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Hypokalemia (Low Potassium), Anyone?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Kierkegaard, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard

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    I'm curious to know the symptoms of anyone who has or has had hypokalemia or near-hypokalemia. This is a condition that's often improperly undiagnosed based on serum (CMP) labwork, when intracellular/RBC levels can reveal problems, and have with me (levels below the range).

    What are the symptoms you've had and how did you overcome them, including any roadblocks in the process of diagnosis and treatment?
     
    Hutan likes this.
  2. Mary

    Mary Senior Member

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    Lots of us have issues with low potassium. I first became aware of this after reading Freddd's posts about B12 and folate inducing potassium deficiency. Here's one of his posts: http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/warning-low-potassium-is-dangerous.14410/

    Another very good post about potassium, this one by Richvank (former member who unfortunately died suddenly a few years ago): http://forums.phoenixrising.me/inde...ded-in-methylation-treatmt.18670/#post-291410 Rich talks about the particular problems people with ME/CFS have with maintaining adequate levels of intracellular potassium.

    I first learned that I had low potassium issues when I started taking methylfolate (had already been taking MB12 for many years) some 7 years ago. It initially boosted my energy, and then after 2 or 3 days I was hit with severe fatigue. Because I had read Freddd's posts, I was on the alert for symptoms of low potassium, and for me the chief one was this awful fatigue, different than PEM. The interesting part was I had had this particular fatigue before, only I never knew what it was. I started taking potassium, titrated up to 1000 mg over a couple of days, and the fatigue abated. I eventually learned that I had to take extra potassium every day, and since then take 800 - 1000 mg potassium gluconate daily, in divided doses, as well as drinking low sodium V8, which has 900 mg potassium per 8 oz. I found I could not get enough potassium in foods.

    My serum potassium levels were always in the normal range, albeit on the low side - 4. something.

    Other symptoms of hypokalemia I have had are muscle twitches and spasms in legs and feet. I don't get cardiac symptoms, but many people do - arrhythmia, palpitations and so on.
     
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  3. *GG*

    *GG* Senior Member

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    I had blood work done and was told I have High potassium. Looking for feedback on this myself :(

    Going back for another blood draw. See what result comes back.

    GG
     
  4. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard

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    Check sodium and aldosterone, as hyperkalemia can point to low aldosterone. Which itself could explain possible symptoms related to CFS.
     
  5. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard

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    Thanks so much, Mary! Interestingly, I have spouts of something akin to a presyncope, feeling 'thin" like my consciousness is fading but without feeling lightheaded, directly attributable to taking 1) a methylfolate supplement with way too much (10x as the RDA), 2) any thyroid medication with T3 (e.g., NDT, slow-release T3, T3). And I'm thinking that since methylfolate lowers potassium, and people with hyperthyroidism also can have low potassium, that the same mechanism of low potassium could explain the symptoms of presyncope in both.
     
    Mary likes this.
  6. GodGenghis

    GodGenghis

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    I have found that low potassium plays a part in me awaking prematurally, suddenly, with an accelerated heart rate, a feeling of inflammation in my head, a need to urinate a large volume, and a propensity for anger. Now when I take 300mg Potassium Gluconate before bed the incidents of this kind are down by about 80%.
     
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  7. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard

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    Ever get night sweats? Also, do all those things listed happen at the same time, or do they also happen separately?
     
  8. wastwater

    wastwater Senior Member

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    I have random potassium high normal and low and can't tell any difference
     
  9. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

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    After reading Freddd's potassium info, I realized I'd suffered from low K+ for some years. Once I engaged w/ correcting methylation, low K+ became an ongoing issue. My symptoms were pounding heart, slight breathlessness, restlessness. I had best results w/ K+ gluconate powder. When I was taking large doses, I took it via footbath, with other minerals and amino acids.

    Once my methylation supps were stable, I no longer needed K+. Amazing, I thought it would be forever. It's now summer where I am, and I've been consuming a huge amount of watermelon, which is considered a medium, not high, source of K+. Sometimes I've been experiencing the pounding heart, as well as the restlessness. the melon helps. Here's a list, just the first one that came up in my search today. https://www.drugs.com/cg/potassium-content-of-foods-list.html
     
  10. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard

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    @Mary, @*GG*, @GodGenghis, @wastwater, @ahmo and others:

    Do you ever get noticeable changes in water retention, such as accumulations in your abdomen or elsewhere?
    Any noticeable changes on muscle size (seeing how muscle also has cells and so needs in the intracellular potassium to keep to non-wonky)? I notice I can go from looking not only puffy but also have decreases in muscle size to looking more "cut" (seeing my abs) and having bigger muscles. What about light sensitivity/photophobia?

    To me it's pretty dang clear that I have electrolyte issues given solely these water retention changes, and aldosterone is low, as well as chloride, potassium, and somewhat with sodium; I've also shown 20th percentile scores for sodium and potassium.

    Basically my doc, who knows his stuff and has just ordered labwork retesting RBC potassium and magnesium (which is related to potassium), prescribed pharmacological doses of potassium citrate (with instructions on alkalinizing water filters to counteract the acidity from the citrate -- this guy, again, knows his stuff), where three pills a day equals the 4700 mg RDA, and I'm pretty dang sure I fall very, very short of that, especially when you consider how much sodium is in most foods (unrefined sea salt, OTOH, is famous for not reducing sodium and providing a slew of other minerals). Still, I'm cautious. I'll probably wait until the lab results come in, then break up a single pill into thirds and go from there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  11. Eastman

    Eastman Senior Member

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    These made me think of heart problems.
     
  12. *GG*

    *GG* Senior Member

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    Well my Dr has me take an Electrolyte called Elyte, haven't been taking it lately. Just been adding sea salt to my water when I exercise and sweat profusely. Don't feel as dehydrated then.

    Will have to check the if aldosterone is something he put on my upcoming blood paperwork. He is testing my cortisol, so I need to be fasting and have the blood work done before 10am, not a morning person, so that sucks. But will get it done!

    GG
     
  13. GodGenghis

    GodGenghis

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    All of my symptoms listed are more or less present upon waking up. And no night sweats.
     
  14. Kierkegaard

    Kierkegaard

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    Yeah, me too. I've had an echo and another test to check for heart issues but everything looked great. Electrolytes determine how your heart works, so maybe it's not the heart per se as it is the kidneys. I'm planning on looking into a nephrologist soon.
     

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