Potassium: How only 100 mg a day can dramatically increase your lifespan!

Potassium healthy

Last Updated June 24th, 2019

Potassium: Why you need this element in your body?

Potassium is a mineral and is one of the seven essential macro minerals.  It is also an electrolyte.  Electrolytes conduct electrical impulses throughout the body, which assist in a range of essential body functions.  The English name for the element potassium comes from the word potash, which refers to an early method of extracting various potassium salts by placing the ash of burnt wood or tree leaves in a pot, adding water, heating, and evaporating the solution. 

Potassium is necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally.  The human body requires around 100 milligrams of potassium daily to support vital processes.  Potassium helps in the range of health benefits including blood pressure, normal water balance, muscle contractions, nerve impulses, digestion, heart rhythm, and pH balance.

Potassium is not naturally produced by the body and needs to be consumed either through diet or through a supplement.  The primary use of consuming a potassium-rich diet is because of its benefits, which are directly related to heart health.

Why the symbol K for potassium?

Potassium is a chemical element with symbol K.  The symbol K stems from kali, from the root word alkali, which in turn comes from Arabic word called as al-qalyah meaning plant ashes.  In 1797, the German chemist Martin Klaproth discovered potash in the minerals leucite and lepidolite, and realized that potash was not a product of plant growth, but actually contained a new element and he proposed to call it kaliIn 1807, Humphry Davy produced the element via electrolysis.  In 1809, Ludwig Wilhelm Gilbert proposed the name Kalium for Davy’s potassium.  In 1814, the Swedish chemist Berzelius advocated the name Kalium for potassium, with the chemical symbol K.

What are the health benefits of potassium?

Fluid Balance

Fluid balance is an aspect of the homeostasis (the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially maintained by physiological processes) of organisms in which the amount of water in the organism needs to be controlled via osmoregulation (maintenance of constant osmotic pressure in the fluids of an organism by the control of water and salt concentrations) such that the concentrations of electrolytes (salts in solution) in the various body fluids, which are kept within healthy ranges.

The body is made of approximately 60% water and 40% of this water is present inside the cells in a substance called intracellular fluid (ICF).  The remainder is found outside the cells in areas, which include blood, spinal fluid, and between cells.  This fluid is called extracellular fluid (ECF).

The amount of water in the intracellular fluid and extracellular fluid is affected by their concentration of electrolytes, especially potassium and sodium.  Potassium is the main electrolyte in the intracellular fluid, and it determines the amount of water inside the cells whereas sodium is the main electrolyte in the extracellular fluid, and it determines the amount of water outside the cells.  The number of electrolytes, which is relative to the amount of fluid, is called osmolality.

Osmolality is usually the same inside and outside the cells under normal conditions.  Inequality in osmolality can lead to movement of water with fewer electrolytes to the side with more electrolytes to equalize electrolyte concentrations, which causes the cells to shrink when water moves out of them, or swell up and burst when water moves into them, which is the reason why we should consume the right electrolytes, including potassium.  Poor fluid balance can lead to dehydration, which affects the heart and kidneys.   Maintaining a good fluid balance is important for optimal health.

Nervous System

The nervous system is a network of nerve cells and fibers, which transmits nerve impulses between parts of the body.  These messages, which are delivered in the form of nerve impulses help, regulate the muscle contractions, heartbeat, reflexes, and many other body functions.  Nerve impulses are generated by sodium ions moving into cells and potassium ions moving out of cells.  The movement of ions changes the voltage of the cell, which activates a nerve impulse.  A drop in potassium levels in the blood can affect the body’s ability to generate a nerve impulse.  Consuming adequate potassium from our diet can help maintain healthy nerve function.

Muscle and Heart Contractions

Potassium healthy

A concentric contraction causes muscles to shorten thereby generating force. Eccentric contractions cause muscles to elongate in response to a greater opposing force.  Similarly, normal heart contractions are very important for the heart to function adequately.

Irregular heart contractions can lead to a serious disorder in the heart function called as premature ventricular contractions (PVCs).  Premature ventricular contractions are extra heartbeats that begin in one of the heart’s two lower pumping chambers called ventricles. These extra beats disrupt regular heart rhythm, which caused a feeling of fluttering or a skipped beat in the chest.

We are aware that the nervous system helps regulate muscle contractions and altered blood potassium levels can affect nerve signals in the nervous system, weakening muscle contractions.  Both low and high potassium levels in the blood can affect nerve impulses by altering the voltage of nerve cells.  When there is a high concentration of potassium levels the heart may become dilated and flaccid, which can weaken its contractions and produce an abnormal heartbeat

Similarly, low potassium levels in the blood can alter the heartbeat.  When the heart is not able to beat properly, it cannot effectively pump blood to the brain, organs, and muscles, which can cause serious medical conditions including sudden death.

Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, which is referred to as hypertension is a medical condition, which affects many people.  It is considered one of the main risk factors for heart disease.  High levels of sodium in the blood cause an increase in blood pressure.

A potassium-rich diet may reduce blood pressure by helping the body remove excess sodium.  Research has shown that consumption of potassium-rich foods by people already having high blood pressure have experienced a decrease in their blood pressure by many folds.

Strokes

stroke may be caused by a blocked artery called an ischemic stroke or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel called as hemorrhagic stroke.  A stroke occurs when there is a lack of blood flow to the brain.  Altered concentrations of potassium levels can lead to the heart becoming dilated and flaccid, which weakens its contractions and produce an abnormal heartbeat and loses its ability to adequately pump blood to the brain, which in turn can cause a stroke.  Adequate levels of potassium protect the heart and reduce the risk of stroke.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones deteriorate or become brittle and fragile due to low bone mass and bone tissue loss, which leads to hollow and porous bones.  It is often linked to low levels of calcium, an important mineral for bone health.  Studies have shown that potassium helps prevent osteoporosis by reducing the amount of calcium the body loses through urine and helps improve bone mass.

Kidney Stones

potassium kaleKidney stones are masses made of crystals, which originate in the kidneys, but can be found at any point in the urinary tract.  Kidney stones can lead to abnormal functioning of the kidney and cause severe and uncontrollable pain when the kidney stone starts to move from the kidney to the urinary bladder.  Calcium is a common mineral found in kidney stones.  Studies have shown that potassium citrate can reduce calcium levels in urine and prevent kidney stones.  Many fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium citrate and can be added to the diet to help prevent kidney stones.

Water Retention

Water retention or fluid retention is a condition when excess fluids build up inside the body.  Water retention occurs in the circulatory system or within tissues and cavities.  It can cause swelling in the hands, feet, ankles, and legs.  High concentration of calcium and low concentration of potassium are usually the cause of this condition.  High potassium intake can help reduce water retention by increasing urine production and reducing sodium levels.

Side effects of altered potassium levels

Altered levels of potassium can cause two main medical conditions called hypokalemia and hyperkalemia.

Hypokalemia: Hypokalemia is a condition when there is a low level of potassium in the blood.  A serum potassium level of less than 3.5 mEq/L is considered to be hypokalemic. The most common cause of hypokalemia is excessive potassium loss in urine due to prescription medications that increase urination, which is known as water pills or diuretics.

These types of medications are often prescribed for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease.  Vomiting and diarrhea can result in excessive potassium loss from the digestive system.  Low potassium levels are also caused by not getting enough potassium in the diet.  Other causes of potassium loss include:

Hyperkalemia:  Hyperkalemia is the medical term, which describes a potassium level in the blood that is higher than normal.  Normal potassium levels in the blood range between 3.5 and 5.0 mEq/L.  High blood potassium obtained by blood draw cannot be considered to be accurate since it may be caused by the rupture of blood cells in the blood sample during or shortly after the blood draw.

The ruptured cells leak their potassium into the sample, which can come up as high potassium levels in the blood.  Medical professionals generally prefer to have a second draw of blood to validate this.  Some of the genuine causes of high potassium include:

  • Acute kidney failure.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Addison disease (adrenal insufficiency).
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers.
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme.
  • Beta blockers.
  • Destruction of red blood cells due to severe injury or burns.
  • Excessive use of potassium supplements.
  • Type 1 diabetes.

potassium sweet potatosDeficiencies usually happen when the body suddenly loses too much potassium.  Similarly, it is not common to get too much potassium, though it can happen if too many potassium supplements are consumed.  Excess blood potassium mostly occurs when the body cannot remove the mineral through urine. Therefore, it affects people with poor kidney function or chronic kidney disease.

People suffering from chronic kidney disease need to limit potassium intake.  Also, people who are aged also need to limit the potassium intake since kidney function normally declines with age.  Nevertheless, it is important to make sure we get enough potassium daily for optimal health and this particularly implies to elderly people since high blood pressure, strokes, kidney stones, and osteoporosis are more common among the elderly.

What are some of the best sources 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 mg
  • Peas, cooked:271 mg.

Potassium is one of the most important minerals in the body, which regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals.  Potassium-rich diet helps reduce blood pressure, water retention, protect against stroke, and prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones.  Maintaining an optimal level of potassium in the bloodstream is the key to a successful and healthy life.

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.

