Previously by Margaret Durst: Blood Pressure — Natural Solutions
Kalium, or potassium is a great alkalizing mineral. Only about 3 to 4 ounces of potassium are found in the body at any one time; however, a tremendous amount is utilized during a lifetime. It is generally recognized that the average American does not get enough potassium. This is apparent when we look at many of the chronic health problems today. Potassium is a factor in preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, diabetes, kidney disease, and some cases of paralysis.
Potassium regulates heart muscle action and arterial blood pressure. It helps to carry our enzyme reactions throughout the body and regulates blood pH. Potassium helps the kidneys eliminate waste and feeds the entire endocrine system. A lack of potassium causes lack of oxygen in the tissues. Lack of potassium will also cause edema if sodium level is high relative to potassium. Lack of potassium also will cause a weakened heart and sciatica on the right side of the body.
Potassium needs to be balanced with sodium for proper health. Sodium is the electrolyte responsible for controlling fluid surrounding the cells and potassium is responsible for controlling fluid within the cells. Excessive use of salt depletes potassium from the body. Too much salt is not the only cause of potassium deficiency. It can also be brought on by stress, medications, and diuretics as well as alcohol, coffee or sugar.
Potassium deficiencies induced in humans cause listlessness, fatigue, gas pains, constipation, insomnia and low blood sugar. Muscles become soft and flabby, and pulse weak, slow and irregular. When potassium is reintroduced, these symptoms quickly go away.
There are mental symptoms associated with potassium deficiency. These include fearfulness, negativity, cynicism and suspiciousness. Other common indicators of potassium deficiency are painful feet and ankles, unsteady walking, prolapsed organs, and nighttime restlessness. Rheumatoid arthritis may also be a symptom of prolonged potassium deficiency.
Potassium is an important component of the transmission of electrical impulses to the muscles. For this reason, a lack of potassium can cause partial or complete paralysis which is usually alleviated within minutes after potassium is supplemented.
The greatest damage done by potassium deficiency is to the heart which is a muscle and relies on potassium for electrical impulses. When potassium is out of balance in the heart, the actual heart beat is affected. Heart attacks are associated with low blood potassium and low potassium intake.
While many fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain ample potassium, canning, cooking and refining of these foods depletes significant amounts of potassium. One of the best natural potassium remedies is a broth made from potato peelings. Other good potassium sources include herbs such as alfalfa, dulse and kelp. In terms of supplementation, plant sources are much preferred over straight mineral sources because plant based potassium is more effectively assimilated by the body.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.