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Mild pins and needles - is this a symptom of Potassium deficiency?

Discussion in 'Detox: Methylation; B12; Glutathione; Chelation' started by Hollb, Mar 23, 2017.

  1. Hollb


    Hi all,

    I believe I am experiencing hypokalemia onset, but have some symptoms I am not sure about. All yesterday I had a strong muscle spasm in my thumb that came and went. I took some potassium (two 99mg tablets) in a divided dose through the afternoon but it didn't get much better. In the evening it got worse and stayed longer, and I also got a muscle spasm in my left thigh for a short time and then a tingling sensation started up in my hands which hasn't completely gone away even now, and I am also feeling it in my feet and legs occasionally. It is not like the pins and needles I had in my arms and hands before I began B12, it is milder and really just feels like a tingle. The muscle spasms in thumb and legs have so far stayed away today. I have looked at the symptoms of Potassium deficiency and see that spasms are a symptom I can't find out much about the tingling?

    I have also been experiencing increasing anxiety, which started two nights ago, where I would wake in the night feeling very anxious and not be able to get back to sleep for some time. Last night I was extremely anxious and had a 'wired' feeling so that I couldn't stay asleep although I repeatedly dropped off for a few minutes. This is still going on today, when I do fall asleep it isn't deep or refreshing and simply feels like my brain switched off without me resting.

    I had come to the conclusion this anxiety was a methylfolate side effect, as I have been taking a high dose to get myself out of what I think was folate deficiency. Does this sound correct or could the anxiety also be a symptom of a possible Potassium deficiency?

    To explain about what I have been taking, I started hydroxycobalamin injections (1mg) a couple of months back to help with my fatigue and other symptoms for what I was told was B12 deficiency, like pins and needles and numbness in my fingers. At that point I didn't know anything about methylation so wasn't taking folate. Initially, I felt fantastic, but began experiencing a return of brain fog and low energy and some skin symptoms which is when I did some research and began methylfolate. I have slowly increased this from 1000mcg all the way up to between 7000-8000mcgs a day in order to eliminate the brain fog/fatigue and the skin symptoms (cheilitis/bleeding lips). So far it has been working, has made me feel energised and very calm/happy. Only this last ten days or so have I properly understood the need for Potassium and started adding this in, one or two of the 99mg pills per day. These seemed to further increase the feeling of energy and calmness. Just the last three days however, this sudden increase in anxiety symptoms began and then the muscles spasms/tingling has occurred. Other symptoms last night included light headedness and felt I was going to pass out, had nausea, and felt really disturbed with an odd sensation I was floating above my body (I wonder if this was all just extreme anxiety, like a panic attack?).

    Can anyone point in the right direction? I haven’t taken anything yet today. Do I need more Potassium based on the spasms and tingling sensations? Could the anxiety also be Potassium deficiency or is it more likely I am now taking more folate than I need and the anxiety is a side effect of excess folate? Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. Critterina

    Critterina Senior Member

    Arizona, USA
    It's hard to tell without lab tests. Cramps are frequently a calcium deficiency. Maybe you just got your electrolytes off. Testing is the way to go.

    I'm glad that you found B12 helps with your initial symptoms, though. That's a good indication that you probably did have a deficiency.
  3. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member

    Hi @Hollb

    My main symptoms for potassium deficiency are heart palpitations.

    Low Folate symptoms for me are numerous:
    Mouth ulcers
    Waves of nausea/indigestion
    Blurred vision
    Tingling or itchy skin

    This is a balance thing (b12/folate)....when I have more energy all these symptoms go low/ disappear. It can vary from day to day though. I look at the combination of these to give me a steer using a phone app. I don't chop and change my treatment since it takes around 4 weeks for me to stabilise after any change. I take 2'squirts of hydroxy/methyl b12 subdermal oil per day (equivalent to sc injections) and 3x400mcg Methylfolate I take 3x200mg of potassium chloride and so far this has controlled the heart palpitations.

