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Am J Clin Nutr. 1981 Mar;34(3):367-72.

A possible low intracellular potassium in obesity.


In comparison with lean marathon runners whose fat content was 15%, obese subjects with a fat content of 55% showed a 36% reduction in intracellular potassium. It is hypothesized that as much as 60% of this decrease may have been due to the lower proportion of muscle (which has the highest intracellular potassium of any tissue) in the fat free mass of very obese subjects. The remainder of the decrease seems to have been a measurement artefact owing to self-absorption of gamma rays by adipose tissue, most of which is distributed over potassium rich lean tissue. The low intracellular potassium values found in obesity should not be interpreted as necessarily signifying potassium deficiency.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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