Potassium, one of the principal and most abundant electrolytes in the body, is important in transmitting nerve impulses and maintaining normal fluid balance. It is also necessary for protein synthesis, muscle contraction, hormonal health, and maintenance of the heart regularity.
Some evidence indicates that potassium deficiency induces growth retardation because it reduces circulating levels of growth hormone and IGF-I. Though the mechanism is unknown, potassium deficiency reduces growth hormone and IGF-I levels up to 50% and the level of testosterone to near zero in animals. Relationship between potassium shortage and synthesis of growth hormone and testosterone in human beings needs more investigation.
Most of the foods provide some potassium. Potassium-rich foods include meats, poultry, fish, dried fruit (apricots, peaches, and prunes), bananas, potatoes, pumpkin, winter squash, stewed tomatoes, lima beans, peas, lentils, milk, and yogurt. The daily requirement for potassium for non-athlete adults is 1500 to 2000 mg, and for athlete adults is 2000 to 3000 mg per day.
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