Potassium is a mineral that is part of every cell in your body. It is the major positively charged electrolyte inside of cells.
Benefits of Potassium
Potassium has a wide range of roles in the body. Potassium is important for building muscle and maintaining growth, transmitting nerve signals, maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, breaking down and using carbohydrates, and supporting pH (acid-base) balance.1-3
Potassium also plays role in cardiovascular, bone, and kidney health.1-5
Many children and adults in the U.S. are not meeting potassium recommendations, and thus potassium is considered a nutrient of concern in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.6 Potassium intake is of special concern to persons with kidney disease and they should consult their doctor concerning the amount of potassium that should be consumed.
Sources of Potassium
Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Other sources of potassium include tangerines/mandarins, beans, lentils, tomatoes, pork, fish, and potatoes. 7
Most Americans are not meeting daily potassium intake recommendations and underconsumption is considered a public health concern.8
Detailed Nutritional Information
Potassium is the major intracellular cation required for normal cell function. Moderate potassium deficiency may increase the risk of high blood pressure, kidney stones, and osteoporosis.1
Potassium plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Diets containing foods that are a good source of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.6,9 Furthermore, research suggest diets high in fruit and vegetables, which are rich sources of potassium, could significantly reduce the risk of stroke, especially in those with hypertension and/or relatively low potassium intakes.1,3
Potassium is most commonly found bound to citrate in whole foods,1 including 100% grapefruit juice. Citrate is converted to bicarbonate in the body which is used for acid-base balance.1 By aiding in pH balance, potassium citrate reduces the risk of calcium loss from bones which can be beneficial to bone mineral density. Citrate may also reduce the risk of kidney stones by increasing the alkalinity of urine (increases pH) and increasing citrate excretion.1,4,5