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Adequate supplies of potassium and magnesium

Overview

To ensure proper functioning, the body must have adequate supplies of potassium and magnesium. These minerals exert their effects on several different body parts and functions. In most cases, adequate potassium and magnesium can be consumed through the diet. However, potassium and magnesium supplements are occasionally necessary for those with deficiencies.

Function

The University of Maryland Medical Center describes potassium as “a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body.” The mineral not only helps with the conduction of electricity inside the body, but also maintains normal heart function. Potassium is also necessary for the contraction of skeletal and smooth muscle and helps regulate the body’s water levels.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health.” Inside the body, magnesium helps keep the heart rhythm steady, encourages a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong. The mineral is also responsible for the normal function of muscles and nerves and plays a part in metabolism.

Food Sources

In many cases, adequate magnesium and potassium can be obtained through the diet. Potassium-rich foods include all meats, flounder, cod, salmon and most types of beans. Fruits high in potassium are bananas, cantaloupes and tomatoes. Vegetables high in potassium include squash, potato, spinach and brussels sprouts. Foods high in magnesium include halibut, green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains and hard water.

Deficiency

Although most people obtain enough magnesium and potassium through the diet, deficiencies can occur. Potassium deficiency can occur as a result of excess diarrhea, vomiting and sweating. Additionally, certain medications and too much sodium in the diet can also result in a potassium deficiency. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, can affect the body’s ability to absorb both potassium and magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can also occur as a result of certain medications, excess vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms of magnesium and potassium deficiency are quite similar. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, numbness or tingling, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythm and seizures.

Toxicity

Ingesting too much potassium and/or magnesium through supplements can result in a variety of uncomfortable side effects. The toxicity symptoms for magnesium and potassium are also quite similar and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, altered mental status and abnormal heart rate. Immediate medical attention is necessary in the case of either potassium or magnesium overdose.

Supplement Forms

As explained by the Mayo Clinic, potassium and magnesium supplements are available in a wide variety of forms. Most commonly, supplements are taken orally through a tablet, capsule, powder or liquid form. Occasionally, supplements are given through an intravenous injection under supervision of a physician. Although oral forms of magnesium and potassium are available without a prescription, speak with your doctor before taking any form of supplement.

Overview

To ensure proper functioning, the body must have adequate supplies of potassium and magnesium. These minerals exert their effects on several different body parts and functions. In most cases, adequate potassium and magnesium can be consumed through the diet. However, potassium and magnesium supplements are occasionally necessary for those with deficiencies.

Function

The University of Maryland Medical Center describes potassium as “a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body.” The mineral not only helps with the conduction of electricity inside the body, but also maintains normal heart function. Potassium is also necessary for the contraction of skeletal and smooth muscle and helps regulate the body’s water levels.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is essential to good health.” Inside the body, magnesium helps keep the heart rhythm steady, encourages a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong. The mineral is also responsible for the normal function of muscles and nerves and plays a part in metabolism.

Food Sources

In many cases, adequate magnesium and potassium can be obtained through the diet. Potassium-rich foods include all meats, flounder, cod, salmon and most types of beans. Fruits high in potassium are bananas, cantaloupes and tomatoes. Vegetables high in potassium include squash, potato, spinach and brussels sprouts. Foods high in magnesium include halibut, green leafy vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, whole grains and hard water.

Deficiency

Although most people obtain enough magnesium and potassium through the diet, deficiencies can occur. Potassium deficiency can occur as a result of excess diarrhea, vomiting and sweating. Additionally, certain medications and too much sodium in the diet can also result in a potassium deficiency. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, certain gastrointestinal disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, can affect the body’s ability to absorb both potassium and magnesium. Magnesium deficiency can also occur as a result of certain medications, excess vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms of magnesium and potassium deficiency are quite similar. These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, numbness or tingling, muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythm and seizures.

Toxicity

Ingesting too much potassium and/or magnesium through supplements can result in a variety of uncomfortable side effects. The toxicity symptoms for magnesium and potassium are also quite similar and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, altered mental status and abnormal heart rate. Immediate medical attention is necessary in the case of either potassium or magnesium overdose.

Supplement Forms

As explained by the Mayo Clinic, potassium and magnesium supplements are available in a wide variety of forms. Most commonly, supplements are taken orally through a tablet, capsule, powder or liquid form. Occasionally, supplements are given through an intravenous injection under supervision of a physician. Although oral forms of magnesium and potassium are available without a prescription, speak with your doctor before taking any form of supplement.