Potassium Research Paper

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Britney Saysouly BIOC 3021 Unit 1 Essay 3 February 2018 Potassium When it comes to an element's abundance in the environment versus it's concentration I human cells, it all varies upon what exact element that is being researched. For instance, Calcium will differ from Chlorine, Magnesium, Potassium, and so on. Potassium is the eighth most abundant element on earth and comprises approximately 2.1% of the earth's crust, it is a very reactive element and is never found free in nature (Gagnon, n.d). When it comes to the concentration level in human cells, potassium often plays a big role in that as well. The levels contrast upon whether or not it is an intracellular or extracellular compartment. The intracellular compartment is primarily in the…show more content…
There are three separate forces that passively affect how potassium moves through cell channels. One way that affects it is the chemical gradient that occurs and pushes the element out of the cell to re-balance the chemical concentration. When the ions are then pushed out of the cell, automatically, they are drawn back to the cell. The molecule's positive charge is attracted to the negative charge of the proteins inside the cell, where therefore creates the chemical gradient. A second way is when the chemical and electrical gradients go up against one another because they urge the potassium ions to move in opposite direction, this therefore creates an electrochemical gradient. Lastly, the electrochemical gradient is used to determine how many potassium ions actually interchange through the potassium channels. This is especially relevant because the potassium ions will continue to flow into and out of the cell until a level of equilibrium is established (Gate, n.d). Another key point is what potassium's biological function in human physiology. In broader perspectives, it…show more content…
Potassium serves as a cofactor in enzyme reactions and plays a crucial role catalytically. In order to stabilize catalytic intermediates or to provide optimum locating of substrates, that is able to be determined through the high intracellular and extracellular concentrations of potassium and sodium (Vašák & Schnabl, n.d). The synchronization of chemistry between sodium and potassium ions are responsible for the metal binding site selectivity in M(+) activated enzymes. The M(+) activated enzymes are used to show the structural basis for type I and type II activation from the sodium and potassium ions (Vašák & Schnabl, n.d). With the importance of potassium in a person's body and all the functions it does, what happens if there is a deficiency of potassium? Not only does it play a crucial role in how a person's muscles work effectively, which was explained earlier in the paper. However, potassium is also important when it comes to regulating blood pressure. If someone's potassium level becomes low, also known as hypokalaemia, it may cause weakness as the cellular processes are affected (WebMD, n.d). With that being said, since potassium is a mineral and nearly 98% of the ions are found within the cells, even the slightest bit of changes in the level of potassium that is found outside the cells may also cause severe effects on the heart, nerves, and muscles. The control of potassium is regulated by removing the excess amount of it into the
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