At any given time, three sodium ions are allowed inside a cell. The human body needs sodium and potassium to remain healthy. Copyright Policy A nerve impulse moves along a nerve via the movement of sodium ions into the cell. Therefore, it will be healthy for us to take considerable amount of sodium every single day. However, a person can get high blood pressure by consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium. This change means that a slight loss of fluid and sodium, as can result from a fever or from not eating and drinking enough (sometimes for only a day or two), can have more serious consequences in older people. To overcome this, an increased potassium intake is recommended, as more the potassium levels in the body, more amount sodium is extracted out. Salt is a mineral that carries an electrical charge, called an electrolyte. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Learn more about the sodium-potassium ratio, and its effects on various organs, through this NutriNeat article. Nerve impulse involves not only sodium, but also potassium. These nutrients are essential for the smooth-functioning of the kidneys. An archer pulls on the bow and waits for a target just as the sodium-potassium pump is primed and ready for action. Energy is derived from pumping sodium outside the cell, where it becomes concentrated, wanting to push its way back in. However, studies have found that, not only the quantities of these two nutrients, but their ratio also plays an essential role in the body. Ions are electrically charged chemicals. These nutrients are essential for the smooth-functioning of the kidneys. . ionic balance is very important for the function of many proteins (enzymes) in the body. These two electrolytes have many functions including maintaining nerve and muscle function. Protein Data Bank; Sodium-Potassium Pump; David Goodsell; October 2009, McKinley O'Loughlin Human Anatomy; Animation: How the Sodium Potassium Pump Works; 2006, PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION. The sodium-potassium pump is a vital enzyme found in all human cells which constantly maintains an optimal ion balance. The pump is pivotal to the body's function. If suffering from kidney diseases, adrenal exhaustion, or hypertension, increasing potassium intake should be avoided. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. Neurons are cells located throughout your nervous system. Potassium eliminates sodium from the cells, and thus prevents accumulation of fluids in the cells. Each time this happens, an electrical charge is produced. Collection of fluids may cause the cells to swell and burst due to pressure. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Sodium and potassium are two important elements that play a vital role in the metabolic processes in the human body. For instance, if you want to move your fingers, your brain transmits a message to the muscles in your hand. Answer to: What is the main function of sodium and potassium ions in the human body? The sodium-potassium pump is integral in maintaining the acid-base balance as well as in healthy kidney function. Your body expends a great deal of energy operating the sodium-potassium pump. In "Biological Psychology," James W. Kalat writes that the result of this process is that sodium ions are more concentrated outside of your cell membranes while potassium ions are more concentrated inside cell membranes. Because potassium is required for maintaining sodium levels, and hence fluid balance, about 200 milligrams of potassium are lost from the body every day. Studies suggest that low potassium intake is the cause of almost 90 – 95% high blood pressure cases and strokes. and This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Only 45% of body weight is fluid in older people, compared with 60% in younger people. This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Sodium and potassium have opposite effects on the heart. Sodium ions move first because of the uneven concentration between sodium and potassium ions. When a simulated neuron makes a request, sodium ions shoot like arrows into your cells, creating an explosion of energy. Other Functions of Potassium in the Body. Different ions (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium etc) have different roles to play. It then reverses position, releases the sodium ions and draws in two potassium ions. Eating foods that are low in sodium and high in potassium can also assist in the prevention of kidney diseases and heart troubles caused by high blood pressure. The sodium-potassium pump carefully selects which ions to allow in or out of cells. Sydney Hornby specializes in metabolic disease and reproductive endocrinology. We've created informative articles that you can come back to again and again when you have questions or want to learn more! They communicate information to perform important tasks such as regulating your body temperature or flexing muscles. Back to again and again when you have questions or want to move your fingers, your brain a. Processes in the body is the main function of many proteins ( enzymes ) in the 's! Have opposite effects on the heart the ratio between these two elements is key to good health electrolyte! Risk of hypertension function properly & Buzzle.com, Inc. 6789 Quail Hill Pkwy, Suite 211 Irvine 92603. 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