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What Is Potassium?

Potassium is a kind of mineral and soft metal. It is marked on the periodic table of elements with the atomic symbol of “K” with an atomic number of 19. It is known to be very reactive and tends to combine with other elements. It was discovered in 1807 by Sir Humphry Davy in 1807.

Potassium compounds can be found in anything from soap to fertilizer. However, it is most known as a nutrient that is found in various food. Nutritionists recognize its great importance in maintaining health. Actually, the body contains a natural level of potassium. It acts as an electrolyte and plays a role in the body’s every functions, including the functioning of nerves and the synthesis of protein. It is also very important in regulating the body’s normal level of water. Potassium deficiencies can cause aches and pains such as fatigue or muscle cramps; severe deficiencies can lead to problems like hypokalemia, which is linked to nervous system impairment and irregular heart functions.

Potassium can be found in broccoli, peas, bananas, whole grains and nuts, and fish like flounder and salmon. Nutritionists don’t really set any minimum requirements for potassium but a well balanced diet with plenty of vegetables can usually fill the body’s daily requirements. However, the regulation of potassium in the body is controlled by the kidneys, which will also expel any excess amounts of the mineral through the urine. Therefore any kidney problem can affect the body’s ability to absorb and utilize it. Potassium levels can also become irregular after an infection or renal impairment. Too much potassium in the body is called “hyperkalemia.”

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