Potassium is an important electrolyte in our bodies and the most abundant cation inside our cells, it plays many vital roles most importantly it maintains the intracellular fluid volume and the electrolyte gradient across the cell membrane which is essential for nerve transmission and muscle contraction.
Potassium has an inverse relationship with sodium, if you consume lots of Potassium, your sodium levels will drop as your kidneys excrete more sodium, which lowers plasma volume and blood pressure.
The average serum Potassium concentration ranges from 3.5 to 5.5 mmol/liter and keeping this range well balanced is essential for bodily functions.
Why do we need Potassium?
- High Potassium intake causes vasodilatation and increases urinary sodium excretion reducing your plasma volume and blood vessel resistance which helps lower your blood pressure levels and prevents cardiovascular diseases and Strokes
- Potassium has been linked to lowering the rate of kidney stones formation which is mostly made up of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. increasing your Potassium intake improves calcium reabsorption within the kidney and impairs urinary calcium excretion in the urine decreasing the chances of developing kidney stones.
- Increased Potassium intake has been shown to improve bone health, it is thought that Potassium increases the alkaline medium that increases bone mineral density and protects our bones
- the diets that are rich in Potassium are usually also high in calcium and magnesium which are essential for bone and muscle health
- Potassium is needed for insulin secretion from pancreatic cells so having low Potassium intake can increase your fasting blood glucose levels and increase the chances of developing insulin resistance
How much Potassium do I need daily?
- From birth to 6 months of age infants need 400 mg of Potassium per day
- 7: 12-month infants need 860 mg of Potassium per day
- 1: 3-year-old children need 2000 mg of Potassium per day
- 4: 8-year-old children need 2300 mg of Potassium per day
- 9:13-year-old children need 2500 mg of Potassium per day
- 14:18-year-old teens need 3000 mg of Potassium per day
- Male adults over 19 years of age need 3400 mg of Potassium per day
- Female adults over 19 years of age need 2600 mg of Potassium per day
- Pregnant and lactating females need 2600: 2900 mg of Potassium per day