Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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May 03, 2004

Potassium Deficiency: Widespread and often Neglected

Nutritionists tell us that with RDAs, deficiencies are a thing of the past, but is that really the truth? RDAs or Recommended Dietary Allowances are the absolute minimum of a vital nutrient, without which we will get ill and die from a deficiency disease. In a recent article I have cited evidence that RDAs are insufficient to assure optimal health.

Vitamin C is an example. Unlike almost all animals, humans do not manufacture several grams of vitamin C per day in their livers and are thus completely dependent on dietary intake. 60 milligrams of the vitamin as recommended are sufficient to prevent the end-stage deficiency called scurvy, but are woefully inadequate to assure cardiovascular health or proper immune function. An optimal daily intake of Vitamin C of 3000 milligrams (3 grams) has recently been suggested by the National Health Federation in a submission to the Codex Alimentarius Committee on Nutrition and Foods for Special Dietary Uses, based on an evaluation of numerous studies.

Remember those 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables the nutritionists recommend we eat each day? The mineral we generally find in fruits and vegetables together with vitamin C is potassium, and what do you know - we may be routinely deficient not only of vitamin C but of potassium as well! Ironically, there is no RDA for this vital mineral, although it is arguably the most important of them all, and potassium dosage in supplements has been limited by the FDA to 100 milligrams per tablet or capsule, although the "population reference" intake set by the EU in 1992 is 3.1 grams per day.

I have personally been supplementing both vitamin C and potassium for years and would say that these two substances are possibly the most important single elements that we should add to our food. Joe Vialls, who is an investigator, has experienced a severe potassium shortage himself and has researched and written an excellent article that I suggest you read:

- - -

POTASSIUM DEFICIENCY SCAM KILLS AND MAIMS MILLIONS
Deliberately restricting your potassium intake makes you very ill, and
thus vulnerable to hundreds of highly profitable medical "cures"

Copyright Joe Vialls, 30 January 2004

Large graphics, please be patient while page loads

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The title immediately suggests to the reader that a giant pharmaceutical atrocity has been inflicted on the poor natives of some far off third-world country, by a predictably greedy drug multinational, but this is simply not the case. By far the largest number of deaths and permanent crippling disabilities from potassium deficiency occur in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several other western nations.

How this horrific state of affairs came into being and was perpetuated thereafter, is a very long and frequently confusing story, meaning that we must start at the very beginning if we are to have any real chance of understanding the lethal implications. We first need to understand what potassium is, how much our bodies need on a daily basis to stay healthy, and what happens to us when our body's critical store of potassium is inadvertently or deliberately depleted.

Unlike toxic sodium [table salt], potassium is essential to our health. Potassium is present in all cells and is critical to cardiovascular and nerve function, regulating the transfer of nutrients into cells and facilitating muscle energy. This wonder mineral also regulates water balance, assists recuperative powers, and aids rheumatic or arthritic conditions by causing acids to leave the joints, thereby easing stiffness. At the same time potassium is vital for the elimination of wastes, is a natural pain desensitizer, helps control convulsions, headaches and migraines, and promotes faster healing of cuts, bruises and other injuries.

Because of its very high electrochemical activity, potassium is on the move all the time, and we need vast quantities to replenish that lost every day. When we exercise and sweat, we lose potassium through urine. When we are under extreme stress for a variety of other reasons, potassium loss can treble instantly. But as renowned nutritionist Adelle Davis points out, it is toxic sodium that causes the greatest problems. "Persons eating [sodium] salt as they wished excreted nine times more potassium than when their salt intake was limited, and human volunteers kept on diets deficient in potassium retained so much salt that they developed high blood pressure."

If Mother Nature was to deprive you of potassium completely, hard scientific evidence proves you would be dead in less than three weeks. But in many ways this would be a merciful release when compared with the infinitely more painful and far slower death caused by slow potassium deprivation, the preferred method of the FDA and AMA. Proper scientists agree the daily potassium requirements of an average adult lie between 3,200 and 4,100 milligrams, but the average potassium intake of Americans through the food chain is only 1,500 to 2,100 milligrams per day, representing an overall average shortfall of 1,850 milligrams.

Obviously humans can survive at these savagely depleted levels, because Americans manage to eke out about 70 years each, before this basic potassium deficiency overwhelms them and they finally die, sometimes in great pain from a number of directly related illnesses including arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension [high blood pressure], angina, strokes and so on. It is scientifically beyond question that all would live longer and suffer less pain if they received the necessary quantity of potassium each day, which is where the American Food & Drug Administration [FDA] should do a John Wayne job, and ride gallantly to the rescue.

