Potassium is one of the many unsung heroes your body relies on for health and wellness. It is crucial for muscle strength, nerve functioning and heart health. While you may be consuming enough potassium in your diet, you can still be deficient in this vital nutrient. 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:
- Fatigue – 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.
- High Blood Pressure – Potassium helps to relax blood vessels. If you’re deficient, those vessels can become restricted causing your blood pressure to rise.
- Muscle Pain – 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.
- Racing Heart – 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.
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.