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

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…
Maltitol: Things you must know about this artificial sweetener Sugar alcohols are produced by fruits and vegetables. Maltitol is an artificially produced sugar alcohol…
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…
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.…
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?…
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…
The real reason why you shouldn’t be eating ramen noodles Instant ramen noodles might be your go-to snack for your hunger pangs. But with each…
Piaget stages: Do they accurately describe the way the human brain develops?  A common assumption was that children are less competent thinkers as compared to adults, but…
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…
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…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean…
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…
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…
diabetes symptoms in women
FBS Test – Fasting Blood Sugar FBS or fasting blood sugar test is a blood test that is used to determine…
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…
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…
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…
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…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk…
ketoacidosis diabetes
HB1Ac Test HB1Ac test is an important blood test that is used to measure the levels of…
magnesium test
Magnesium Test The magnesium test is a blood test that is generally prsecribed when an individual starts…
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…
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…
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…
TBHQ: A carcinogen lingering in your child’s favorite snacks TBHQ - Why you should shun the practice of eating instant noodles or microwave popcorn…
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…
Stye : The best natural home remedies to ease the pain Styes developing inside the eyelid tend to be more painful whereas external styes are less…
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…
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 ,…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket The dragon fruit is packed with nutrients and yet low on calories and is the…
Amaranth: Why is this native Peruvian grain called the “crop of the future”? Full of healthy high proteins and gluten-free, the grain, Amaranth, the tasty and ancient pseudo…
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…
Green, brown, & bitter: The instant advantages of including fenugreek in your diet Did you know the earliest usage of fenugreek can be traced back to the Egyptian…
Coconut oil woman
Coconut Oil: How one oil dominates the kitchen and the medicine kit too Coconut oil has been a favorite in many Asian kitchens. But more than a cooking…
How accurate is the hair follicle drug test? Hair follicle drug test is one of the best ways to identify drug use in…
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.…
cold flu sinus treatment
How to beat the common cold, flu, and sinus infection instantly? Can you guess some of the easiest tricks to treat cold and sinus infections? How…
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…
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…
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…
Eustachian Tube : Functions and top home remedies to prevent its infection Pressure equalization, mucus drainage and protecting the middle ear from bacteria and viruses are the…
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…
Horny Goat Weed: Can it improve libido in human beings too? This plant got its name as Horny Goat Weed when one of the goats feeding…
Dates: The complete list of instant health benefits this dry fruit can bestow Why you should regularly go for dates? Because, these small bulbs of healthy goodness are…
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…
Poop chart: Top things you didn’t you your poop could reveal about you Bristol poop chart was designed during the 1990s in order to help doctors identify various…
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…
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…
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…
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…
green poop causes
Green poop : What are the reasons and how can you correct it Ever sneak a peek down the toilet only to shockingly find green poop? Why does…
Chlorella: Therapeutic powers of the billion-year-old algae now within your reach Chlorella - A billion year old nutrient-rich algae that can potentially ward off cancers and…
What to eat, what not to eat in the South Beach Diet? The South Beach Diet is one among the most popular weight loss programs that have…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple…
Fluoride: An indispensible mineral or a potential toxin ? Fluoride, the main ingredient of toothpaste, has shown a great potential as a cleanser. However,…
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…
Vitamin B12: The unknown repercussions of this nutrient deficiency Vitamin B12 is also known as cobalamine; involved in the development of red blood cells…
Iron Deficiency: 7 major side-effects and steps to overcome them Iron is involved in many vital functions, starting from oxygen transport to healthy fetal development.…
Silicon Dioxide: How can a component of sand be essential to your wellbeing? Silicon is one of the most abundant elements in the nature. Find out how silicon…
Hydroquinone: Is it the best topical treatment for hyperpigmentation? Darkening of the skin due to high melanin levels is called hyperpigmentation.  Hydroquinone interferes with melanin…
Is bronchitis contagious? And how to prevent this infection? It is acute bronchitis that is contagious which means you can contract it from another…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption…
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…
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?…
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…
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…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet…
Moringa drink
Moringa: This could be the most nutrient-dense food known to us! Moringa is a lush green tree brimming with over 90 essential nutrients required for a…
almonds healthy
9 reasons why almonds should be consumed daily Almonds are filled with nutrients and energy and are used since ancient times.  The bitter…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually…
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…
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…
Latest findings on Kombucha; a teacup full of yeast and bacteria How can a tea consisting of a live culture of bacteria & fungi be healthy?…
Colloidal silver benefits
Colloidal silver: An essential dietary supplement or yet another pharmaceutical hoax? Colloidal silver is hailed as an effective home remedy for infections. Many believe it can…
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 Natural Repellents for Mosquitoes with negligible side-effects What are the best ways to keep mosquitos away from you? Try these natural and…
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…
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…
Hot cups for detox? Read all about the ancient technique of cupping Did you know inverted hot cups on your back can squeeze out and eject toxins…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA…
folate test
Folate test The Folate test is used to measure and monitor the levels of folic acid in…
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…
lose pregnancy weight
5 most effective ways you can lose those pregnancy pounds! Are you looking for ways to get back into shape? Scared of crash diets? Don't…
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…
oral hygiene tips
6 shocking consequences of bad oral hygiene (and how to avoid them) Did you know bad breath is not just turning off, but also harms your body…
Dunning kruger effect
Medical Mythbusters : How many of these myths did you think were true? Do vaccines cause autism? Does sugar really make kids hyperactive? Don't fall prey to these…
essential amino acids
Amino acids: Building blocks of life for better mood and sex drive! Find out why amino acids are often called as the building blocks of life. And…
CBD oil safe
Cannabidiol benefits: Evaluating the “highs” of CBD Oil The word cannabis paints a picture of addicts. But did you know that CBD oil,…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss.…
Valerian Root: The best way to achieve tranquil sleep every night Valerian root is probably one of the oldest and safest way to cure your insomnia.…

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.