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Why is potassium so important?

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Dr. Brown and her colleague from the American College of Nutrition talk about what potassium does for not only your bones, but your entire body!

Hi everyone this is dr. susan brown today is friday and once again i’m coming from the american college of nutrition here in virginia i’m meeting with all these wonderful physicians and nutritionists and bringing information to you about some of the heartbreaking nutrition topics and of course today i have dr. jeffrey moss dr. moss is an old colleague a very

Long-standing friend of mine and i truly appreciate his work his major effort now is educating other physicians and other health practitioners about nutritional factors that influence health today what we’re gonna do is talk just a bit about potassium as i have told the better bones community several times potassium is a key bone-building nutrient and one of

Those nutrients that we don’t pay a lot of attention to we forget that the requirement for potassium is four or five times that of calcium we forget that the best source of course of these fruits vegetables nuts and seeds all these elements of our alkaline diet and the research is pretty clear if you have adequate potassium you would do a great lot to build bone

So what i thought today would be fun since dr. moss is spending a lot of time teaching physicians about potassium and the importance of potassium that he might give us maybe five or six really interesting insights about potassium that can pertain to each of us in our own individual life sure well thank you for having me and first of all i do want to say this is

Definitely a mutual admiration society i’ve been admiring your work for years and of course where we think about potassium magnesium we think about acid acid exactly and you and your work with russ jaffe what twenty thirty years ago you were the real innovators in this area from a clinical nutrition standpoint true i really got learned about and got interested

In this whole area and from that work i started learning about the area of potassium and really what really stimulated my interest is the death of my father in 2002 he many many cardiac problems bypass operations far from a pristine life but the mds all said you know he’s stabilized your cholesterol has 150 you’ll live forever until the day he didn’t and he got a

Ventricular fibrillation and he died almost instantly and of course we all know the heart is this electrical oregon electricity is fluid and electrolytes things like magnesium and calcium and potassium and we all talk about calcium we all talk about magnesium exactly and so i remember he had sent me a blood chemistry six months before he died and i was looking at

This and of course he was being told by the mdg er doing fine you’re stabilized and i’m looking at this and all of the minerals the sodium and the chloride and the potassium it didn’t seem right but i didn’t understand i didn’t know what was going on and so i was determined after my father died to figure out what was happening and i felt that the potassium story

Was underappreciated i got a look at potassium i think i’ll get a better understanding of why my father died when he did no they said he’s stabilized well something had to be different on the day he died so in any case the story of potassium and why it’s under appreciated i think one of the big things we have to understand about potassium is that when number one

We have a very high requirement for potassium or and 1/2 grams a day that’s a lot of potassium and one of the reasons that we need it we go back from an evolutionary standpoint the diet of the hunter-gatherer was very high enormous lehigh somebody who’s a test people say 10 linda purcell says 10 grams yeah it was very high and sodium was actually very low so

We developed a physiology that was designed to really avidly retain sodium and potassium is kind of an afterthought it didn’t matter we excrete it very easily right we didn’t have the concern no because there was so much of it now of course we have just the opposite and so the body even though we have little potassium in our diet now the rda is about 4 and 1/2

Grams the average individual takes in about 3 grams a day or less but the body is still saying well no big deal it’s still just dump it because there’s always more conversely the body is still be trying to retain sodium and so because it’s trying to retain sodium it doesn’t take very much of an excess intake to get too much because the body is trying to conserve

It anyway ok so we get this massive this massive imbalance but one of the things also while we get led into a very false sense of security is the way we tend to measure potassium status and that’s a blood test and on the blood test the standard is those of you who are in the medical field will know the low end is three point five five point five anything can be

In between there just fine you have nothing to worry about whatsoever and so but the thing is we tend to do this measurement first thing in the morning and what we have to understand about potassium which is fairly unique is that it is very sensitive to stresses psychological stress the hormone adrenaline epinephrine can affect it even your level goes down goes

Down goes down goes don’t excrete it it actually is reprioritized there are different tissue compartments and as it you get under stress it will tend to leave the heart they will tend to leave the cerumen i interested enough the storage depot is your muscle i see but most people don’t have enough muscle uh-huh and so you pee it out that’s posed too but if you

Don’t have enough muscle you indeed will start losing it so the point is we measure in the morning we’re relaxed everything is fine what the research is now showing when you’re under stress or when you eat a refined carbohydrate that stimulates insulin production it can drop in a matter of seconds you can go from right in the middle smack dab middle 4.52 in the

High threes now you may think well big deal you’re still in the quote/unquote good range the research is clear that if you are at risk for a heart attack you already have pre-existing heart problems high threes you’re at risk hi thank you go low fours and you’re at risk they want it for the research shows in a patient already has pre-existing heart problems you

Want on the high side 0.5 to 5.1 but the point is can drop very quickly there was an interesting study they did this is on 20 year olds not people heard – they this is 20 year olds healthy individuals they gave them over a period of two hours 400 milligrams of caffeine that’s a stimulant it’s adrenaline and now it’s about a hundred milligrams in a cup of coffee

Okay the equipment of four cups of coffee in two hours the potassium went from four point five to three point nine huh what did they caffeine just from – from four cups of coffee and the point being is that for the patient for already has a lot of cardiac risk factors that could put them over the edge into a cardiac event so the point being is that we really

Have to be much more cognizant of potassium need and the fact that even though the blood test looks good we still may need more and we need to take a look at our intake overall intake given and we need so much that most people are probably not getting in and i think it’s very clear most people are not getting enough and i think your tip about looking at that

Blood range and knowing you want to be towards a high end and knowing that stress and things like caffeine other things that agitate the system can actually cause a quick drop we we know that it’s about 13 servings of fruits vegetables nuts and seeds like half cup servings to get that 4704 and so it’s a it’s really moving to a very strong plant-based diet just

Like the alkaline diet we’ve been talking also protects the heart no chef you were telling me about interesting link between magnesium and potassium yes they really work together to get them to where they need to go which is inside the cell they’re primed what they call intracellular elements you need both for each in other words you need to make knees him to get

It into the cell and to be utilized effectively you need potassium and for potassium to be in the cell and utilized effectively you need magnesium the two sides of the same coin so for years we’ve been emphasizing of course magnesium rightly so but to get the effect you’re looking for you have to have the right amount of potassium so the magnesium and potassium

Are really you can be seeing them together and they’re both commonly under consumed in the case they’re both strong elements to our better bones program the potassium is particularly striking because the bulk of it you have to get to you should get through your diet now there are potassium supplements and we’re not so where is magnesium we always supplement with

Probably five or six seven hundred million so important well jeff was there any other last-minute tips for the people – yeah you know for a practical standpoint i realize in the world we live in it’s tough to get four point seven grams per day it’s tough so do take a look at supplementation when needed on the average even though average moderately good died you’re

Gonna get three grams so taking a look maybe about a thousand milligrams a day and the best forms are going to be potassium citrate and potassium bicarbonate do avoid the most cheapest most commonly available form commercially that’s potassium chloride is a powerful acid you later you don’t want to take something that’s gonna make you acid so take a look at those

Two forms and you might see we really appreciate that jeff i think those are great tips everyone know the doctor must writes a lot you may see some of his material around we appreciate all the work you’re doing and remember we’re talking about again another good reason to pay so much attention to those fruits vegetables nuts and seeds absolutely absolutely just

Another good reason to do what grandma told us oh hey everyone take care of doc day later bye bye oh you

Transcribed from video
Why is potassium so important? By Dr. Susan E. Brown