Alas, the Food and Drug Administration has not and will not do so, because of sustained lobby pressure by the pharmaceutical multinationals. Despite having full and unrestricted access to the real scientific data providing hard proof of widespread potassium deficiency bordering on a pandemic, the FDA has deliberately avoided specifying a "Recommended Dietary Allowance" [RDA], while simultaneously passing a law restricting the potassium content of all alternative medicines to a mere 100 milligrams.

This is your first clue to understanding how it is that we get so ill, and then willingly swallow billions of dollars worth of useless 'patent medicines'. Remember, just to keep up with the average shortfall of 1,850 milligrams of potassium per day, you would need to swallow at least 19 pills from your local health food shop, and no ordinary person could possibly afford that in the long term.

In order to keep their medical doctors in line, both the FDA and AMA have circulated a number of truly frightening stories about potassium. Most common among them is that the potassium will 'react' with one of a wide range of synthetic pharmaceutical medicines, frequently resulting in death. This is actually true, but it is the poisonous synthetic medicine which causes the lethal cross reaction that kills you, not the natural potassium so essential to your health. Then there is the even scarier rumor that 'too much' potassium will kill you by stopping your heart from beating, as in the case of a lethal injection execution.

Too much of almost anything will kill you, including simple water and air, especially if applied too quickly or by the incorrect route. When Timothy McVeigh was strapped to a gurney and put to death, the third chemical injected directly into his vein was a 'chaser' containing 50 milliliters of concentrated potassium chloride, which finally stopped his heart. If you are stupid enough to try this at home, you will die just as quickly, and in order to put this deliberate FDA and AMA scare mongering into the proper perspective, it is necessary to explain why.

The normal route for potassium to enter the body is by way of the mouth, either in the form of food, or sometimes as a solution made up of 100% water soluble potassium chloride dissolved in fruit juice. As the potassium passes through the digestive tract, the cells extract what they need and any excess is then passed out of the body, partly as solid waste, but mostly through the kidneys as urine. It is a perfectly normal biochemical process that the body itself knows how to handle very well, without any outside help from medical doctors. However, if you inject the potassium directly into a vein, you bypass the body's biochemical safety processes and stop the heart.

Exactly the same can be said of concentrated hydrochloric acid, always present in our stomachs in order to digest food, but incapable of harming us because of the body's sophisticated biochemical defenses. However, if you injected this same concentrated hydrochloric acid from the stomach directly into a vein, you would die even more quickly than you would from injecting potassium.

You can only be scared by a medical doctor if you allow yourself to be scared, and you will no doubt gain added confidence where potassium is concerned later in this report, when we examine the extraordinary case of the Yanomami Indians of South America. The Yanomami were fortunate enough to escape the attention of western medical 'science' for thousands of years, and still shun it now. These fascinating people receive virtually no sodium [table salt] at all, but every adult consumes around 8,500 milligrams of potassium every day. They are incredibly fit and have no history whatever of arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension [high blood pressure], angina or stroke. We will return to the Yanomami a little later on.

Far too many of the 'illnesses' we suffer today can be laid at the door of potassium deficiency, though hordes of pharmaceutical and medical apologists will probably reject this, claiming that medical 'research' proved long ago that simple deficiency cannot cause life-threatening conditions. Sadly the apologists will be defeated by historical fact, chronicled long before your local pharmaceutical multinational decided to use your body as a private playground for the benefit of its shareholders.

Scurvy is caused solely by Vitamin C deficiency, and is thus predictably cured quickly by large quantities of Vitamin C. There are thousands of documented cases, especially in the British Royal Navy, where sailors became known as "Limeys" because of the vast amounts of citrus fruit provided free by The Admiralty. Rickets is less well known, but is caused by a deficiency of Vitamin D, rapidly corrected by the generous application of Vitamin D and calcium. Embarrassing though this may be for modern pharmaceutical salesmen and medical doctors, these bald facts are there in the history books for all to see. So why not admit potassium deficiency?

kcrystal2.jpg

The beginning of the end for obtaining essential minerals from fruit and vegetables happened in the middle of the 19th Century, when German chemist Baron Justus Von Liebig analyzed human and plant ash, and determined that nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium [NPK] were all the minerals plants needed. He claimed that if fed synthetically to plants, farmers could force plants to grow and support healthy humans. Thus Von Liebig became the father of synthetic manure, which in turn spawned superphosphate, the mother of all deceptive fertilizers. Though NPK and superphosphate are able to create a synthetic soil environment sufficient to stimulate plant growth, the resulting fruits and vegetables are always seriously deficient in trace minerals, with some containing none at all. Baron Von Liebig watched the deficiencies his invention caused with horror, and recanted before he died, but it was all too late. By then, the big investors had moved in for a quick kill.

