Proper heart rhythm is reliant on the adequate dietary intake of minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium. Sodium and potassium work together to help signal the cardiac muscles to contract and relax normally.
Potassium's Critical Role in Supporting Heart Health
Electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, both play critical roles in the maintenance of proper heart rhythm. The rhythmic contractions of the heart are controlled by periodic changes in the membrane potential of the cardiac myocytes. The SA node initiates the start of the heart beat (it maintains its own automaticity). Once the SA node fires, the myocytes cause their rhythmic contraction/relaxation waves. The rhythmic contraction of the heart is controlled by periodic changes of the membrane potential of the cardiac myocytes, called action potentials(1). The cardiac action potentials consist of 5 phases. First there is the time of rapid depolarization, in which sodium flows into the cell. This is followed by a short and small repolarization, which is followed by a long plateau at a depolarized level. Then, repolarization of the plateau potential takes place, and the final phase continues to the next rapid depolarization. The action potential is the result of a concerted action of inward (depolarizing) and outward (hyperpolarizing) ionic currents. The outward component if carried by potassium (K+) ions through potassium-permeable transmembrane proteins, the potassium channels.
So, the control of contraction and relaxation of the cardiac muscles requires a proper quantitative relation of extracellular sodium and intracellular potassium. If these are out of balance, the heart rhythm is disrupted - leading to different types of arrhythmias.
Balchem's Albion minerals can provide one with bioavailable forms of calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals can be used as a dietary supplement to ensure adequate intake in the diet.
- Markwardt F. (2002). The Role of Potassium Ions in the Control of Heart Function. In: Foà P.P., Walsh M.F. (eds) Ion Channels and Ion Pumps. Endocrinology and Metabolism (Progress in Research and Clinical Practice), vol 6. Springer, New York, NY
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