A well-balanced diet should give you all the nutrients your body needs to properly function. Lifestyle, disease and aging can prevent you from getting enough essential minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium. In such cases, nutritional supplements may give you an alternative option. Please speak with a doctor before using dietary aids since they may cause unexpected side effects.
Read more: The Importance of a Well-Balanced Diet
The Many Roles of Potassium
Potassium plays a critical role in normal cell function. A special relationship with sodium keeps a healthy balance between the potassium inside and outside cells. This balance contributes to signal transmission, muscle contraction and kidney function.
Get Enough Potassium
The adequate intake for potassium ranges from 400 to 5,100 milligrams each day, depending on your age. Most adults need 4,700 milligrams a day. Yet these numbers assume you stay completely healthy and medication free. Medical conditions and drug use can affect your circulating levels. For example, inflammatory bowel disease places you at risk for a deficiency because this condition causes an unusual loss of potassium_._
Foods and Aids Providing Potassium
Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, juice and milk. Unfortunately, most Americans don't get enough of this vital nutrient from the foods they eat, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Potassium supplements are available; however, most manufacturers limit the amount of potassium to 99 milligrams. High intake of potassium from supplements may be too much for your kidneys to handle, which can lead to hyperkalemia and an irregular heartbeat. Due to the potential side effects, you shouldn't add potassium supplements to your daily routine unless directed by your doctor.
There are no specific instructions on how best to take potassium supplements. Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to provide specific instructions on the best way to take potassium depending on your health needs.
Read more: 5 Foods That Have More Potassium Than Banana
The Many Functions of Magnesium
The National Institutes of Health has noted the importance of magnesium in health and disease. This essential mineral plays a critical role in metabolism. Present in more than 300 enzymes, magnesium regulates blood pressure, heart rate and sugar level. It also regulates anabolic processes such as protein synthesis and bone growth.
Get Adequate Magnesium
The recommended daily allowance of magnesium ranges from 30 to 420 milligrams per day, depending on your age and gender. People taking proton pump inhibitors to lower their stomach acid may need even more magnesium. Other at-risk populations include people with gastrointestinal disease, alcohol dependency and diabetes. Older adults often fail to get enough dietary magnesium, placing them at risk for a magnesium deficiency as well.
Foods and Aids Featuring Magnesium
Foods high in fiber typically have abundant magnesium. Green, leafy vegetables like kale offer you an easy way to get enough of this important mineral. Eating grains, beans and nuts also gives you plenty of magnesium.
Magnesium supplements come in a variety of forms, and magnesium citrate, magnesium aspartate and magnesium chloride are all well absorbed. You want to avoid taking your magnesium supplement with a high-dose zinc supplement as it may interfere with your body's absorption of magnesium and create an imbalance.
The Many Contributions of Calcium
A fact sheet from the National Institutes of Health states that calcium is the most abundant mineral in your body. This essential nutrient plays a role in the opening and closing of your veins. It also contributes to muscle function and hormone release.
Your body stores 99 percent of the calcium you take in. Your bones and teeth hide most of this calcium, and they release it as needed. With aging, you lose the balance between storage and release. This imbalance increases your risk of osteoporosis.
Get Sufficient Calcium
The recommended intake of calcium ranges from 200 to 1,300 milligrams per day, depending on your age and gender. Yet people taking common medications may need to get more calcium.
Other at-risk populations include people with lactose intolerance, female athletes and vegetarians. Pregnant women should also watch their calcium levels since a deficiency can lead to preeclampsia. Not getting enough calcium can affect bone health and lead to health issues such as rickets and osteoporosis.
Foods and Aids Containing Calcium
Eating dairy products like cheese, yogurt and milk is the best way to get calcium. Dark-green vegetables, such as Chinese cabbage and broccoli, also feature abundant calcium. Nutritional supplements containing calcium carbonate dramatically increase circulating calcium levels — especially when taken with food. When used in moderation, antacids also give you an easy way to meet the daily requirement.
To get the most out of your supplement, you shouldn't take more than 500 milligrams of calcium at a time, which means you may need to split your dose. Taking your supplement with food also increases absorption.
- American Journal of Circuits, Systems and Signal Processing: Effects of Eating the Balanced Food and Diet to Protect Human Health and Prevent Diseases
- National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements: Potassium
- National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium
- National Institutes of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements: Calcium
- American Heart Association: Hyperkalemia (High Potassium)