• Approximately 97% of the potassium in the body is available within the cells and remaining is distributed in the extracelluar fluid. Plasma contains very small amounts of potassium but large amount of it is present in red blood cells.

  1. Within the cell, potassium is responsible for maintaining osmotic pressure and water balance.
  2. Potassium ion increases the relaxation of heart muscles. Some amount of potassium together with other ions is required in extracelluar fluid for the transmission of nerve impulses and contraction of muscle fibres.
  3. Potassium is an obligatory component of all cells hence greater the number of cells, higher the increase in potassium.
  4. Potassium is required for enzymatic reactions which take place with in the cells.
  • Less intake of food during starvation and surgery is responsible for the deficiency of potassium.
  • Excessive losses might occur during vomiting and diarrhoea for long duration.
  • In severe burns and prolonged fever potassium deficiency occurs.
  • Patient might complain of nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, low blood pressure and tachycardia.
  • Excess of potassium is frequent complication in renal failure.
  • The symptoms include muscular weakness, poor respiratory system which later on leads to cardiac failure.
Good sources - Meat, fish and poultry; fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals are especially high in potassium. Banana, potatoes, tomato, carrots, grape fruit juice contains potassium.
    • Adult - 10-28 g
    • Children - 4.5 g
    • Infants - 1.8g
Last modified: Saturday, 2 June 2012, 6:30 AM