Thursday, May 3, 2012

Potassium, Sodium and High Blood Pressure

Potassium is essential for water balance, transmission of nerve impulses, muscle contraction and maintenance of heart beat.

The adequate intake recommendation for potassium is 4,700 mg/day, this is, more than 3 times the AI for sodium (1,500 mg/day).

A moderate potassium deficiency is characterized by increased blood pressure, increased urinary excretion of calcium, increased risk of kidney stones.

Potassium buffers some of the effects of sodium, and is therefore important in the control of high blood pressure.

It is virtually impossible to overdose on potassium from natural sources. However, it is quite possible to overdose on potassium by consuming  over the counter and/or prescription supplements.

Older adults are at increased risk of potassium overload as a result of certain medical conditions, for example, adrenal insufficiency, diabetes, kidney disease and hear failure

The ingestion/intake of sodium and potassium and the function of these minerals in the human body are related. For example, the sodium-potassium pumps actively serve to maintain water balance between intracellular and extracellular fluids.

Potassium is the main electrolyte in the intracellular fluid, and sodium is the main electrolyte in the extracellular fluid.

Having both, a high sodium intake and a low potassium intake have been linked to high blood pressure.

6 quality food sources of potassium:

1) Raisins, seedless

2) Potato, baked, with skin, without salt

3) Soybeans, mature cooked, or boiled, without salt

4) Bananas

5) Yogurt

6) Fish

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