Running in tandem with the depletion of potassium in fruit and vegetables during the 19th Century was an even bigger problem. Until then, salt of any kind had been so highly valued on most continents, that at one point in history it was actually used as money. In Europe, Asia and Africa most of the salt moved by the camel trains over thousands of miles was sylvite, otherwise known as potassium chloride. Great chunks of sylvite were dotted along the trading routes for the beasts of burden to lick at, thereby restoring their electrolytes lost through sweating and other exertion. But when the railroads opened up America from east to west, they started carrying vast quantities of cheap salt produced in giant pans on the two coasts. Unfortunately for Americans this was sea salt, comprised of 98.8% sodium chloride, the favorite of fishes but a deadly enemy of man. And so it was that in less than seventy years, western man had his healthy potassium replaced almost entirely by unhealthy sodium.

It was not until the early 20th Century that medical 'science' started to determine what it considered were healthy 'normal' levels for blood pressure, serum potassium and so on, using data drawn from the population as a whole. The problem is that medical 'science' was by then dealing with seriously damaged human beings, who had already been subjected to the ravages of sodium for nearly fifty years. So what seemed normal to American medical 'researchers' in the early 20th Century, would have horrified the Yanomami or any other self-respecting tribe one hundred years earlier. But because American medicine got off on the wrong foot, it stayed on the wrong foot, and slowly built a giant pyramid of myths based largely on ignorance and fatally flawed biochemistry.

kcrystal4.jpg

Despite the best efforts of the fledgling pharmaceuticals and medical 'science' in general to belittle the problems, by the nineteen thirties it had become obvious to most Americans that something was seriously amiss with their soils, with their crops, and with their rapidly deteriorating personal health. During the 2nd Session of the 74th Congress in 1936, the United States Senate published Document #264, which really laid the problems facing American nutrition on the line. Verbatim extracts from Document 264 are provided at the bottom of this page, but for the specific purposes of this report, here are the three most important paragraphs.

"The alarming fact is that foods [fruits, vegetables and grains] now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us - no matter how much of them we eat. No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the minerals he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn't big enough to hold them."

"The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren't worth eating as food...Our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories or vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein or carbohydrates we consume."

"It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack or one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives."

So sixty-eight years ago, the American Government knew full well the problems facing the people, but the stuffed-shirt medical fraternity did absolutely nothing to help. In fact, driven ever onwards by the extravagant fiscal needs of pharmaceutical shareholders, medical 'science' and its subordinate doctors stood reality on its ear, and proceeded to steadily undermine what little good health the general community had left.

Learned doctors published papers on the 'potassium-sodium balance needed by all humans', when a quick field trip to almost any Indian Reservation would have reversed their absurd findings in seconds. More and more sodium found its way into every kind of food imaginable, and blood pressures started to rise sharply. By the nineteen-forties, relatively new diseases such as arthritis, hypertension and angina started to climb through the roof, to be met with a veritable shock wave of expensive 'patent medicines' to help with the new 'disease' problems.

A handful of alert doctors recognized the problem for what it really was, and started giving their patients massive doses of potassium [between 5,000 and 20,000 milligrams per day] in order to bring their blood pressures back down to normal, and to relieve problems with angina and other heart complaints. In fact these treatments were entirely successful, but the use of a basic mineral that could not be patented by the pharmaceutical companies was frowned on, and medical research grants in this field mysteriously started to dry up. By the late sixties such research has been suppressed, as you can see from the [limited] general references provided at the bottom of this page.

The pharmaceutical multinationals were by now exerting increasing pressure on the medical fraternity, providing all kinds of 'assistance' during their university training, with copious quantities of fancy-sounding scholarships and research grants. Both were vital in helping to get medical doctors to "see things the right way", meaning of course that profitable drugs were the answer to all ills. As more doctors peddled more drugs to their patients, pharmaceutical corporate profits rose sharply, allowing perks for the doctors to be extended to include 'training seminars' at luxury hotels and golf complexes, along with other varied forms of discreet bribery.

