Potassium: Why You Need It and Where to Get It

Potassium is an essential mineral and electrolyte needed to regulate salt and fluid levels in the body. Many people do not get enough potassium from their diet and could benefit from eating more potassium-rich foods.

A well-designed diet containing large quantities of vegetable matter will deliver more potassium than you can possibly deliver by supplements. Here’s what you need to know about potassium.

Health Benefits

Potassium and sodium work together to maintain healthy fluid levels in the body. Low levels of potassium or an imbalance of sodium and potassium levels can cause fluid retention and lead to an increase in blood pressure. Therefore, potassium is crucial for reducing and preventing high blood pressure.

Potassium is also needed to ensure normal muscle contractions and a regular heartbeat. Deficiency and low levels of potassium can lead to heart arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) and muscle weakness. Deficiency can also cause headaches, fatigue and mood swings.

Food Sources

Bananas, potatoes and avocados are excellent sources of potassium. Dried fruit, sun-dried tomatoes and bell peppers also contain significant amounts of potassium. Other good food sources include squash, melon, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms and peas. 


High-strength potassium supplements should only be taken if prescribed by a doctor, as high doses of potassium can cause a dangerous imbalance of salts in the body. In severe cases, high doses of potassium can even cause cardiac arrest.

A good multivitamin and mineral complex often contains safe levels of potassium, which can be helpful for some people. Potassium is excreted in sweat, urine and diarrhea, which means that people who use diuretics or experience chronic bouts of diarrhea may benefit from a mineral complex that includes potassium.

Potassium is needed for the body to maintain normal levels of salt and fluid. It can be found in a range of foods, most notably bananas, potatoes and avocados. Some people may benefit from taking low-dose supplements, but high-strength potassium supplements should only be taken on the advice of a medical practitioner.

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Naturopathic Nutritional Medicine is an immensely powerful tool. It is consistent with and works well alongside modern biochemistry, which studies in detail the metabolism inside the cells. It looks at all the ways in which the nutrients interact with and support metabolic processes. Modern biochemistry makes it clear that the nutrients are all required together, not just as individual items. It addresses the balances between them and their actual availability inside the cells. It addresses the enzyme reactions that they support.

The joy of it all is that all this biochemical evidence is supportive of the working principles of the Naturopaths of the last few centuries, who have worked to support “The Life Force”. What is this “Life Force”? Insofar as it is a subtle force, as yet undetected by Science, it attracts the derision of the sceptics. But one can choose whether or not to regard this as a subtle force. If that does not fall within your belief system, then you can simply look at the energetic flux of chemical change within the cells and equate that with the Life Force.

The fact is that the healthy cell is characterised by an ebullient metabolism, a dynamic system of energetic processes fuelled by ATP (adenosine triphosphate, the “energy currency of the cell). The cell’s ability to manufacture and utilize ATP is determined by the integrity of its enzyme systems and its intracellular structures.

The whole strategy of Naturopathic Nutritional Medicine is aimed at normalizing and activating the cells’ own internal systems. If the cells, and therefore the body, are ailing and sluggish, it aims to return the cellular metabolism to normal, and so restore vitality and health. The orthodox nutritionist is seemingly fumbling and at a loss if asked to take any action towards restoring health. He knows not what to do. His training has certainly not informed him as to what to do unless it is a straightforward nutritional deficiency illness like scurvy or beri-beri. So, in most cases of ill health he or she is powerless.