If you’re a regular at the gym, you’ve undoubtedly been advised at some point that you need to make sure that you consume foods with a good amount of potassium in them to help your body recover after a workout.
But is there any truth to this?
And if it’s really that important, should you consider taking potassium supplements? Sure, bananas have a lot but what other foods do?
Let’s take a look at what supplementation can do for you, and a closer look at some of our favorite potassium supplements in the market.
At a basic level, Potassium is an electrolyte: one of the essential minerals in your blood that helps transmit the electrical impulses running all through your body, enabling it to move, improving blood pressure. Some potassium-rich foods are bananas, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, cooked spinach, and broccoli.
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Your Body Needs Potassium
It may seem weird to think our body has electric signals running through it, but the body is a complex system of cells, tissue, and fluids that are run by these signals sent out by your brain and through your nervous system.
While many of these electrolytes are found outside of cells, potassium is one of the minerals inside the cells, making it an important conductor for your body’s neurotransmission process.
Here are some of the most important roles that potassium plays within the body:
Keeping Your Brain Healthy
Good Potassium levels allow more oxygen to reach your brain, thus stimulating your neural activity and increasing your cognitive abilities; in other words, it may help you process information faster, retain that information and react quicker.
But a potassium deficiency has far more dangers than simply “getting dumber.” It’s no coincidence that people who suffer strokes are often found to have a deficiency since an optimal blood flow to and from the brain reduces the chances of clotting and preventing oxygen from reaching your brain.
There are also correlations between potassium deficiency and epilepsy since the disease is tied to abnormal nerve cell activity within the brain.
Ensuring Proper Muscle Function, Reducing Muscle Cramps and Leg Cramps
Your body needs to have a certain amount of potassium to function properly because it is the ion in your cells that stimulates the neural connectivity of muscles and the brain.
It would naturally follow, then, that high potassium levels are vital to the proper growth and recovery of muscle tissue, since it’s directly responsible for your muscles’ contractions and relaxation. Muscles grow bigger because we work them to a point of stress, after which they repair themselves to handle that stress again in the future.
Also, we all know how much our muscles — and our body as a whole — need water to function and grow.
Potassium helps maintain an optimal balance of fluids in the body and ensures that different types of cells get the right amount of fluids that they need in order to function properly.
The flipside of this is that it also helps prevent muscle cramps, which are caused by low levels of fluids and electrolytes in the muscle tissue.
Potassium helps ensure that the protein, carbohydrates, and fats that you consume in your diet perform how they’re supposed to when you consume them.
For instance, potassium directly participates in the process of your body using the amino acids in the proteins you’ve consumed and turned it into proteins your body can use.
When you consume carbohydrates, potassium as a role in breaking down those carbs into glucose (which is immediately used by your body as a fuel source) or glycogen (which is just a fancy term for your body storing that glucose in your muscles for later use).
Potassium is also crucial in the process of your body processing fat correctly, and/or breaking it down as needed.
Do You Really Need to Take A Potassium Supplement?
So, with all those great benefits, it would only make sense for you to try and consume as much potassium as you possibly can, right?
Wrong, actually. The best thing to do if you have low potassium is talking to your doctor who can provide medical advice on the best way to increase your intake. Their advice, diagnosis, or treatment may be supplements or increasing potassium-heavy foods. Plus, they can tell you the proper amount of mg of potassium needed per day.
Potassium is one of seven key electrolytes needed by the body, along with sodium, chloride, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.
Each one of them services a specific and important role, especially when it comes to ensuring the balance of fluids flowing in and out of the cells in your body.
More importantly, all of these electrolytes are delicately balanced. If there’s an imbalance in your electrolytes, it can affect your hydration, nerve impulses, muscle function, and internal pH levels.
In other words: you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to Potassium.
Because many of the foods we consume in our diet today are loaded with preservatives, we tend to consume more of those key electrolytes than we often realize.
However, potassium is not one of them, which results in a deficiency since we’re consuming much more of those other minerals, versus the amount of potassium we’re getting. There’s a good chance you’re probably not getting enough potassium.
Best Potassium Supplement for Muscle Cramps
1. Potassium (Citrate) By Pure Encapsulations
- Cardiovascular Function: Potassium is an essential mineral which offers a wide range of nutritional support to ensure healthy physiological functioning of diverse organ systems and is essential to...
