(NaturalNews) High blood pressure isn't a disease, it's just a noticeable symptom of a physiological imbalance with a biological cause. One of the most common biological causes of this symptom is a mineral deficiency.
Potassium is a crucial mineral for restoring healthy blood pressure balance in your body, and when you don't have enough potassium, symptoms can start to emerge that may eventually be diagnosed and labeled as "high blood pressure."
Here, we bring you a collection of useful information about how potassium can help regulate and normalize your blood pressure.
Potassium and high blood pressure
The sudden death that can occur in fasting, anorexia nervosa or starvation is often a result of heart failure caused by potassium deficiency. Many population studies have found links between low potassium intakes and an increased risk of high blood pressure and death from stroke. Increasing the amount of potassium-rich foods in the diet can lead to a reduction in high blood pressure. The ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet appears to play an important role in the development of high blood pressure. The typical Western diet is low in potassium relative to sodium. - The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbsby Nicola Reavley
The effects of either low potassium or high potassium can be life-threatening. Since potassium is necessary to the healthy functioning of nerves, cells, and membranes, it is an important electrolyte to monitor. Low potassium is a major cause of cardiac arrhythmia; diuretics for the treatment of high blood pressure or congestive heart failure may interfere with potassium absorption and excretion. Although potassium supplementation is usually not necessary, individuals on diuretics or laxatives or who have excessive diarrhea may require extra potassium. - Optimum Health - A Cardiologist's Prescription for Optimum Healthby Stephen T., M.D. Sinatra
When it comes to lowering blood pressure, potassium packs a powerful punch. Scientists began studying the effects of potassium on high blood pressure as early as 1928. Now a major study of 300 nurses shows that potassium can lower your blood pressure even if it's in the normal range. Good sources of potassium are dried apricots, avocados, dried figs, acorn squash, baked potatoes, kidney beans, cantaloupe, citrus fruits, and bananas. You can also buy potassium supplements. If you're taking a diuretic, your body is getting rid of potassium along with fluid. - Natural Cures and Gentle Medicines: That Work Better Than Dangerous Drugs or Risky Surgeryby Frank K. Wood
For example, a diet low in potassium and high in sodium is associated with high blood pressure. By contrast, a diet high in potassium and low in sodium can protect against elevation of blood pressure. It has become common knowledge that too much salt in our diet may contribute to high blood pressure. Not so commonly known is that high blood pressure is also related to too little potassium in our diet. In fact, restricting salt alone may not be enough to lower the blood pressure. Potassium must be increased. Most Americans ingest twice as much sodium as potassium. - Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellnessby Tori Hudson, N.D.
How to use potassium: It is available over-the-counter in 99-mg tablets. Because you need a prescription to get potassium supplements in dosages higher than 99 mg, most people can best benefit from potassium by increasing their consumption of fruits and vegetables rather than by taking potassium supplements. (One bite of banana provides about the same potassium as you get in a 99-mg tablet.) Like sodium and potassium, calcium and magnesium are bodily partners in the battle against high blood pressure. - Off-the-Shelf Natural Healthby Mark Mayell
Sodium and potassium play related role in controlling fluid balance in the body. Without sufficient potassium to help the body secrete sodium, sodium builds up and exerts its harmful effects. Thus, to reduce high blood pressure most people need not only to lower sodium intake but also to increase potassium consumption. Indeed, some studies indicate that potassium intake is a stronger factor in determining blood pressure than is sodium intake. Various population studies confirm a beneficial effect on blood pressure from increases in potassium consumption. - Off-the-Shelf Natural Healthby Mark Mayell
Low levels of potassium can be caused primarily by medications such as cortisone, high blood pressure medications (these are diuretics), and the birth control pill. Nearly all medications and drugs will upset potassium metabolism. Alcohol and exercise can also cause potassium deficiencies. High levels are found when a patient is on Lite salt, kelp or sea salt. Lite salt is potassium choloride (KCl). It is especially bad about upsetting the fluid balance because it upsets the ratio between sodium and potassium. Kelp and sea salt have also been noted to upset this ratio. - It's All in Your Head, Diseases Caused by Silver-Mercury Fillingsby Hal A. Huggins DDS
High potassium foods help lower blood pressure, but potassium exhibits additional powers to prevent stroke directly regardless of blood pressure, says University of Minnesota hypertension expert Dr. Louis Tobian, Jr. In tests, he fed rats that had high blood pressure either a high-potassium diet or a "normal" potassium diet. Forty percent on the "normal" potassium suffered small strokes, evidenced by bleeding in the brain. No brain hemorrhages occurred in rats on high potassium. - Food Your Miracle Medicineby Jean Carper
Just as important as the total potassium content of food, sodium and potassium should be consumed in the proper balance. Too much sodium in the diet can lead to disruption of this balance. Numerous studies have demonstrated that a low-potassium, high-sodium diet plays a major role in the development of cancer and cardiovascular disease (heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, etc.). Conversely, a diet high in potassium and low in sodium is protective against these diseases and, in the case of high blood pressure, it can be therapeutic. - Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Editionby Michael T. Murray, N.D., Joseph E. Pizzorno, N.D.
