The macromineral potassium “ in concert with sodium and chloride -- function as electrolytes to maintain the balance of fluids in the body, and to facilitate muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
Potassium is the third most abundant mineral in the body and most all of it an estimated 95 percent is stored inside the cells. While sodium and chloride are found around the cells, potassium does its work from inside.
Electrolytes conduct electricity when dissolved in water. They are used by the cells to regulate electrical impulses, and monitor the flow of water molecules across cell membranes. More than 98 percent of the body's potassium is intracellular (meaning inside the cell) where it is the principal positively charged ion in cellular fluid.
Potassium's role is to maintain the proper water balance inside the cells and help in the transmission of nerve impulses. If the potassium level in the blood becomes too low or too high, this can have a critical impact on muscle and nerve function.
- Potassium helps maintain healthy cell function.
- Potassium works with sodium to regulate the body's water balance.
- Potassium is essential for normal fluid balance between the cells and body fluids.
- Potassium helps maintain healthy muscle function.
- During prolonged, high-intensity exercise, electrolytes can be lost through sweating.
- Electrolytes such as potassium are needed to help regulate fluid balance. This allows blood flow and nutrient delivery to active muscles to be maintained during exercise.
- Potassium is essential for nerve transmission.
- Potassium helps attract nutrients into cells.
- Potassium is required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism.
- Potassium is essential to many metabolic processes taking place in our organs, tissues, and cells especially those in our nervous system and muscle cells. Potassium is necessary to the correct functioning of our voluntary muscles (like our arms and legs) and to our involuntary muscles (like our heart and intestines).
- Potassium is needed to maintain heart rhythm.
- Potassium acts hand in hand with sodium to control the body's water balance and help regulate electrolyte and pH balance.
- Potassium is necessary in precisely accurate amounts to regulate nerve transmissions and muscle contractions both of which require potassium and sodium to be interchanged in and out of cells.
- High potassium foods can be beneficial for heart health.
- Potassium is involved in synthesizing protein from amino acids and metabolizing carbohydrates.
The best dietary sources of potassium are fresh, unprocessed foods because processing and cooking significantly reduces the potassium available. Fortunately, there are many foods rich in potassium, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
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