Symptoms of Low Potassium — Ways to Naturally Increase Your Levels

Symptoms of Low Potassium — Ways to Naturally Increase Your Levels

Have you ever heard about potassium? Most people are familiar with potassium in bananas or electrolytes in sports, but its importance goes far beyond that! This article aims to explain potassium's crucial role in your health, the signs of low potassium, and ways to naturally improve your potassium levels with guidance from your healthcare provider.

What Is Potassium?

What Is Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral that is vital in how our bodies function. Did you know that it's also an electrolyte? That means it carries an electric charge and activates nerve and cell functions in every human cell. It's also vital in regulating how the body balances fluids, maintains blood pressure and supports healthy muscles and nerves.

Our need for potassium varies with age, but a typical healthy adult needs around 2,500 to 3,000 milligrams of potassium per day. When recommending, your practitioner will also consider your sex, activity level, and current nutritional profile.

Health Benefits of Potassium

Health Benefits of Potassium

While potassium is essential for daily bodily functions, our bodies do not naturally produce it. Therefore, consuming potassium daily is imperative to sustain adequate levels in our tissues and bloodstream. While bananas are a well-known source of potassium, numerous other foods and supplements can help maintain potassium levels in the body. Let's explore how potassium supports our bodies for optimal functioning.

General Health 

Adequate potassium intake is crucial for overall health. Insufficient potassium levels can lead to muscle weakness, irregular heartbeats, constipation, and other symptoms detailed below.

Muscles and Nerves 

Potassium, including the heart, is vital in nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction. Low potassium levels can compromise the function of all our muscles.

Blood Pressure 

Maintaining adequate potassium levels is essential for regulating blood pressure. Potassium helps counterbalance sodium, promoting fluid balance, vital for healthy blood pressure levels.

Signs and Symptoms That You Might Have Low Potassium

Signs and Symptoms That You Might Have Low Potassium

Low potassium, also known as hypokalemia, indicates potassium levels in the blood below normal. If left untreated, it can pose serious health risks and has been associated with conditions like cardiac disease, renal failure, malnutrition, and even shock. Monitoring potassium levels through regular blood tests with your healthcare provider is essential. Additionally, you can use apps like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal to track your potassium intake.

Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms of low potassium:

  • Muscle weakness, cramps, spasms, numbness, or tingling, especially in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
  • Fatigue, feeling tired or weak even after adequate sleep
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeats
  • Elevated or new-onset high blood sugar levels
  • Dehydration, possibly due to increased urination
  • Persistent constipation or other digestive issues
  • New onset of anxiety, depression, or mood changes

Certain medical conditions or medications can contribute to low potassium levels. Conditions such as kidney disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, vomiting, diarrhea, and the use of drugs like diuretics or laxatives can be underlying factors.

How to Find Out if You Have Low Potassium

How to Find Out if You Have Low Potassium

Low potassium levels are sometimes identified during a routine basic metabolic panel (BMP). Alternatively, your healthcare provider might request a BMP and a urinalysis if there are suspicions of a potassium-related problem. These tests assess potassium levels in your blood and the amount excreted in your urine. Your healthcare provider may investigate further with a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) to evaluate kidney function and electrolytes. This thorough examination is essential for uncovering the underlying causes of your symptoms.

Top Ways to Improve Potassium Naturally

Top Ways to Improve Potassium Naturally

Before anything else, it's essential to consult your healthcare provider to assess your current potassium levels. If they're low, your provider can advise you on how much potassium you need to incorporate into your diet through food and supplementation.

The good news is that plenty of delicious foods can help boost your potassium levels and improve your overall well-being! Incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources in your diet is always beneficial. The National Institutes of Health lists high-potassium foods suitable for every dietary preference, making it easier to enhance your potassium intake.

Potassium-Rich Foods


Milligrams (mg)

per serving

Percent DV

Apricots, dried, ½ cup



Lentils, cooked, 1 cup



Squash, acorn, mashed, 1 cup



Prunes, dried, ½ cup



Raisins, ½ cup



Potato, baked, flesh only, one medium



Kidney beans, canned, 1 cup



Orange juice, 1 cup



Soybeans, mature seeds, boiled, ½ cup



Banana, one medium


Coconut water is a good source of natural electrolytes, including potassium. The healthiest options are coconut waters free of artificial flavors, colors, and additives. Conversely, avoid excessive caffeine and alcoholic drinks, which can deplete potassium. Your practitioner can help determine what’s right for you.

Supplements to Replete Potassium Levels

Upon reviewing the list of potassium-rich foods, consider taking a supplement. While this is possible, it's crucial to exercise caution and avoid excessive potassium intake, as it can lead to hyperkalemia or high potassium levels.

The first step is to consult your healthcare provider, who can determine your need for supplemental potassium through testing. Typically, daily intake should be at most 99 milligrams. Suppose you're taking diuretics, heart medication, or acne medication. In that case, your healthcare provider will likely advise against supplemental potassium and instead recommend focusing on high-potassium foods.

Joint supplements to support optimal potassium levels include potassium chloride, potassium citrate, potassium aspartate, potassium bicarbonate, and potassium gluconate. Your healthcare provider will assess your dietary habits and recommend the appropriate form and dosage tailored to your needs.


You don't have to suffer from low potassium symptoms. If you experience signs, consult your healthcare provider for testing. With their help, you can boost levels naturally through diet and supplements, ensuring your well-being and vitality.

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