about Potassium Deficiency
Dr. Ben Kim
am an avid reader of your newsletter and like the greens
also very much. Thank you for your wonderful work.
question for you. I have a good friend and client (I do some home health care
for her) who was recently placed in the hospital for severe leg cramping. Since
she has congestive heart failure, it was thought that perhaps her heart had thrown
off a clot which blocked the circulation.....however, no signs were found of a
clot. After several days in the hospital and many, many tests, she was sent home
without much additional knowledge. Then, upon entering the house, we got a phone
call from the lab saying that her potassium was dangerously low. She has consistently
been on the equivalent of 4,500 mg. of potassium per day to counteract the potassium
loss from the diuretics she is on for her heart. That has now been changed to
seems to me that such large amounts should not be necessary if she is absorbing
it well and I have encouraged her to eat more potassium rich foods which she is
doing. The cramping has stopped for now but I would still like to understand what
might block proper absorption of the supplements. I know licorice can interfere
but that is not an issue here. Any other thoughts you might have would be useful.
you so much!!!
you, Sharon for bringing up this important issue. With cardiovascular disease
and diuretic use being as prevalent as they are, potassium deficiency has become
a relatively common health challenge for many.
the factors that you have already noted, other possible causes of potassium deficiency
Dehydration brought about by prolonged diarrhea or vomiting.
Some types of kidney disease.
A dependency on laxatives.
Anorexia nervosa or bulima
doubt that your friend's potassium deficiency is the result of some form of kidney
disease, as almost all types of kidney disease that can cause a potassium deficiency
are relatively easy to detect with routine diagnostic testing.
being able to do a full work up myself, I would continue to encourage your friend
to regularly eat potassium-rich foods such as:
(with their skins)
Raisins or dried prunes (less than a handful per day)
would also encourage her to ensure a steady intake of magnesium from healthy,
whole foods such as:
Raw almonds (that have been soaked)
and lima beans are good sources of both potassium and magnesium.
other point to consider: I have found that muscle cramping is often caused by
a calcium deficiency.
Regardless of what her blood work shows with regards to her calcium status, I
think it would be worth her while to ensure sufficient intake of calcium from
healthy, whole foods such as:
Wild salmon with their bones
Cooked white beans
potential cause of severe leg cramping is pressure on a nerve root or group of
nerve roots in her lower spinal column region. But I imagine that her doctor has
ruled this out through appropriate neurological and orthopedic testing.
this answer is useful, and that your friend experiences a full and speedy recovery.
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