Potassium and Magnesium: Benefits and Sources, When is an extra intake necessary?

Mineral substances are among the most valuable and necessary elements for the normal functioning of our body. Potassium and magnesium are two such elements.

When we focus on avoiding vitamin deficiency, we often forget about our critical need for mineral substances. Particularly in winter and off-season we rush to replenish our first aid kit with ascorbic acid and to strengthen our general immunity by drinking vitamin complexes.

At the same time, our body often lacks specific minerals, such as potassium and magnesium. However, their role in human metabolism is far from secondary.


Potassium represents an active component of the water-salt balance. Roughly 98 percent of its total quantity (almost 200-250 grams in an adult organism) is centered inside the cells, thus ensuring stable osmotic pressure in addition to liquid balance at the cellular level.

Furthermore, it regulates the body’s acid-base stability, which involves other minerals as well. It’s particularly important for the functioning of soft tissues in our internal organs, glands, blood vessels, and muscles (including the heart). Magnesium in its predominant quantity is localized in the tissues of the body and just 2 percent is concentrated in biological fluids. Regulation of the cell membrane and transmembrane state, as well as the transfer of calcium and sodium ions, is impossible without it. Moreover, it functions as an active participant in biological reactions of formation, accumulation, movement, utilization of energy, free radicals and products of their oxidation.

To a large extent, magnesium possesses powerful anti-stress properties. It inhibits the growth of excitation processes within the central nervous system and reduces sensitivity of the body to external influences. What unites these two trace elements? Why exactly are they frequently regarded as a pair?

First, the two microelements are united in their positive life-supporting effects on the human cardiovascular system. The role of potassium and magnesium in metabolism is defined by the fact that potassium’s antagonist is sodium and magnesium’s is calcium. This means that if there is even the slightest lack of them in the body’s processes, they are replaced by sodium and calcium, respectively. At the cellular level, sodium also causes water molecules to create puffiness and inflammation. Calcium also enables our muscles to contract, but does not allow them to relax. Typically as a result of deficiency, the normal processes in cardiomyocytes (cardiac cells) are disrupted.

What positive effects do these minerals have?

These two essential minerals:

  • provide a heart pulse, which helps the prevention and elimination of diverse forms of arrhythmias;
  • regulate the contraction function of the myocardium, which helps prevent or recover from heart failure;
  • ensure the elasticity of the blood vessels walls, which is a essential measure in the preclusion and therapy of coronary heart disease and angina pectoris;
  • decrease blood viscosity and prevent the formation of blood clots, which is an integral part of the cure and deterrence of heart attack, ischemia, angina pectoris and stroke;
  • reduce the development of atherosclerotic plaque. This is a preventive and curative measure in relation to atherosclerosis, arterial hypertension, angina pectoris, heart attack, and stroke;
  • regulate metabolic processes in the cardiac muscle, normalize metabolism in the myocardium and provide it with energy.

With a lack of potassium and magnesium, several negative conditions can also potentially develop:

  • spasm of the heart, as well as pain or discomfort in the area in which the myocardium contracts but is unable to relax;
  • disruption of trophic processes in the myocardium. Relaxation of the myocardium directs the flow of blood and oxygen into the diastole. First, the body uses up its reserve forces, but eventually trophic disorder can lead to hypertension, arrhythmia or even heart failure;
  • abnormal heart rhythm, due to blockages in the cardiac pathways of the heart;
  • pain disorders as a companion to any spasms;

However, spasms and muscle pain can typically be eliminated by taking potassium and calcium preparations.

What are their sources?

It is noteworthy that deficiency in potassium and magnesium is usually not evident at first. The insidiousness of illnesses that manifest due to a lack of these two minerals is that symptoms don’t appear overnight, but gradually. This is accentuated by the fact that two of them face opponents in the body. There are substances that replace them, but eventually either these resource are exhausted, or the alternative itself is fatal.

The best way to avoid a deficiency is to eat natural food that contains potassium and magnesium. Unfortunately, the amalgamation of such trace elements in conventional manufactured goods is sufficient to cover daily human requirements. This partly explains the increase in heart disease over time.

So, to maintain adequate levels of potassium and magnesium, make sure that your everyday diet includes the following foods:

  • Potassium: potatoes, cabbages, carrots, raisins, dried apricots, prunes, figs, dates, bananas, nuts, wheat groats, oat groats, buckwheat grain;
  • Magnesium: wheat, bran, seaweed, sesame, seeds, almonds, pine, nuts, cocoa, wheat, bran, dried apricots, shrimp, soybeans.

When is additional intake necessary?

Therapists often refer to biological states in which the body experiences an increased necessity for potassium and magnesium. Several of them are caused by diseases, excessive stress on the body or simply lifestyle choices.

It’s very important to buy products rich in potassium and magnesium, or even discuss with your family therapist the possibility of using pharmacological drugs, which is advisable when: you engage in high physical activity or sports, hard physical work , or are subject to permanent or prolonged stress. This could be both a distressing one-time experience or habitual depression, apathy, or discomfort.

If something pushes you into suffering from stress, magnesium preparations can be particularly helpful. You should pay particular attention to any physical disorders in which potassium and magnesium are either implicated or the body needs a slightly higher intake.

Also noteworthy is that the recommended daily dose of potassium is 1800-5000 milligrams, and 350-500 milligrams of magnesium. You should discuss the prescription of these minerals with your doctor under the following circumstances:

  • You regularly experience excessive sweating after intense physical activity, in a hot climate or at high temperature workplaces.
  • You suffer from hormonal contraception;
  • You suffer from diabetes mellitus or another metabolic disorder;
  • The doctor identifies infringement of absorption of potassium and magnesium in the digestive tract, which is manifested by a feeling of heaviness, raspiraniya, nausea, flatulence, heartburn, belching, a feeling of bitterness in the mouth, and/or dyspeptic disorders;
  • You suffer from diseases of the digestive system such as gastritis, gastro-duodenitis, peptic ulcer, gallbladder or pancreatic disease.

Potassium and magnesium preparations are typically prescribed for:

  • prevention and treatment of many types of rhythmic disturbances (arrhythmia);
  • prevention and treatment of heart failure;
  • prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease (angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, stroke);
  • prevention of atherosclerosis and arterial hypertension;
  • prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders in the heart muscle, arising from a background of severe concomitant pathology (cancer, blood diseases, severe anemia, renal and hepatic insufficiency etc.)

Popular potassium drugs include potassium orotate, potassium iodide, potassium chloride, Panangin, Asparcum, Kalipoz, Kalium and Normin. Magnesium preparations are often a combination of potassium and/or vitamin B6, because magnesium itself is poorly absorbed in the intestines and can cause diarrhea. The most popular variants are: magnesium sulfate, magneB6 (with vitamin), and Asparaginate (with potassium).

Independently selecting pharmacological forms of potassium or magnesium, as well as their dosage and period of use, is strongly discouraged. So, do not do it. With regards to mineral deficiency, it is always necessary to consult a professional cardiologist or therapist first.