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Biological Importance of Sodium and Potassium


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Biological Importance of Sodium

  • Sodium ions are primarily found inside the human cells such as Nerve Cells. They regulate the flow of water across the membrane.

  • They are needed for transport of sugars and amino acids into the cells.

  • Sodium maintains the electrolyte balance in the body.

Summary of importance of sodium ions

Fig. 1. Summary of importance of sodium ions

  • Salts of sodium such as sodium chloride is used as a preservative in pickling.

  • A normal serum sodium level is about 135-145 mmol/L. A drop in sodium levels in the blood plasma below a reference value is known as Hyponatremia. Hyponatremia leads to headache, nausea, coma, seizures etc.​

Biological Importance of Potassium / What are the Function of Potassium in the Body?

  • Potassium ions are primarily found inside the cell.

  • Potassium ions maintain the osmolarity (the concentration of a solution expressed as the total number of solute particles per litre) of the cell. They also regulate the opening and the closing of the stomata.

  • Potassium ions acts as cofactor for certain enzymes such as pyruvate kinase.

  • Potassium is important in heart function and in skeleton and muscle contraction.

  • Diets with low potassium leads to hypertension.

  • It maintains the electrolyte balance in the body.

Sodium Potassium Pump

Sodium-potassium pump is an ATPase found in the plasma membrane of animal cells.

Sodium potassium pump

Fig. 2. Sodium potassium pump

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. What is the function of the Sodium Potassium Pump?

Sol. It pumps sodium and potassium ions against the concentration gradient. Sodium ions are pumped out whereas potassium ions are moved in.

Q2. Why is the sodium potassium pump so important to the human body?

Sol. Sodium potassium pump is very important for the human body as it is essential for the nerve impulse transmission.

Q3. Where is most of the potassium found in the body?

Sol. Most of the potassium is found inside the cells, that is, intracellular.

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Biological Importance of Sodium and Potassium

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