Potassium supplements, what they are and when to take them

 , Naturopath


Il potassium is a mineral salt that belongs to the category of macrominerals, or macronutrients, that is of that group of five substances (the others are: sodium, calcium, magnesium, chlorine) present in our body in considerable quantities. Potassium is an important mineral and a electrolyte, that is, it has an electric charge. The positive charge of potassium allows it to perform all the functions necessary for the body. Each body fluid contains potassium, but 95% is inside the cells. 

> Properties of potassium supplements

> Potassium food supplements

> Potassium herbal supplements

> Potassium supplements on the market

> Daily requirement


Bananas among the natural potassium dietary supplements

Potassium supplements, what they are and when to take them


Properties of potassium supplements

Potassium is very important for the body, in fact:

  • Allows the operation of themuscular system and the transmission of nerve impulses.
  • Adjust the heartbeat.
  • Fights excess sodium, which can manifest itself with fluid retention and hypertension. It is important to respect the ratio of potassium to sodium, which should be 5: 1. In fact, in all cell membranes there is a particular structure called sodium-potassium pump, which allows the cells to let out the sodium to let potassium penetrate. This activity is very important for the life of the cell: if the sodium is not pumped out, the cell can swell with water until it bursts. Furthermore, if the potassium remains outside and the sodium inside the cell, the transmission of the nerve stimulus, made possible by the entry of potassium and the exit of sodium, does not take place. Many, on the other hand, tend to reverse this relationship by taking in excess dietary salt, which promotes hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
  • It allows the passage of nutrients between the inside and outside of the cells, allowing their vitality and good functioning.
  • Regulates the functionality of the kidneys e of the adrenal glands: potassium helps to excrete a substance called citrate. If there is too much citrate in the body, it could bind to calcium and form kidney stones (made up of calcium and citrate). Since potassium helps eliminate citrate, it can reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
  • Potassium helps regulate the quantities of the minerals calcium and phosphorus in the blood and prevent the bones and kidneys from eliminating more than they should. In this way, the bones remain dense and strong.
  • The electrical charge of potassium allows nerve impulses to be sent through the body.
  • Potassium also works with another electrolyte, called bicarbonate, to maintain blood pH and acid-base balance in the body.


Potassium food supplements

Potassium is present in almost all foods, in particular they are rich in it: meat, milk and its derivatives, whole grains, legumes, oil seeds, tomatoes, potatoes, bananas, broccoli, endive, asparagus, carrots, avocado, kiwi, apricots, oranges, apples and dried fruit. Coconut water is also a good potassium supplement: it contains 5 times more potassium than regular sports sodas.


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Potassium supplements, what they are and when to take them


Potassium herbal supplements

In phytotherapy there is a medicinal plant that has potassium regulatory properties. It is the Equisetum (Equisetum arvense). This officinal plantin fact, among its main constituents in mineral salts it has good quantities of potassium. The mother tincture is prepared from the sterile stems collected in the summer.


Supplements on the market

Potassium chloride is used to prevent or treat the deficiencies of this precious mineral, which is very important for muscle contraction and for controlling blood pressure. In each gram of potassium chloride we find approximately 0,524 g of elemental potassium.

Medicines and supplements potassium chloride they must be taken according to the methods of use specified on the label or in the package leaflet, unless otherwise prescribed. In general, it is recommended to take it in conjunction with meals, diluting any powder preparations with water or fruit juice, and swallowing those in tablets without chewing or sucking (avoid going to bed in the next 30 minutes).

Potassium chloride supplements should not be taken on an empty stomach; for powder formulations, be sure to rinse the glass with water and drink it immediately to get the full dose of potassium chloride. 


Daily requirement

The daily potassium requirement varies as follows:

  • Newborn - 6 months: 400 mg per day
  • Children 7 months - 12 months: 700 mg per day
  • Children 1 - 3 years: 3 grams (3000 mg) per day
  • Children 4 - 8 years: 3,8 grams (3800 mg) per day
  • Children 9 - 13 years: 4,5 grams (4500 mg) per day
  • Adults - 19 years and older: 4,7 grams per day
  • Pregnant women: 4,7 grams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 5,1 grams per day

Following a varied and balanced diet, it is difficult for a deficiency to occur. A potassium deficiency can occur:

  • When the diet is insufficient, not very varied or low in fruit and vegetables.
  • In case of diabetes with hypoglycemia, severe diarrhea, severe physical and mental stress conditions, excessive sweating.
  • After taking diuretics, laxatives, aspirin.

In these cases a potassium supplement is required, as one deficiency of this mineral manifests itself with fatigue, muscle weakness, excessive thirst, confusion. In severe cases, arrhythmias and breathing difficulties may occur. 


Symptoms, causes and remedies for potassium deficiency


Other articles on potassium:
> Potassium in food
> The lack of potassium
> The potassium alum stone: a 360 ° help
> The 10 foods rich in potassium

> Potassium, effects of deficiency and excess

> Potassium and magnesium, benefits and contraindications

> Magnesium and potassium, how to take them

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