vitamins deficiency symptoms

Electrolyte imbalance

Electrolytes are minerals that dissolve in water and carry electrical charges. Potassium, sodium, and chloride are the electrolyte minerals that play great role for health. Electrolyte Imbalance can cause a variety of health disorder and diseases.

Benefits of Electrolyte Minerals for health

Since human body is made mostly of water, these minerals are found everywhere in our body: inside cells, in the spaces between cells, in blood, in lymph, and everywhere else. Each tiny particle of sodium and potassium in our body has a positive charge; each tiny particle of chloride has a negative one. Because electrolytes have electrical charges, they can move easily back and forth through our cell membranes.

Electrolyte minerals are very important because they carry other nutrients with them and as they move out, they carry out waste products and excess water. Electrolytes also regulate your blood pressure and your heartbeat.
Potassium, sodium, and chloride are very closely linked. To keep the balance, sodium and potassium constantly move back and forth through our cell membranes.

Sodium imbalance

Sodium deficiency (Hyponatremia) does not normally result from inadequate dietary intakes.
In rare cases, excessive water intake can cause low sodium levels in the blood. Hyponatremia can be caused by prolonged, excessive sweating, prolonged vomiting or diarrhea, or the use of some diuretics.
Symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, muscle cramps, fainting, fatigue, and disorientation.
Hyponatremia is something to watch for with intense sport competitions that last for many hours.

Excessive intakes of salt lead to increasing levels of extracellular fluids as the sodium draws the fluids from inside the cells. As long as the kidneys are functioning normally and there is enough water, the extra sodium is flushed out through the kidneys.
High dietary intakes of highly salted food such as pickles, salted fish, and smoked foods have been tentatively linked to increases in stomach cancer. There is an increase in calcium loss with higher salt intakes, making excess salt a risk factor in osteoporosis.

Chloride imbalance

Deficiency of chloride is rare because it is found in most diets. Temporary deficiency of chloride can be induced by heavy sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Deficiency can be relieved by normal food and water. In extreme cases, rehydration therapy may be needed.

Chloride is not toxic. The only noted occurrences of excess chloride were due to water deficiencies. The normal dietary salt excesses of the average American diet contribute to increased risk of high blood pressure. The excessive intake of sodium chloride can lead to an increase in blood volume.

Potassium imbalance

Potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) rarely results from a low dietary intake.
The causes of hypokalemia are related to excessive losses of potassium from the body. This can be caused by prolonged vomiting, certain drugs, and some forms of kidney disease. Large amounts of licorice can lower potassium levels. Licorice contains glycyrrhizic acid, which has effects similar to those of aldosterone. Aldosterone is a hormone that increases urinary excretion of potassium.
The symptoms of potassium deficiency can result from alterations in membrane potential and lack of potassium for energy production. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, bloating, and intestinal sluggishness. Severe hypokalemia can result in muscular paralysis or abnormal heart rhythms that can be fatal.

Toxicity is not found with potassium in food. Toxicity from supplement overdose is possible.
Symptoms of hyperkalemia (excess potassium) include weakness and tingling sensations and can lead to cardiac arrest in extreme cases.
The most common side effects of high doses of potassium supplements are gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It is best to take high doses of potassium in a microencapsulated form and with meals to reduce side effects.

An imbalance of electrolytes can often be corrected by eating the right foods. In some cases, an imbalance of electrolyte levels may indicate an allergic reaction to medications or disease. Learn how to identify the symptoms of electrolyte imbalance and treat it with proper diet and supplements.

Electrolyte supplement

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Importance if potassium for Osteoporosis prevention

Women should note that they may be susceptible to osteoporosis through a loss of calcium which can be because of a potassium deficiency.
Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been found to lower the risk of osteoporosis.
There are many nutrients in fruits and vegetables, including potassium and calcium.
Potassium in food and in supplements decreases calcium loss through the kidneys, which increases bone formation and lowers bone loss and prevent osteoporosis development.

Potassium rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, increase the available acid buffers in blood, especially bicarbonate. Bicarbonate reduces blood acidity.

American diets tend to be low in foods that leave an alkaline residue in the body, such as unprocessed fruit and vegetables. At the same time, American diets tend to be high in foods that leave extra acid residues in the body, such as meat, fish, eggs, and cheese. Normal metabolism also leaves acid residues in the blood that need to be buffered.

If the amount of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables eaten is not sufficient to produce enough alkalinity to buffer blood acids, the body has the ability to remove calcium from bones. This calcium helps neutralize the blood, but leaves the bones depleted in calcium. This increases the risk of osteoporosis.

Increasing the amount of potassium-rich fruits and vegetables in the diet helps to preserve calcium in bones and help to prevent osteoporosis. The calcium can then stay in the bones because the extra potassium in fruits and vegetables buffers blood acidity. In support of this theory, potassium bicarbonate supplementation has been found to decrease urinary acid excretion and to decrease urinary calcium excretion. Of course, it is best to obtain potassium from the diet. Decreased urinary calcium also helps lower the risk of kidney stones.

Sources of potassium

Potassium contains in many natural foods. Good sources of potassium are
bananas, baked potatoes, oranges and orange juice, raisins, artichokes, avocados, spinach, nuts, seeds, lima beans, meat, cod, chicken, and salmon.

For prevention of osteoporosis adequate calcium intake from diet and/or supplements is essential, but it is not the only nutrient necessary for building and maintaining strong bones. Vitamins D, K, B6 and B12, boron, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, folate, magnesium, silicon, and zinc are also required.

Potassium supplementation for osteoporosis

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Potassium Deficiency in Children

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Common Causes of Potassium Deficiency in Children

Children can deplete their potassium reserves when they sweat excessively, overuse laxatives, vomit, or have diarrhea. Some other things that can cause low potassium levels in kids include malnutrition, diseases that affect the kidneys, leukemia, insulin, low magnesium levels, and certain medications.

Diagnoses of Low Potassium Levels in Kids

A doctor can diagnose low potassium in a child by doing a blood test. During the blood test, the doctor will use a needle to take blood from the vein. The process is not painful, but it may sting, and cause some discomfort.

Treatment of  Potassium Deficiency in children

Mild potassium deficiency in children can be treated with potassium pills, or liquid. Kids with severely low potassium levels may be hospitalized and given potassium intravenously to bring their levels back up to normal. Since potassium deficiency can lead to heart failure, youngsters may also be placed on a cardiac monitor.

In addition to treatments that replace potassium in the body, children should eat plenty of potassium-rich foods such as spinach, cantaloupes, bananas, oranges, and tomatoes. And when kids are being monitored for low potassium levels, they need to avoid doing strenuous activities that can cause them to sweat excessively. The doctor will determine the best course of treatment for a child with low potassium levels.

How to Prevent Low Potassium Levels in Kids

To prevent potassium deficiency, give children fluids such as Pedialyte to replace lost electrolytes in the body when they vomit excessively, or have diarrhea. Opt for natural ways to relieve constipation instead of overusing laxatives. And fill kids’ diets with plenty of foods that are rich in potassium. If a child is taking medication, or has a health condition that can deplete the levels of potassium in his body, talk to a physician to see how often his electrolyte levels should be checked.

If potassium deficiency in children is left untreated, it can be fatal. So if kids are experiencing symptoms associated with low potassium levels, contact a doctor immediately.

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