How to Prevent & Boost Low Potassium
Our assistant had a scary night this past week! I wanted her to share her experience—and talk about low potassium—to help YOU avoid a trip to the emergency room. Low potassium is no joke. It’s important to know that it’s something you need to pay attention to even if you’re not a hard core fitness fanatics or athlete.
Here’s her story and then I’ll fill you in on how to prevent and boost low potassium:
In an effort to prevent further middle age spread, about two weeks ago, I started running again. I’m far from an athlete, so by ‘run’ I actually mean a slow jog for about 20 minutes lol. I also restarted my butt exercises—a combination of squats and leg raises. The other night, I was awakened by two numb arms. Like shoulder to fingertip numb. The scary thing was that they were right by my side, not kinked or squished underneath me. And, worse, even after jumping out of bed and shaking them, the blood wasn’t rushing back to them as quickly as it should. I really started freaking out when my heart started beating irregularly and my legs started tingling. I had my son take me to the ER.
Several hours later, I was told everything checked out okay except my potassium levels were low and my (usually very low) blood pressure was slightly elevated. By this time, I wasn’t surprised. I’d done some Googling while I waited and low potassium went to the top of my arm chair doctor list when I saw that all my symptoms matched and it could be caused by ‘sweating a lot’. When I told the doctor that I had sweated profusely after each of my recent runs and squat sessions, he told me that water was not enough—that I needed to replace my electrolytes with a sports drink or supplement. Duh. I’ve worked with Dave and Monica long enough to know this—I just didn’t think to apply it to myself because I’m not a big exerciser. It never even dawned on me that I would need a “sports” drink lol. Well, apparently low potassium can happen to anybody. I was really lucky to have caught it before it went dangerously low! The moral of this story is that you do NOT have to be a hard core athlete to need Hydrate—if you’re sweating a lot, drink it!!!”
Why is Potassium Important?
Yes, potassium is SUPER important! And, like I said and our assistant experience, low potassium can happen to even moderate exercisers.
Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that enables our entire body to function properly.
Potassium health benefits include:
- Helps build muscle
- Manages fluid levels in our body
- Regulates the electrical activity of the heart
- Decreases blood pressure
- Reduces bone loss
- Delivers enough oxygen to the brain
- Breaks down and helps our body use carbs
- Controls the acid-base balance in our body
The older we are, the more important it is to maintain proper potassium levels. Specifically, it directly impacts blood pressure and bone loss.
How Much Potassium Do We Need?
The RDA of potassium for adults is 4.7 grams. If you’re taking a diuretic (or other potassium depleting medication) or nursing a baby, you’ll very likely need more (under the guidance of your physician, of course).
It’s been found that about 100% of Americans do NOT get enough potassium from their diet and need to take a potassium supplement. This is generally because of a poor diet or an exercise regime that depletes electrolytes.
Low Potassium Symptoms
The technical term for a potassium deficiency is “hypokalemia” and it can cause serious problems.
It’s generally caused by poor health as a result of eating too many high sodium and/or processed foods, drinking too much caffeine or alcohol, high stress, extended diarrhea and/or vomiting, and/or excessive sweating.
Symptoms of a lack of potassium include:
- Weak muscles or frequent muscle cramps
- Irregular heartbeat
- Slightly increased blood pressure
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities
How to Increase Potassium
The best sources of potassium are potassium-rich foods and natural potassium supplements. It’s also important to avoid eating excessive sugars, carbohydrates and junk food.
Foods High in Potassium
Fortunately, there are many foods high in potassium. We recommend the following foods for those that are more calorie-conscious:
- Red meat
- Some fish (flounder, cod, salmon and sardines)
- Lowfat dairy products
- Soy products
- Spinach (cooked)
- Sweet potatoes
- Winter squash
- Apricots (fresh or dried)
Our Favorite Potassium Supplement
Our potassium supplement of choice is Performance Hydrate.
Why? First and foremost, we trust the company that makes it. Second, all of the ingredients are natural, safe, independently and scientifically proven to do what they’re supposed to do without side effects. Third, it’s not packed with sugar. And, finally, it’s delicious.
Key ingredients in Hydrate are:
- Hydration Blend. Sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are balanced in a way to help maintain an ideal level of fluids and replace electrolytes, improving the way you feel and your endurance during even the toughest workout.
- Quercetin. A powerful performance-enhancing phytonutrient, quercetin has been shown to improve endurance and delay muscle fatigue during exercise.
- Low-Dose Carbohydrates (from natural sugars). The carbs in Hydrate are very precisely dosed for promote rapid hydration without pumping you full of sugar, which can actually dehydrate you.
If you’re sweating at all, it’s a MUST and an excellent way to replenish your electrolytes without all the sugar and dyes that are in Gatorade and its competitors. You can learn more about it here—Beachbody Performance Hydrate Formula
Potassium is NOT water soluble and, if you have too much, you can cause a potassium overdose. So, it’s important to have your potassium levels monitored by your physician if you’re sweating profusely, exercising intensely AND/OR are taking any potassium supplements.
Want to try before you buy Hydrate? Click below to request a sample: