Potassium is a mineral that plays a crucial role in the human body. Most people don’t need to worry about a deficiency since it’s easy to get potassium from natural sources. However, some illnesses and conditions can contribute to a lack of potassium in the body. Without potassium, the body is prone to bouts of high blood pressure, nervous system dysfunction, and muscle spasms. Potassium is also critical for a healthy metabolism and plays an important role in digestion.
But high levels of the mineral are dangerous, so taking potassium supplements without first consulting a doctor is not advised.
Below, you’ll find a guide that covers the causes of deficiency, symptoms that may be present when the body doesn’t have enough of this mineral, along with a handy list of natural sources of potassium.
Who needs potassium supplements?
If you’re healthy, it’s very unlikely that you need to take a potassium supplement as part of your routine. Unless, for instance, you’re an athlete performing rigorous workouts on a regular basis, it’s likely that you consume enough potassium by way of your diet.
Potassium supplements should be taken on the recommendation of a healthcare professional and are often prescribed for individuals with impaired kidney function. Diagnosis of a deficiency should be made by your doctor.
Signs of potassium deficiency
A few signs may point to a potassium deficiency. It’s not a good idea to supplement without having a clear picture of the cause of your symptoms. Don’t assume that because you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms that you’re deficient. These symptoms could be caused by other ailments. Speak to a health professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- High blood pressure
- Insomnia or poor-quality sleep
- Concentration issues
- May cause heart rhythm abnormalities in addition to the above symptoms
Causes of potassium deficiency
There are several reasons why your body might be deficient in potassium.
- Kidney malfunction (a common cause of potassium deficiency)
- Poor diet (could also result in a number of vitamin or mineral deficiencies)
- Frequent laxative use
- Antibiotic use or taking other potassium-depleting medication
Types of potassium supplements
Different types of potassium supplements are absorbed differently by the body. Your doctor will prescribe the right kind for you and your particular condition. Some forms of potassium in supplement form include potassium gluconate, chloride, aspartate, chelate, phosphate, bicarbonate, citrate, and orotate.