may require more complex treatments. Kidney dialysis can remove potassium. This treatment is the preferred cases of kidney failure.
For individuals with healthy kidneys, a doctor might recommend insulin and glucose. These help to transport potassium from the blood to cells for removal.
An albuterol inhaler can also lower dangerously high levels. Calcium gluconate may be used temporarily to stabilize the heart and reduce the risk of serious heart complications from hyperkalemia.
Our body needs potassium to perform effectively, It’s advised you get adequate amount of potassium your body needs, because the body cannot naturally produce potassium on it’s own. This is to avoid deficiency of potassium levels in the body.
Potassium can be gotten from potassium-rich foods which has already been mentioned above, or supplements if there is need for that.
High dose of potassium in the body is rare and uncommon but can occur when there is too much intake of potassium supplements than required.
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