The Benefits of Potassium 

15 October 2020

The Benefits of Potassium  

Hi all, we hope this finds you fit and well. 

Here’s another Health Bunker article, today we will be discussing the essential mineral Potassium, why it’s important and what foods contain it.

There’s around 2000 minerals that exist in nature; some are rare and about 30 of them make up the rocks or Earth’s crust. 

There’s quite a lot of misleading information out there when you’re looking for essential minerals or trace minerals.  

So, in this article we’ll be asking a few basic questions; 

What are the Essential Minerals? 

What is Potassium? 

Why is Potassium important to our health? 

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency 

What foods contain Potassium? 


What Are the Essential Minerals? 

From my research there are 16 essential minerals (link), they are; 

Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, iodine, and selenium, molybdenum, chromium, and fluoride.

In this article I’m not going to discuss the fluoride debate, that’s for another day.

Minerals have important roles to, play; 

  • Help maintain blood pressure 
  • Fluid & electrolyte balance 
  • Bone health 
  • Making new cells 
  • Distribution of oxygen to cells 
  • Contribute to normal muscle and nerve functions 

Minerals are widely available in foods, with specific minerals being found in certain foods.

By eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods from the 5 food groups, you will have a mineral-rich diet. We won’t go into a lot of detail into each mineral because this article is about The Benefits of Potassium. 

What I will say is due to our modern ways of living, farming, processing and cooking, some of the nutrients that were in our grandparent’s foods are not there now. We’re also not absorbing the nutrients from foods as efficiently as we did in past generations 

This means a high amount of people are nutrient deficient, which will lead to the wide spread illness and disease we see around us today.  

What is Potassium? 

Potassium has K as its chemical symbol, described as a soft silvery white metal that can be cut with a knife. It is an electrolyte; it’s found in the foods we eat. Electrolytes conduct electrical impulses which are essential to life itself.

These impulses help a wide range of bodily functions we take for granted on a daily basis. Potassium is the most abundant charged ion (intracellular cation), it has a strong relationship with sodium, and it is present in all body tissues.  

Our system doesn’t produce Potassium naturally, so it has to be ingested from potassium rich foods and liquids.

The right balance of potassium helps with, blood pressure, water balance, muscle contractions, nerve impulses, digestion, heart rhythm and pH balance. 

Too little potassium consumption can lead to serious health problems, the same is also true if we take too much. The kidneys help maintain normal potassium levels, and they remove excess amounts. 

How much potassium do I need daily? 

In the UK the NHS says Adults from 19 to 64 years need 3,500mg of potassium a day. You should be able to get all the potassium you need from your daily diet. In the US it’s a bit different. Adults 19+ need 3400mg per day.

This though does not take into consideration of stress or exercise which can lead to a required increase in nutrients like potassium. 

What does the Department of Health and Social Care advise? 

You should be able to get all the potassium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet.

If you take potassium supplements, do not take too much as this could be harmful.

Taking 3,700mg or less of potassium supplements a day is unlikely to have obvious harmful effects. 

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency 

Potassium deficiency is called Hypokalaemia, mild cases show no signs or symptoms. In fact, symptoms do not usually appear until potassium levels are extremely low. Normal levels are 3.6-5.2 mmol/L (millimoles per litre) 

Hypokalaemia symptoms are; 

Weakness, fatigue, constipation, muscle cramping, palpitations. 

According to the Mayo Clinic in the US potassium levels below 3.6mmol/L are low, and below 2.5mmol/L is life threatening.  

Paralysis, respiratory failure, breakdown of muscle tissue, ileus (lazy bowels). In severe cases this can cause abnormal heart rhythms when taking Digitalis medicines drugs like Digoxin (link) that ironically used to treat irregular heartbeats. 

What Causes Potassium Deficiency or Hypokalaemia? 

Obviously lack of good nutrition will cause the milder cases. Hypokalaemia can be caused by kidney disorders, high blood pressure, and various syndromes. Pharmaceutical drugs are also to blame, diuretics, such as Thiazides, loop, and osmotic diuretics, long term use of laxatives, high doses of penicillin, drugs such as insulin and beta 2 agonists used for COPD and asthma. 

Three of the stand outs for me were, magnesium deficiency, poor absorption and barium poisoning (heavy metals).  

Strokes and Potassium Studies 

Small observational Studies have shown by taking between 3510mg-4680mg of potassium reduced the risk factors for strokes by 30% (link) 

Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Nurses’ Health Studies, I and II 

Potassium Reduced the Risk of Kidney Stones in a study that included 193,676 participants, some were found to be 33%-56% less likely to develop kidney stones.  


Some Foods that contain Potassium? 

  • Bananas, oranges, apricots, grapefruit,  
  • Dried fruits; prunes, raisins, and dates. 
  • Cooked spinach, broccoli, Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, Mushrooms, Peas, Cucumbers, Leafy greens 
  • Orange juice, Tomato juice, Prune juice, Apricot juice, Grapefruit juice 
  • Salmon, Tuna, Halibut, Cod, Trout, Rockfish 
  • Nuts 
  • Meat and poultry 
  • Brown and wild rice 
A full group of Kale

Health Bunker 

According to the dictionary essential means: absolutely necessary; extremely important.

So, lack of an essential nutrient you would think of as an important issue wouldn’t you.

But when have your kids ever come home from school to tell you about this information?

When have you ever heard any of the past or present health ministers rattling on about nutrient deficiencies? 

In Britain we spend £160bn every year on health or should I say bad health.

If we educated our kids on important facts about life like what bad diets can do to their future wellbeing instead of a lot of the nonsense they are  taught, we would have a lot less illness and disease. 

It’s time to wake up and smell the chlorinated chicken folks, Matt Hancock isn’t going to help you do it, nor will whoever follow him into the job, the NHS isn’t going to help you do it nor is our education system. 

We’re living some kind ‘mass population self-harming experiment’. The scary thing is we’re paying for this, in money, emotion and finally our health. 

Eat Well. Be Well.

Dom and Nic
Health Bunker
It’s Your Life. Own it!

*Disclaimer – Please note, we are not Doctors or trained medical professionals. We are not giving medical advice. Check with your Doctor or health practitioner before trying anything.