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Why the potassium drop with the methyl Bs?

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by chilove, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. chilove

    chilove Senior Member

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    Hey everyone,

    Can someone please explain the theory as to why potassium drops so suddenly and severely when us mutants :)cheeky grin:) start the methyl B protocol even very conservatively? I'm not getting that part.. I've definitely felt it happen so I believe it but I'd like to understand why it happens.

    Thanks!

    Audrey
  2. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Audrey,

    All those things that don't happen, like cells of many varieties that don't get made as the tissues start breaking down, when methylation doesn't work, is the casue. Potassium is a huge component of cells. Traditionally, hypokalemia is warned of as a possibility with cyanocbl when starting to bring down red blood cell size as a whole lot of red cells are suddenly matured at the same time with cyanocbl and folic acid. Mb12, adb12, l-carnitine fumarate and methylfolate start up all the cells at once including bulk quantities of muscle cells. This cell startup drains the serum potassium starting in under 3 days and can keep going for quite a while. This kind of startup can cause many other revealed deficiencies that didn't happen before just because the most limiting factors were those listed. The potassium doesn't get sucked form the body, that's all in cells. SO the float level in the serum is suddenly lowered and that isn't a very big reserve as we need 5000mg a day under "normal" conditions and most don't get that. Add sudden healing on top of that wIth a pentup demand and suddenly some additional amount is required.

    THIS IS POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS IT CAN KILL YOU if continued too long at too low a level.

    Take it seriously. If it continues then the body potassium starts dropping. Then you are in trouble.

    To sum it up, mb12 et al uses up the available (in serum) potassium, it isn't discarded, it's used. We normally excrete quite a bit in urine and that can be increased by hypoglycemia as someone pointed out, by variuos drugs and especially by some diuretics, like Lasix (furosomide).
    Lotus97 likes this.
  3. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Here is a thought, I haven't done the lit search to check it, but there has been a low potassium level in ME in studies for a very long time - but it has not always been found. If I recall correctly, they thought at one time that low body potassium might be a sign of ME.

    So here is my thought: what if we have transient hypokalemia (low blood potassium)? It will show up some times and not others. Any time the body tries to kickstart healing, potassium could crash. Therefore the body shuts down the healing process. This could be another block to healing even without being on a methylation protocol. It might also explain the transient weakness many of us get that comes and goes. We start to heal, we become hypokalemic, we crash, we stop healing. Unless a blood test is taken during that weak period, when there is barely enough strength to stand and getting to a doctor sounds crazy, how would they find it?

    Bye, Alex
  4. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    HI Alex,

    I have intermittant paradoxical folate deficiency. As I exit paradoxical folate deficiency and cell reproduction starts up again, I have a hypokalemic episode. I think this may be what you are describing. Also, hypoglycemia can trigger such.
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Freddd, one of the reasons I got interested in this is that on day four of methylation I got hit with weakness. This is exactly the feeling I have been getting transiently for as far back as I can recall.

    Here is a list of high potassium foods (basically fruit and vege, but also some fish), though many are also high folate:chard, crimini mushrooms, and spinach, fennel, kale, mustard greens, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, winter squash, blackstrap molasses, eggplant, bell pepper,cantaloupe, tomatoes, summer squash, celery, romaine lettuce, cauliflower, turnip greens, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, kale, carrots, beets, green beans, and papaya, cucumber,turmeric, apricots, ginger root, strawberries, avocado, banana, tuna, halibut, and cabbage.

    Source (not sure how reliable it is, too busy to check): http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=90

    Bye, Alex
  6. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    You might be on to something here. I've had my electrolyte levels tested several times, and the tests always came back normal. I have POTS and low cortisol, and for these symptoms, a high sodium, low potassium diet is usually recommended. So for these reasons, I've never supplemented potassium before, and even have stayed away from high potassium foods.

    After reading Freddds posts on potassium defiency when starting active B12s, I have tried supplementing with potassium. The interesting thing is, the "crash" I experience on B12s (headache, nausea, weakness, shaking, coldness, muscle twitches, anxiety) is remarkable similar to the POTS/general ME crashes I have been experiencing for so long. Is it possible that I've had potassium deficiency for years, even though blood tests have been normal?
  7. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi adreno, thats my hypothesis though I don't claim it as a fact. We don't know enough. If the potassium levels crash transiently, and the tissue levels are too low to easily compensate, then periodic waves of weakness and blood pressure abnormalities are an expected result. Its an interesting question. The methylation protocol, in this view, simply induces the crash more consistently - its bringing to light something already there perhaps. Bye, Alex
  8. chilove

    chilove Senior Member

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    Thanks guys! I figured it must be something like that.. the body needing to use massive amounts of potassium to conduct the extra detoxing and healing.. makes sense..

    I've also found that I need to pay close attention to my magnesium levels to feel "the best" (or at least the best that is currently possible given my overall not so great state of health...)... I'll start another thread about that bcuz I think it is also very important and I've learned some tricks on managing electrolytes over the last few weeks since I've been in this current crash.
  9. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Alex,

    What you are saying sure fits the data and my personal experience. I know how important the potassium is on this end of things. I really hadn't consided in looking back that my up and down folate deficiedncy could also have been triggerring up and down potassium. More and more fits the patterns.
  10. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Something interesting cust came up. In Experimental Nutritional Folate Deficiency in Man, Victor Herbert, they deprived someone of folate and measured the response. This person despite being exposed to colds and flu never caught one. This experiment was a case study on one person I think, and so has little statistical validity, but it was interesting anyway because reduced flu and cold incidence is often talked about by ME patients. Bye, Alex
  11. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, Alex.

