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What is the sodium-potassium pump?

Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine

More than 95% of the potassium in the body is found within cells. In contrast, most of the sodium in the body is located outside the cells in the blood and other fluids. How does this happen? Cells actually pump sodium out and potassium in via the "sodium-potassium pump." This pump is found in the membranes of all cells in the body. One of its most important functions is preventing the swelling of cells. If sodium is not pumped out, water accumulates within the cell, causing it to swell and ultimately burst.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.