The day after the 4th of July, a day in which we celebrate our Independence, we all are digesting the great BBQ, salads, drinks, appetizers, chips, dips, you name it! These delicious foods also contain a high amount of sodium!
To offset Salt-Induced Disease and Cardiovascular distress, we must also have a regular intake of potassium.
Potassium is the most important positive ion (cation) within your cells. Your cells have an ion pump (the sodium/potassium pump) that pumps two potassium ions into a cell, while pumping three sodium ions out. In this way, cells maintain a proper electrical charge, which is essential for proper fluid and electrolyte balance in your body. The normal concentration of potassium within cells is especially important to your nervous system and is needed for normal nerve transmission.
Potassium is high in foods such as bananas, oranges, cantaloupes, tomatoes, potatoes, legumes, and garlic. Other good sources include most fruits and vegetables, as well as meat and dairy. A problem for many Americans is excessive intake of salt in comparison to potassium intake, thereby creating a relative potassium deficiency. Additionally, dietary surveys of Americans age 60-80 show their diets to be lacking in potassium1.
Lack of potassium manifests as nerve, muscle, and fluid problems. Irritability is common and occurs in combination with impaired muscle function. In milder cases, this is simply muscle weakness. In more significant deficiencies, coordination is reduced and muscle cramps may occur, along with more noticeable muscle fatigue. Irregular heart beats and even cardiac arrhythmia can be caused by a lack of potassium. Swelling and fluid retention—from milder cases of ring tightness to more advanced cases of high blood pressure—is another common sign of potassium deficiency.
Ironically, the diuretics often given by doctors to lower blood pressure by removing excess water and salt also have the undesired side effect of stripping away potassium — which actually increases cardiovascular distress.
Sodium intake in and of itself is not a health problem as long as you are healthy. Indeed, healthy kidneys can readily handle huge
fluctuations in salt intake. However, once a person starts gaining
excess weight, the kidneys enter into a state of stress and have
difficulties processing the large amount of sodium naturally passing
through them every day.
To simplify, the cells need approximately 500mg of sodium per day. This is essential for hydration because sodium pumps water and nutrients into your cells. Potassium functions by pumping waste products out of the cells.
A major reason so many Americans are unable to cleanse properly is the over consumption of Sodium and the under consumption of Potassium. Many Americans consume upwards of 5000mg of Sodium per day - 10x more than needed!
Conversely, Americans should be consuming 4700mg of Potassium, but fall below consuming approximately 1/10th the Potassium necessary for Optimal Health.
To balance the sodium/potassium pump in our cells I recommend using Cultured Whey because it has an excellent ratio of Sodium to Potassium to help your cells function properly.
By consuming cultured whey every day your cells will begin to bring new water and nutrients into your cells and start flushing toxic waste out.
Also, cultured whey contains live probiotics. Probiotics are "good bacteria" that line your digestive tract and support your body in cleansing.
Look out for my next post that discusses how cultured whey has been known to support the body's health in very unique ways.
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Dr. Chris Colgin