Why is potassium deficiency associated with muscle cramps?

Potassium deficiency can generate certain inefficiencies in the body. One of them is the appearance of muscle cramps. We will explain why this problem occurs and how you can prevent it since it can make sports practice impossible.

Physiology of muscle cramps

There are still many unknowns that surround the appearance of muscle cramps. Its pathophysiology and causes are not well described. However, several hypotheses are considered.

Cramps can be related to the lack of adaptation of the tissue to exercise and the lack of certain body nutrients. What is clear is that they require therapeutic attention when they appear and that they represent a limiting factor for the practice of exercise, according to scientific evidence.

Among the nutritional conditions, the possibility that alterations in the electrolyte balance may increase the risk of cramps’ appearance is considered. Many of the minerals, such as potassium, are essential in the transmission of the nerve impulse. The fact of varying its concentration could generate spasms in the tissue from a poorly executed neuronal synapse.

Potassium deficiency as a risk factor

According to a review published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, it is impossible to establish solid evidence between low potassium concentration and the risk of suffering a muscle cramp.

It is not known for sure whether or a mineral deficiency. However, theoretical models speculate with the possibility that it does have something to do with said disorder.

Many sports drinks, as well as gels, contain potassium and other minerals in their composition.

Also, supplements aimed at preventing muscle cramps usually contain significant potassium amounts, among other elements. Some experts say that a good strategy to reduce the incidence of cramps is to increase magnesium intake.

Foods to correct potassium deficiency

Although there are doubts about it, it is advisable to consume adequate potassium and minerals before starting a physical activity.

For this, it is important to know which foods have high concentrations of potassium in their composition. One of the largest representatives is the banana, although it is also possible to find others such as papaya, raisins, mango, or kiwi.

On the other hand, potassium fulfills many other functions within the human body, so it is vital to avoid deficits. One of them is to ensure the maintenance of blood pressure. In this sense, it exerts an antagonistic effect on sodium.

Potassium, possibly related to muscle cramps.

To this day, there are still many doubts about what exactly causes the appearance of muscle cramps. There are several theories about it, although very little scientific evidence is on the table.

Perhaps the lack of potassium is related, along with the inefficient supply of other nutrients. For this reason, a correct intake must ensure before starting to exercise.

Fortunately, it is difficult to experience a potassium deficiency in the context of a varied and balanced diet.

If you practice sports in a similar situation, it is advisable to consume sports drinks, gels, or fruits. In this way, alterations in the electrolyte balance can trigger the mechanisms. However, a good warm-up and a correct physical adaptation could also be decisive.


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