Nutrition Key Deficiencies
Potassium Deficiency and Health Concerns
- Category: Nutrition Key Deficiencies
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Potassium Deficiency and Health Concerns
Signs of Potassium Deficiency
- Abnormally dry skin
- Chills (often over the entire body)
- Cognitive impairment (slow thinking or trouble remembering things)
- Diarrhea (less common)
- Diminished reflex function
- Edema (swelling, water retention)
- Fluctuations in heartbeat (chemical, electrical imbalance)
- Glucose intolerance (sugar processing disrupted)
- Growth impairment
- High blood pressure (result of edema and kidney chemical problems)
- High cholesterol levels
- Insatiable thirst
- Insomnia (acid, tense body)
- Life-threatening, irregular or rapid heartbeat that can lead to cardiac arrest and death
- Low blood pressure
- Muscular fatigue and weakness (electrical imbalance)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Nervousness (lack of calming potassium and magnesium)
- Periodic headaches (constriction and tension in blood vessels)
- Proteinuria (protein in the urine)
- Respiratory distress (acidic inflamed lungs)
- Salt retention
- Weakness, paralysis
Reasons To Use
- Promotes regular heartbeat.
- Promotes normal muscle contraction.
- Regulates transfer of nutrients to cells.
- Maintains water balance in body tissues and cells.
- Preserves or restores normal function of nerve cells, heart cells, skeletal-muscle cells, kidneys, stomach-juice secretion.
- Treats potassium deficiency from illness or taking diuretics (water pills), cortisone drugs or digitalis preparations.
- High blood pressure (for people not taking potassium-sparing diuretics)
- Congestive heart failure
What Potassium Does
- Aids in maintaining a regular heart beat
- Helps prevent stroke
- Important for a healthy nervous system
- Maintains blood pressure (lowers high BP or raises low BP)
- Maintains muscle tone and proper muscle contraction
- Regulates levels of acidity (increase alkalinity in the body and urine)
- Regulates the transfer of nutrients through cell membranes
- Regulates water balance
- Required for carbohydrate and protein metabolism
Cautions and Comments about Potassium
- High potassium intake (several hundred milligrams at one time in tablet form) can produce stomach irritation
- Kidney disorders, diarrhea, prolonged vomiting and the use of diuretics or laxatives all disrupt potassium levels
- Potassium is needed for hormone secretion. The secretion of stress hormones causes a decrease in the potassium-to-sodium ratio both inside and outside the cells. As a result, stress increases the body’s potassium requirements.
- Drug Interactions: The following drugs are known to interact with the absorption of potassium:
- Amilorid: causes a dangerous rise in blood potassium.
- Atropine: increases the possibility of intestinal ulcers, which may be caused by potassium supplements.
- Belladonna: increases possibility of intestinal ulcers.
- Calcium: increases likelihood of heartbeat irregularities.
- Captopril: increases likelihood of potassium overdose.
- Digitalis preparations: may cause irregular heartbeat.
- Enalapril: increases chance of overdose.
- Laxatives: may decrease effectiveness of potassium (due to the fact that they leach potassium from the body).
- Spironolactone: increases blood potassium.
- Triamterene: increases blood potassium.
Who Needs Additional Amounts?
- People who take diuretics, cortisone drugs or digitalis preparations.
- Anyone with inadequate caloric or nutritional dietary intake or increased nutritional requirements.
- Older people (over 55 years).
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women.
- Women taking oral contraceptives.
- People who abuse alcohol or other drugs.
- Tobacco smokers.
- People with a chronic wasting illness, excess stress for long periods or who have recently undergone surgery.
- Athletes and workers who participate in vigorous physical activities, especially when endurance is an important aspect of the activity.
- Those with part of the gastrointestinal tract surgically removed.
- People with malabsorption illnesses.
- Those with recent severe burns or injuries.
Lab Tests to Detect Defiency
- Serum-potassium determinations
- Serum creatinine
- Serum-pH determinations
Key Sources of Potassium
- Blackstrap Molasses
- Dehydrated prunes, dates, raisins, craisins
- Berries - blueberries, blackberries raspberries…
- Most other fruits except seedless grapes
- Potatoes, sweet potatoes
- Squash, cabbage, beets
- Most vegetables
- Sea vegetables, spirulina, algae
- Grasses – barley, wheat, oat