Potassium has insulin-like effects, and deficiency could be a key factor in gestational diabetes.

minerals preconception

I want to give a shout-out to one of the real MVP minerals: potassium.
Out of the four main minerals, including calcium, magnesium and sodium, potassium is often overlooked. It’s also one of the most common deficiencies that I see in my practice.
Potassium is critical for:
〰️Regulating heartbeat and other muscle contractions
〰️Regulating blood pressure
〰️Regulating the water balance and pH of the blood and tissues
〰️Conducting nerve impulses
〰️Protein synthesis
〰️Thyroid function
〰️Overall vitality
It also plays a big role in blood sugar balance.
Potassium has insulin-like effects, helping get blood sugar into cells.
“Insulin itself has been found to account for only about 8% of the "insulin-like activity" of the blood, with potassium being probably the largest factor.” — Dr. Ray Peat
Potassium is also involved in the conversion of glucose (blood sugar) into glycogen (stored blood sugar) for future energy.
“A normal quantity of potassium in muscle is necessary for glycogen synthesis. In potassium deficiency, both storage and synthesis of glycogen are seriously impaired.” (Knochel)
Due to its clear importance in blood sugar regulation, getting more potassium in the diet could help ameliorate those with insulin sensitivity issues and even gestational diabetes.
“Specific nutrient deficiencies of...potassium...may potentiate the tendency towards hyperglycemia in gestational diabetic women because...deficiencies [cause] impairment of pancreatic insulin production.” (Jovanovic-Peterson et al)
This is why a hair tissue mineral analysis (HTMA) is one of the foundational tests I use with clients looking to conceive. 98% of potassium is found within the cells, so blood tests that check for serum aren’t very accurate.
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Not medical advice.



This is not medical advice. Always consult your healthcare professional before pursuing any changes to your personal healthcare regime.



Fallon, S. Enig, M.G. (1999, 2001). Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats. Washington, D.C.: NewTrends Publishing.

Haas, E. M. Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press.

Jovanovic-Peterson, L. Peterson, C.M. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies which may predispose to glucose intolerance of pregnancy. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8632110/.

Knochel, J.P. (1977). Role of glucoregulatory hormones in potassium homeostasis. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/875264/.

Peat, R. (2009). Glycemia, starch, and sugar in context. Retrieved from: http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/glycemia.shtml.

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