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You need several micronutrients each day to maintain your health, including potassium and vitamin B-12. While your body requires only small amounts of each -- 4.7 grams daily of potassium or 2.4 micrograms each day of vitamin B-12, according to the Linus Pauling Institute -- they both play a role in supporting tissue function and aid in fighting disease. You can consume potassium and vitamin B-12 from a number of foods or from dietary supplements.
Importance of B-12
Vitamin B-12 has three major functions in your body. It allows your nerves to function properly, helping you make chemicals required for brain communication and maintaining your myelin sheath, the substance that covers and supports your nerve cells. It helps make red blood cells, the cell type that distributes oxygen throughout your body. Finally, it regulates gene activity, so that your cells can activate the genes they need at any given time, and inactivate the ones they don't. If you don't get enough vitamin B-12 in your diet, you might develop anemia because your body can no longer make enough functional red blood cells, and you might also suffer nerve damage.
Importance of Potassium
Potassium maintains your body's fluid balance. It works in combination with sodium to control your blood pressure, and consuming a diet rich in potassium helps to prevent or treat hypertension, explains the Linus Pauling Institute. Potassium also supports muscle function, and allows your nerves to communicate via short electrochemical impulses. Consuming potassium also supports your metabolism, because it activates enzymes that you need to convert carbohydrates into energy. Low levels of potassium affect your energy levels, increasing fatigue. Potassium deficiency also disrupts muscle and nerve function, causing cramps, abnormal heart contractions and paralysis of the muscle tissue that lines your digestive tract.
Sources of Vitamin B-12
Meats, seafood, eggs and dairy products contain vitamin B-12. A single serving of crab, oysters, mussels or salmon provides your entire daily recommended intake, while a serving of beef offers 88 percent of your daily B-12 requirements. A large egg provides 25 percent of your recommended B-12 intake, and an 8-ounce serving of milk offers 38 percent. Several breakfast cereals contain added vitamin B-12, with some varieties providing your entire recommended daily intake per serving.
Sources of Potassium
A medium baked potato contributes 20 percent towards your recommend daily potassium intake, while a half-cup of acorn squash provides 10 percent. Dried fruit also contains potassium -- a half-cup serving of prunes or raisins provides 14 or 13 percent, respectively, of your daily potassium requirements. Bananas, lima beans, tomato juice and spinach also contain considerable amounts of potassium.
Talk to your doctor if you plan to take potassium or vitamin B-12 supplements. Potassium interacts with vitamin B-12 in your digestive tract, and taking slow-release potassium supplements can prevent you from properly absorbing vitamin B-12, explains the NYU Langone Medical Center. If you accidentally take too much potassium, you might also suffer digestive upset or develop intestinal ulcers. Vitamin B-12 supplements don't typically cause adverse effects. Your health care provider can help you develop a supplement schedule to prevent a harmful interaction and reduce your risk of side effects from potassium.