Your Food and You: Potassium

Potassium works along with sodium and chloride to maintain fluid balance in the body, as well as acid-base balance. Potassium is actually in opposition to sodium. The body tries to get sodium out of the cells, while bringing potassium into the cells. Potassium also has a role in glycogen (energy) storage, muscle function, nerve function, heart, kidneys, and adrenal glands. Regular intake of high potassium foods can help to control blood pressure.

 

Not getting enough?

Potassium is naturally present in most foods. However, processing can remove it from food, such as turning apples into apple juice. Additionally, the ratio of potassium and sodium has been reversed, as we often get more sodium than potassium in our diets. Some symptoms and side effects of not getting enough potassium may include:

  • bloating
  • fatigue
  • heart arrhythmias
  • increased risk of developing heart disease
  • increased risk of cancer
  • increased risk of hypertension

 

Who should consider a supplement?

You should try to get your potassium from whole, unprocessed foods, since supplementation can be dangerous. Supplementation is generally not recommended unless under medical supervision. People who may need a supplement are generally on medication that can affect potassium balance in the body.

To learn more about how much you potassium you need and how to get it through diet, check out our Fact Sheet!

Download our full-size PDF version here.

September 9, 2015
Revive Wellness