The element potassium is referred to on the periodic table as K, although it should not be mistaken for Vitamin K, which is a completely different nutrient.
Potassium is needed by all animal life to assist in several bodily functions and contributes to our food intake by occurring naturally in the soil to help nourish and grow the plants that we eat as a part of our daily food intake.
A necessary micronutrient, potassium is the major positive ion at the cellular level for animals, meaning it regulates fluid balance and electrolytes. It also has an effect on nerve impulses and muscle contractions, meaning if you are trying to workout and build better health, potassium must be included in your diet.
The average adult should try to consume 4,000 micrograms per day, though most only get about half of that. Severe depletion of this element could lead to diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory failure, muscle weakness and severe cramping.
Luckily there are many ways to get the 4,000 micrograms that are recommended. Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in foods like bananas, avocados, potatoes, parsnips, orange juice, apricots and turnips can ensure an adequate amount of this mineral. If you can't get the necessary amount of micrograms this way, taking a vitamin or mineral supplement with this ingredient will either substitute or compensate for a shortage in micrograms.
Those with kidney problems or a history of renal failure or dialysis should consult a doctor before taking any supplement containing this nutrient.
Since it contributes to regulating some kidney functions, taking too much can make your condition worse. Carefully discussing it with your physician will eliminate this risk though and contribute to better overall health.