Activity of the most studied minerals in Nutritherapy – Potassium



Health Care

Macro-element, 1st intracellular cation

Activity of the most studied minerals in Nutritherapy - PotassiumThere is more K inside the cell than outside and vice versa for sodium, so Na is attracted massively inside the cell (osmosis). But Na attracts water (hydroscopic) and this swells the cell.

To fight against this, there is a pump (Na / K pump) which delivers against the current an ion of Na against an ion of K. The ATPase which releases the energy of this pump is Mg dependent and it uses 20 % of our total ATP => 1/5 of our survival energy is for the Na / K pump.

How the NA + / K + ATPase works

AJR: The potassium intake should be about double the sodium intake: 2.5 g for sodium, 5 g for potassium. This can be monitored by the natriuria / kaliuria ratio.

However, we must not forget to correct the magnesium deficits, otherwise the intracellular / extra-cellular distribution may remain incorrect and contribute to hypertension and / or edema.


Potassium, found mostly in fruits and vegetables, helps control blood pressure, fluid retention and heart rate.

Sodium has the opposite effects of potassium and also promotes urinary calcium loss, which can contribute not only to the process of bone demineralization, but to the formation of kidney stones.

The sodium / potassium exchanges which control the movements of water between the inside and the outside of the cell and participate in the prevention of hypertension and edema, are enabled by the sodium pump which pushes them back thanks to ATP and a doubly magnesium-dependent ATPase.

Na / K ratio: osmosis problem, aquarium with a porous membrane, on one side salt water and on the other not. After a few hours, there is the same level of salt everywhere. The minerals pass where there is the least:

  • in the KlOOmcq cell
  • outside the K cell 5 mcq

Osmotic pressure towards the cell for Na and out of the cell for K (20x more inside than outside). However, Na is hydroscopic, it can create edema and the cell could burst.

To avoid this: the Na / K pump which uses 20% of the basal metabolism to continuously deliver the Na and take back the K.

Pump co-factors: magnesium, B1, B2, PP

Basic but essential question in the anamnesis

  • Water quality?
  • What are they drinking?
  • Quantity of plants?
  • Industrial products?
  • Corticosteroids (which makes you lose potassium in the urine)?
  • Energy level?
  • Water retention?
  • Blood pressure?

=> To ensure a good sodium / potassium balance, it is sufficient to avoid industrial agro-food products (from canned goods to candies they all contain hidden salt), cold meats and cheeses, to give the place they deserve to vegetables and replace the salt shaker on the table with herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, onion, herbs.

Ca, Mg, K and Na are involved in ionic transport and their balance and transport capacity are important in neuronal functioning (whether neurons are activated or not)


The main sources of potassium are: legumes, including soybeans, oilseeds, squash, green vegetables and cabbage, avocados, beets, tomato sauce, cumin, turmeric, ginger, fruits, dark chocolate, chicory, semi-whole grains

Main causes of lack of Potassium (K):

Corticosteroids => massive loss of potassium => risk of death, globular K and serum K should be monitored.

Main causes of excess potassium:

Substitution salt based on K chloride instead of Na chloride.

However, it is very simple to increase the K and improve the Na / K ratio without danger:

  • eat more vegetables
  • consume less industrial products

reduce preserves, cold cuts and cheeses.

Author Jean-Paul Curtay

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