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What is the role of potassium in the body?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
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.
James C. Bower Jr., MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
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.
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!

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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.