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Potassium is a chemical element and has the symbol K in the periodic table with an atomic number of 19. The word "potassium" comes from Potash because potassium was first isolated from potash. It is a soft metallic, silvery alkaline metal that is found in seawater joined with other elements. In air it tends to oxide very quickly and is highly reactive, particular when it reacts with water creating hydrogen bubbles. When fresh, it has a silvery appearance but since it oxidizes with air so rapidly, it begins to oxidize and thus tarnish the surface.

Potassium is a very essential element for all living cells. It has many uses. It is sometimes added to juices because of the sweetness of the taste, and other drinks because it is also slightly salty. Industrial uses include uses in fertilizer, industrial chemical bases, gunpowder, glass manufacturing, magnetometers, a heat transfer medium, producing air-free solvents. Nutritionally it is used for plant growth, table salt, portable respiration systems, food preservatives, baking powder and some medicines.

It is an essential mineral macronutrient and helps balance fluids and electrolytes in our bodies. It allows muscle contraction and helps nerve impulses to be sent in animals. Potassium deficiency can cause hypokalemia, which is a result of diarrhea. It can also cause muscle weakness, paralytic ileus, arrhythmia, alkalosis, respiratory paralysis and ECG abnormalities. It is therefore important to eat a wide and healthy balance of foods so that one can get enough potassium in the body to function properly. Natural sources of food include orange juice, potatoes, some meats, vegetables, turnips, parsnips, apricots, avocados and bananas. Some studies have shown that a diet that contains a high amount of potassium may have a positive effect on the fight against hypertension.

It is generally found that not enough of us get the recommended daily amount of potassium we need to maintain our health, especially in the United States and many countries in Western Europe.

Mineral supplements are very common nowadays, especially because people are wanting to be not only more health conscious, but also are always looking for the quickest solution. It is therefore no surprise that mineral supplements have been proven to be very popular because they are cheap, easy to produce and take no time to ingest. They are available worldwide in places such as pharmacies and can also be bought at local supermarkets, especially in places like the United States and Great Britain.

It is important to take supplements as advised and it is recommended to take a certain amount of vitamins and minerals everyday to help our immune system stay working at 100%. It is also advised not to overdose on certain vitamins and minerals as they may cause serious side effects and affect certain bodily processes. Supplements are generally taken both for maintaining regular health but also to treat deficiencies so therefore they come in different strengths and dosages. There are a number of brands that sell mineral supplements so it is worth finding out which one is best for you. The cheapest option may not always be the best.

If you are unsure about taking supplements, contact your doctor or pharmacist. He or she can advise you on the best plan of action and give you more information about specific vitamins and minerals. It is advised to seek consultation especially if you are pregnant or currently taking any medication as this can affect the intake of supplements. Go to a registered pharmacy and make sure you read all the instructions on dosage and follow them strictly. More information can be found on the Internet.


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