By the seventies, all meaningful references to serious mineral deficiencies had been removed from the curriculum, with medical students taught that patients could obtain all the minerals they needed from a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, although their university tutors knew this was a complete lie. Deficiencies manifesting as cramps, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, angina and strokes etc, became 'diseases' that could be treated by a truly dazzling array of brightly colored and highly profitable pharmaceutical drugs.

It was all a terrible illusion of course, but the show had to go on. As toxic sodium increasingly overwhelmed healthy potassium, the resulting potassium deficiency caused hardening of the cardio vascular system, and 'essential hypertension' [high blood pressure of 'unknown' origin] became the order of the day. Incidences of angina, stroke and heart attack increased dramatically, as did stress, with the latter feeding on the former. Because of a lack of space, this report will only cover the effects of potassium deficiency on the cardio-vascular system. Other directly related horrors such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes etc. will have to wait for another day.

Modern medical 'science' has tried to explain away the critical and frequently lethal human sodium-potassium imbalance with an artfully designed theoretical model generally referred to as the 'Potassium Pump', in which the medical buzzword is 'balance'. To quote one medical article, "Potassium is pumped into the cell by active transport systems, which concomitantly pump sodium out of the cell. The preferential segregation of sodium and potassium across the cell's biological membrane is important in maintaining osmotic balance". What osmotic balance? The Yanomami and other tribes prove that ancient man had no need for toxic sodium, proving to all but a certifiable cretin that the potassium pump is an emergency one-way biochemical protective mechanism, designed to drive toxic sodium out of the cells before it can cause mayhem and premature death

kcrystal3.jpg

Despite the Yanomami's overall levels of sodium being incredibly low, researchers who examined more than 10,000 of these cheerful people found that there was a direct correlation between marginally increased sodium intake and increased blood pressure. "... a highly significant statistical relationship was observed between sodium excretion and systolic blood pressure for the 10,079 participants. The higher the urinary sodium excretion [and, therefore, the sodium intake], the higher the blood pressure."

The reader should remember that for the Yanomami Indians, normal blood pressure averages out at 95/60 and does not increase with age. Try comparing this with the AMA western 'normal' blood pressure of 120/80, which then goes up in incremental steps as you ingest more sodium and lose more potassium while getting older. Of course, the medical apologists will claim this is because we are more civilized, have evolved, and are thus 'different', but rest assured this is pathetic rubbish.

The only significant difference between the Yanomami and Americans or Australians, is that the Yanomami are stuffed full of healthy potassium, while we are stuffed full of toxic sodium. The researchers also noted that another benefit for the Yanomami related to their lack of obesity. "Adults of industrialized populations have an increase in weight with age. The Yanomami Indians did not increase their weight with age." Short, but to the point. Somebody remind me to add "obesity" to my shopping list of potassium deficiency-related ailments.

Those western ladies with a slight weight problem, should resist the temptation to pack their bags and rush off to the headwaters of the Orinoco River. Yanomami husbands are hot on protocol, and do not take kindly to the lady of the house sneaking off into the bushes for a quickie with one of the young bucks. If caught in such a situation, the wife can expect her husband to fire a sharp hunting arrow into the fleshy part of her buttocks. Not enough to kill, but certainly enough to stop her lying on her back for several weeks thereafter. Some choose to call this behavior "barbaric", while others suggest that it merely reinforces strong family values. And oh, yes, before I forget, the favorite supper dish is barbecued frog.

Of course, to prove that any of this Yanomami potassium stuff is relevant to western folk, medical 'science' demands that you must have western guinea pigs for 'controlled trials'. I am one of those guinea pigs, though the trial was controlled strictly by me without independent medical observers, which means that my testimony is suspect at the very least, and I should probably not to be believed. Quite frankly I don't give a damn about that, but the information might be of use to someone out there who either already has cardio-vascular problems, or is seriously interested in avoiding cardio-vascular problems at any time in the future.

