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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. Rockt

    Rockt Senior Member

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    Thanks Freddd.

    I'm going to try 500mg at each meal for a few days and see what happens. No safety issues with that?
  2. aquariusgirl

    aquariusgirl Senior Member

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    this potassium thing has been nagging at me for a while.... so I went back & checked & in December 2006, a couple of months before I went on Rich's methylation program, I did an unprovoked 24 hr urine collection. My potassium was 6,320 (range 686-4,568).

    If I understand correctly, I was dumping urine in my urine at this point... well into my illness... but before any methylation start-up effects. So I can only imagine how potassium deficient I might be now...after 5 yrs of regular folate & B12 consumption. I just ordered a blood test for potassium...so I guess we'll see.. But I'm wondering if it makes sense to supplement potassium on its own.. or whether it needs to be done as part of an electrolyte package.


    No references... just a hunch...i thought electrolytes had to be balanced. Would love some guidance on this?

    Incidentally, I was also dumping lithium big time 164 (8-89) & aluminum & lead.
  3. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

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    Hi Y'all ; I'm an example of someone who has supplemented large amounts of potassium for 4yrs. now. The main reason for this is that I take cortisol for adrenal/pituitary insufficiency. Cortisol wastes potassium. Although my sodium was lowered, my potassium was not increased in blood tests. Although blood tests did not reveal that potassium was low, I realized that my symptoms were alleviated with supplementation.
    I began Mb12 about 4 yrs. ago. I had been taking various forms of B12 since about 1999, when a doc noticed that I had enlarged red blood cells. I mistakenly thought that taking small amounts intermittently would suffice, and I didn't realize that so many of my symptoms were that of low B12.
    Over this past year, I've been trying to discern the difference between symptoms of low B12 from low potassium, because some are similar. Now that I've increased Mb12 and Folate to alleviate deficiencies; I've also had to increase potassium to counterbalance this.
    My symptoms of low potassium are : Edema... anywhere, increased pulse rate, increased blood pressure, corneal edema, dry eyes, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, constipation, shortness of breath, fatigue, stiff neck,and more that I don't recall now.
    I've been taking between 2000-5000 mgs. daily for 4yrs. I take it in divided doses of usually 500 mgs. of powdered potassium gluconate dissolved in a glass of water. If I take more than that at one time, I produce diarrhea that worsens electrolyte imbalance.
    Now that I've increased Mb12 and Folate, 15 mgs. jarrows subs. and approx. 1-2 mgs. Folate; I am able to taper down the cortisol dosage. With this very slow taper, I believe I will also then require less potassium supplementation in the future.
  4. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    I've noticed the low potassium symptoms seem to be exacerbated after eating meals. I'm wondering if this is because the food triggers cell replication, or is it the sodium in the food causing a higher need for potassium?

    Did anyone else experience this, or have any idea what's going on?
  5. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi adreno, I don't know the answer to your question. However, a piece of the puzzle may be this. The gut is damaged all the time. It acts to repair itself. There is a high content of potassium in the gut repair secretions, and is thought to be enough to induce hypokalemia after gut surgery. So if you eat, the body might be stepping up repair - or alternatively damage from things like SIBO might be inducing repair mechanisms. On the other hand, the symptoms might be coincidental and just look like potassium. I think its a good question though. I would like to know the answer to it too, with hard evidence to back that answer up. Bye, Alex
  6. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    I don't think everyone will necessarily experience low potassium in this way because some of the symptoms you listed are due to high blood pressure. I am not so sure that people without the genes for high blood pressure experience that readily.

    I would like to add to the list of things that can cause the irritability and stiffness of lack of potassium. I have been bad with my protocol. I am not sure how to address the psychology of this so it does not happen, but I am taking too many pills and now that I am on so many pills I am not reliable about it. I perceive that they hurt my stomach and can't be taken w/o food or with coffe or sometimes at all w/o hurting. So I sometimes just take my hormones and antioxidants and skip skip skip. So I skipped a good many days - like 4 or 5. It caused a whole body edema and also I started to feel - well I don't want to say a neuropathy per se - but what I felt was that my legs below the knee were swollen enough that it was impeding feeling them. So I knew it was because I was bad bad bad, so I thought that the protocol might be a slow way to fix this and I decided to slather DMSO all over my legs. DMSO delivers methyls after all and takes down inflammation in only 10 minutes. It did work and it did take care of the swelling and lack of feeling. But it ALSO MADE ME IRRITABLE AND STIFF IN THE CHEST, which I knew immediately was an electrolyte problem, took my 500mg powdered potassium in a vitamin water, and was fine.

