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Potassium metabolism and gastrointestinal function; a review

A semiquantitative approach

Summary

The relationship of potassium to gastrointestinal function has been discussed, and quantitative expressions have been introduced in areas where such data are available. On an average diet, 77 mEq. of potassium are ingested, and 7 mEq. excreted in the feces. The daily absorption amounts to 2.2 per cent of exchangeable potassium.

Potassium is transported in both directions across the intestinal mucosa. Average concentrations of potassium are: gastrointestinal contents 16 mEq./L., mucosal cells 130 mEq./L., and extracellular fluid 5 mEq./L. An energy change involved in potassium absorption and factors influencing absorption have been described. Quantitative aspects of potassium uptake and excretion by the gut have been presented (Appendix), and the mucosal cells have been shown to be efficient in their handling of the cation. Other diseases which alter potassium levels and hence influence gastrointestinal function have been discussed.

The clinical significance of altered potassium stores in terms of gastrointestinal function has been pointed out and the therapeutic aspects discussed.

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Spencer, R.P. Potassium metabolism and gastrointestinal function; a review. Digest Dis Sci 4, 145–158 (1959). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02231235

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Keywords

  • Potassium
  • Energy Change
  • Intestinal Mucosa
  • Extracellular Fluid
  • Average Diet