There Are Plenty of Reasons to Take Potassium

There Are Plenty of Reasons to Take Potassium

Published by Wonder Laboratories on Oct 10th 2023

Potassium is an essential and fundamental nutrient to the functioning of human cells. Here, we take a brief look at what potassium does in the body. Then, we discuss some scenarios wherein you could best benefit from supplementation.

How Your Body Uses Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral. This means that the body needs potassium in order to function, yet it cannot produce it internally, so it must be consumed. Potassium is present in many foods, and many people can also benefit from taking a potassium supplement.

Potassium is an extremely valuable nutrient because it is ubiquitous in the body. In fact, potassium is present in the cells in every single tissue that makes up the human body. One of the major roles of potassium is regulating intracellular fluid levels, which is crucial for the basic well-being of cells and their functions. Potassium in cells also forms a transmembrane electrochemical gradient, which is necessary for healthy transmission of nerve signals, muscle contraction, and kidney functioning. These roles mean that potassium is a crucial mineral for the human body’s function.

The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for potassium is 3,400mg for men and 2,600mg for women. However, the average potassium intake is a few hundred mg lower than it should be for American adults. Insufficient potassium intake could have effects on blood pressure, kidney stone formation, and more.

Reasons to Supplement with Potassium

There are a number of reasons someone could benefit from taking a potassium supplement. Here is a look at some of the instances in which you could benefit from supplementing with potassium.

Reducing high blood pressure: High BP could be mitigated in some people by taking a potassium supplement. This is because potassium interacts with sodium within the body, such that sodium is more easily expelled. A study from 2017 showed that potassium supplementation reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.48 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.96 mmHg. Other studies give evidence that this effect of potassium supplementation on BP also reduces the chances of stroke.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): The two most common forms of IBD are Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Anyone with one of these conditions is likely to experience problems absorbing potassium and other nutrients. Supplementing with potassium could help make up for potassium deficiency due to malabsorption from IBD.

Bone health: Increasing potassium consumption could help support bone health and prevent osteoporosis. This is especially true for elderly women.

Physical exercise/exertion places demands on the body by using up both water, and electrolytes. For this reason, it is important to ingest potassium if you are engaging in exercise or other activities which require physical exertion. It’s important to know that drinking water is not enough. Potassium (and other electrolytes) are absolutely necessary because they help distribute fluids to cells throughout the body, including in muscles and in the blood. Supplementing with potassium will support muscle function during and after physical exertion.

Healthy blood sugar levels are supported by the intake of potassium. This is because potassium enables the production of insulin, a chemical that directs the flow and absorption of glucose in the body. This is especially important for people with diabetes.

Nervous system functioning: Potassium is essential for nerve signals which enable muscle contraction, heartbeat, and reflexes. Without sufficient potassium intake, the body’s ability to send and receive these nerve signals could be impaired.

Potassium is an essential, crucial mineral and there are many reasons to supplement with it. A potassium supplement could have interactions with some medications, so talk to your healthcare provider before taking such a supplement.

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