    I like your hypothesis about low potassium. I think it makes sense. As you may know, the potassium level inside the cells (potassium normally being the main cation inside the cells) is maintained by a membrane ion pump known as the sodium-potassium ATPase pump. This pump exports sodium and imports potassium, using ATP as its power source. Normally, the potassium leaks out slowly via potassium channels in the cell membrane, but the action of the ion pump maintains it at its normal elevated level relative to lower level of potassium in the intercellular fluid.

    A fairly large part of the ATP generated by the mitochondria is used to power this pump. This is especially true for the neurons, but it is significant for other cell types, also.

    In ME/CFS, there is mitochondrial dysfunction. This lowers the rate of production of ATP, and that causes an energy crisis for this ion pump, so that it has difficulty maintaining a normal potassium concentration inside the cells. Now, when you combine this with what Freddd has emphasized, i.e. that doing the methylation treatment raises the folate levels in the cells and thus makes possible a higher rate of production of new DNA, which enables a higher rate of cell division, the increased demand for potassium to supply the new cells collides with the depleted potassium inventory in the existing cells, and WHAMO! the potassium level in the blood goes down, raising Cain with with heartbeat, and look out!

    Makes sense to me.

    Rich
  12. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, all.

    I just want to note that there is a test available that will evaluate the level of intracellular potassium. It's the Exatest offered by Intracellular Diagnostics in Oregon. In this test, they analyze a swab of cells from inside the mouth, using an electron microscope with energy-dispersive X-ray fluorescence analysis. It measures the intracellular concentrations of six elements: Magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and chlorine (as chloride). As far as I know, they are the only ones that use this patented process.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  13. barbc56

    barbc56 Senior Member

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    How is this test different from a test I can get from my doctor? I have had hyponatremia this is nothing to fool around with. It's life threatening. Are these test reliable and are they validated? Does this lab have credible credentials? Somehow a lab over the internet, and is the only lab in the country who does this test, raises alarm bells. Am I being paranoid?

    Thanks.

    Barb. C. :>)
  14. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Rich,

    This all makes much sense to me as well. Three cheers for Alex for noticing this and you making sense of it.

    WHAMO! the potassium level in the blood goes down, raising Cain with with heartbeat, and look out!


    I would say I'm fortunate that it ties my muscles in knots before doing so to my heart. At least I have some warning. I try to warn people that this is dangerous. The paralized illeum is also a danger you have mentioned. And it isn't something that goes away easily by iteself. It is almost not at all recognized, just as the paradoxical and induced folate deficiencies are unrecognized. This could explain the whole start to feel better then the whammo we all have had over and over despite becoming obsessed with healthful eating, organic gardening and all of that. Could this be an answer to what causes post exercise crashes that last for days to weeks?

  15. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    What do you guys think about using taurine? Wouldn't it help to keep the potassium level up in the cells?
  16. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Adreno,

    But not in the serum where the cells draw from, and the potassium is being utilized, not flushed.
  17. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Just a little note of caution. I like this potassium hypothesis, and I think it could be be right, but I have been involved in biochemical models for ME since 1993. Many are wrong, most are incomplete. It could well be a part of the answer, another step forward, but it will take more investigation to show that it is more than that. The inccomplete thing is what worries me the most. What don't we know that could change our interpretation? In the meantime we can continue to make small incremental advances in theory and practice. Bye, Alex
  18. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Alex,

    Yes, this looks like piece in the puzzle. As such it fits beautifully in already observed parterns and and ties in other already observed patterns. I don't think it implies any new action other than paying more attention to potassium tests, and strengthening the cautionary notes on potassium regarding methylation startup.
  19. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi Freddd, yes indeed, as I transiently get many hypokalemic symptoms on a regular basis. It has me looking in this direction now. If I discover anything I will post it. One thing I know is that potassium hyperexcretion occurs if there is gut damage, and often results in reduced gut motility .... hmmmm, some of the more common issues with ME and gut function are gut fragility, gut reduced motility (or even loss of motility) and other factors implicated in gut damage such as H2S and dysbiosis. Bye, Alex

    PS During the two days I was on methylation (I am not now as I am on medication that makes potassium problematic, it can cause hyperkalemia, I am thinking about this) my severe circadian dysfynction seemed to autocorrect. This was in just two days. I am thinking I might go on methylation at a lower dose soon, and maybe intermittently. I am considering a range of options including switching blood pressure medications. I am on an ACE inhibitor, which raises serium potassium, but I don't have to be and if I can correct the potassium issue I might not need a bp med at all. I have both high bp and NMH (a form of OI).
  20. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Alex,

    You remind me of another piece that fits the pattern, alternating diarrhea/constipation in FMS/CFS. The is also alternating diarrhea/normal. Consider IBS diarrhea as folate deficiency builds, and IBS-constipation as potassium falls as folate comes back.

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