It is observed readily from the stomach and intestine. Potassium is present in large amounts in the digestive juices. Excess potassium is excreted from the kidneys.
Potassium maintains osmotic pressure and fluid balance within the body cells. It is required for the synthesis proteins. It is necessary for enzymatic reactions within cells. Some of it is bound to phosphates. In the bond from potassium is necessary for the conversion of glucose to glycogen. During glycogenolysis (breakdown glycogen) the potassium get released
It is widely distributed in foods. Meat, poultry and fish are good sources. Fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals are also good sources of this mineral. Bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, orange juice, grape fruit juice contain potassium in appreciable amount.
The exact requirement of potassium is not known. A normal daily vegetarian diet provides these minerals in sufficient amount.
Effects of Imbalance.
Primarily the deficiency of potassium is not of food origin. Impaired appetite, severe malnutrition, chronic alcoholism and burn injuries can disturb the acid base balance and lower osmotic pressure.
The acid base equilibrium is also disturbed due to the deficiency of adrenocortical hormone (Addison’s disease). In this disease, potassium is retained and there is excessive loss of sodium. Reverse action can take place during the hyperactivity of the adrenals. There is a slight rise in the serum potassium level in kidney failure.