For more than 25 years I suffered from 'essential hypertension', in other words high blood pressure that the medical fraternity cannot explain. During that period about eight different medical doctors gave me a staggering variety of 'patent medicines', none of which produced a steady reduction of blood pressure, though on two notable occasions the medicines caused 'bad reactions' which dropped my blood pressure so low and so suddenly, that my wife could barely get a reading. At no time during this 25-year period did any of the medical doctors suggest that it might be a good idea to measure my serum electrolyte levels, in order to check for potassium deficiency. As you might expect, this entire sequence put me off the medical profession in a very big way.

Towards the end of 2003 I started getting the classic signs of 'angina', which, over the next six weeks, rapidly progressed into 'unstable angina', a textbook case involving an accelerating or "crescendo" pattern of chest and back pain that lasted longer than ordinary 'angina'. This was accompanied by acute breathlessness, especially after even moderate exertion or a small carbohydrate meal. The fact that the medical profession did not know the cause of 'angina' infuriated me, because everything on the planet is caused by something else.

My basic knowledge of chemistry indicated that I might be suffering from a sodium overdose, so although in extreme pain and at times barely conscious, I managed to hook up to the Internet and do a few basic Google searches. The only sodium overdoses I could find were those caused by various synthetic drugs, so I reversed my search pattern and tried "potassium deficiency" instead. It was then that I discovered my medical 'angina' symptoms precisely matched those exhibited by a person suffering from an acute potassium deficiency. This information came as no great surprise. On the face of it, I had uncovered the underlying cause of medical 'angina', the latter credited with the sale of more than a billion dollars worth of synthetic 'patent medicines' every year.

The problem was knowing what to do next. In Australia I was limited to 100-milligram potassium pills from the health food shops, or to a product called "Slow K" available from some pharmacies. Basically Slow K is a slow-release 600-milligram chunk of potassium chloride, which allows a 'non-lethal' dose of potassium to be administered under the direct control of the pill, rather than under the control of its recipient. The problem here is that all chunks of salt are biochemically "hot', meaning that as the sugar coating wears off the outside of the pill, the chunk of undissolved salt is exposed, and can then come into direct contact with delicate internal tissues. In my casual view, this could easily cause some sort of perforation or an ulcer.

Clearly what I needed was an industrial quantity of potassium in free flowing 100% water soluble form, which would allow me to first dissolve the potassium in water and fruit juice, thereby ensuring that no salt 'hot spots' could later cause problems in my digestive tract. In the end I settled for a kilogram of AR [Analytical Reagent] grade potassium chloride salt from a chemical warehouse, mercifully not yet under the direct control of the American FDA, or the Australian AMA.

Cost wise this was also a plus, because the whole kilogram set me back a mere US$30.00 including taxes, which is cheap enough when you realize that my potassium chloride purchase contained approximately 620 grams [or 620,000 milligrams] of the same potassium the FDA has restricted to 100-milligrams per dose in the health food shops. You do the math. Pop down to your local health food provider and ask for a quote on 6,200 x 100-milligram potassium supplements. Be ready to write a very large check.

By this stage there was so much pain so often, that I made a personal executive decision to attempt to slowly try to absorb a minimum of 50 grams or 50,000 milligrams of potassium, representing about 1/5th of the 250 grams total that an adult male should contain within his body. Simple common sense suggested that such an acute deficiency, with the extreme symptoms I was suffering, could hardly be caused by a minor reduction in whole body potassium, and, quite frankly, I also wanted the stop the overwhelming pain before it had a chance to accelerate into a fatal stroke or heart attack.

With this in mind, I dissolved 4 grams [4,000 milligrams] of potassium chloride in water and fruit juice, slowly swallowed the lot, and then kept grimly repeating this process every eight hours. After about five days [or 60,000 milligrams] most of the pain had gone, but I was still incapable of truly coherent thought. It was not until I was well past the 110,000-milligram mark that my faculties truly returned, though by then I was so exhausted I could no longer write or use the computer.

Expressed in the same terms used by the FDA, in ten days I had slowly ingested 68.2 grams of dissolved potassium [68,200 milligrams], or sixty-eight times the maximum quantity permitted under American law. However, it should also be noted that this figure represents only five days of the maximum quantity administered by licensed American doctors to their hypertensive patients during the nineteen forties, before their research funding was mysteriously and abruptly withdrawn. When viewed in the latter context, my actions do not seem unreasonable.

At the end of the ten day period, all of my 'unstable angina' pain and breathlessness had vanished completely, and along with it most of the 'essential hypertension' that plagued me for more than twenty-five years. Nowadays I take a daily maintenance dose of 2,000 milligrams potassium per day [3,200 milligrams of AR grade potassium chloride salt], plus 200 milligrams of magnesium orotate to minimize losses.

