"Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body. It is also an electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body, along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium is crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function. Many foods contain potassium, including all meats, some types of fish (such as salmon, cod, and flounder), and many fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Dairy products are also good sources of potassium."
"An abnormally low plasma potassium concentration is referred to as hypokalemia. Hypokalemia is most commonly a result of excessive loss of potassium, e.g., from prolonged vomiting, the use of some diuretics, some forms of kidney disease, or metabolic disturbances. The symptoms of hypokalemia are related to alterations in membrane potential and cellular metabolism. They include fatigue, muscle weakness and cramps, and intestinal paralysis, which may lead to bloating, constipation, and abdominal pain. Severe hypokalemia may result in muscular paralysis or abnormal heart rhythms (cardiac arrhythmias) that can be fatal"
"Epidemiological studies and studies in animals subject to hypertension indicate that diets high in potassium can reduce the risk of hypertension and possibly stroke (by a mechanism independent of blood pressure), and a potassium deficiency combined with an inadequate thiamine intake has produced heart disease in rats. There is some debate regarding the optimal amount of dietary potassium. For example, the 2004 guidelines of the Institute of Medicine specify a DRI of 4,700 mg of potassium (100 mEq), though most Americans consume only half that amount per day, which would make them formally deficient as regards this particular recommendation. Likewise, in the European Union, in particular in Germany and Italy, insufficient potassium intake is somewhat common. Italian researchers reported in a 2011 meta-analysis that a 1.64 g higher daily intake of potassium was associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke"