Potassium and It’s Many Functions in the Human Body

Potassium and It’s Many Functions in the Human Body

Wanna hear a joke about potassium?

 

K.

 

If this one doesn’t have you laughing, think back to chemistry class and the periodic table of elements. While the symbol for potassium is a “K”, it is not the same as vitamin K. Each are essential micronutrients but potassium is not a vitamin, it’s a mineral that is used for different functions in our bodies than vitamin K. Potassium is vital for good health and today we’ve got some great reasons you should make sure you’re getting enough in your diet and why we included the mineral in re:iimmune!

Image via periodictable.com

While it is classified as a mineral, it’s also an electrolyte. These conduct electrical impulses and are important for a range of essential functions of the body including regulating blood pressure, muscle contractions, digestion and heart rhythm. It’s not produced by the body so we must be sure to include potassium rich foods in our diet such as fruits like kiwi, bananas, apricots and pineapple and vegetables like leafy greens, potatoes and carrots. The mineral can also be found in lean meats, beans, nuts and whole grains.

 

There are negative effects associated with too much potassium (hyperkalemia) including upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, mental confusion and tingling sensations in the extremities. Some drugs can cause levels to rises such as ACE-inhibitors, blood thinning agents like heparin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. A severe deficiency in potassium (hypokalemia) is often associated with use of antibiotics such as penicillin, magnesium deficiency, kidney disease and overusing diuretics.

 

Most potassium ions are stored in the muscle cells. Required for the regular contraction and relaxation of muscles, it also helps keep our reflexes sharp as it stimulates the neural connectivity between the muscles and the brain. If your levels are too low, it can cause muscle cramps, spasms and weakness. Studies also show that consuming foods that have high levels promote higher mineral density in bones as it assists the body in retaining and preserving calcium.
It also assists in metabolism, helping to process nutrients like fats and carbohydrates and the synthesis of proteins positively affecting tissue regeneration and cell growth. Lack of the mineral weakens the muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and can lead to abdominal pain, constipation and bloating. This is why the re:iimmune formula includes 11% of the daily value of potassium. Along with a prebiotic and probiotics for promoting healthy intestinal bacteria and L-Glutamine for repairing intestinal tissue, potassium helps to support intestinal health and optimal function!

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