Though medical doctors might rave about me illegally 'giving medical advice without a license', I am doing no such thing. In the first place potassium is a naturally-occuring mineral essential in our diets for normal development, which places it firmly in the 'nutrition' rather than 'medical' basket. Secondly there is no way that any government agency can prevent determined people from getting their hands on potassium chloride if they really wish to do so. The material is produced in bulk and used for hundreds of applications. For example, about every third oil rig drilling in the Rocky Mountains probably has about 25,000 pounds of the stuff, neatly stacked in sacks at the edge of the rig site.

There are less difficult ways of obtaining potassium, especially in America where there are a range of "No Salt" products, most of which simply replace sea salt with potassium chloride. Fruit and vegetables grown in strict organic rotation on properly maintained soil will probably contain significant quantities of potassium, though it is very difficult to check precisely. Although I have the necessary knowledge required to test for potassium in a range of different substances, I lack the laboratory equipment needed to do so consistently.

On a closing note, try not to believe the advertising garbage that keeps telling you the banana has the highest level of potassium known to man, because it is a lie. If grown side by side on suitable soils, the humble jacket potato has more than four times as much potassium as the banana, weight for weight. This might bring a wry smile to the face of many an Irishman, whose ancestors were forced to live on a 'poor' diet of potatoes in Ireland more than a century ago. The reality is that those potatoes, so very high in potassium, gave the Irish the huge strength and endurance they needed to build bridges and lay railroads half way round the world. Looking back briefly on the Yanomami Indians, it is not hard to see why.

- - -

Verbatim Unabridged extracts from the 74th Congress 2nd Session, Senate Document #264, 1936:

"Our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon minerals we take into our systems than upon calories or vitamins, or upon precise proportions of starch, protein or carbohydrates we consume."

"Do you know that most of us today are suffering from certain dangerous diet deficiencies which cannot be remedied until depleted soils from which our food comes are brought into proper mineral balance?"

"The alarming fact is that foods (fruits, vegetables and grains) now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of certain minerals are starving us - no matter how much of them we eat. No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the minerals he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn't big enough to hold them."

"The truth is that our foods vary enormously in value, and some of them aren't worth eating as food...Our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories or vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein or carbohydrates we consume."

"This talk about minerals is novel and quite startling. In fact, a realization of the importance of minerals in food is so new that the textbooks on nutritional dietetics contain very little about it. Nevertheless, it is something that concerns all of us, and the further we delve into it the more startling it becomes."

"You'd think, wouldn't you, that a carrot is a carrot - that one is about as good as another as far as nourishment is concerned? But it isn't; one carrot may look and taste like another and yet be lacking in the particular mineral element which our system requires and which carrots are supposed to contain."

"Laboratory test prove that the fruits, the vegetables, the grains, the eggs, and even the milk and the meats of today are not what they were a few generations ago (which doubtless explains why our forefathers thrived on a selection of foods that would starve us!)"

"No man today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his stomach with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health, because his stomach isn't big enough to hold them! And we are turning into big stomachs."

"No longer does a balanced and fully nourishing diet consist merely of so many calories or certain vitamins or fixed proportion of starches, proteins and carbohydrates. We know that our diets must contain in addition something like a score of minerals salts."

"It is bad news to learn from our leading authorities that 99% of the American people are deficient in these minerals, and that a marked deficiency in any one of the more important minerals actually results in disease. Any upset of the balance, any considerable lack or one or another element, however microscopic the body requirement may be, and we sicken, suffer, shorten our lives."

"We know that vitamins are complex chemical substances which are indispensable to nutrition, and that each of them is of importance for normal function of some special structure in the body. Disorder and disease result from any vitamin deficiency. It is not commonly realized, however, that vitamins control the body's appropriation of minerals, and in the absence of minerals they have no function to perform. Lacking vitamins, the system can make some use of minerals, but lacking minerals, vitamins are useless."

"Certainly our physical well-being is more directly dependent upon the minerals we take into our systems than upon calories of vitamins or upon the precise proportions of starch, protein of carbohydrates we consume." "This discovery is one of the latest and most important contributions of science to the problem of human health."