    I never had that happen before...I think it was because I had gone from NO B's to methylation. In my whole life I had never taken no B's before.

    I had a great track record for taking vitamins when it was under 20. I just have too many pills now and I am becoming unreliable. I have a doc appt in Feb and the poor man is going to have to give psycholigical advice because my track record is going south.

    Anyway...if you need B's due to genetics anyway and have not been getting them, it SEEMS that DMSO can also provoke that need-potassium reaction. I do not know if I could have ridden it out...not sure how bad it was. I have had electrolyte issues my whole life due to the VDR genetic defect and hypoglycemia so I am used to adjusting my electrolytes frequently.
  7. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    So Freddd, this was worded a little confusingly to me. Are you saying all these things, including Vitamin D, caused low potassium? Or that it took all these things to get the cycle working? (I know Vitamin D regulates one or more of the genes making enzyme(s) for this cycle, but it is news if D can cause low potassium). Is it true that licorice also causes low potassium and ace inhibitors raise it? How does anyone ever avoid a heart attack? This is so involving! You get a CBC electrolyte reading once a year and - man it changes once a second. It is so scarey.
  8. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Rydra,

    I'm saying all these critical cofactors have the potential in deficiency from preventing mb12/adb12/metafolin startup or provide a separate startup completing another "bank" of startup and have or could cause a drop in potassium levels as cells start to form. NONE of them cause a drop in potassium. They all can cause cell formation startup and as a result can cause serum potassium to drop as a consequence of cell formation startup.

    This might give you some additional answers.
    http://naturaldatabase.therapeuticr...8-40&cec=0&pm=5&AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

    Pay attention. Many of these things can be felt in ones own body if it is paid attention to rather than ignored before the things get "out of range".
  9. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    Today I had a long informative talk with Freddd. I'm now pretty convinced that potassium deficiency has been a big issue for me.

    In Summer 2007, when I was still living in the moldy house, I tried Rich's protocol at the recommended doses. I immediately got a large reaction of what I perceived to be detox, with a lot of diarrhea that seemed really toxic to me. After a week of this, my intestines totally froze up, to the point that even colonics didn't help. This went on for two weeks. Then they finally released, and I had one of the worst nights of my life -- vomiting, blood pressure and heart rate swings, alternating feverishness and chills, many toxic bowel movements. When it was all over, I was very weak.

    This was severe enough to get me into the "adverse events" section of Rich's paper. Of course no doctors could explain any of this, nor did anyone in the CFS online community. The idea that it was due to a potassium problem that somehow got fired up when methylation started makes sense to me now though. "Paralytic ileus" certainly sounds right. Also, the whole time that I was going through that experience, I had a suddenly craving for salted vegetable broth and was using my very limited energy to make it fresh and then drinking maybe a gallon of it a day. I knew that my body was craving electrolytes -- just not that a lack of electrolytes could cause my intestines to freeze up.

    After I moved out of the moldy house, I was able to re-start Rich's protocol without that kind of problem. However, a couple of weeks ago I did a fast (with some green juice and a small amount of vegetable soup each day). This appeared to increase my detox, allowing me to increase my methyl B12 shots to 10 mg a day (usually I get red urine if I do that), along with 15 mg of Deplin. Once again, I started craving vegetable broth. (We were supposed to drink electrolyte powder, but the vegetable broth seemed better.) Since the fast, I've continued taking the same doses of supplements and now am craving mountains and mountains of fresh produce. You'd think that was a good thing, but I'm wondering if it's actually pathological, due to a need for potassium. (Freddd also points out that fresh produce has a lot of folinic acid in it, which can block methylfolate. I do suspect that my body does not like folinic acid -- I never felt like taking any supplements that had it in -- but with 15 mg of Deplin, I would think that would make up for a lot of folinic acid in produce.)

    I wouldn't say that fast made me feel any better. (Most people say they feel great after it.) I still feel sort of lethargic and looking forward to winter being over. Generally once I get to the middle of February, I start having much more energy due to environmental toxins being less problematic.

    Which brings me to my next comment: some biotoxins cause potassium/sodium and calcium channel blocks. Is that relevant here? Would being hit with a toxin that did this cause potassium deficiency symptoms? If so, does supplementing potassium help? (I wish I understood biochemistry better.)

    I do have some 200 mg potassium capsules (from Pure Encapsulations) and am going to try taking a bunch of them. What would be a good amount to supplement, do folks think?

    Thanks much for any thoughts you might have.

    Best, Lisa
  10. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    Hi Lisa,

    I've settled on 600mg with each of my two meals, then 300mg on wakeup and 300mg at bedtime if I have early signs, a feeling that my muscles want to spontaniously spasm.

    Something I didn't manage to say earlier is about fevers. Before ther crash I had frequent and prolonged low fevers. I haven't had a fever since the end of 1987 even when I felt like I had one, you know the skin sensation and all that. Sometimes my temperature was as low as 97 or so.
  11. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    I suggest you start with 400mg TID. I find I need between 1200-1800mg per day.
  12. slayadragon

    slayadragon Senior Member

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    I have been eating unbelievable amounts of fresh organic produce for the past couple of weeks. Something like 10 cups a day. Is it possible that I could still have a potassium deficiency with all this produce? Or would any symptoms that I'm having be due to something else?

    Thanks, Lisa
  13. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    I find that food based potassium does not relieve my symptoms the way that supplement does. I don't know why.

    EDIT: actually, I think a mixture of the two is best. For example, this morning, I calculated my breakfast potassium to about 1300mg. But that wasn't enough, so I took 600mg in supplements. Still wasn't enough, so now I took 200mg more and ate a banana. This puts me at about 2500mg, or more than half the recommended daily intake, already.
  14. aprilk1869

    aprilk1869 Senior Member

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    I have a friend with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) which was triggered when she fractured her ankle. It seems to me that CRPS is very similar to ME and also involves oxidative stress and NMDA receptors. I was thinking, if her body had to heal her bone, then that would mean new cells needed to be created. New cells therefore would require potassium.

  15. rydra_wong

    rydra_wong Guest

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    Thanks, Freddd, for the list of drug / vitamin interactions. I also have sme pretty good lists
    from a different persceptive -- which herbs prevent drug clearance through which P450 gene
    modulated enzyme...it scares the crap out of me. Electrolytes are so fragile...I mean they
    can change in a heart beat but all you get is a CBC once a year...a once a year snapshot of a
    pingpong ball. We need desperately an at-home way to measure electrolytes as we do
    blood pressure. IMHO so many many lives would be saved by such a simple test.
  16. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senescent on the Illinois prairie, USA

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    I have a friend who is on a diet and exercise program to increase her weight and muscle mass. Would the cell production from this be enough to deplete serum potassium?
  17. adreno

    adreno 3% neanderthal

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    I believe it may be time for us to revise our anxieties about potassium supplements as being "dangerous". This article describes how the paleo diet of our ancestors were probably 4 times higher in potassium than todays:

    slayadragon and madietodd like this.
  18. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    This is good information. I think far too many fear small amounts of potassium inappropriately. As somebody's doc said, if you take more than you need it comes out quickly in the urine. Unless somebody has damaged kidneys that is the case. It is difficult to raise your body potassium and cvan take a year or more.
  19. soulfeast

    soulfeast Senior Member

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    are you all basing mg on elemental/RDA? My bottle of potassium gluconate says 99mg (3% RDA) from 595 mg potassium gluconate.

    I took 300 RDA am and pm a few days ago and with the am dose, my severe muscle fatigue and some of the frozen shoulder(s) symptoms were relieved, still have large sore muscle "knots". Tachy and breathlessness as well.

    Today I am taking 200 am and 200 pm RDA. Not much if you all are going by elemental/ RDA measures but alot if going by the gluconate (salt?) amount.

    Thank you..
  20. Freddd

    Freddd Senior Member

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    I go by the elemental 99mg per tablet of the salt.

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