Potassium doesn't play alone. It's got friends.
That being said, not all friends support potassium, sometimes they can be a bit bossy and can push it down. Others will elevate potassium and root it up.
It's a mix, but just like life, not everyone is going to like you.
Minerals are finicky little things. They're super sensitive to the nervous system and how stress is being received, potential heavy metals, but also influenced by each other. This what we would call antagonistic and synergistic minerals. Antagonists will influence each other in opposite manners, where as synergists will elevate or lower each other.
So what are potassium's antagonists and synergists? Let's get into it.
Calcium: Calcium antagonizes potassium, meaning if it increases, it will decrease potassium and vice versa. There is an actual ratio to look out for on an HTMA, our Ca:K ratio which is in reference to thyroid function. Too much calcium can create a "shell" around the cell and stop potassium from sensitizing it to thyroid hormone. On the other hand, a low Ca:K ratio can indicate that there is an over saturation of potassium in the cell.
Sodium: Sodium is a stimulatory mineral, and when high can be a sign of inflammation, infection or stress. the main stress hormones it has the adrenals produce are adrenaline and adrenocorticotropin. Potassium on the other hand is connected to cortisol and cortisone. Interestingly enough, sodium can sometimes be both antagonistic and synergistic with potassium. This is why HTMAs aren't so clear cut and looking to how both the adrenals and thyroid are reacting to stress provides us a better understanding on as to why certain minerals are at the levels they're at.
Copper: An elevated copper level in hair has been recognized to push potassium down but not all the time. Copper can technically be at a normal value, but a low potassium level can still indicate potential copper dysregulation in the system.
B12: This is an extreme point, but considering the fact that many individuals who are going vegan seem to require B12 injections these days, it's a notable mention to say that they can influence potassium levels. High levels of B12 have been shown to push potassium levels low, particularly in the early stages of B12 injection treatment.
Vitamin D: The functions of vitamin D are numerous, one of them being that it helps us absorb calcium better. However, calcium doesn't always know where it needs to go, and too much vitamin D can have us absorb too much calcium, which in turn can push potassium down (as mentioned in the first point). Always take your vitamin D with K to avoid this, please!
Magnesium: Finally, a synergistic mineral. Magnesium and potassium are like BFFs. They both work to calm the nervous system down, help with anxiety, sleep, muscle cramps, blood sugar and have been shown to work closely with taurine. Taurine is the most abundant free amino acid within our heart muscles and has similar benefits to both magnesium and potassium. Typically, when magnesium is low or high it will reflect potassium as well.
Phosphorus and Zinc: Phosphorus is an essential mineral for nervous system regulation and zinc has many properties supporting the immune system and hormonal levels. Both however are vital for protein synthesis. Its been shown both phosphorus and zinc raise potassium when risen as well.
B1: Studies on animals have shown that chronic thiamine deficiency increases one's sodium levels via tissue and decrease potassium levels which could result in a deficiency. therefore, if one has stable vitamin B1 status, potassium can raise as well.
B6: Pyridoxine helps with the utilization and absorption of potassium and has also been shown to help reduce over calcification, such as kidney stones. This is important, for if the body has a tendency to over calcify, one would then assume potassium is low.
If you're suspecting potassium deficiency and need to supplement, check out our Upgraded Potassium to get you started! That being said, always remember it's always best to get tested than guess, which you can do by clicking here.
Chemical Engineer and Nutritionist
Founder of Upgraded Formulas