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Methyl trap v low potassium -- I can't tell!

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by bookwoman0308, Apr 24, 2015.

  1. bookwoman0308


    Hi everyone, thank you SO MUCH for all of your shared wisdom! It has been a godsend finding this forum. For the first time in a decade, I actually feel optimistic about getting better. It is so helpful to read through experiences of people that are so similar to mine! I always felt like such an outlier. I am in the very early stages of the protocol but have gotten enough feedback from my body that I know this is where the problems lie, so I'm very glad to be addressing the root causes finally.

    My question is that I experience terrible fatigue/headache/flu-like symptoms quite frequently. It sounds like a methyl trap situation, but I am freaked out by the low potassium warnings and wanted to check with the crowd to see if anyone could tell me more clearly how to distinguish. There is so much information on this website, and honestly I feel really, really, really confused by it all!!! I am going to have to muck through my own process with lots of trial and error.

    I have terrible stomach reactions to taking more than one 99mg potassium pill each day so far, so I don't want to take more potassium supplements if I don't have to just yet. I haven't started adding in the adb12, meb12, and l-methylfolate yet, and when I do I'll need to figure out what is a low potassium reaction and what is the deal with this fatigue/headache situation. I've ordered a few different kinds of potassium that will arrive soon and then I can start the protocol for real. Right now I'm just taking the basic vitamins and supplements, and my poor B-deprived body seems very affected just adding in the B complex with C from NatureMade.
    AnnaDove likes this.
  2. Critterina

    Critterina Senior Member

    Arizona, USA
    @bookwoman0308 ,

    I'm glad you're optimistic and hopeful. It can be a long road (and I don't even have CFS). We are mostly all here because we're outliers. My doctor can't even add my condition to my electronic health record, although he doesn't dispute it.

    So, my solution to low potassium/methyl trap distinction is experimenting on yourself: get one or two liters of coconut water and drink a liter over the course of the day. If you feel better it was low potassium. If you can't stand the taste, it's probably not low potassium. But I can't say this is a good way for you to go, but it works for me.
    Silverlining and Johnmac like this.
  3. ahmo

    ahmo Senior Member

    Northcoast NSW, Australia
    @bookwoman0308 I can't say what's causing your symptoms. Am writing here to tell you that I take my potassium and many other supps by footbath.(this could equally be handbath). I use K+ gluconate. But if you think you need more K+ and stomach won't tolerate, crush some of your tablets and try in footbath. This forum is, indeed, a welcome place of shared wisdom.:balloons::hug:
    presently_distant likes this.
  4. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    You are lucky ;) because some members compiled great guides for the methylation protocol. Just clink the link in my signature "Freddd's protocol".
  5. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Southern California
    @bookwoman0308 - I totally agree - this forum is a godsend. I cannot imagine trying to deal with CFS etc. all on my own - or, rather, I can imagine it and it's not pretty!

    Re potassium - another thing you could try is low-sodium V8 or even regular V8. 8 oz. of low-sodium V8 has 900 mg. of potassium, a big dose. Regular V8 has about 500 mg., and they're both low calories so it's a good source for me. I agree with Critterina - try it and see if you feel better.

    I first discovered I had a problem with low potassium when I started Freddd's B12 protocol, and he warned of the potential for a rather sudden drop in potassium levels. At first my energy picked up when I started the methylfolate (I'd already been taking methylB12 for a long time), and then a couple of days later this severe fatigue hit and I'm so grateful I knew what it was. I started taking potassium, I titrated up to 1000 mg. over a couple of days, and that horrible fatigue went away, so I knew what I was dealing with.

    The really interesting thing though was that it was a familiar horrible fatigue - I'd had it before, only I never knew what caused it. It was different than fatigue from PEM or detoxing, etc. I just thought it was another weird symptom that I could do nothing about, but began to realize I had a long-standing problem with low potassium.

    So I definitely recommend try boosting your potassium and see how you feel, and if you don't tolerate the pills, try coconut water or V8 etc. I found that potassium gluconate works well for me. I initially tried potassium citrate but it irritated my bladder and contributed to a bladder infection.

    I have read it's important to increase your potassium intake gradually, at least as far as supplements are concerned - e.g., I wouldn't start out taking 1000 mg. all at once. If you haven't already, I highly recommend reading some of Freddd's posts on methylation and potassium etc. Here's one link:
  6. bookwoman0308


    Thanks everyone for your comments and support! :) :) I did a ton of reading and note-taking this weekend, so I think I have a good plan for starting now that my supplements have all arrived. I like the idea of drinking potassium or taking the footbaths -- I will definitely try that if my stomach cannot tolerate a bunch of potassium pills.

