A well-balanced diet is a condition of a proper functioning of the organism, and therefore for health. All processes occurring in the organism require appropriate conditions and optimal amounts of substrates - both macro and micronutrients. Unfortunately, the environment in which we live, as well as the modern pace of life make the majority of us vulnerable to the consequences of the growing shortages of components, including potassium and magnesium, which are crucial from the point of view of the human health.
Among the major "sins" causing an increasingly more widespread potassium and magnesium shortage, we can list a deficient diet based on high-processed foods, excessive coffee and tea consumption, alcohol abuse, smoking and permanent stress. It is worth remembering that a demand for these elements also increases, when we, by taking care of our health, regularly practise sport.
It is important to pay attention to the choice of a correct preparation when deciding to start supplementation with magnesium and potassium. By a proper preparation we mean one that will contain the optimal ratio of components with high bioassimilability and bioavailability. You can always turn to a pharmacist for assistance in choosing the right product.
Potassium ions regulate the cardiac function and are essential in the process of production and transmission of electrical systolic atrial and ventricular impulses. Potassium is also an essential component of the skeletal muscle contraction mechanism, so it affects the ability to exercise. This element participates in the control of acid-base and water management of the organism, maintaining proper osmotic concentrations and regulating the amount of excreted urine. Another important function of potassium is its impact on glucose metabolism and the way of coping by the body with a post-meal increase in blood sugar.
Potassium deficiency causes increased weakness, myocardial ailments (palpitations, arrhythmias, in extreme cases - heart arrest), pressure fluctuations, kidney problems, apathy, or irritability, anxiety, cold sweats. Prolonged persistent low levels of potassium result in glucose metabolism disorders and increase the risk of diabetes.
Diarrhea, vomiting, physical fatigue, long-term effort, some diuretics, steroids and cardiac glycosides, as well as excessive amounts of alcohol and coffee can cause potassium deficiency. Emotional factors such as anger, stress, mental fatigue also reduce the levels of potassium in the blood.
Indications for potassium supplementation include: loss of electrolytes (eg diarrhea, vomiting), consumption of significant amounts of stimulants, smoking, stress, intense physical and intellectual activity, high sugar diet and sometimes diabetes.
Preparations containing significant amounts of potassium ions must not be taken without a prior consultation with a physician. Excess of this element can cause palpitations and even cardiac arrest, convulsions and coma. To prevent shortage of this element you should take safer preparations containing, apart from potassium, magnesium ions, which reduce the risk of myocardial complications.
Because of the widespread consumption of coffee, tea, alcohol, and susceptibility to stress, it is important to ensure that your daily diet includes potassium-rich foods. Many amounts of this element are found in avocados, bananas, tomatoes, beets, nuts, citrus fruits, raisins, apricots, spinach, cereal grains and wholemeal bread. However, freezing, preserving, peeling and cooking in large amounts of water drastically reduce the amount of potassium in the food we eat. It is also important to remember that the sugar present in meals strongly reduces the absorption of potassium, so we have another reason to eat less sweets.
Magnesium is an element which, despite being abundant in food products, is often deficient. This is caused by a high demand of the body for this compound, and at the same time by its significant loss during various metabolic processes.
Magnesium ions are essential for cell growth and division, proper bone formation, proper blood clotting, functioning, protection and regeneration of the nervous system, muscle relaxation, conduction of nerve and electrical impulses, also within the myocardium. In addition, magnesium increases the immunity of the nervous system to external stimuli and alleviates the consequences of stress. This element also plays a protective role against numerous toxic factors, and facilitates the removal of lead from the body.
Indications for magnesium supplementation include intense physical and mental effort, learning, stress, lowered mood, sleep disorders, increased muscle tone, risk of heart attack, atherosclerosis, loss of appetite, osteoporosis and incontinence. Preparations containing magnesium should regularly be used by people who smoke, drink a lot of coffee, and abuse alcohol, but also by athletes and physically active people.
Magnesium deficiency symptoms include: calf cramps, muscle tremors, limb numbness, tics of the eyelids, fatigue, irritability, depression, allergies, chronic emotional tension, increased blood clotting, increased arteriosclerosis, increased risk of infarction and stroke. One of the factors that reduce the concentration of magnesium ions in the blood is stress - an inherent element of our life. The high blood sugar that accompanies diabetes also speeds up the loss of magnesium. In addition, potassium absorption is inhibited by a simultaneous intake of calcium, phosphorus, fiber and high fat diet.
Although magnesium ions can be easily "rinsed" out of the body, bringing their concentration back to the right level is a long-term process that requires regular supplementation. Small doses of magnesium should be taken regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer. It is extremely important to choose the right magnesium preparation. One of the best absorbable and therefore the most effective compounds of this element is magnesium citrate. In the pharmacies we should ask exactly for it.
Contemporary lifestyle results in a high demand for magnesium. It is therefore important to ensure that your daily diet contains ingredients that are rich in this element. Cereal sprouts, legumes, bran, nuts, bitter chocolate, green parsley, bananas, almonds, fresh and sea water fish, cheese, as well as dark bread are rich in magnesium.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, adrenine) is a substance involved in a variety of biochemical processes. It regulates water management, absorption of proteins and fats, antibody production and development of muscle and adipose tissue. It also participates in the synthesis of hemoglobin. Pyridoxine regulates sodium-potassium balance and is involved in the production of hydrochloric acid present in the stomach. Vitamin B6 increases resistance to stress and depression, through the participation in the neurotransmitter synthesis. It enhances lymphocyte activity and promotes the formation of antibodies, which affects the overall immune system. By inhibiting the rate of growth of atherosclerotic lesions in the blood vessels, it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Vitamin B6 deficiency leads to anemia, accelerates the development of atherosclerosis, promotes the occurrence of neuropathy, as well as acne and inflammation of the skin. The neurological symptoms include annoyance, frustration, depression, insomnia and tendency to trembling and muscle contraction. Inadequate supply of pyridoxine is a common phenomenon in highly developed societies, affecting for example the elderly, women taking oral contraceptives, people at risk of stress, alcoholics, tobacco smokers.
Indications for the administration of vitamin B6 include: stress, fatigue, depression, sleep problems, diabetic neuropathies (recommended supplementation together with magnesium and potassium), bronchial asthma (supplementation including vitamin C), nausea suffered by pregnant women and premenstrual syndrome.
The factors that are particularly associated with the deficiency of potassium, magnesium and vitamin B6 include intense, regular exercise, drinking coffee and caffeine energy drinks, abuse of alcohol, smoking, high blood sugar, diarrhea, vomiting, chronic stress, and the use of laxatives, diuretics and steroids.