Further References

Bryant, J.M. Proc. Soc. Exp. Biol. Med. 67, 557, 1948

Burnett RB Yeap BB Chatterton BE Gaffney RD 1996 Chronic fatigue syndrome: is total body potassium important? Med. J. Aust. 164; 384.

Dall JLC Paulose S & Ferguson JA 1971 Potassium intake of elderly patients in hospital. Gerontol. Clinic 13; 114

Davis, Adelle. (1965) 'Let's get well'. Unwin Paperbacks.

del Castillo, E. B., et al., Medicine 6, 471, 1945

Egeli, E.S. et al., Am. Heart J. 59, 527, 1960

Grim ce et al 1970 On the higher blood pressure of blacks: A study of sodium and potassium intake and excretion in a bi-racial community. Clinical Research 18; 593


Related articles to read:

Blaming dietary sodium for high blood pressure is too simplistic; the real problem may be mineral deficiencies
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2005 by Dani Veracity
In popular thought, disputing sodium's link to high blood pressure is equivalent to questioning whether the earth is round. However, some experts now believe that salt will not raise blood pressure in everyone, just in people who are "salt sensitive." Only 10 percent of the population is salt sensitive, according to BioMarkers by Professor William Evans and Dr. Irwin H. Rosenberg...

Preventative Potassium - By Alan R. Gaby, MD
Healthnotes Newswire (February 10, 2005) - Scientists have long known that eating a diet high in potassium is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. The potassium - stroke connection has now been strengthened by a study showing that potassium inhibits the function of blood platelets, an effect that would be expected to protect against stroke.

ONE MINERAL CAN HELP A MYRIAD OF CONDITIONS FROM ATHEROSCLEROSIS TO "COPD" TO ZITS
If you've read or heard anything at all about potassium iodide, it's probably been in association with terrorist attacks or nuclear power plant disasters. Potassium iodide (usually taken in tablet form) is recommended by "public health" authorities to protect the thyroid gland against accumulation of radioactive iodine released by a "terrorist bomb" or by nuclear power plant "meltdown". But in reality, potassium iodide is a very effective "home remedy" with literally dozens of uses.

Here is a pertinent discussion on how to regulate potassium levels, found thanks to the Alternative Medicine Forum Yahoo group on the site of the Linus Pauling Institute ...
Potassium is an essential dietary mineral that is also known as an electrolyte. The term electrolyte refers to a substance that dissociates into ions (charged particles) in solution making it capable of conducting electricity. The normal functioning of our bodies depends on the tight regulation of potassium concentrations both inside and outside of cells.
Read the whole informative article here...

Preventative Potassium
By Alan R. Gaby, MD
Scientists have long known that eating a diet high in potassium is associated with a reduced risk of stroke. The potassium–stroke connection has now been strengthened by a study showing that potassium inhibits the function of blood platelets (Hypertension 2004;44:969–73), an effect that would be expected to protect against stroke.

Too much cola zaps muscle power
"With aggressive mass marketing, super-sizing of soft drinks, and the effects of caffeine tolerance and dependence, there is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialised countries drink at least 2-3 l of cola per day.

"It follows that the serum potassium levels of these heavy cola drinkers are dropping, in some cases, to dangerous low levels."

The author of the research paper, Dr Moses Elisaf from the University of Ioannina in Greece, said it appeared that hypokalaemia (low potassium levels) can be caused by excessive consumption of three of the most common ingredients in cola drinks - glucose, fructose and caffeine.

Another important mineral: Magnesium

The Magnesium Lottery - Magnesium deficiency is common and deadly.

MAGNESIUM: A Dietary Mineral You Need (and Probably Didn't Know It)

The Miracle of Magnesium

 


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Monday May 3 2004
updated on Wednesday December 8 2010

URL of this article:
http://www.communicationagents.com/sepp/2004/05/03/potassium_deficiency_widespread_and_often_neglected.htm

 


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Readers' Comments


How would one get the 4700mg of potassium required to lower high blood pressure to normal?Would one have to drink 6 glasses of tomato low sodium juice? Or a combination of potassuim chloride and V-8. And would you happen to know how much potassium is in one tablespoon of Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar?

Posted by: Richard Lewis on January 2, 2005 06:21 AM

 


Thank you for your comment, Richard.

I believe this site

http://members.tripod.com/~charles_W/arthritis9.html

will be of help on deciding what foods to eat to get enough potassium.

