Very low potassium, known as hypokalemia, can be caused by decreased intake of potassium but is usually caused by excessive losses of potassium in the urine or from the GI tract. While it can exist in both males and females, it is more common in females. The most common cause is excessive potassium loss in urine due to prescription medications that increase urination. Also known as water pills or diuretics, these types of medications are often prescribed for people who have high blood pressure or heart disease. There are several other reasons one may have low potassium levels. Some common causes for low potassium are:

Diarrhea (IBS & IBD)
Excessive sweating (particularly for those who exercise aggressively & regularly) 
Alcohol use
Chronic kidney disease

Symptoms of low potassium-

General Fatigue 
Muscle cramps or twitching 
Irregular heart rhythm (potentially serious and requires immediate doctor intervention)

How to know for sure if you have low potassium levels-

A blood test is the only way to know for sure but if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms on a regular basis you should consult your physician.

Best ways to boost potassium levels-

About 85-90 percent of dietary potassium is absorbed by average, healthy adults. So the problem is likely that people aren’t eating enough whole foods rich in potassium, rather than having trouble actually using the potassium once it enters the body. Always try to obtain enough potassium from the various foods that are also high in many other complimentary nutrients that help to balance potassium.

Here are 12 of the best food sources of potassium:

(Percentages based on the recommended daily value of 4,700 milligrams for adult men and women.)

White Beans — 1 cup cooked: 1,004 milligrams
Lima Beans — 1 cup cooked: 955 milligrams
Avocado — 1 whole: 690 milligrams
Broccoli — 1 cup cooked: 458 milligrams
Sweet Potato — 1 medium: 438 milligrams
Bananas — 1 medium: 422 milligrams
Salmon — 3 ounces: 416 milligrams
Peas — 1 cup cooked: 384 milligrams
Sardines — 1 can/3.75 grams: 365 milligrams
Grapefruit — 1 whole: 354 milligrams
Raw Milk — 1 cup: 260 milligrams
Grass-Fed Beef — 3 ounces: 237 milligrams

Be very careful taking potassium supplements as some supplements may boost levels dangerously high damaging kidneys or causing irregular heart rhythms. You should always consult a physician before taking potassium supplements.

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