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vitamins And Minerals > > Potassium

Potassium is another metal (among the other metals, like iron, in the vitamins and minerals) needed for the proper functioning of the human body. Potassium is considered an electrolyte, which means that it carries an electric charge. This charge is small, but it is necessary to maintain the body's pH balance, as well as muscle action and the amount of water in the body.

Potassium has many important duties in the body. Like other vitamins and minerals, it assists in normal muscle growth and movement. This is vital to the proper support and movement of the body. Additionally, potassium assists in the very process that breaks carbohydrates down into energy (metabolism). This is what gives the body energy. Potassium is also partially responsible for the successful synthesis of proteins from amino acids.

Another function of potassium is to maintain nerve cells and ensure their proper functioning, not only in the brain, but also throughout the entire body. Fluid balance throughout the body, in the blood and in muscles, is also an important function potassium assists other vitamins and minerals in accomplishing.

A lack of potassium can cause muscle weakness, fatigue and confusion, as nerve impulses may become sluggish. Potassium is one of the vitamins and minerals that can be dangerous if present in the body in excessive amounts. Muscle weakness is not only a sign of a deficiency, but of a toxicity as well. Abnormal heart beat and vomiting are additional effects of too much potassium.

However, it takes an extreme amount of potassium to create a toxicity, as the kidneys are very good at breaking it down. In fact, most problems with potassium toxicity are the result not of consuming too much potassium, but of a severe infection or kidney problems. A problem in with the proper breakdown of proteins can also result in a dangerous excess of potassium.

Because foods that contain potassium are abundant, easy to find and mainly pleasant to eat, most Americans do not have trouble meeting the recommended 2-2.5 grams of potassium per day. Most people actually exceed this amount. While potassium is available in a supplement, it is important to consult with a physician before taking it. More than likely, unlike other vitamins and minerals, you're already getting the entire amount you need each day.

Legumes (like peanuts and lentils), fruit (especially bananas, citrus fruits and dried apricots) and vegetables (like broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes and, of course, leafy greens) are excellent sources of potassium. Milk and meat products also provide potassium. Fish such as salmon, flounder, cod and sardines are excellent sources of potassium as well. It is important not to overcook foods in order to preserve their vitamin and mineral content.

Potassium, like other vitamins and minerals, is essential to good health and proper bodily function. A diet rich in healthy foods containing potassium will ensure mental alertness and a healthy strength.

vitamins And Minerals > > Potassium