 

 

 

Related Posts

Trending Topics

anal sex
Anal Sex : Tips from experts on how to be kinky yet safe Whether it irks you or stokes your fantasies, anal sex has always been an intriguing…
Clitoris: Why is it called the gateway to toe-curling female orgasms? The word clitoris comes from the Greek word kleitoris or “little hill.”  Many compare the…
Female Masturbation: Tips on how to turn up the heat during a solo mission As a female, do you find yourself constantly wondering as to what is the best…
Find the G spot: The top sex positions that guarantee an orgasm There has been a long debate as to whether the G-spot actually exists as a…
diverticulitis diet
Diverticulitis diet: The right way to eat if you suffer from the disease Are you suffering from diverticultis but clueless about your diet ? Read this complete plan…
Penis pump: Pump your way out of erectile dysfunction One of the options to treat erectile dysfunction is by the use of a penis…
The science behind daith piercing: Can it really cure migraine? Since the ear has several pressure points, it is believed that daith piercing activates the…
Chromium Picolinate: An essential mineral supplement for faster weight loss Did you know that about 1.6 million deaths were directly linked to diabetes globally? How…
passion fruit juice
Passion fruit: How one exotic fruit can help you fight infections and cancer! Passion fruit: Why does this exotic fruit have such an enticing name? And how can…
Quinine: How gin and tonic came to be known as a potent health elixir The discovery of quinine-containing tree bark is sometimes considered the most serendipitous medical discovery of…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders?…
hidden benefits walking
9 benefits of walking we bet you didn’t know! Did you know walking can be the miracle pill for eternal youth? Everyone knows walking…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol…
Muscle relaxers: Think twice before popping prescription drugs for muscle pain The market is brimming with OTC muscle relaxers. But these come with a host side-effects.…
lifestyle diseases
The Big 5 lifestyle diseases: How your everyday living might be killing you You'd be shocked to know how unhealthy and potentially fatal your everyday routine could be.…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling…
How do neutrophils protect you from fatal bacterial attacks? During an infection, certain enzymes alert the mature neutrophils.  Neutrophils then travel through the bloodstream…
Top 6 remedies to treat a razor burn at home Symptoms of razor burn include bumps on the skin, redness, and irritation of the skin.…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in…
What is the average penis size and why should you care? Scientifically speaking, the average size of the penis depends on numerous factors such as genes,…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen…
dance health benefits
5 unbelievable effects of dance on your overall health! You enjoy dancing, but did you know what else it does to your body? Dancing…
CLA: A breakthrough weight loss supplement with minimal side effects Tried every weight loss supplement in the market with no substantial gain? Why not try…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how…
Jicama: A fiber-rich tuber for your weight loss goals Pronouced as HEE-kah-ma, Jicama is the "new kid on the block" that has taken the…
Epley maneuver: Why is this the best protection from the symptoms of vertigo? Epley maneuver is an exercise that can treat the symptoms of benign paroxysmal positional vertigo…
Chondroitin spine health
9 amazing ways chondroitin can help you bounce back to health Chondroitin is naturally found in meat, especially in the connective tissues of animals. Chondroitin works…
social media adddiction
Your health in the age of Social Media: Why is digital detox a necessity? Did you know that more than 400 million people are dangerously addicted to social media?…
Spirulina: Battle diabetes and cholesterol with this blue-green algae Spirulina, a species of salt water algae, has now become a billion dollar industry. How…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes…
Lectin: The common link of proteins between peas and people Lectins are a type of protein that are found majorly in legumes. Most people are…
eating myths debunked
8 ‘healthy eating’ myths you believed until now Is a zero-carb diet really healthy for you? Are organic products worth their cost? Did…
autoimmune diseases facts
Autoimmune Diseases: Find out if your body is attacking you right now Did you know your body can harm itself? What are autoimmune diseases and why does…
Pumpkin Seeds: Why pumpkins are more than just for pies! Pumpkins have been long associated with Halloween carvings and delicious pies. But did you know…
DASH Diet: What to eat in a “Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension”? If you or your loved one is suffering from chronic hypertension (high blood pressure), dash…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the…
How can Kegels help you overcome weak pelvic muscles & incontinence? Kegel exercises are pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can help you overcome incontinence issues that…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the…
about mediterranean diet
Why you should be adopting a Mediterranean style of diet today Ever wondered why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy? One simple solution to lowering risk…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity ,…
Improve sex life
9 best tips from around the world for better sex life How can the pungent-smelling garlic pack in a punch to your libido? How could something…
Coconut sugar: What is it and is it healthier than table sugar? In the long list of things that the wonderful coconut gives us, coconut sugar is…
Orgasms: How to perfect the art of achieving intense bursts of pleasure (every time!) Orgasms are dependent not just on the sexual activity but on your partner as well.…
Echocardiogram
Echocardiography – ECHO Echocardiography (commonly known as ECHO) is an imaging modality (similar to ultrasonography) used to visualize…
acne removal tips
