Potassium is not really thought about in general circles, but it is a crucial mineral. It’s one of the four key electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium, all of which have really important roles to play in keeping your body running, let alone optimal.
I most often suspect a potassium issue if a person is having muscle cramps, twitching or palpitations. Fatigue is another clue in some people. The balance between the electrolytes can also cause problems sometimes. For example, people supplementing with a lot of magnesium can push their potassium down if they’re not getting enough in their food. Too much sodium – especially as salt – can also lower potassium levels, which is why I always advise people have a mixed sodium and potassium salt such as Lo Salt in their shaker or at least use mineral-richer unrefined salt like seasalt, for example.
Here is a useful article all about potassium and how it affects the body. It includes some top foods and here is another infographic on that too:
One of the best ways to check your potassium levels is with a hair test, where you can also see it in balance with other electrolytes. I also like to see it done in red blood cell rather than serum. You can see Nutrient Tests here – read the overview about testing minerals there. If you find it low, start by adding more potassium-rich foods in and changing your salt.
If you need more than that, there are supplements you can take but I prefer you get advice on these from your practitioner so that you don’t inadvertently mess up the balance of the electrolytes. It’s often safer to take a balanced product. Something like this DFH Electrolyte Synergy. That can actually be a useful powder to take after exercise if you have sweated a lot or if you’ve been sick – both of which can deplete you in the electrolytes.