potassium and sodium

Potassium Sodium
  • Maintenance of water balance and distribution in body
  • Used by muscles for nerve conduction, muscle contraction and energy
  • Needed for conversion of blood glucose into storage form glycogen (in muscles and liver)
  • Water balance and distribution
  • Kidney and adrenal function
  • Acid base balance
  • Muscle and nerve cell function
  • Heart function
Source and function notes
  • Balances sodium and body cells and kidneys excrete potassium in functional roles
  • Dietary intake needs to be balanced with Sodium intake
  • Potassium deficiency common.
  • Sodium potassium pump in cell membranes critical for:
    • water balance
    • acid removal from body
    • maintaining electrical charge in cellular nerve transmission
    • muscle contraction
Vegetable sources Sea Kelp and Dulse; Parsley; Swiss chard; garlic; Spinach; Mushrooms; Potato with skin; Broccoli; Winter squash; carrots; Celery Kelp; sauerkraut; Swiss chard; beet greens; celery; spinach; watercress; turnip; carrot; parsley; artichoke
Fruit sources Raisins, Dates, Dried figs, Avocado, Banana Dried figs, Raisins
Nut and seed sources Sunflower seeds, Almonds, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, Pecans, Walnuts Green Olives, Ripe Olives, Sesame seeds,  Sunflower seeds
Absorption factors
Spice and herb sources
Deficiency factors
  • Muscle fatigue and weakness
  • Mental confusion, irritability
  • Heart disturbances
  • Problems in nerve conduction and muscle contraction
  • Excessive loss of body fluids from
    • sweating
    • diarrhea
    • urination
    • use of diuretics, laxatives, aspirin
Toxicity and dangers
  • Sodium / potassium balance critical
  • Excess sodium linked to development of cancer, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

Bland, J., Costarella, L., Levin, B., Liska, D., Lukaczer, D., Schlitz, B., Schmidt, M., Lerman, R., Quinn, S., Jones, D. (2004). Clinical Nutrition: A Functional Approach, Second Edition. Gig Harbor, WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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