Anatomy of acne: 7 instant steps to kiss those zits goodbye Blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples-call them what you may. Acne is never good news.Did you know…
boost immunity tips
Step up your defence: 15 proven tips on how to boost your immunity Want to naturally build up a stronger immunity? Tired of frequent colds and runny nose?You…
low fodmap plan
Troubled with IBS? Here’s a complete roadmap to the low FODMAP diet Leaky & inflammatory gut troubling you? No medicine bringing you relief from the pain? Why…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside…
nature health benefits
Green Healing: The amazing health benefits of being in nature You have no idea what sitting in a closed room does to your body and…
chia seeds weight loss
Chia seeds: How to consume this staple Aztec food to get a leaner body Chia seeds: What is the actual reason for its sudden popularity? Why are celebrities swearing…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main…
These are the top foods to increase your hemoglobin count It is important to add iron-rich foods into your diet in order to increase hemoglobin. Deficiency…
paleo keto diet
Paleo vs. Keto: Which diet plan is best suited for your body goals? Is eating like a caveman the right way to go? Can you really eat fats…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your…
dandelion health benefits
Dandelion: Little parachutes of health and wellness for your whole body Dandelions are not just bright looking blossoms that cheer your mind. These are powerpacked with…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an…
BRAT Diet: What is the right way to follow this diarrhea-relieving diet? BRAT diet, a simple diet consisting of just bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, can help…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the…
Oxidative Stress: Understanding the most lethal phenomenon happening in your body right now Free radicals cause damage to the body, which is known as oxidation.  The amount of…
Top natural diuretics: The instant benefits you can get from nature’s water pills Since diuretic drugs are known to cause side effects, it is better to choose a…
Screening_BETATHALASSEMIA
Beta-Thalassemia Screening Beta-thalassemia screening procedures involve both prenatal and post natal diagnostic methods to determine if a…
tips for perfect sleep
Stop hitting the snooze button: 8 proven steps to perfect sleep Are you tired of not getting enough sleep? All your efforts for a sound sleep…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you…
MCT oil athletes
MCT Oil : The kind of fats you should be eating MCT oil or Medium Chain Triglycerides is the new buzzword in the fitness industry. What…
erectile dysfunction treatment
Erectile Dysfunction: Effective tips to help you get back on charge Erectile dysfunction is a common male sexual dysfunction. Don't stress out. Just follow these amazing…
Psyllium Husk: More than just an effective natural laxative Psyllium husk, or isabgol, is a popular natural laxative . But did you in addition…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in…
glucose-tolerance
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – GTT Glucose tolerance test (or Oral GTT) is used to detect the onset of diabetes or…
ANTI-MICROSOMAL-ANTIBODY-(AMA)
Anti-Microsomal Antibody AMA Test AMA or anti-microsomal antibody test is a blood test that measures the activity of AMA…
cancer facts
8 hard-hitting truths no one tells you about cancer Did you know that 1.5 million new cases of cancer are reported every year? Can…
quinoa salad
Quinoa : A prodigious superfood you need to include in your diet today! Quinoa - what is so special about this native South American grain that has taken…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However,…
Drinking water benefits
8 reasons why you should grab a bottle of water now! Did you know you don't have to be thirsty for hours to be dehydrated?You could…
xylitol gum
Xylitol : Is this the right sugar substitute for you? Discovered during World War 2 owing to sugar shortage, xylitol has become a common name…
bananas exercise
10 health reasons why you should go “bananas” over bananas! Bananas:The world's most popular fruit comes with a host of unbelievable health benefits. Find out…
maltodextrin sugar
Maltodextrin: What are the hidden health benefits of this food additive? Maltodextrin is one of the few food additives that has been relatively deemed safe. Many…
black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn…
Exercises or diet? Find out the healthiest way to gain weight Tired of being called skinny all the time? Looking for healthy ways to beef up?…
dandelion weight loss
Caralluma Fimbriata: How to eat this cactus to lose weight Caralluma fimbriata is a miracle cactus that can be safely consumed by most for losing…
How can berberine supplements help you live longer and healthier? Berberine is a turmeric look-alike herbal extract that is credited with numerous health benefits ranging…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential…
Mood swings
The real reasons for your mood swings and how to overcome them Are you prone to heated moods frequently? Do you also feel bouts of depressive feeling…
Vagus nerve: 7 health benefits of stimulating the “gut-brain” connection As a matter of fact, there are two vagus nerves namely the left and the…
V for Vagina: How well do you know this extraordinary part of the female anatomy? Vagina - a simple part of the human anatomy that has often created a feeling…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life…
Endoscopy Endoscopy is a procedure where an illuminated probe with a camera attached to it is…

Related Posts

Want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Subscribe to free FactDr newsletters.

REVAMP YOUR

If you're enjoying our website, we promise you'll absolutely love our new posts. Be the first one to get a copy!

Get factually correct, actionable tips delivered straight to your inbox once a week.

I want the latest scoop on :

We hate spam too. We will never share your email address with anyone. If you change your mind later, you can unsubscribe with just one click

By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the FactDr Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of FactDr subscriptions at any time.