When people think about (precious) metals they can buy to diversify their investment portfolios (to have a more crisis-safe place to put their hard earned savings in), the two obvious candidates are usually: gold and silver.
As we’ve recently learned in our course, however, there seem to be two much more valuable elements to keep an eye on: sodium (Na) and potassium (K) . Perhaps not from an investment, but at least from a neuroscience perspective.
While gold and silver are mainly shiny and look pretty, sodium and potassium have some real superpowers that we experience every day without even paying attention to: they are the main drivers of our neural impulses, or action potentials. Without sodium and potassium cations our neurons would not be able to generate & maintain their membrane potential and, when the neuron is being excited above threshold, change it in milliseconds to propagate a nerve impuls forward: we see, feel, hear, move, or think.
We take our hard earned savings and buy gold & silver with it. Literally every part of this sentence was enabled by sodium and potassium. The working, the thinking, the moving, and even us writing this blog post about it.
Time to give them the attention they deserve!