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Potassium – Important mineral to prevent Acidosis

Potassium is one of the most important minerals, essential for the life of every cell. It is one of the most widely distributed of all the tissue minerals. Principally, potassium is found in intracellular fluid. A small amount of potassium in extracellular fluid is necessary for normal muscular activity.
– Potassium is a bluish-white metallic element.
– Potassium is highly reactive and is not found free in nature.
– Potassium plays an important role as a catalyst in energy production.
– Potassium plays an important role in the synthesis of glycogen and protein.
– Potassium absorption occurs mainly in small intestine.

Increased amounts of potassium is found in urine whenever the tissues are losing potassium. It is may be because of the breakdown of cellular proteins. Any condition that gives rise to acidosis is liable to cause cellular depletion of potassium. Patients who are given diuretics to increase the output of sodium and water in the urine, an important side effect is an increase in potassium excretion.
In a healthy person, the feces contain very small amounts of potassium. The digestive juices contain large amounts but this is normally reabsorbed in the gut.

FUNCTIONS OF POTASSIUM IN THE BODY

– Potassium is an alkalizing agent.
– Potassium maintains a proper acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues.
– Potassium prevents hyper-acidity.
– Potassium is essential for muscle contraction and therefore it is important for the proper functioning of the heart.
– Potassium promotes the secretion of hormones and helps the kidneys in detoxification of blood.
– Potassium prevents female hormonal disorders by stimulating the hormone production.
– Potassium helps in proper functioning of the nervous system.
– Potassium helps to overcome fatigue.
– Potassium also assists in reducing blood pressure.

DEFICIENCY SYMPTOMS OF POTASSIUM

– Deficiency may occur during gastro-intestinal disturbances accompanied by severe vomiting and diarrhea.
– Deficiency may occur during diabetic acidosis.
– Deficiency may occur during potassium-losing nephritis.
– Deficiency may occur during steroid therapy and that of similar drugs.
– Deficiency may occur during mental and physical stress.
– Deficiency of potassium causes body tiredness, palpitations of heart, cloudiness of mind, nervous shaking and excessive perspiration of hands and feet, sensitivity of the nerves to cold. It may also lead to slow healing of ulcers and fractures.

FOOD SOURCES RICH IN POTASSIUM

– Pulses such as green gram, cow peas, red gram, black gram.
– Vegetables like lotus stems, sword beans.
– Other good sources are legumes, leafy vegetables, and fruits such as bael, sweet limes, peaches, and apricots.
– Excessive use of alcohol, coffee, sugar, and diuretics can lead to depletion of potassium.

HEALING PROPERTIES OF POTASSIUM

Potassium deficiency should be corrected by increased dietary intake or supplementation with potassium salts.
– Low Blood Sugar: The use of potassium has been found beneficial in the treatment of low blood sugar. An intake of sugar and potassium chloride brings an immediate relief.
– Muscle Abnormalities: The symptoms of muscle abnormalities when 10g of potassium chloride is given. Studies show that severe potassium deficiency results in muscles becoming weak, soft or partially paralyzed.
– Sciatica: Increasing potassium intake can help to alleviate discomfort from leg cramps and sciatica. This is due to the role of potassium in nerve function.

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