We also recommend consuming a high-potassium diet or having your doctor prescribe a potassium supplement. The estimated safe and adequate daily dietary intake of potassium, as set by the Committee on Recommended Daily Allowances, is 1.9 to 5.6 grams. If body potassium requirements are not being met through diet, supplementation is essential to good health. This statement is particularly true for the elderly, athletes, and people with high blood pressure. Potassium supplements are available either by prescription or over the counter (OTC). - Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Revised Second Editionby Michael T. Murray, N.D., Joseph E. Pizzorno, N.D.
The best way to supplement potassium is with fruit, which contains more of the mineral than amounts found in potassium supplements. However, fruit contains so much potassium that people taking "potassium sparing" drugs (as some hypertensives do) can end up with too much potassium by eating several pieces of fruit per day. Therefore, people taking potassium-sparing diuretics should consult the prescribing doctor before increasing fruit intake. The fiber provided by vegetarian diets may also help reduce high blood pressure. - The Natural Pharmacy: Complete Home Reference to Natural Medicineby Schuyler W. Lininger, Jr. DC
Population studies suggest that a low intake of potassium may be linked to an increase in blood pressure, and increasing potassium-rich foods in the diet can lead to a reduction in high blood pressure. The typical Western diet is low in potassium relative to sodium, and the ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet may be more important than sodium alone. Studies suggest that the most beneficial effects on blood pressure are seen when sodium intake is reduced and potassium intake is increased. - The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbsby Nicola Reavley
Low potassium can contribute to high blood pressure, but the effect is especially magnified when calcium and magnesium levels are deficient. If you have high blood pressure and take diuretic medications (fluid or water pills) such as hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix, or Bumex, you are at higher risk to develop potassium deficiency because these medicines make you lose potassium in your urine. Recommendation: If your physician has prescribed diuretics that require extra potassium, he or she will usually have given you a prescription for the drug. - The Doctor's Complete Guide to Vitamins and Mineralsby Dr. Mary Dan Eades
The role of potassium in the body crosses over into many physiological events that include nerve transmission, muscle contraction, enzymatic reactions, carbohydrate synthesis, basic cell functions, and acid-base balance. Inadequate potassium intake in the diet might play a role in the development of high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. In addition to increasing the potassium foods in our diet, several studies now show that potassium supplementation can reduce blood pressure. - Women's Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine: Alternative Therapies and Integrative Medicine for Total Health and Wellnessby Tori Hudson, N.D.
How does potassium regulate blood pressure? Scientists believe it may have something to do with potassium's ability to pump sodium out of the body's cells and reduce body fluid. Potassium may also affect blood vessel tone, or resistance. Or it may be that potassium modifies the way blood vessels react to circulating hormones that affect blood pressure, such as vasopressin and norepinephrine. In any case, potassium's ability to lower blood pressure is such that some scientists suspect low dietary levels of the mineral may actually trigger high blood pressure in certain people. - Prevention's Healing With Vitamins : The Most Effective Vitamin and Mineral Treatments for Everyday Health Problems and Serious Diseaseby The Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books
A ton of studies show that people who eat potassium-rich foods have lower rates of heart disease and stroke. Potassium is also a key component of healthy blood pressure. According to the latest studies, people who regularly consume high-potassium foods have lower blood pressure than those who don't. A recent review of thirty-three studies examined the effect of potassium on blood pressure, and researchers discovered that participants who added 2,340 mg of potassium daily (from foods, supplements, or both) were able to lower their risk of developing high blood pressure by 25 percent. - The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Whyby Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.
