Potassium is a mineral widespread in nature, which has a crucial role in the human body: it supports heart activity and stimulates the heart to beat at a rate of over one hundred thousand beats throughout the day. It is very important in the diet of patients who are already struggling with heart disease (high blood pressure, heart failure or arrhythmias). Patients, but also doctors, need to attach great importance to the diet, especially if the treatment includes diuretics. Despite the fact that there isn’t a direct correlation between potassium and cholesterol, it seems that a diet rich in potassium has a beneficial influence for the plasma levels of this lipid.
It is used by the body for normal muscle and nerve tissue function, including normal heartbeat. Potassium helps to control the body’s water balance, blood pressure and the transfer of nutrients into cells.
Natural Sources of Potassium
Potatoes, whole grains, cheese, blackstrap molasses, avocado, garlic, bananas, milk, yogurt, legumes, figs, raisins, nuts, yams, brewers and torula yeast, apricots, dried fruit, wheat bran and many other fruits and vegetables.
Acne, high cholesterol, dry skin, glucose intolerance, insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure and vomiting.
Irregular heartbeat, drop in blood pressure, coma, convulsions, cardiac arrest, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
* Consult your nutritionally oriented doctor before supplementing with it if you have had a peptic ulcer, bowel blockage, kidney disease, Addison’s disease or heart disease.
* Diarrhea depletes the body’s sources of potassium very quickly. It is important to replace what you lost during gastrointestinal upsets.
* Stress increases the body’s need for it.
* Kidney problems, the use of diuretics and corticosteroids (hormones used for inflammation) decrease its levels.
* Tobacco and caffeine reduce the absorption of it.
* The use of ACE inhibitors (antihypertensive), amiloride (diuretic), spironolactone (antihypertensive, diuretic, antiandrogen) and triamterene (diuretic, antihypertensive) can cause sudden extreme rises in blood potassium levels.
* Laxatives may decrease the effect of this mineral supplements.
* Atropine, belladonna and other anticholinergic drugs increase the risk of intestinal ulcers when combined with potassium.