Praised considerably, magnesium is considered the “master mineral” due to its involvement in over 300 metabolic processes. But the much less discussed mineral potassium is also a vital nutrient that should NOT be ignored. Too little leads to hypokalemia, which can result in poor health, irregular heart beats, and death.
Although many even holistic MDs claim very few are potassium deficient, according to Dr. Michael Greger’s report on published studies, 98% of Americans are potassium deficient.
That deficiency is measured against the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of 4700 mg daily. RDAs are usually considerably lower than more realistic amounts of what is needed for optimum health. RDAs for Vitamin D and C are glaring examples. But maintaining malnutrition ensures prosperity for the sick care industry.
Potassium’s Importance and How to Get More
Potassium is essential for the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves, and digestive system to operate normally. It’s also required for regulating fluid balance, the body’s acid-base (pH) balance, and blood pressure. Every cell in our bodies require potassium to function properly. Insufficient potassium is linked to high blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, heart disease, and strokes – as evidenced by one meta-analysis.
Dr. Greger quotes a study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that demonstrated a reduced risk of strokes with higher uptakes of potassium. He goes further to explain how even higher levels of potassium have been studied to reduce pain from rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting that low potassium levels may promote autoimmune diseases while higher levels can help prevent autoimmune diseases.
Dr. Greger advocates consuming many more greens and plant foods as a solution for potassium deficiency. Greens and plant foods from properly cultivated soils with high mineral contents are optimum. USDA certified organic crops guarantee the absence toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizer, but not proper soil cultivation factors such as proper tilling, crop rotation, multi-crop farming, or fallow periods. See this report.
Read: 11 Potassium Rich Foods
If practical, use farmers markets and local growers, and ask questions – or grow as much of your own as possible. However, if those options are out of reach, buying organic produce is better than using conventional produce. Highly touted bananas are a good source of potassium, but several other foods are even better.
Amazingly, a baked potato with skin can offer over twice the amount of potassium than bananas. Here’s one short list of some foods with their potassium content levels.
Too much potassium may lead to hyperkalemia, which is actually quite rare. Obvious symptoms of both hyperkalemia and hypokalemia are similar: nausea, muscle fatigue, limb cramping, and irregular heart rhythms. The message on non-cancerous folks supplementing potassium is mixed.
Some are concerned about hyperkalemia while others say you can’t overdose potassium intake unless you have kidney problems. The Lugol iodine supplement contains potassium iodide. Vitamin B12 promotes potassium absorption, and potassium supplements are available. Research to determine which type would be suitable for you.