Potassium is plentiful in food, especially in whole and unrefined food, whereas Sodium is plentiful but not as plentiful as Potassium in food. The kidneys are trained to get rid of extra potassium and hoard Sodium. But man has pulled a switch on the kidneys, he is now eating less and less potassium because of refined food eating, and more and more foods containing Sodium such as potato chips, pretzels, snack type foods, etc. The kidneys are still performing their original functions of excreting extra potassium and hoarding sodium. Too much Sodium causes high blood pressure and other problems. - The How to Herb Book: Let's Remedy the Situationby Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon
Reduce the pressure with potassium. Potassium is a natural diuretic, helping your body excrete water and sodium, thus possibly lowering blood pressure. In fact, there's evidence that salt sensitivity may be caused by too little potassium in the diet, says high blood pressure researcher G. Gopal Krishna, M.D., associate professor of medicine at Temple University. Studies have shown that the lower the potassium intake, the higher the blood pressure, and the higher the ratio of potassium to salt, the lower the blood pressure. - Disease Free: How to Prevent, Treat and Cure More Than 150 Illnesses and Conditionsby Matthew Hoffman and William Legro
What is the potential importance of taking potassium? While potassium is lower in modern diets compared with so-called primitive diets, true deficiencies are uncommon. Some, though not all, research suggests that raising potassium intake may help prevent high blood pressure. Other research suggests that higher potassium intake may help prevent stroke. However, the maximum amount of supplemental potassium allowed in one pill (99 mg) is far below the recommended amounts (at least 2,400 mg per day). - The Natural Pharmacy: Complete A-Z Reference to Natural Treatments for Common Health Conditionsby Alan R. Gaby, M.D., Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., Forrest Batz, Pharm.D. Rick Chester, RPh., N.D., DipLAc. George Constantine, R.Ph., Ph.D. Linnea D. Thompson, Pharm.D., N.D.
Power up on potassium. Studies have shown that eating 3,500 milligrams of potassium can help counteract sodium and keep blood volume - and blood pressure - down. And it's easy to get enough. A baked potato packs 838 milligrams of potassium all by itself, and one cup of spinach has 800 milligrams. Other potassium-packed foods include bananas, orange juice, corn, cabbage and broccoli. Check with your doctor before taking potassium supplements. Too much may aggravate kidney problems. Meet your magnesium needs. Researchers seem to have found a link between low magnesium intake and high blood pressure. - Age Erasers for Men: Hundreds of Fast and Easy Ways to Beat the Yearsby Doug Dollemore, Mark Giuliucci and the Editors of Men's Health Magazine
In 1997, the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health released a report on research they'd been doing on the effectiveness of potassium tablets in lowering blood pressure. The results were amazing: Researchers recommended that potassium supplementation should be considered as a tool for the prevention and treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). Inexpensive, over-the-counter tablets could control high blood pressure. Not only that. The research showed that even a small amount of potassium could prevent the onset of high blood pressure. - Attaining Medical Self Sufficiencyby Duncan Long
People don't develop severe potassium deficiencies unless they have some sort of endocrine or kidney problem, and then they are pretty sick for a number of reasons," Dr. Young says. While some diuretic drugs can seriously deplete the body of potassium, doctors monitor blood levels of potassium in people taking diuretics and supply extra potassium if necessary. It's likely that a fair number of people in the United States are on the same kind of low-potassium, high-sodium diet that can cause high blood pressure and heart disease in animals, Dr. Tobian says. - Nature's Medicines : From Asthma to Weight Gain, from Colds to High Cholesterol -- The Most Powerful All-Natural Curesby Gale Maleskey
A great amount of potassium is also lost in heavy sweating. The loss of potassium from the cell will result in intracellular water loss - dehydration that will become chronic unless more water and some high potassium-containing foods are added to the daily diet. Continued pattern of potassium loss from the body will result in excess sodium retention by the kidneys and the first stages of high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, heart disease and irregular pulse will ensue. The foods that have high potassium content are dried fruits like raisins, dried plums, dried apricot and dates. - Obesity Cancer & Depression: Their Common Cause & Natural Cureby Fereydoon Batmanghelidj
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