Potassium is a mineral that serves a variety of purposes within the body. Despite its importance to so many of the body’s functions and systems, most people do not consume the standard recommended daily levels of this essential mineral. This is unfortunate, as long-term deficiency can contribute to and even directly cause a variety of health problems.
One of the important functions of potassium is to help regulate the fluid levels of the body. It also has a role in blood pressure, helps to keep the heart working properly, and is important to the nervous system. Potassium works to promote the proper functioning of the tissue that makes up the nervous system. It also serves to enhance muscle control, and the growth and health of cells, particularly through its importance in waste product removal. It also is necessary to the kidneys in their waste removal tasks. Potassium is also important to mental function, as well as to physical processes. It helps to promote efficient cognitive functioning by playing a significant role in getting oxygen to the brain.
Failing to meet the standard recommended daily intake levels can lead to a variety of negative consequences for both physical well being and mental health. Physical symptoms can include muscular cramps and twitching, muscular weakness, even actual muscle damage, poor reflexes, fatigue, fragile bones, irregular heartbeat and other cardiovascular irregularities, kidney failure, lung failure, and cardiac arrest. Mental symptoms can include nervous disorders of various types, anorexia, insomnia, a slowdown of cognitive processes, and depression.
There are certain health situations that can make a person more susceptible to suffering from a deficiency of potassium. These include alcoholism, health conditions requiring the use of certain types of diuretics, periods of high stress, and illnesses or conditions that result in extended periods of diarrhea and vomiting. Some situations of our own making can contribute to potassium deficiency, such as excessive caffeine use, a diet made up of mostly processed foods, and a diet that includes excessive amounts of salt.
Our bodies are intricate systems in which there is a delicate chemical balance that keeps everything functioning as it should. Disruptions to the system are going to have consequences, with some being more severe than others. Some of these consequences can take the form of disease or irreversible damage. Prevention is always better than trying to cure illness or repair damage. One of the most important parts of prevention is good nutrition, making sure that you regularly consume the standard recommended daily intake levels of the vitamins, mineral and other nutrients your body needs.
Nutritional supplements offer an efficient and reliable means of meeting daily dietary needs. Because the balance of nutrients is so important to achieving the optimum standards of performance and health, you may want to consider setting up a consultation with either a licensed nutritionist or your health care provider to create a personalized supplement plan, one that will be best suited to your individual dietary need and health goals.