Monday, May 7, 2018

The power of Potassium

   I have been feeling ill as of late. Really! Sick, tired, just really crappy. Last week it dawned on me that I have been out of Potassium for almost a month. Friday I bought a bottle and started taking it immediately. Taking potassium has made a huge difference. The nausea I have been feeling for the past several weeks is gone. I have more energy. The muscle cramping I have been experiencing has been largely illiminated.
   Blood tests over the course of the last year have shown my potassium level to be borderline low. I don’t know if that is because of the Zytiga or because of the prednisone. It really doesn’t matter either way. My potassium level has never been low enough to flag so it has largely gone unnoticed. 
    Low potassium { hypokalemia }causes a host of problems. Most people associate low potassium with muscle cramps. Potassium however does so much more. The heart muscle requires potassium in order to beat properly. Potassium is essential for blood pressure regulation. Maybe that is why for the first time in my life I have had to be put on blood pressure medicine. Symptoms of low potassium include muscle fatigue, Nausea, abdominal cramps, bloating, irregular heartbeat, excessive urination, fainting, depression and mood swings, numbness in muscle tissue, and tingling.
   On the other hand, high potassium levels can cause many of the same symptoms. Low potassium is rare therefore there is no recommended daily allowance it is however widely believed that 1600-2000 mg. is  addequate for most adults. This can vary due to work stress, climate and humidity. If  we sweat a lot we lose valuable electrolytes such as sodium, chloride, and potassium.
   Foods high in Potassium include among others, Avacados, acorn squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, wild-caught salmon, pomegranate, dried apricots, coconut water, white beans, and of course, bananas. Interestingly enough, bananas have the least amount of Potassium of all of these.
   In regards to the list above, I eat salmon once every couple of weeks, regularly drink Pom juice, and eat bananas. It has not been enough to keep my Potassium at an acceptable level. I work in a hot, humid environment and therefore I sweat a lot.
  Potassium is a balancing act. Blood potassium needs to be monitored. Potassium should not be supplemented except under the advice of a physician. If you have not been feeling like yourself however it may be worth looking at your potassium level.
That’s all for today. Todd