Potassium

December 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Elements

Keywords: electrolyte, nerve function, heart function

Functions

  • Acid-alkali balance
  • Carbon dioxide transport by red cells
  • Cell membrane function
  • Electrolyte
  • Enzyme activator, especially in energy production
  • Intracellular ion
  • Nerve and muscle function
  • Normal water balance
  • Protein synthesis
  • Stability of internal cell structure

Good food sources

  • Avocado pears
  • Bananas
  • Coffee
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit juice
  • Molasses
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes
  • Salad vegetables
  • Soy flour
  • Tomato juice

Deficiency symptoms

  • Acute muscular weakness
  • Bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness and confusion
  • Intense thirst
  • Low blood pressure
  • ‘Pins and needles’
  • Vomiting

Preventing deficiency

Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed daily, and a low-sodium-high-potassium table salt should be used for seasoning food. Potassium can be displaced from the cells by high tissue acidity levels. It can also be depleted by the use of diuretic drugs and the long-term use of corticosteroid drugs. Diarrhoea and laxative abuse can cause important potassium losses in the faeces.

Comments

Pioneer cancer doctor Max Gerson postulated in the 1950s that one of the most important factors in cancer promotion was a lack of dietary potassium and an excess sodium intake. His treatment is based on correcting this balance with the use of large quantities of fresh fruit and vegetable juices.

Information compiled by Linda Lazarides
Naturopathic Nutritionist, Author, Educator

Linda Lazarides is Course Director of the School of Modern Naturopathy and author of eight books on health, nutrition and naturopathy.

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