Why would your family need

Potassium as a supplement?



Why are Potassium Important in Good Nutrition? Because it....



Which Food Sources contain Potassium?

When to use Potassium Supplements in Good Nutrition?

What is the Role of Potassium in Good Nutrition?

What are the side effects of consuming Potassium?

How much is usually taken?



  • maintain the fluid and electrolyte balance in cells and tissue,

  • regulate blood pressure and maintain regular heartbeat,

  • is critical for the transmission of nerve impulses, and

  • counteract the effects of excess sodium intake, such as fluid retention and high blood pressure.


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Which Food Sources contain Potassium?


Excellent sources of Potassium are found in most fruits. Beans, milk, and vegetables contain significant amounts of potassium. Potassium is found in most plant foods, but especially good sources include avocados, nuts and seeds, pulses, whole grains, dried fruit, tomatoes, potatoes and fresh fruit -particularly bananas and oranges..



Beans milk
BeansMilk
Bananas avocado
Banana Avocado


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When to use Potassium Supplements in Good Nutrition?


Potassium has been used in connection with the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure (for people not taking potassium-sparing diuretics)
  • Kidney stones (citrate in combination with magnesium citrate)
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Stroke


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What is the Role of Potassium in Good Nutrition?


Potassium is an essential macronutrient mineral in nutrition; it is the major positive ion inside cells, and it is thus important in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. Normal body function depends on tight regulation of potassium concentrations both inside and outside of cells.


High dietary intake of potassium from fruits and vegetables throughout one's life helps to preserve bone mass thereby preventing bone loss that can lead to osteoporosis.


In several population based studies evaluating very large groups of men and women over time, a diet rich in potassium was associated with a reduced risk of stroke. This seems to be particularly true among the men with high blood. Potassium supplements, however, do not seem to reduce the risk of stroke.



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What are the Side effects of consuming Potassium?


Blood potassium levels are carefully regulated by hormones and any excess intake normally acts as a diuretic. The kidneys are stimulated by Potassium to expel waste by producing more urine.


The danger is that people with kidney disease are unable to get rid of excess potassium, so they should avoid a high dietary intake of the mineral. Heart muscle contraction are inhibited by excessive levels of potassium in the blood which can cause heart failure.


Lethargy, paralysis and a slow heartbeat are all symptoms of excess potassium. Where as early signs of a potassium deficiency are apathy, weakness, confusion and excessive thirst. It may also cause an abnormal heartbeat as well as other heart problems and breathing difficulties.


Major deficiencies, however, are rare except in cases of prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, or use of “potassium-depleting” diuretic drugs.


People taking one of these drugs is often advised by their doctor to take supplemental potassium.


Prescription amounts of potassium provide more than the amounts sold over the counter but the best amounts are still found in several pieces of fruit a day.



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How much is usually taken?


The best way for your family to obtain extra potassium is to eat several pieces of fruit per day, as well as liberal amounts of vegetables.


The amount of potassium found in the normal diet ranges from about 2.5 grams to about 5.8 grams per day. The amount allowed in supplements, 99 mg per tablet or capsule, is very low, considering that one banana can contain up to 500 mg. One should not attempt to achieve higher potassium levels by taking large numbers of potassium pills. This concentrated form of potassium can irritate the stomach, a problem not encountered with potassium in food.


The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine established an adequate intake level (AI) for potassium that have been found tolower blood pressure, reduce salt sensitivity, and minimize the risk of kidney stones.


Adequate Intake (AI) for Potassium(mg/day)

Infants

  • 0-6 months, 400 Males and 400 Females
  • 7-12 months, 700 Males and 700 Females

Children

  • 1-3 years - 3,000 Males and 3,000 Females
  • 4-8 years - 3,800 Males and 3,800 Females
  • 9-13 years - 4,500 Males and 4,500 Females

Adolescents

  • 14-18 years - 4,700 Males and 4,700 Females

Adults

  • 19 years and older - 4,700 Males and 4,700 Females

Pregnancy

  • 14-50 years - 4,700 Females

Breast-feeding

  • 14-50 years - 5,100 Females

It is advisable to check with your local medical practitioner for the recommended daily intake of potassium according to your family’s circumstances.



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