According to research, there is a link between potassium and diabetes, particularly between type 2 diabetes and low potassium levels. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that helps keep bodily fluids at a healthy level. Healthy fluid levels enable your body to do things like keeping your heart beating normally, contracting your muscles without pain, and ensuring high brain functionality. If you don’t have the right amount of potassium in your body, you may experience muscle cramps and in severe cases, even seizures.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine studied the link between potassium levels and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. High levels of insulin and glucose were linked to low levels of potassium, both traits associated with diabetes. Moreover, it was found that participants taking thiazides as a treatment for high blood pressure experienced a loss of electrolytes including potassium, which in turn increased their risk of developing diabetes. The results show that potassium and diabetes could be intricately related.
Potassium and Diet
It is recognized that there is a link between potassium and diabetes, but more research is required before we know how exactly the two are linked. Adults require 4.7 grams of potassium each day. However, potassium levels may still be too high or low, even if you’re getting the right amount. This can happen due to a rise or fall in sodium levels. As sodium levels increase, potassium levels drop, and vice versa.
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Potassium supplements are available, but it is quite simple to get potassium in your body through your diet.
Potassium-rich foods include:
- Baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes,
- Kidney beans,
- Plain yogurt,
- Sun-dried tomatoes, and
- Fish like tuna, salmon and cod.
If you suspect that your potassium levels may be too high or too low, it’s time to visit your doctor. The doctor can perform blood tests to establish your potassium and sodium levels, and then recommend treatment if there is a cause for concern. Although regulating potassium levels is not a cure for diabetes, it is a good step towards prevention.
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