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Sodium and Potassium Balance

All cells have what is called a sodium-potassium pump (Na+/K+-ATPase).  Without being too technical, potassium (K+) ions are pumped into the cell, and sodium (Na+) ions out.  This process is called active transport.  An ion is a charged atom or molecule.

The Na/K pump is located within the cell's plasma membrane, which partitions the cell within (intracellular) and outside (extracellular).

There must be a balance of sodium-potassium ion exchange: this is the foundation of a healthy cell.  Click video link on the right.

The slowing of the NA/K pump results in a build up of sodium inside the cell.

"Here's the bottom line: It is impossible to lower sodium inside the cell without replacing it with potassium.  That's why these two substances are intimately linked in an inescapable balance.  A low sodium diet can't possibly work unless it contains enough potassium to replace the sodium inside the body's cells.  The laws of physics won't allow it!"  The high blood pressure solution: a scientifically proven program for ...  By Richard D. Moore, Richard Moore (M.D., PhD.) page XXII.

When the Na/K pump is working properly, a electrical current/ field is created.  From here, a number of discussions follow:

  • Water balance and distribution
  • Kidney and adrenal function
  • Acid-base balance
  • Muscle and nerve cell function
  • Heart function
  • Lymphatic system and drainage




Sodium-Potassium Pump interesting facts...

One third of the body's energy is expended in the Na/K pump process.

The Na/K pump can move 300 Na+ ions per second.

If the Na/K pump stops, the cell dies.

Potassium ion is necessary for the function of all living cells

Potassium is found in high concentrations within plant cells, and is mostly concentrated in fruits.

Sodium is an essential element for all animal life (including human) and for some plant species.

Sodium ions are used in opposition to potassium ions, to allow the organism to build up an electrostatic charge on cell membranes

The Na/k pump electrostatic charge on each cell membrane amount to a tenth of a volt.

An electric eel uses this same NA/K pump process in sequence building up to 600 volts.