Potassium deficiency is known as hypokalemia.
Normal potassium levels are between 3.5 and 5.0 millimoles per litre (mmol/L). When the level dips below 3.5 it is defined as hypokalemia.
Consuming some potassium on a regular basis is important because it can be lost quickly.
It can be lost by exhertion (sweating), falling ill (vomitting), excessive urination or blood loss.
However, a national survey found that approximately 98% of Americans are not meeting the recommended potassium intake.
And these multitudes of people are suffering side effects that they are probably not even aware of.
Endurance athletes know all too well about the importance of electrolytes for giving them optimal performance.
The general population, though, doesn’t usuually recognize just how important it is that our bodies have a consistent balance of electrolytes—including potassium—for our overall health and well-being.
Most of the potassium in our bodies resides in our cells. There is actually very little in the blood. However, even small fluctuations in our potassium levels can have severe consequences.
The human body relies on electricity to function, and potassium supports proper electrical function and the transmission of signals.
Without sufficient levels of potassium, our muscles either do not receive signals or the signals are slow in coming. When you consider the fact that your heart is also a muscle, the importance of potassium becomes clear.
Those who eat a healthy, balanced diet should have no problem consuming sufficient amounts of potassium. But the Standard American Diet is not known for being “healthy and balanced.” Most of the time it is fast food at work and processed foods at home.
This makes it quite easy to become low on this important mineral.
Weakness and fatigue are usually the first signs of potassium deficiency, but there are many other indicators to be aware of too. Recognizing these in your life—especially a number of them simultaneously—may save your life.
Here are 10 signs and symptoms that may point to a potassium deficiency:
1. Weakness and fatigue
2. Muscle aches, cramps, spasms
3. High blood pressure
4. Digestive issue, constipation
5. Heart palpitations
6. Tingling and numbness
7. Breathing difficulties
8. Mood change, mental issues
9. Extreme thirst and frequent urination
10. Dizziness and/or vertigo
Note when taking a potassium supplement that other minerals should be taken at the same time. Consider a balanced formula, such as Whole Food Vitamin/Mineral from Optimal Health Systems, which provides all the essential minerals in appropriate amounts.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Healthline.com, Naturalon.com.