Potassium is a nutrient e.g. an electrolyte mineral which is responsible to conduct electricity throughout our body along with hydrogen phosphate, chloride, magnesium, sodium and calcium. It represents a positive ion especially responsible for our muscles as well as our good heartbeat. It is present in bananas in a great part.
But, if potassium lacks from our body, then we’ll most certainly face numerous illnesses and diseases.
How Is Potassium Connected To Sodium?
They have an inverse reaction in our body: when we have less potassium, we have more sodium and vice versa.
We also need salt (sodium) if we want our cells to function normally, but ingesting too much sodium can cause numerous health problems for our body, like for example, increased blood pressure.
We need potassium in our body because it:
- helps us build muscles and proteins
- consumes and breaks down carbohydrates
- regulates our heartbeat
- regulates the body growth
- promotes digestion
- moderates the pH levels
Potassium deficiency can be caused by eating too many foods that contain salt or not eating foods full of potassium.
Here are some problems that are connected to low potassium in the body:
- magnesium deficiency
- kidney disease
- taking diuretics
- antibiotic use
- dehydration because of vomiting, diarrhea or excessive perspiration
We always need to be aware of the signs potassium deficiency can cause in order to treat them on time.
These are some of the most common ones:
- Chronic Fatigue
Fatigue can be caused by numerous factors, but if you sleep well for 7 or 8 hours and you’re very tired, you might lack potassium. Potassium is the one which regulates the way cells transmit and use the energy in our body. When cells don’t have a proper interaction, fatigue appears.
It is important to have potassium in our blood vessels since it makes them relaxed. The sodium in our body is responsible for the retention of fluids and it’s outside the cells.
We need to have a good balance between them if we want to have regulated fluids and a good conduction of electricity.
If they’re disbalanced, we might end up having hypertension because we’ll have too much fluid. It will also cause swelling.
Stroke and cardiovascular problems often appear because of high blood pressure, but also the neurological function, our libido as well as the kidneys become equally affected.
- Cramps And Spasms In The Muscles As Well As Muscle Weakness
Whenever we move, our muscles use potassium. If we move more, we’ll lose more potassium. That’s why it’s important to intake electrolytes before and after exercising. If our muscles don’t have sufficient potassium, they start to cramp and spasms occur.
- Heart Arrhythmia
One of the most powerful muscles in our body is our heart. If it doesn’t get enough rest, it might fail. We need to have sufficient potassium in our body in order to have a healthy heart. When we have a potassium deficiency problems like palpitations and arrhythmia appear very frequently.
Heart attacks, blood clotting and heart failure are also connected to lack of potassium.
Our blood flow becomes affected when we have low levels of potassium, so we might feel dizziness. Visit your doctor is this is a problem for you.
When our digestion is good, our muscles function well and everything is alright, but a lack of potassium causes a slowed digestion which later causes constipation to appear.
- Numbness Or Tingling
Electrical impulses are the ones that help our nerves to communicate. When we intake potassium and other electrolytes, the process becomes easier.
In case our nerve function is impeded, numbness and tingling in our extremities appear.
- Avoid Processed Foods
These foods are very high in sodium, so as we mentioned it before, having too much sodium in our body will make us retain water. If we don’t have enough potassium, they’ll be disbalanced.
We need to intake more beneficial foods. An adult should intake 4700mg of potassium.
Here are some of the best sources of potassium and if you intake them regularly, you won’t have any problem: