When you talk about nutrients, minerals or chemicals that are essential for healthy functioning of our body, potassium is probably not one that springs to your mind. According to Mayo Clinic, Potassium is a chemical (electrolyte) is critical for the proper functioning of nerve and muscles cells, particularly heart muscle cells.
Potassium is also important to build proteins, break down and use carbohydrates, build muscle, maintain normal body growth, control the electrical activity of the heart and control the acid-base balance. Lets look at some ways in which potassium helps functioning of the human body.
Electrolytes are substances that help conduct electricity in your body. Potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in the human body, with others including chloride, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and sodium. As an electrolyte, potassium is vital to the healthy functioning of all of your body’s cells, tissues and organs. It also helps to control the amount of water in your body and maintain a healthy blood pH level. As you lose electrolytes in your sweat, you should always obtain a source of these important minerals during or after a bout of intense physical activity.
A balance of sodium and potassium is important for your body’s electrolyte functions. As your body works hard to maintain this balance, you can reduce the impact of a high sodium intake by consuming more potassium. Because of sodium’s impact on your blood pressure, a boost in your daily potassium intake can help you to maintain a healthy blood pressure or lower it to healthy levels. However, you cannot rely entirely on sodium and potassium to lower your blood pressure. In addition to obtaining regular exercise, your intake of fats, salt, cholesterol, protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium can also impact your blood pressure.
Potassium is particularly important for the ability of your skeletal and smooth muscles to contract. Because of this, an adequate intake of potassium is important for regular digestive and muscular functioning. Potassium is also vital to the health of your heart, as a normal heart rhythm arises from optimal muscular functioning. This is especially apparent if you have excessively high or low potassium levels, both of which can cause an irregular heartbeat. As heart arrhythmias are potentially life-threatening, you should always maintain an adequate daily intake of potassium.
Having too much or too little potassium in the body can cause major health problems. In our next blog we will explore the effects of low and high potassium intake and also its sources in human body.
Stay healthy with eKincare – your personal health manager!