Potassium is the primary intracellular (active in the fluids inside your cells) electrolyte in your body. Electrolytes are minerals that become conductive when dissolved in water.
In this capacity, potassium helps your nerves function, your heart beat, and your muscles contract. It also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. Having a diet with sufficient potassium can delay the onset of exhaustion and reduce your risk of post-exercise muscle cramping.
Most adults only consume 60% of their daily requirement of potassium. Severe potassium deficiency can result in extreme fatigue, muscle spasms, weakness, or cramping and irregular heartbeat. Potassium-rich sources include fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and beans and nuts.
But your DNA also plays a role in potassium deficiency. Various genes influence how well your body absorbs, stores and expels potassium:
- The KCNQ1 gene influences how your cells use potassium. In this role, KCNQ1 helps your nerve and muscle cells use potassium to generate signals for muscle contractions.
- KCNE2 is an important gene in the regulation of potassium transportation and storage in your cells.
Athletigen can tell you which variants of these genes you have and how your DNA affects how your ability to metabolize potassium. Get the Nutrition Report and find out what your nutritional needs are!