Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Importance of Potassium and How To Properly Raise Your Potassium Levels

Symptoms of low potassium include:
  • Fatigue and exhaustion 
  • Headache, migraine
  • Anxiety
  • Body pain, including muscle or joint pain
  • Weakness, tiredness
  • Cramping in arm or leg muscles
  • Irritability
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Dehydration, dry mouth, thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping, bloating
  • Constipation, Diarrhea
  • Palpitations (irregular heart beat)
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in blood pressure (high or low)
  • Depression, psychosis, delirium, confusion, or hallucinations

Low potassium, or hypokalemia, is one of the top causes of high blood pressure, stroke, AND heart attacks. So having enough potassium every day is pretty important.

Potassium is very closely linked with magnesium levels, so if your potassium is running low regularly, make sure you're getting enough magnesium. Low magnesium will cause low potassium.

Pressure changes from the weather, and altitude changes (from flying, hiking a mountain, sea diving) will affect your potassium pump. So you will not absorb as much potassium as you have- solution, more potassium. If you're soaking up ten percent, and you have a larger pool to soak up from, you'll get more potassium into your cells (ten percent of 2,000 is 200, which is more than ten percent of 500, which is only 50). I personally have found that These types of potassium drops are best cured by potassium beverages and not foods; the digestive process breaking down the food seems to not yield as much potassium. My go-to is Low Sodium V8 juice, is the highest potassium beverage on the market, 900 mg per 8 ounces. Other good choices: tomato juice, carrot juice, Gatorade, orange juice, coconut water, green juice, smoothie.

Low potassium can be caused by magnesium deficiency, auto-immune disorders, any type of anemia, digestive illnesses (such as IBS, Crohn's, Leaky Gut, Celiac). Treatment with B12 injections can also cause low potassium, because suddenly getting the B12 you need triggers your body to start making new blood cells (among other things), which uses a lot of potassium. If you have Pernicious Anemia and are on injections, it is super important you boost your potassium levels more on jab days.

Now, if your potassium levels have been low for more than a few days, you need to build up your potassium levels. You also need to increase your intake of Good sodium, such as pink Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt, to maintain the proper potassium/sodium balance. Once you have reached a level where your deficiency symptoms have vanished, KEEP IT UP! You need potassium every single day, this is not something you can just up your levels and then stop; you're not inflating a tire. Your body uses potassium for digestion and muscle function- which includes heart muscle.

Here's a list of potassium rich foods that are not bananas- while bananas have potassium, don't you get tired of eating bananas just to get some potassium?

bamboo shoots, beet greens, coffee, black tea, Chinese cabbage, watercress, Swiss chard, cilantro, spinach, mustard greens, radishes, low sodium tomato juice, portabella mushrooms, butter head lettuce, celery, zucchini, fresh parsley, tomatoes, coconut water, fresh basil, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, asparagus, cucumber, turnip greens, okra, eggplant, cantaloupe, pickles, sweet potatoes, tomato paste, yogurt, canned clams, prune juice, carrot juice, blackstrap molasses, orange juice, avocado, cream of tartar, coconut water, dried apricots

You can eat these raw, cooked, steamed, juice them, drink them. 

The average healthy adult needs 4,700 mg of potassium a day. An unhealthy person needs more than that, especially if they are in the process of healing, because the body is repairing and replacing cells and potassium is crucial to that process.

Adults. In otherwise healthy individuals (i.e., individuals without impaired urinary potassium excretion from a medical condition or drug therapy), there is no evidence that a high level of potassium from foods has adverse effects. In contrast, supplemental potassium can lead to acute toxicity in healthy individuals.”

In other words, you can NOT overdose from potassium in FOOD. You should get your potassium from food and food-based drinks (like carrot juice) and NOT from potassium pills. Potassium pills can cause problems.

If you want to know exactly how much potassium is in any given food or drink, click here:

*note if you have known kidney problems, your doctor has probably advised you to limit your potassium. If you feel you are low in potassium, and have a kidney condition, discuss this with your doctor.

© Michelle Mason (aka “Michelle Mason Rocks”) 2016