Your body relies on potassium for optimal health and wellness. This powerful mineral is crucial for muscle strength, nerve functioning and heart health. While you may be consuming enough in your diet, you can still be potassium deficient. That’s because the more sodium you consume, the more potassium your body excretes. Athletes are at particular risk as they lose so much sodium through sweat. How do you know if you’re lacking in potassium? The signs can be subtle, but here are five of the most common:
Every cell in your body requires potassium to function. If you’re constantly lacking in potassium, it can result in generalized fatigue. If you’re getting enough sleep and still wake up feeling exhausted, you might need more potassium.
Magnesium actively transports potassium across your cells. So, when your magnesium levels are low, your potassium levels can suffer, too. In fact, more than 50 percent of people with severe potassium deficiency might also be deficient in magnesium, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
High Blood Pressure
Potassium helps to relax blood vessels. If you’re deficient, those vessels can become restricted causing your blood pressure to rise.
If your muscles ache or feel weak, you might be lacking potassium. Potassium plays a role in smooth muscle contraction, so when you have low levels of potassium, you can experience muscle aches and sometimes even spasms.
It can be very alarming when your heart races for no apparent reason. You might experience heart palpitations or skipping a beat. There are many things that can cause heart irregularity, but low potassium is one of them.
Pins and Needles
Do you frequently get that tingling pins and needles sensation in your extremities? Low potassium levels may be to blame. Potassium is important to nerve health, too.
Kidney stones that contain calcium are the most common type and because potassium helps your kidneys flush excess calcium through your urine, not getting enough of it can cause these masses to develop.
All of these symptoms can be related to other causes, but if you’re experiencing many of these at once, you might need to consider increasing your potassium intake.