Mineral Spotlight: Potassium

Mineral Spotlight: Potassium

Water has some unusual properties

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Potassium is one of 14 minerals found in the geothermal waters of Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

Potassium (K), No. 19 on the Periodic Table, is the seventh most abundant element on Earth, but it always shows up in compounds. It was isolated from caustic potash, a compound of potassium, oxygen, and hydrogen, in 1807 by Sir Humphry Davy, who also isolated sodium. A liter of Iron Mountain Hot Springs water contains about 255 milligrams of potassium.

In your body, potassium is a vital electrolyte for the functioning of all your cells. It helps control the amount of water you retain and keeps your blood at a healthy pH level. Potassium plays an important role in muscle function; it impacts digestion and heart rhythm. The balance of potassium and sodium is important in controlling your blood pressure levels. Researchers confirmed years ago that potassium can lower blood pressure and protect from strokes. Potassium is also considered beneficial for fatigue, low blood sugar, cramps, brain function, bone density, kidney disorders, nerve reflexes, anxiety and stress.

Adults should get 4,700 mg of potassium a day. Bananas (about 400 mg) enjoy a reputation for providing abundant potassium, but many other foods offer even more—with sweet potatoes (694 mg) at the top of the list, followed by tomato sauces, beet greens, beans, yogurt, clams, prunes, carrot juice, molasses, fish, soybeans, winter squash, bananas, milk and orange juice.

Although potassium is not absorbed through your skin, it can enhance the moisture and feel of your skin. A potassium compound is used in cosmetics, bath products, fragrances and suntan products to adjust pH and help moisturize a pH adjuster or bufferer in a wide variety of formulas, including bath products.

Soak in the healing goodness of potassium and other minerals at Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

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Gene Stowe

Gene Stowe was a reporter for The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer for 13 years and head of the writing program at Trinity School at Greenlawn, a four-time U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon School in South Bend, Ind., for 10 years before he became a full-time freelance writer in 2008. His first book, Inherit the Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie’s Will, was published in 2006. He lives in Monroe, N.C.