    I would recommend tracking symptoms and making small changes every 4-6 weeks until you have levels that work. Generally start lowish on folate, then get your b12 levels up over 4-6 weeks then increase folate if you need to very very slowly. When you increase the folate check potassium and correct as you go. I have a folate deficiency issue due to the drugs I'm taking, but I seem to be on a lot lower than some. By far the best thing that has helped me is the b12 and the oils are streets ahead of the sublinguals I started on. I look at the folate as being an activator of this.

    I have been deficient for over 20 years and have permanently numb hands and feet as a result. If the feeling returns (debatable after all that time) I am sure it won't be pleasant when it does. The liver stores b12 so it takes a long time (up to a year) for the reserve level to go back up. I am hoping that things will smooth out in terms of folate symptoms when that happens.

    In short this isn't a short term thing.

    Sounds like you are making progress through. The best advice I got from this forum when I started methylation correction a year ago was to "go low and slow", so just passing it on. I'm sure you've already read it loads here.
    Kathevans likes this.
  4. Mary

    Mary Forum Support Assistant

    Southern California
    @Hollb - I don't know if your symptoms are due to potassium deficiency, or too much folate, etc. You are on a rather high dose of folate. You might try cutting it a little and see how you do.

    Re potassium - the RDA is 4500 mg (and that's the minimum). Taking 200 mg a day is very little. An easy way to find out if some of your problems are due to low potassium is to eat or drink some high potassium foods, and not just one banana, which is usually not enough. Many people do well with coconut water; I like low-sodium V8 for potassium. It's low in sugar and calories. And you can look up foods high in potassium.

    If I were you, I would eat/drink high potassium foods, e.g., a couple of glasses of V8 or coconut water, see if your symptoms improve, and if they do, then you can decide what to do from there, whether to add in a supplement, etc. I do well taking 800 mg potassium gluconate a day (in divided doses) as well as a glass of low-sodium V8. We're all different, some people here need more potassium, some need less.
  5. Hollb


    Hi all,

    Thanks ever so much for all the advice. It has taken me nearly a month to completely disentangle what was going on. It turns out I was deficient in potassium and folate, but much more so in folate.

    @Mary Thank you, I took you advice and upped the potassium which helped alot, Once I got up to around 1200mg per day the symptoms began to subside and now I need alot less again. The muscle spasms were definitely potassium and have stayed away completely since I upped my dose. The tingling and insomnia, I have no figured out are folate deficiency, and are still with me but getting better.

    @arewenearlythereyet Thank you, unfortunately I didn't go low and slow at the beginning because I wasn't on a methylation protocol but simply taking B12 for deficiency on the advice of one particular doctor. Ssadly I didn't know anything about methylation until I started running into problems. I am now so deficient in folate that i can't take even an 1/8th of a sublingual B12 without causes massive folate deficiency symptoms that last days. So i have stopped B12 altogether. I am 90% certain I had folate deficiency long before I got very low on B12 (my B12 level tested very low even after two weeks of injecting 1mg daily so I know I was low) but I have been suffering with folate deficiency symptoms since my teens (especially the mouth symptoms) and I think I have simply run out any folate I did have by taking so much B12 on it's own. I know the general advice is taking folate without b12 is dangerous, but I think in my case the reverse is also true. I am now back to having little or no energy since I cannot take B12 without causing insomnia that lasts days on end and tingling in hands and feet. I have been hvaing to take up to 25000mcgs of fplate to overcome the deficiency and get the symptoms to subside so I am giving up the protocol temporarily. Next stop is to a doctor who understands methylation and getting some tests for MTHFR mutations I think. Shame there are so few people qho have any knowledge of the area in the UK.

    Feeling a little sad I started all this so haphazardly, but as I say, I had no clue what a methylation cycle even was when I was advised to start b12 treatment.
    arewenearlythereyet and Mary like this.

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