Question

Potassium

What is the role of potassium in the body?

A Answers (3)

  • AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Potassium is what is known as an electrolyte, an electrically charged particle that is needed by the body for proper cellular functioning. Every time a nerve impulse is conducted or a muscle is contracted, potassium -- because it carries an electrical charge -- has made that reflex possible. Potassium, in conjunction with other minerals, regulates blood pressure and allows the heart and kidneys to function properly.
  • AJoan Salge Blake, MS, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    Potassium is an important mineral with numerous functions. Potassium is needed in your body for fluid balance, muscle contraction, and for your nerve impulses to work properly.

    Research also suggests that a diet plentiful in potassium lowers blood pressure, especially in salt-sensitive individuals who respond more intensely to sodium’s blood pressure -- raising capabilities. Potassium helps negate some of the blood pressure-raising effects of excessive dietary sodium as it causes the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body. Reducing sodium levels in the body helps lower blood pressure.

    Citrus fruit are great sources of potassium!
  • AJames Bower, MD, Cardiology, answered on behalf of Carolinas HealthCare System
    Potassium is a mineral that, together with sodium and calcium, regulates the body's water balance, maintains normal heart rhythm, and is responsible for nerve impulse conduction and muscle contraction.
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