Nutrition and Information Guide: Minerals Potassium

About the mineral potassium, nutritional information guide, uses, effects of deficiency, good sources of potassium.

Potassium

Use in the Body: Helps regulate osmosis, the pH level (acidity-alkalinity) of the blood, and the conversion of glucose to the more easily stored glycogen. Along with its partner sodium, potassium assists in the formation of muscle protein and the stimulation of nerve impulses for muscle contractions.

Deficiency May Lead to: Apathy, weakness, and poor intestinal muscle tone. Both deficiency and excess of potassium cause impaired muscular activity, slow heartbeat, and heart attack. Deficiencies may result from diarrhea, vomiting, or excessive urination.

Notes: An essential bulk element, potassium is found mainly inside the cells, where the body stores it for future use, and to a much smaller degree, in the fluids outside the cells. Potassium may be beneficial in treating hypertension, diarrhea, alcoholism, slow heartbeat, teeth and gum disorders, fever, stress, insomnia, and mononucleosis.

Best Sources: Legumes, green leafy vegetables (especially spinach), whole grains, meats, nuts, fruits, seafood, and root vegetables.

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