Potassium Deficiency (Hypokalemia)

A Potassium Deficiency or Hypokalemia to give it it’s easily forgettable medical name is a lack of potassium in the blood. The main jobs of Potassium in the body are to regulate water balance and to help the transition of signals between nerves and cells.

There are a whole range of causes of Potassium deficiency the main ones being: not enough being ingested through diet, too much sodium (salt) in the diet, excessive vomiting, diarreah, Hpyothyrodisum (over active thyroid) and an imbalance of your intake of magnesium and calcium.

A normal blood level is 3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L.

Symptoms of a deficiency include: Dry skin, loss of strength, acne, memory loss, fatigue, slow reactions. Extreme symptoms include heart problems and very extreme are hypokalemic stiffness this requires immediate emergency intervention.

Potassium is is widely available in a whole host of foods so diet is rarely a cause. You can find Potassium in; beef chicken salmon cod sardines, vegetables peas, tomatoes, leafy greens, lima beans. Bananas (the most famous), melons, apricots and citrus fruits are also rich in potassium. Dried fruits such as mangoes and it is also present in buts and chocolate, so as you can see these are very common foods and you probably eat enough already.

There are some medication causes and these in my experience are usually the problem, Diuretics, cortisones and high blood pressure drugs can all lower your Potassium levels dramatically.

The best course of action in my experience is do all you can to naturally and safely remove the need for medication from your diet through proper eating and exercise and make sure any supplements you take for training e.g calcium and magnesium are not throwing you out of balance.

Happy Training!