Potassium Deficiency Symptoms
and Symptoms of High Potassium

Potassium deficiency symptoms can result in Hypokalemia or low levels of potassium in your blood.  One way to avoid hypokalemia is to include enough potassium rich foods in your diet every day. 

Hyperkalemia or symptoms of high potassium is the opposite of hypokalemia and results in high levels of potassium in the blood.  Hypokalemia and Hyperkalemia are common electrolyte disorders caused by changes in your potassium intake, altered excretion of potassium, or a transcellular shift of potassium.

You are more likely to experience Hypokalemia or potassium deficiency symptoms, because most people are suffering from potassium deficiency symptoms due to changes in our diet for the last few decades.  However, your odds of developing Hyperkalemia are pretty high with certain lifestyle choices.

Potassium Deficiency Symptoms
or Hypokalemia

  • Constipation and Feeling Thirsty
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • High Blood Pressure and Tremors
  • Hypertension
  • Frequent Loss of Urine
  • Nervous Behavior and Hallucinations
  • Hormone Fluctuations
  • Mentally Confused and Memory Loss
  • Dry Skin and Edema
  • Acne Problems
  • Lethargic and Feeling Tired
  • Low Blood Pressure and Fainting
  • Cardiac Arrest and Paralysis
  • High Cholesterol Levels
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Chills and Weakness
  • Leg Cramps and Muscle Cramps
  • Depression and Insomnia
  • Shallow Respiration and Respiratory Distress
  • Tingling and Numbness
  • Headaches and Irritability

Reasons for Hypokalemia

Salty Foods, Fast Foods, and Processed Foods

Lack of Fresh Whole Foods and Inadequate Potassium Intake

Toxins and GMOs

Overuse of Diuretics like Coffee, Alcohol, or Drugs

Prolonged Use of Laxatives

Intestinal Disorders

Adrenal Gland Disorder or Cushing's Disease

Profuse Sweating and Fluid Loss

Having the Flu

High Amounts of Stress

Taking Antibiotics or Steroids

Tobacco Use

Diarrhea and Vomiting

Anorexia Nervosa

Prolonged Fasting

High Amounts of Sugar in Diet

Experiencing High Blood Sugar or Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Extreme Dieting

Excessive Water Drinking

Water Enemas

Being too Alkaline and Alkalosis

Magnesium Deficiency

Low Carb Diets and Potassium Deficiency Symptoms

Hypokalemia and potassium deficiency symptoms are common on low carb diets. 

And it's also very common when you go through the Keto flu on a Ketogenic diet to experience potassium deficiency symptoms.

You see when you dramatically lower the amount of carbohydrates in your diet and increase fat consumption, your body will create ketones. 

Which is similar to what happens during a Fast or during Diabetic Ketoacidosis. Which leads to the depletion of important electrolytes in your body.

Low carb diets and low insulin will cause your body to excrete potassium and sodium along with a lot of water.

Basically, low carb diets cause a depletion of glycogen which your body uses to store glucose.

Glucose activates insulin and the sodium-potassium pump which pulls potassium into your cells. 

Low carb diets have the opposite effect and will actually pull potassium out of your cells. 

Because lower glycogen equals less water retention which causes you to pee more.

The irony is that potassium and water are essential for Ketogenesis which is the burning of fat for energy. And ketogenesis occurs constantly in healthy individuals!

What is a Normal Potassium Level?

The normal range for a potassium blood level is 3.5 to 5.1 mEq/liter or milliequivalents per liter.

Hypokalemia occurs when a potassium blood level falls below the 3.5 levelThere is a possibility that 1 out of 5 people hospitalized in the United States have a low potassium blood level.  A 2.5 blood potassium level is considered "life threatening".

Hyperkalemia or too much potassium in the blood occurs when your potassium blood level is above the 5.1 level.  A blood level above 5.5 will be defined as hyperkalemia.  Hyperkalemia can also be a life threatening problem and above 7.0 is considered dangerous requiring immediate intervention.

Symptoms of High Potassium
or Hyperkalemia

  • Low Urine Production
  • Kidney or Renal Failure
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Extreme Fatigue
  • Muscle Twitching and Cramps
  • Adrenal Failure
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Metabolic Acidosis
  • Weak Pulse or Heart Failure

Reasons for Hyperkalemia

Diet too High in Sugar that causes Insulin Resistance or Diabetes

Too Much Potassium Foods or Potassium Supplements

High Amounts of Exercise

Injury, Trauma, and Burns

Anything that injures or causes your muscles to break down can release a high amount of potassium from your muscle cells into your bloodstream.

Also, when your body contains too much acid from certain types of acidosis, potassium is moved out of your cells and can produce hyperkalemia.

It's normal for 98% of the potassium in your body to be found in your cells (aka intracellular) of various tissues.  Usually only 2% of potassium is in extracellular fluids and in blood plasma.

Certain Medications and Drugs

Anti-inflammatory Drugs, Potassium Sparing Diuretics, ACE Inhibitors, and Beta Blockers

Supplements like Amino Acids and Hawthorne Berry


Consuming Too Much Alcohol (especially with drugs)

Metabolic Acidosis

Adrenal Failure or Addison's Disease

Renal Failure or Kidney Failure

When hyperkalemia happens, it's usually from an increase in the amount of potassium intake coming into the body or an increase from the intracellular potassium into your blood. 

And anything that impairs the mechanisms to remove this extra potassium from the blood or excrete extra potassium (like with kidney problems) will also cause hyperkalemia.

Go to What is Potassium to Sodium - Ideal Ratio?
Return to Potassium Rich Foods

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