- Overall Physiological Support: Potassium activates many enzymatic reactions and is essential to a number of physiologic processes, including: transmission of nerve impulses; contraction of cardiac,...
- Electrolyte Balance: Potassium works with sodium to maintain healthy water balance, heart rhythm, nerve and muscle function.*
Pure Encapsulations’ potassium supplement contains 200 milligrams of potassium — in the form of potassium citrate — within each capsule.
That means each capsule technically has the 200mg of potassium referenced, along with another 11mg of ascorbyl palmitate, which is fat-soluble Vitamin C. It’s highly absorbable and one to two a day will keep your potassium levels at the perfect place.
2. Potassium Gluconate With Iodine Kelp By Zenesis Labs
- REDUCES LEG CRAMPS - Keep the Charlie Horses and cramps away with our high quality Potassium supplement.
- SLEEP SOUNDLY AT NIGHT - Calm down the cramps and muscles, and find peace when you sleep.
- BLOOD PRESSURE SUPPORT - Helps control blood pressure by balancing the effects of sodium.
Zenesis Labs’ Potassium Gluconate with Iodine Kelp supplement has 99 milligrams of Potassium gluconate in each tablet, with 150 micrograms of Iodine as well.
Potassium gluconate is a form of supplying potassium into our bodies — as opposed to ingesting straight potassium chloride — that’s best suited for people who have normal chloride levels, or for people who need to have their chloride levels restricted.
The Iodine helps with your thyroid function, by regulating cellular metabolism and energy production.
3. Target Mins Calcium Magnesium Potassium By Country Life
- HEART HEALTH SUPPORT - Target-Mins are made with specific free-form amino acids and uses a calcium: phosphorus ratio of 2:1 to support calcium utilization. The magnesium and potassium have been added...
- RESPONSIBLY MADE - Certified gluten-free, vegan and kosher made with recyclable packaging the manufacturing of this product supports wind power. This product does not contain yeast, corn, wheat, soy,...
- FRESHNESS OF INGREDIENTS - Because we manufacture our own products, our products go from tested raw material, to manufactured good, to bottled and packaged products immediately so you can be assured...
Country Life’s supplement is a scientific formulation of three of the essential minerals mentioned above — calcium, magnesium, and potassium — that may support cardiovascular health, and are designed for optimum mineral transport.
Each serving (two tables) contains 500mg of calcium, 500mg of magnesium, and 99 milligrams of potassium.
4. Pure Potassium Citrate Powder By BulkSupplements
- Electrolyte* - Fasting electrolyte supplement
- Potassium supplements assist in maintaining hydration of the body*
- Potassium supplement will support nervous function*
BulkSupplements is a wholesale supplier of over 300 pure nutritional supplements and ingredients for consumers and retailers within the health and fitness industry.
Their supplement comes in the form of potassium citrate. However, while the serving size for BulkSupplements’ is 275mg according to the label, the amount of actual potassium within said serving is only 99mg. This begs the question: what makes up the other 176mg?
5. Potassium Citrate By Thorne Research
- Muscle: Essential for skeletal muscle function*
- Urinary Tract: Alkalinizes the urine to promote good urinary tract health*
- Heart: Supports cardiovascular health*
Thorne Research takes great pride in setting the standard for the exceptional formulation and quality manufacturing of nutritional supplements for the past 33 years.
One of their key differentiation points is that their products are formulated by a team of MD’s, Ph.D.’s, and ND’s, and they have worked with top-tier medical groups and research institutes to conduct clinical studies on over 40 of their products.
In addition, one of the neat things about Thorne Research company is that they’re the exclusive partner of multiple United States national teams, including USA soccer and USA gymnastics.
And The Best Potassium Supplement Is…
We reviewed a lot of products. We highly recommend the Zenesis Labs’ Potassium Gluconate with Iodine Kelp product, because of both the quality of the product, as well as their “better than a money-back guarantee.” That helps you take the risk out of giving this supplement a try.
Our team at The Fitness Tribe often collaborates together to produce content. Many times the content is not written by a single author, instead it is usually a team effort.
Last update on 2021-03-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API