does the body store potassium or not?

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    My nursing book and several websites I've checked all say that the body does NOT store potassium, but my teacher insists that the book is wrong and thus we are being taught that the body DOES store potassium. Who is correct?
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  4. 0
    If I remember correctly from A&P I the body does not store potassium...
  5. 0
    i guess it depends on your definition of "storage". k+ is the most abundant cation in intracellular fluid.
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    Your instructor might be right in terms of K+ being the most abundant cation in the cells, you might call it "storage," but it does'nt just stay there as a reserve, it works 24 hours a day trying to keep its balance with sodium. So it is not like the body is keeping it is a reserve like it keeps fat for later use. You may have to clarify with your instructor what he/she really meant by "storage."
  7. 0
    Quote from drgngnr2002
    Your instructor might be right in terms of K+ being the most abundant cation in the cells, you might call it "storage," .....
    I agree with this. That and you're constantly excreting it out anyway. Vitamins A, D, E and K are stored. Potassium on the other hand, I can't find any sources agreeing with your instructors notion.

    In fact, Kozier states: "Potassium must be ingested daily because the body can't conserve it" (Fundamentals of Nursing; Kozier pp. 1431).
  8. 0
    Potassium is the most abundant intracellular cation (so in a sense, yes, it is "stored" in the cell) but as far as the overall body storing potassium, no. Potassium needs to be replenished through diet.
  9. 0
    Potassium is water soluble, and is not bound to anything. It is selectively conserved (if need be), but not truly stored.
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    *You do realize your teacher is arguing against every academic source on the subject.
    I guess it can depends on your point of view. You can think of it like water, potassium is both intracellular and extracellular and is found in every cell in the body and the blood. The body doesn't have a particular storage mechanism for either of these but it can retain both. Its actually rare to become servery hypokalemic if you are a normal adult. This is partly because it is in most foods we eat [all plants and animals also use potassium]. To become hypokalemic you either have to be starving or have expelled lots of liquids, usually. It is associated with the use of some drugs, most commonly diuretics and a few medical conditions that effect the kidneys.
    But does the body store potasium in the same way it stores lipids soluble nutrients, fats or calcium? No, like all water soluble nutrients it must be replenished daily.
  11. 0
    I can't really add to this. The others have said it. I'll make this simple. Your body needs K through diet. It will excrete all of it within a comparatively small time period, assuming the kidneys work, when compared to other minerals. Sure, it's "stored" inside the cells, but you're continuously using it.

    If you ever have ANY teacher of ANY subject who finds fault with other known texts then disregard what the person says. They're wrong.
  12. 0
    Quote from Mike R
    In fact, Kozier states: "Potassium must be ingested daily because the body can't conserve it" (Fundamentals of Nursing; Kozier pp. 1431).
    Funny, but on page 1430 of Kozier, it says "Potassium and calcium are stored in the cells and bone, respectively." I agree with the other posters, I believe they mean it is abundant in the cells. But it can be confusing!


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