Potassium

Background

Potassium is considered an essential mineral in the human diet used to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Potassium is found in quite high amounts in fruits, vegetables, and beans. Normally, it is seen as the counter-part to sodium when it comes to blood pressure and regulation of water in the body with high potassium diets being associated with reduced blood pressure. Potassium supplement is highly effective for the function of several organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and muscular tissues.[1]
As a nootropic, Potassium is very effective in leading to an improvement in the cognitive performance, a recovery in the generation of neuronal plasticity, and a decrease in the expression of histopathological markers of AD.[22]

Picture of 3 potassium rich foods.

Benefits

Potassium is crucial for human life and carries proven health benefits. It is an electrolyte which counteracts the effects of sodium, and helps maintain consistent blood pressure. It is also essential for maintaining the balance of acids and bases in the body. You will find great benefits in the case of circulatory disorders such as cardiovascular disease and particularly stroke when potassium intake is increased. However, the other health benefits of Potassium include –

  • Improve cognitive performance [2]
  • Enhance learning and memory [3]
  • Help people who are fighting cancer [4]
  • Boost heart health [5]
  • Decrease cramps [6]
  • Reduce risk of stroke [7]
  • Alleviate high blood pressure (hypertension) [8][9]
  • Help people who have Alzheimer’s disease [10]
  • Osteoporosis protection [11]
  • Proper food processing and growth [12]
  • Reduce anxiety and stress [13]
  • Improve mood [14]
  • Stimulate neural activity [16]
  • Stabilize blood sugar [15]
  • Enhances bone health [17]

Truly, potassium helps people with stroke, high blood pressure, heart and kidney disorders, and anxiety and stress. Potassium also helps enhance muscle strength, metabolism, water balance, electrolytic functions, and the nervous system.

How it works

Potassium is the most important cat-ion (positive ion) inside animal cells, whereas sodium is the major cat-ion outside animal cells. The focus differences of these charged particles causes a difference in electric potential between the inside and outside of cells, known as the membrane potential.[18]
Potassium has the anxiolytic and nootropic effects [19] Potassium plays an important role in keeping brain function normal. Remember, high levels of potassium let more oxygen reach the brain, thus stimulating neural activity and increasing cognitive function. An increase in Potassium intake leads to a change in the aggregation pattern of the Aβ peptide, a partial decrease in some epitopes of tau phosphorylation and improvement in the cognitive performance. The recovery in cognitive performance was correlated with a significant improvement in the generation of long-term potentiation.[20]

Considerations

Potassium is well-known for being safe for most people when taken by mouth in amounts of up to 100 mEq of total potassium, or when given intravenously (by IV) by medical professionals. In some people, potassium can cause stomach upset, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or intestinal gas. However, too much potassium is not safe and can cause feelings of burning or tingling, generalized weakness, paralysis, mental confusion, low blood pressure, irregular heart rhythm, or death.[21]

Recommendations

The dosage varies for reasons for taking Potassium. The adequate intake of potassium is 4.7 grams per day for most adults, 4.7 grams per day for pregnant females, and 5.1 grams per day for lactating women. But it is wise to consult your doctor for your suitable dosage.

Sources