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Potassium Trace Elements

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Rachel Kaliatama

on 27 April 2014

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Transcript of Potassium Trace Elements

Potassium (K) is the 19th chemical element in the periodic table and is a soft silvery-white reactive metal of the alkali metal group. Potassium is a type of electrolyte.
In the human body, a trace element is a chemical element present in minuscule amounts and are vital as they allow optimum function of the human system. Examples of trace elements are chromium, copper, iodine and iron.
A diet consisting of foods that contain potassium is important for the body to receive its required amounts of potassium needed for optimum function. Potassium is well absorbed from the small intestine, with about 90 percent absorption, but is one of the most soluble minerals, so it is easily lost in cooking and processing foods. Most excess potassium is eliminated in the urine; some is eliminated in the sweat.

The Food and Nutrition Center of the Institute of Medicine has established the following recommended dietary intakes for potassium:


- 0 - 6 months: 0.4 grams a day (g/day)
- 7 - 12 months: 0.7 g/day

Children and Adolescents

- 1 - 3 years: 3 g/day
- 4 - 8 years: 3.8 g/day
- 9 - 13 years: 4.5 g/day
- 14 - 18 years: 4.7 g/day


- Age 19 and older: 4.7 g/day

Breastfeeding women require slightly higher amounts (5.1 g/day)
Potassium is a very important mineral to the human body. Potassium has many roles and responsibilities within your body, these responsibilities include:

-Build proteins
-Break down and use carbohydrates
-Build muscle
-Maintain normal body growth
-Control the electrical activity of the heart
-Control the acid-base balance

However, having too much or too little potassium in the body can have very serious consequences.

A deficiency in potassium levels is known as
. This can be caused due to sweating, antibiotics, diarrhea and low magnesium levels. A drop in potassium levels may cause symptoms such as muscle weakness, fatigue, constipation and irregular heartbeats. A very low drop in potassium levels can cause the heart to stop beating. If your condition is mild, your doctor will likely prescribe oral potassium pills. If your condition is severe, you may need to get potassium through a vein. Diet is also very important because eating foods high in potassium can help treat and prevent hypokalemia.
Too much potassium in the body is known as Hyperkalemia. The most common cause of high potassium levels is acute kidney failure or kidney damage. Other reasons may be due to an excess of potassium supplements, destruction of red blood cells due to severe injury or burns or adrenal failure. This excess of potassium in the body may cause nauesea, a slow or weakened pulse, and may cause a sudden collapse when the heart beat gets too slow. You will need emergency treatment if you are diagnosed with hyperkalemia. Once again, diet can help prevent and treat high potassium levels. Doctors may ask you to avoid food high in potassium such as avocados, pumpkin, prunes, nectarines and oranges for example.
Potassium. (2011). Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/potassiumhttp://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/potassium

U.S National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus. (2012).
Potassium in diet
[Date File]. Retrieved from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002413.htm

Fitday. (n.d.). Potassium: Why It's Essential For Your Body. Retrieved from http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/potassium-why-its-essential-for-your-body.html

ionicminerallife. (2011, April 13).
[Video File]. Retrieved from
In conclusion, I think it's important to recognise that a well balanced diet plays a significant role in maintaining healthy levels of potassium in the body. This healthy level of potassium is essential for the body to function correctly.
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