    It is fascinating how much my symptoms line up with the ones Freddd describes. For all that there is a great deal of variety when it comes to what works for each individual, I have found so far that all of his advice rings 100% true for me. I cannot tolerate even small amounts of folinic acid. My doctor says that isn't possible, and other people on this website have said that people SHOULD take it or that Freddd's genes are very rare, but I think the odds are that there are more people like him (and me?) than anyone realizes. It just is very difficult to find one's way to a place like this where help is available. I have tried SO MANY different things over the past 10 years, and the few things that were helpful were homeopathy and acupuncture, which my friends think are quackery. And yet the highly esteemed doctors who charge tons of money can't do anything at all to help, or only make me feel worse. I feel terrible imagining that, every day, another person (or many people) are told by an M.D. that "there's nothing physically wrong with you -- it's all in your head." Ugghhh!!
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  7. Sherpa

    Sherpa Ex-workaholic adrenaline junkie

    I would say that "low potassium" is WAY over-diagnosed on this forum.

    For me, supplementing potassium caused lot of problems. For sure potassium can be low and need to be addressed in some cases, but similar symptoms can be caused by dozens of other things that are NOT low potassium - and if you take potassium it will just cause high potassium, which is very unpleasant.

    I take 400mcg of methylfolate per day and don't need any.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
    zzz, dannybex and Gondwanaland like this.
  8. dannybex

    dannybex Senior Member

    I agree. Potassium can be high if one has adrenal issues, which many of us do, so we need sodium instead of potassium to help w/our poor worn out adrenals. Back in 2004 I was prescribed methyl-b12 injections (forgot all about them for 8 years, thank you brain fog!), and had the best 'remission' since getting sick in 1998. I didn't know about a possible potassium deficiency issue, but never needed any even way back then.
  9. bookwoman0308


    What are the symptoms of HIGH potassium?!

    I have been taking methylfolate (400 mcg) and mb12 (1mg) for 5 days, with potassium supplements, and I've been feeling worse and worse and worse! I get really cold in the evening, like it's almost impossible to warm up, even though it is sunny and 60 degrees outside. Very strong anxiety, no appetite, no desire to exercise. Taking more potassium doesn't help, it just makes my stomach hurt a lot. Taking more methylfolate I think makes it worse.

    Ugghhhh!! I was so hopeful about this path! I don't want to abandon it altogether but will need to re-strategize. Do these symptoms sound like anything you guys recognize??
  10. Sherpa

    Sherpa Ex-workaholic adrenaline junkie

    High postassium can involve:
    I personally get a feeling of "foggyness", a hangoverlike feeling, sometimes I will (paradoxically and dangerously) crave even more potassium - I get and a cloudy feeling in the kidney area the next day when I take Potassium when not needed.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
  11. ltpitt

    ltpitt Lucy

    Hobart, Tasmania

    I'm probably a bit late coming to this convo but i just experienced high potassium myself and ive been looking on here for other people experiencing the same.

    There is a lot of info on the dangers of low potassium for those on the methylation protocol that some people may not realise high potassium is also dangerous and causes similar symptoms.

    I dont know for sure if i ever really had low potassium but i started experiencing the kinds of symptoms people have warned are associated with low potassium like really rapid and strong heart rate, some palpitations and really blurry vision so started on 500mg per day. The symptoms continued so i went up to 1000mg per day there was a slight reduction in how rapid and strong my pulse was but it didnt make a continued or significant difference. I was a little hesitant to go beyond 1000mg per day as this is the recommended upper limit for supplemented potassium intake, however, after reading through the posts on the dangers of low potassium and its symptoms and hearing how much potassium some people doing the methylation protocol take (as much as 3-4g) it seemed like more might help. i also read a few posts that mentioned how difficult it is to take too much potassium as, unless you have kidney damage, your kidneys will filter out any excess.

    After 2 days of about 2000mg of potassium per day i felt really bad, that was yesterday, and i ended up spending the night in the hospital due to high potassium and just got home.

    So i just thought id post this in case it helps anyone else avoid too much potassium. while im sure many people experience low potassium when they start doing the methylation protocol some people can also end up with it going too high. i dont have any kidney problems and am not taking any medications that can lead to potassium retention but i guess it wasnt as difficult as i had thought to have too much potassium. as i said im not sure if never needed additional potassium or if i started with low potassium then ended up with it being too high (i dont know how quickly it shifts from low to high so im not sure if this is possible?) but i just wanted people to know that high potassium will make you feel really bad and is dangerous also.

    my high potassium symptoms included...
    - arrhythmia
    - low blood pressure
    - difficulty concentrating (even just enough to make sentences and find the correct words)
    - dizziness (particularly upon standing or bending)
    - alternating weak then strong pulse
    - blurred/dimmed vision
    - weakness
    - slight lower back pain (i have no idea but i wonder if this is related to the kidneys working hard trying to excrete the excess?)
    - nausea
    - difficulty walking straight (felt a bit like being drunk)
    - breathlessness
    - increased thirst

    I realise many of these symptoms are very similar to the low potassium symptoms but hopefully there is something in there that might help someone who is unsure about how much potassium they need differentiate between low and high symptoms :)
  12. Johnmac

    Johnmac Senior Member

    I get heart palps from the FP, which I assume must be low potassium. They vanish quickly when I take my potassium.

    The higher the dosages of Freddd's DQs (and ramping up dosages is part of the protocol for most), the more potassium I need.

    I get big stomach problems if I take K away from food. I always have to take it with or directly after a meal. It's fine then.

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