Why Your Blood Needs Potassium (Know The Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Potassium (Find Out Here)

Potassium helps your blood move faster, which means your organs don’t have to work as hard. If your potassium levels get too low it can cause irregular heartbeats and lead to heart attacks.

Did you know that your body needs a balance of potassium and sodium in order to function properly?.

Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, muscle contractions and aids in the production of protein.

In this article, you will know why your blood needs potassium and how this vital mineral can improve your health.

What does potassium do in your blood?

For humans, potassium (K) is an essential macro mineral nutrient. Within the body, potassium is the principal cation in intracellular fluids and performs many functions such as:

  • Glucose and insulin metabolism
  • Hormone secretion
  • Control electrical activity of the heart
  • Renal concentrating ability
  • Mineral-corticoid action
  • Body growth and development
  • Activate enzymes
  • Metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins
  • Blood and fluid movements
  • Acid-base balance
  • Regulation of osmotic pressure
  • Conduction of nerve impulses
  • Muscle contraction
  • Cell membrane function

The importance of potassium to human health has been well recognized and new studies continue to emphasize it’s positive effects and potential use in public health.

For example, a high dietary intake of potassium has been shown to protect people from conditions that affects the cardiovascular system, kidneys, and bones.

Why Your Blood Needs Potassium (Know The Reasons)

Potassium has beneficial effects on your health and there are several reasons your blood needs this mineral nutrient.

Regulate Blood Pressure

There is a strong relationship
between high sodium intake,
inadequate potassium intake, and
high blood pressure, also known
as hypertension.

Variations in potassium intake can significantly affect the relationship between sodium and blood pressure.

For adults with hypertension,
increasing dietary potassium can help lower blood pressure by helping to reduce the blood pressure-elevating effects of sodium.

Adequate potassium helps to lessen the tension in blood vessel walls, which can also help reduce blood pressure.

Reduce The Risks of Stroke

Research has shown that a higher sodium to potassium ratio leads to  an increased risk for ischemic stroke. While the mechanisms are not fully understood, a diet that is adequate in potassium may help reduce the effects of dietary sodium, in turn resulting in lower blood pressure and reduced stroke risk.

Bone Health

Adequate intake of dietary potassium may benefit bone health and bone mineral density.

One proposed mechanism of action is through it’s effects on acid-base balance.

Potassium-containing foods, such as fruits and vegetables, provide precursors to bicarbonate ions, which in turn helps in buffering acids in the body to maintain a neutral blood pH of 7.35 to 7.45.

If the diet is deficient in nutrients such as potassium that help maintain pH within this range, then the body may pull calcium from the bone.

However, as potassium intake increases, more calcium content is

Kidney Function

Potassium also plays a role in helping the kidneys function

When potassium intake is too low, calcium reabsorption within the kidneys may be impaired, increasing calcium excretion and potentially leading to excess calcium in the urine and, in more extreme cases, kidney stones.

High sodium intake can also be damaging to the kidneys. One way to remove excess sodium from the body is to increase potassium intake.

Type 2 Diabetes

Potassium levels in the blood are highly regulated by the body but can be affected by the intake of dietary potassium. Low levels of potassium in blood serum are linked to a high risk of diabetes.

Although low dietary potassium has not shown to increase the risk of diabetes, sufficient intake of potassium-rich foods has proven to reduce the risk of diabetes.

What Foods Provides Potassium For The Blood?

Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods, including:

  • Apricots
  • Avocado
  • Banana
  • Broccoli
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy products
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Seafood
  • Legumes

Banana contains higher levels of potassium and has a good pH.
Eating bananas everyday are good for your kidneys.

One medium of banana provides about 422mg of potassium and 105kcal in standard portion.

For optimum health, people who fall between the ages of 20 to 30years should consume 24g of bananas to get 2400mg of potassium for the blood, per the recommendations.

How much potassium do you need?

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for 2013-2016, adult men who are 19years and older eat and drink an average of 2988mg of potassium per day, while women of the same age consume an average of 2323mg potassium daily.

That is approximately 88% and 89% of the adequate intake of potassium for men and women respectively.

Here’s an adequate intake (AI) for potassium by age, sex and life stage.


  • 0-6 months: 400mg
  • 7-12 months: 860mg


  • 1-3 years: 2000mg
  • 4-8 years: 2300mg

Males and Females

  • 9-13 yrs: 2300–2400mg
  • 14-18 yrs: 2300–3000mg
  • 19-30 yrs: 2600–3400mg
  • 31-50 yrs: 2600–3400mg
  • 51-70 yrs: 2600–3400mg
  • 70-80 yrs: 2600–3400mg

How to get enough potassium in your diet

Since potassium intake is highly correlated with energy intake, individuals who consume more calories generally have higher amounts of potassium.

However, increasing calorie consumption as a means to increase potassium intake is not a beneficial population-wide

It is well known that most Americans already consume more calories regularly than needed.

Choosing plenty of food sources of potassium throughout the day is necessary to meet the recommendations.

For instance, standard portions of non-fat plain yogurt and bananas at breakfast, baked potato with wild Atlantic salmon and avocado, plus one and half cups of non-fat milk during the day could help potassium intake reach 3400mg.

What happens if you have low or high levels of potassium in your blood?

The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function.

An abnormal increase in potassium is hyperkalemia, whiles a decrease in potassium is hypokalemia. These can affect the nervous system and heart, when extreme it can be fatal.

The normal blood potassium level is 3.5 to 5.0 milliequivalents/liter (mEq/L), levels below or higher than these normal levels are associated with increased rate of death of any cause.

Cardiac, kidney and lung diseases are elevated if serum potassium levels are not maintained within the normal range.


Potassium is an essential nutrient for normal cell function. Together with sodium, potassium plays a critical role in fluid homeostasis, with broad health effects.

Potassium’s role in reducing elevated blood pressure is increasingly well documented.

Potassium sources include many other nutrients that may be
beneficial for cardiovascular and general health.

Most people consume insufficient potassium and too much sodium.

Finally, high intake of fruits, veggies, dairy products, seafood and legumes are necessary to meet the recommended amounts of potassium per day.

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