Potassium is an essential nutrient used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. It plays an important role in the body’s water balance and cellular function in the body’s sodium-potassium pump works with sodium. Potassium deficiency is undesirable and can cause conditions such as severe headaches, dehydration and heart palpitations.
In addition to this much benefit, it is wondered how much your daily potassium need is. Your daily potassium needs depend on various factors such as your health condition, activity level. There is no recommendation for daily intake of potassium, between 3500 mg and 4700 mg. There is no information that more consumption is more healthy.
There is many benefits of potassium. Potassium is the third most common mineral in our body. It helps the body manage fluids, send nerve signals, and regulate muscle contractions. 98% of the potassium in the body is inside the cells. 80% of this is in muscle cells and 20% is in bones, liver and blood cells.
It Helps Fluid Balance
An average of 60% of our body consists of water. 40% of this water is inside the cell, called intracellular fluid. The rest is found in areas such as blood, spinal fluid and fluid between cells. This fluid is called extracellular fluid.
Interestingly, the amounts of water inside and outside the cell are affected by the density of electrolytes, especially potassium and sodium.
Potassium is the basic electrolyte in intracellular fluid and determines the amount of water in the cells. Sodium is dense in extracellular water and determines the amount of water outside the cells.
The amount of electrolytes found relative to the liquid is called osmolality. Under normal conditions, osmolality is the same inside and outside the cells.
So there is a balance between the inside and outside of the cells in terms of electrolytes. However, when the osmolality is not equal, the water tries to balance the electrolyte density by moving from the part that has less electrolyte to the part that is more electrolyte.
This causes water to shrink cells as they exit the cells, or to inflate and detonate them as they enter the cells. That’s why it’s important to consume the right amount of electrolytes, including potassium.
Maintaining a good fluid balance is important for health. Poor fluid balance can cause thirst, which can affect the heart and kidneys. A potassium-rich diet and drinking plenty of water will help maintain a good balance of fluid.
It Helps Regulate Heart Contractions
Foods containing potassium help regulate nervous system muscle contractions. However, changing blood potassium levels can affect signals in the nervous system and weaken muscle contractions.
The presence of both low and high levels in the blood affects the voltage of nerve cells, affecting nerve signals. This mineral is also important for heart health because it helps to ensure regular heartbeat in and out of the cells.
When the level of potassium in the blood is too high, the heart weakens. This can weaken contractions and cause abnormal heartbeats. A small amount of blood also changes heart beats.
When the heart does not beat properly, it cannot efficiently send blood to the brain, organs and muscles. In some cases, heart arrhythmia can be fatal and cause sudden death.
Potassium Important for the Nervous System
The nervous system helps transmit messages between the body and the brain. These messages are sent in the form of nerve impulses and allow to regulate muscle contractions, heartbeats, reflexes and many other body functions.
Interestingly, nerve impulses are produced when sodium enters the cells and potassium leaves the cells. The ion exchange changes the voltage of the cell, which activates the nerve impulse.
Unfortunately, low levels of potassium in the blood affect the body’s ability to produce nerve signals. Getting enough potassium with nutrition is essential for healthy nerve function.
It Helps Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects one in three people. They are a risk factor for heart disease and, unfortunately, they are the most common cause of death worldwide.
A diet rich in potassium can lower blood pressure by lowering the body’s excess sodium. High sodium levels can raise it even higher, especially for those who already have high blood pressure.
In an analysis of 33 studies with people with high blood pressure, their potassium levels were increased, and large blood pressure decreased by 3.49 mmHg, while small blood pressure decreased by 1.96 mmHg.
In another study conducted with 1285 participants aged 25-64, it was observed that the individuals who consumed the most potassium had their blood pressure lower than those who ate the least. The highest blood pressure was 6 mmHg lower, while the small blood pressure was 4 mmHg lower.
It Helps Prevent Bone Resorption
Osteoporosis is a discomfort that manifests itself with bone lightening and porosity. It is generally associated with low levels of calcium, an important mineral for bone health.
Interestingly, studies show that eating a potassium-rich diet can help prevent bone resorption by reducing the amount of calcium the body beats with urine.
In a study with 62 healthy women between the ages of 45 and 55, the group consuming the most potassium had the highest bone mass.
In another study conducted with 994 healthy pre-menopausal women, more bone mass was observed in the waist and hip bones of the group that scientists consumed the most potassium.
Potassium Helps Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Potassium is of great importance for recovery in unwanted mental situations, such as anxiety or stress. A rather important stress is considered relaxing and plays an effective role in one’s overall mental health.
Since anxiety and stress will be very harmful for the general health of your body, it is thought that it is important for people suffering from chronic stress to get enough potassium daily.
Potassium can help balance many hormones in your body, including stress hormones such as cortisol or adrenaline, excessive secretion of these hormones will harm the body’s overall health.
Potassium Helps Prevent Kidney Stones
Kidney stones are substances lumps that can form in concentrated urine. Calcium is a common mineral in kidney stones, and various studies have shown that potassium citrate can reduce calcium levels in the urine.
In this way, potassium can help fight kidney stones. Many fruits and vegetables contain potassium citrate, so it’s easy to add to your diet.
In a 4-year study with 45,619 men, the group that received the most potassium daily had a 51% lower risk of kidney stones.
Similarly, in a 12-year study with 91,731 women, scientists found that the group receiving the most potassium daily had a 35% lower risk of kidney stones.