What Are The Signs Of Low Potassium – Does gluten cause potassium deficiency? Should those with a celiac diagnosis or gluten sensitivity be concerned about supplementing potassium in their diet? The simple answer is yes, but before we dive into the link between gluten sensitivity and potassium deficiency, let’s take a look at why this electrolyte is such an important mineral necessary for your body’s health and well-being.
Potassium is both a mineral and an electrolyte. It dissolves in the water component of your body fluids and creates positively charged ions. And many vital functions in your body rely on these electrically charged ions to occur effectively and efficiently.
- 1 What Are The Signs Of Low Potassium
- 2 Low Potassium (hypokalemia) Causes
- 3 Hypokalemia (low Potassium): Signs And Symptoms
- 4 Potassium During Pregnancy: Is It Good Or Bad For You
What Are The Signs Of Low Potassium
So let’s take a closer look at the key roles that potassium plays. We’ll then discuss how gluten causes potassium deficiency and the problems that can occur as a result, followed by a list of healthy potassium-rich foods to boost your intake.
Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Dangerously Low Potassium Levels
Your body contains different fluids. Some are inside your cells (intracellular) and others, such as blood, are outside your cells (extracellular). And all these liquids contain water. Thus, electrolytes such as potassium and sodium help maintain an optimal water balance between your intracellular fluids and extracellular fluids.
You’ve probably heard that your body is made up mostly of water, which is true. 60% to be exact. In addition, much of this water is found in your cells. And potassium is the main electrolyte in your intracellular fluid. Thus, potassium controls the amount of water inside your cells, while sodium controls the concentration of water outside your cells.
If your cells lose too much water due to a lack of potassium, they become dehydrated. They can shrink and become non-functional. On the other hand, too much potassium can cause your cells to swell.
Thus, potassium is necessary to help balance the fluids in your body. That’s how your cells function properly. So they can get the nutrients and oxygen they need to function, as well as get rid of waste. Fluid and electrolyte balance also helps maintain optimal ph. .
What Causes Low Potassium? How To Treat Hypokalemia
When potassium ions move out of a cell and sodium ions move into the cell, the cell’s voltage changes. This creates a nerve impulse, which is how nerve cells communicate with each other and cause events such as muscle contractions and heartbeats. Thus, potassium is needed by your nervous system to send vital signals throughout your body.
We know that dietary potassium can significantly lower blood pressure. Because potassium helps relax the smooth muscles that line the walls of your blood vessels. Also, the more potassium you absorb, the more sodium you excrete. Thus, because of these effects, dietary potassium may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Interestingly, drugs used to treat high blood pressure are known to cause potassium deficiency (known as hypokalemia). Evidence also suggests that these potassium depletions caused by hypertensive diuretics may raise blood sugar by reducing the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas after eating a carbohydrate meal. This suggests that potassium plays a role in glucose regulation and a deficiency may increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that potassium reduces calcium excretion. So more calcium stays in your bones, which keeps them strong and can help prevent osteoporosis. In addition, there is less calcium in the urine, which can help prevent kidney stones.
Low Potassium (hypokalemia) Causes
Potassium is found in a wide variety of plant and animal foods. So if you’re eating a healthy, whole-foods diet, getting enough potassium shouldn’t be a concern. However, the problem today is that most people do not eat whole foods. Instead, our society eats mostly processed foods that are deficient in nutrients.
Plus, you need a healthy gut to digest food and absorb the potassium it contains. And that’s where gluten bothers those with gluten sensitivity. When consumed, gluten is seen as a threat. It activates your immune system, which ultimately causes inflammation and gut dysfunction. So no matter what you eat, your body can’t absorb the nutrients it needs and deficiencies are common.
Also, diarrhea is a common symptom of gluten sensitivity, which can cause nutrient deficiencies as well as dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. In this case study, a 3-year-old boy presented with severe watery stools, vomiting, and dehydration. They gave him fluids, which helped with dehydration. But he soon lost control of leg muscle function and his abdomen swelled, both symptoms of hypokalemia.
After testing, severe hypokalemia was detected. However, high-dose potassium treatments did not change his symptoms. Because of his history of loose stools, he was then tested for celiac disease and the diagnosis was confirmed. After starting a gluten-free diet, his symptoms improved significantly. And he can live a normal life on a gluten-free diet.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Potassium Levels?
Because potassium helps control the contraction of your heart muscles, severe hypokalemia can be life-threatening. Deficiency symptoms to look out for include:
Antibiotics, steroids, diuretics, and aspirin have all been shown to contribute to potassium deficiency. If you are taking these medications, it is important to monitor your potassium levels. You should also keep in mind the fact that many of the symptoms and diseases caused by potassium deficiency are treated with the aforementioned drugs.
You’ve probably heard that bananas are a good source of potassium. And that’s true. But there are other foods with more or equal amounts that you should also consider to increase your potassium intake. Some examples include:
It is especially important to eat foods rich in potassium after intense training. To replenish electrolytes that are lost through your sweat.
Low Potassium (hypokalemia) In Pregnancy: Causes And Risks
It’s also important to note that potassium can’t do its job if you’re not doing yours. So, apart from eating foods rich in potassium, you must also drink plenty of water. Remember that if you filter your water with reverse osmosis (RO), it is important to add electrolytes back into it, as RO depletes the natural electrolytes in the water. Prolonged consumption of electrolyte-depleted water can actually contribute to dehydration.
And finally, if you have a gluten sensitivity, the best way to prevent or treat potassium deficiency is to eat a gluten-free diet.
There’s just no way around it. Instead, fill your plate with nutrient-dense whole foods, which will allow the gut to heal and potassium to be absorbed.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Hypokalemia (low Potassium): Signs And Symptoms
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All content on this website is based on the opinions of Peter Osborne unless otherwise stated. Individual articles are based on the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as indicated. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Peter Osborne and his community. Peter Osborne encourages you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. Have you ever thought about how much potassium your body needs? It’s not just about avoiding muscle cramps or chewing on bananas. Imagine this: our Stone Age ancestors consumed up to 15,000 milligrams of potassium per day!
Compare that to the meager amounts we get from today’s processed foods, and you can see why many of us may be running on empty.
The catch is – it’s tricky to diagnose a deficiency because standard blood tests often miss the mark. Low potassium levels can cause exhaustion, irregular heartbeats and hypertension if left untreated. So where does that leave us?
Potassium During Pregnancy: Is It Good Or Bad For You
They hang tight! We’ll delve deeper into the role of potassium in our bodies, how to spot the early warning signs of deficiency, and find delicious ways to increase your daily intake without pills. Ready? Let’s dive in.
Potassium, a key mineral, plays a significant role in our bodies. One of its most important jobs is operating the sodium-potassium pump—an essential component for nerve and muscle cell function.
Stone Age humans were potassium powerhouses, consuming up to 15,000 milligrams per day. That’s in stark contrast to modern times, where the recommended intake is just 4,700 milligrams per day. This stark difference raises some serious questions about the health implications.
The lower consumption of potassium today can be attributed to dietary changes over time. But we need this vital nutrient for our body’s functions like maintaining heart rhythm and balancing fluids.
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Suppose you are interested in learning more about how your body uses potassium. In that case, it’s worth checking out this resource that details its importance beyond just maintaining strong muscles.
It’s like your body has run out of fuel, just like a car would run out of gas. Symptoms can creep up on you, making life feel more stressful than usual.
Potassium deficiency often plays hide and seek with traditional blood tests. Why? Most of the potassium is locked up in the cells—it doesn’t float in the bloodstream—making diagnosis tricky.
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