While managing macronutrients tends to take up the bulk of the discussion when it comes to talking about eating an optimal diet to gain muscle, lose fat, or achieve some other fitness-related goal, it’s important to not forget about the little guys. Getting an adequate supply of micronutrients is essential to maximizing your health, and failing to get that supply can have negative consequences. One of those micronutrients that’s worth paying attention to, is potassium.
In 1807 by Sir Humphrey Davy discovered potassium via the electrolysis of very dry molten caustic potash. Potash is a term for the fertilizer forms of potassium, and the term comes from the collection of wood ash that would accumulate in metal pots after the burning of plants. Potash also played a large role in the naming of potassium when it was discovered.
According to orlandoweekly, you should pay complete attention to the building of the mass. The burning of the fat is according to the requirement. The boosters are playing a vital role in the burning and reduction of the fat and excessive weight from the body. You need to know about them to get healthy and fit body.
As an electrolyte, potassium helps out with things such as maintaining bodily water balance and distribution, acid-base homeostasis, as well as the proper functioning of the kidneys, muscles, nerves, and heart. Electrolytes also have the ability to shoot electrical impulses across cell membranes so that cells can communicate with each other. The kidneys maintain optimal amounts of potassium and other electrolytes in the body, with things such as diet and exercise causing daily fluctuations.
Potassium is the most abundant intracellular ion found in the body. Around 95% of it is stored within cells, as a positively charged ion within the cell fluid. This contrasts sodium, where most of it is stored outside the cell, also positively charged. The body keeps a tight regulation on potassium and sodium concentrations to maintain normal body function, and one of the ways it does this is through the sodium-potassium pump.
Sodium And Potassium
While it may not be as exciting as the pump going on during your arm’s workout, the sodium-potassium pump is just as exciting in it’s own special way. The pump get’s the fuel it needs to run from the hydrolysis of Adenosine triphosphate, otherwise known as ATP. This process is so energy-intensive that it’s been estimated that the energy required by sodium-potassium pumps in the body can account for up to 40% of an adult’s resting energy expenditure. These guys are working overtime. Once it has it’s energy, the pump moves the positively charged sodium and potassium ions across cell membranes to balance the amounts of each.
Research has linked cancer and high blood pressure with high sodium levels combined with low potassium levels. That could be because sodium has been shown to constrict blood flow, while potassium provides a vasodilation effect which enhances blood flow. Despite the dangers associated with sodium, experts have estimated that the daily ingested amount of salt in Western Industrialized Cultures is about 3x higher than that of potassium.
A potassium deficiency is no joke and can seriously affect your health and training in a negative way. Very low levels of potassium is referred to as hypokalemia, and hypokalemia all starts with a potassium deficiency. There are a variety of ways the deficiency can start, and they have been summarized below.
Unfortunately for all you licorice enthusiasts, number 6 on that list is no typo. While the cases of it have been rare, hypokalemia has resulted when large amounts of black licorice has been consumed. The reason for this belongs to the compound glyccyrrhizic acid which increases urinary excretion of potassium. No need to worry about this too much though, as cases of this strange phenomenon are rare.
Diets that cause a potassium deficiency are typically low in fresh fruits and vegetables, and high in salt. Bananas and avocados are good examples of foods with high amounts of potassium relative to the amount of sodium in them. This is called a food’s sodium-potassium ratio, and the bigger it gets means more potassium. Check out the chart of some of the foods with the highest and lowest sodium-potassium ratios below to learn which foods boast potassium power.
Along with diet, exercise can be a major contributor to potassium loss. Potassium becomes lost through sweat and if your going all out you can expect to lose up to 3 grams of potassium from sweating alone. This just makes it even more important that you make it a priority to get enough potassium in through your diet, because what happens if you don’t will be even less appetizing.
Anybody See The PoPo(tassium)?
The above header may be funny now, but if your body gets to a point where IT’S asking where the potassium is, things won’t be so comical. When your body get’s low on potassium things don’t work so well which means neither do you. Low potassium levels can greatly reduce your workouts by negatively affecting muscle contractions and nerve conduction. In addition, a nasty indirect effect of low potassium levels are low glycogen levels.
Glycogen is the primary fuel your body looks to when you workout, and lower levels of it ultimately means one thing. You will get tired faster. This is especially important for anyone eating a low-carb diet, as a decrease in energy levels seems to be a common complaint. The solution is simply to eat more foods with potassium. And make sure you don’t try anything funny, like using supplemental potassium instead of eating real food.
Symptoms reported from potassium supplements include nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. Some supplements have even caused intestinal ulceration. One final point worth noting is that ibuprofen has also been shown cause hyperkalemia.
The current RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of potassium is 3 grams a day for those ages 1 – 3. For ages 4 – 8 the RDA is 3.8 grams. Ages 9 – 13 are recommended 4.5 grams, and those 14 and up have an RDA of 4.7 grams. This only differs for women who are breast-feeding, they are recommended to have 5.1 grams a day. Baby’s know what they want and it’s potassium.