Is potassium good? Does it have any medicinal value?

Potassium is an important electrolyte that plays a key role in metabolism, muscle growth, brain function, neural connectivity, maintaining fluid balance, etc. Potassium supplements can help to prevent deficiency diseases, protects against kidney stones and bone loss, and more.

Potassium is important for good health. Sometimes, we do not get enough of the mineral from food. In such cases, supplements can help to treat many ailments caused due to deficiencies of potassium. It is quite a wonder miracle that boosts performance in athletes, regulates blood pressure, prevents asthmatic attacks and good to deal with age-related symptoms.

Among all the minerals potassium, chloride and sodium are the electrolytes. Their function involves creating of electrical impulses that transport nerve messages. Apart from that they help maintain a perfect equilibrium between the body chemicals and fluids. Hence, potassium is a vital mineral, essentially important for maintaining good health. Even though potassium is an important mineral that is required by the body, it is not produced in the body. Therefore, it is important that a supply of the mineral is always available to the body through proper food intake or via supplements. A word of caution, though, always consult your doctor before taking any supplement, as an excess of anything good can also turn out to be toxic.

Potassium for better heart health

Many people take potassium supplements because the mineral is known to protect the heart and the brain. Potassium lowers blood pressure. It balances out the negative effects of sodium, which is yet another essential mineral in limited amounts. Too much sodium can retain fluids, and this can lead to higher blood pressure. Potassium helps by helping the body to get rid of excess sodium.

Potassium may also be able to make arteries more flexible. It can make both small and large arteries more elastic. This also helps to lower blood pressure. Potassium should be taken every day for the body to function normally.

Lower risk for kidney stones

Potassium in the form of potassium citrate is taken to lower risks of kidney stones. The supplement attaches itself to calcium that is present in the urine. It stops the calcium from forming crystals which can slowly turn into kidney stones.

Adequate potassium in the diet on a regular basis is usually enough to help protect you from the risk of kidney stones.

Protection against bone loss

Not many people may know that potassium also helps to protect bones. Some salts of potassium created in the body can neutralise some metabolic acids that wear away bones. These acids can otherwise corrode bones with time. But a combination of potassium and magnesium compounds help to neutralise the effects of these acids.

Potassium, therefore, carries out a great balancing act. While it helps to prevent excess calcium in the urine that could otherwise cause stones, it also prevents the loss of essential calcium from bones.

Lower risk of stroke

If you take the recommended amount of potassium daily – 4700 mg – the electrolyte will lower your chances of a stroke. Potassium regulates oxygen to the brain, increasing activity in the brain and allowing it to function normally. The electrolyte also helps blood to flow more freely by making arteries elastic. Enough potassium in the body can, therefore, help to prevent stroke in the brain.

Prevents low blood sugar

While high blood sugar is a sign that something is wrong, so is low blood sugar. A drop in potassium levels in the body leads to a drop in blood sugar. This can cause weakness, headaches, sweating, nervousness and other symptoms. Taking potassium chloride and sodium salts in such cases can provide immediate relief.

Protection and relief from muscle disorders and cramps

Potassium is an important element in the regular contraction of muscles. Potassium supplements keep our muscles functioning normally. It keeps the pathways between the muscles and the brain connected, keeps our reflexes quick and helps to heal and protect us from muscle cramps.

Muscle strength

There is a reason athletes take potassium and other electrolytes after intense workouts. Potassium helps in the growth of muscle tissues. It also makes sure that the energy released during metabolism is used up optimally. Potassium supplements can protect you from weakness and paralysis of muscles.

Natural sources of potassium

Potassium is found naturally in bananas, avocados, legumes, citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges, in many vegetables and in dried fruits and whole grain products. A diet rich in potassium, along with sodium, helps the body in maintaining the right fluid balance. It stimulates good metabolism and enhances muscle function.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

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