Potassium on the periodic table of the human body
Potassium (pronounced /ptsim/) is a chemical element which has the symbol K (from Latin: kalium) with atomic number 19 on the periodic table. The name comes from the English word "potash", words pot and ash, referring to its discovery in the water-soluble fraction of wood ash.
According to concentration Ptsim may be detected by taste because it triggers three of the five types of taste sensations.
Dilute solutions of Ptsim mineral ion taste sweet (allowing moderate concentrations in milk and juices), while higher concentrations become increasingly bitter/alkaline, and finally also salty to the taste.
The combined bitterness and saltiness of high content solutions makes high-dose potassium supplementation by liquid drinks a palatability challenge.
In many aspects, Kalium and sodium (Na) on the periodic table are chemically similar, although they have very different functions in organisms in general, and in human body cells in particular.
In human body Ptsim is important in neuron (brain and nerve) function, and in influencing osmotic balance (the body's fluids from becoming too dilute or too concentrated between cells) and all body fluid outside of cells. At least 95% of the body's Ptsim mineral is found inside cells, with the remainder in the blood.
At the cellular level when 2 K+ ions enter into a cell, Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) provides the energy to pump 3 Na+ ions out of the cell in exchange for. Potassium is the principal positively charged ion (cation) inside of cells, while sodium is the principal cation in extracellular fluid.
Potassium concentrations are about 30 times higher inside than outside cells, while sodium concentrations are more than ten times lower inside than outside cells. The concentration differences between potassium and sodium across cell membranes create an electrochemical gradient known as the membrane potential.
A cell's membrane potential is maintained by ion pumps in the cell membrane, especially the sodium, potassium-ATPase pumps. These pumps use ATP (energy) to pump sodium out of the cell in exchange for potassium.
In the human body it is also important in allowing muscle contraction and the sending of all nerve impulses.
A shortage of Ptsim in human body fluids may cause a potentially fatal condition known as hypokalemia, typically resulting from diarrhea, increased diuresis and vomiting.
Deficiency symptoms include muscle weakness, paralytic ileus, ECG abnormalities, decreased reflex response and in severe cases respiratory paralysis, alkalosis and cardiac arrhythmia.
In rare cases, habitual consumption of large amounts of black licorice has resulted in hypokalemia. Licorice contains a compound (Glycyrrhizin) that increases urinary excretion of potassium.
Although low dietary intake of Ptsim does not lead to hypokalemia in healthy individuals, many long-term health risks are related to insufficient dietary intake.
The 2004 guidelines of the Institute of Medicine specify a Recommended Dietary Allowance of 4700mg of Ptsim for adults, based on intake levels that have been found to lower blood pressure, reduce salt sensitivity, and minimize the risk of kidney stones.
However, most Americans consume only half that amount per day. Similarly, in the European Union, particularly in Germany and Italy, insufficient Ptsim intake is widespread.
Diseases that may be prevented by adequate Ptsim intake include stroke, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and hypertension.
Side Effects and Toxicity
Gastrointestinal symptoms are the most common side effects of Ptsim supplements, including nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. Taking it with meals or taking a microencapsulated form of Kalium may reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
Hyperkalemia is the most serious adverse reaction to too much Ptsim.
Hyperkalemia occurs when Ptsim builds up faster than the kidneys can remove it. It is most common in individuals with renal failure. Symptoms of hyperkalemia may include tingling of the hands and feet, muscular weakness, and temporary paralysis. The most serious complication of hyperkalemia is the development of an abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia), which can lead to cardiac arrest.
Although hyperkalemia is rare in healthy individuals, oral doses greater than 18 grams taken at one time in individuals not accustomed to high intakes can lead to hyperkalemia. All supplements sold in the U.S. contain no more than 99mg of potassium; a healthy individual would need to consume more than 180 such pills to experience severe health risks.
- for children 1 to 3 years of age is 3,000 mg/day,
- 4 to 8 years of age is 3,800 mg/day,
- 9 to 13 years of age is 4,500 mg/day.
- adolescents and adults is 4,700 mg/day
Foods with high sources of potassium include orange juice, potatoes, bananas, avocados, tomatoes, broccoli, soybeans and apricots, although it is also common in most fruits, vegetables and meats.
Diets high in Ptsim can reduce the risk of hypertension and a Ptsim deficiency combined with an inadequate thiamine intake has produced heart disease in rats.
Individuals suffering from kidney diseases may suffer adverse health effects from consuming large quantities of dietary Ptsim.
Another dietary measure to lower blood pressure is to consume a diet rich in Ptsim, but be sure to get your potassium from food sources, not from supplements. It can help to counter sodium’s negative health impacts by balancing your salts.
A Ptsim-rich diet also blunts the effects of salt on blood pressure, may reduce the risk of developing kidney stones, and possibly decrease bone loss with age. A potassium-rich diet may help to reduce elevated or high blood pressure.
Ptsim should come from food sources
Fruits and vegetables include leafy green vegetables, fruit from vines, and root vegetables, are rich in Ptsim mineral with its bicarbonate precursors will balance the acid-base metabolism of your body and may reduce the risk of kidney stones or bone loss.
Meat, milk, and cereal products also contain the mineral, but may not have the same effect on acid-base.
The modern food tends to be low in sources of alkalai (fruits and vegetables) and high in sources of acid (fish, meats, and cheeses).
When the quantity of bicarbonate ions is insufficient to maintain normal pH, the body uses calcium salts from bone in order to neutralize acids consumed in the diet and generated by metabolism. Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the net acid content of the diet and may preserve calcium in bones, which might otherwise be mobilized to maintain normal pH.
- Abnormally high urinary calcium increases the risk of developing kidney stones. In individuals with a history of developing calcium-containing kidney stones, increased dietary acid load was significantly associated with increased urinary calcium excretion. Increasing dietary Kalium (and alkalai) intake by increasing fruit and vegetable intake or by taking Ptsim bicarbonate supplements has been found to decrease urinary calcium excretion.
- high dietary Kalium intakes have lower blood pressures
- increased Kalium intake is associated with decreased risk of stroke
- studies have reported significant positive associations between dietary Kalium intake and bone mineral density in populations of premenopausal, and postmenopausal women as well as elderly men
Ptsim comes from a variety of food sources. The richest sources are fruits and vegetables. People who eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables have a high potassium intake (8-11 grams/day). The table below gives you examples of Ptsim in some foods.
|Potato, baked with skin
|Plums, dried (prunes)
|6 fluid ounces
|Lima beans, cooked
|Acorn squash, cooked
|1/2 cup (cubes)
|6 fluid ounces
|6 fluid ounces
|Raisin bran cereal
|Sunflower seeds roasted
A dietary pattern rich in Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium,
and fibre, at typical levels of salt intake, lowers blood pressure as much as a single prescription blood pressure medication. Reduced sodium salt intake lowers blood pressure even more.
Food labels can help you choose items lower in sodium and higher in potassium and calcium. Look for the following label information on cans, boxes, bottles, bags, and other packaging:
| Food label information
| Sodium free or salt free
| Less than 5 mg per serving
| Very low sodium
| 35 mg or less of sodium per serving
| Low sodium
| 140 mg or less of sodium per serving
| Low-sodium meal
| 140 mg or less of sodium per 31/2 oz (100 g)
| Reduced or less sodium
| At least 25 percent less sodium than the regular version
| Light in sodium
| 50 percent less sodium than the regular Version
|Unsalted or no salt added
|No salt added to the product during processing (this is not a sodium-free food)
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