Posted by: Sepp on January 3, 2005 12:33 AM

 


An elderly family member had neglected to take a potassium suppliment as part of her medicine regiment which included HCTZ ( a water pill which depletes potassium).
She now has an unstable gate (walk)... slurring and memory loss...Is it possible for such an individual to return to normalcy...or are the effects permanent?
Thank you.
John

Posted by: john borreca on February 22, 2005 10:52 PM

 


A recent blood test shows that I have lower potassium in my system than normal. My symptoms include fatigue, muscle weakness, and muscle pain. What are the different diseases that may have direct/indirect effect due to lack of potassium?

Posted by: Vianca on March 13, 2005 10:55 PM

 


I work outside every day of the week, Temps in the 95+, sweat like a stuck hog, I live in East Texas,Itry to take 200 after breakfast, 200 after lunch, 200 at supper,thats 600mg a day, I really sweat, I have read where you can take up to 2000 a day and not overdose, I probably should take more, if I don't take it I cramp bad.
I am in good health I just need to get my potassium intake down pat, I never knew potassium was that important, will appreciate all the info you can give.

Andy Anderson
Hawkins, Texas

Posted by: andy anderson on August 17, 2005 03:45 PM

 


Andy,

yes, potassium is quite important.

It seems that there is also a need to balance it with sodium, i.e. salt. If you sweat a lot, you lose all kinds of minerals and it is important that they be well balanced... Other minerals in this context would be magnesium and calcium. All four of them work together, and all four of them are needed by the organism in gram quantities - from half a gram (magnesium) to a four or five grams (potassium).

Normally, we get even more salt than we need from foods, but someone on a low salt diet could get out of balance if supplementing only the potassium.

Posted by: Sepp on August 17, 2005 05:45 PM

 


I struggle with chronic dehydration and thus, digestive issues. A doctor suggested I supplement potassium, magnesium and sodium so as to better absorb water.
I wonder, though, if I am supplementing enough potassium??
Where can I learn MORE about this?
I also continue to search for what kind of physiological dysfunction might CAUSE a large deficiency in such minerals?

Posted by: Rachel on October 10, 2005 06:09 PM

 


I was released from the hospital this morning after being there for two days with symtoms of a mild heart attack. It was discovered that I was very low on potassium. I have not taken any water pills or had a virus of any kind. What else would cause the drop in my potassium level?

Posted by: Patsy Johnson on October 20, 2005 09:33 PM

 


Patsy,

apparently there is a delicate balance between sodium and potassium. A high sodium intake could be a reason for low potassium level, for instance. And we get an awful lot of sodium in pre-packaged foods, even in bread. Do some research in that direction and see if it could be true in your case.

Posted by: Sepp on October 20, 2005 10:49 PM

 


The elderly who may show symptoms of aging and memory loss, and where a determined diagnosis may be found to be inaccurate, in association with diseases attributed to dimensia and altimers diseases, may find that due to a lack of potassium and the depletion of other combined nutrients, that excess spinal fluid build up in the brain, being retained may be that of, normal pressure hydrosephillus or NPH. This disease causes excess pressure which presses on the nerves of the head. Dimensia, memory loss, unstable gate and bowel and urinary problems will result. The underlying symptoms may not be related to those diseases previously mentioned above. NPH disease should be tested for and treated with accupuncture if diagnosed. The accupuncture will restimulate the nerves and in most cases help the patient to regain most of their motor skills and as well return to normal in most cases.

Posted by: John J Borreca on October 28, 2005 04:30 PM

 


My father is 90 years old. This week he noticed the skin on the palms of his hands is peeling off in large chunks. There is no pain or discomfort. Can it be a potassium deficiency? Other than high blood pressure, which he takes pills for, he is in excellent health. He keeps his house at 74 degrees. Thank you for your help. Leslie Horn

Posted by: leslie horn on November 16, 2005 07:10 PM

 


I have a friend that goes through bouts of potassium deficiency. She eats well, exercises moderatly etc.
I was wondering if psychological stress can play a part in potassium deficiency. Where can I get imformation on this?

Posted by: Mary on January 18, 2006 10:10 PM

 


Mary,

thank you for your comment.

You might try the following site for information:

http://www.diagnose-me.com/cond/C424831.html

Posted by: Sepp on January 26, 2006 07:20 PM

 


My 84 yr. old mother has suffered high blood pressure for many years and has taken numerous medications to try to lowerer it. A few weeks ago, after being tired, weak and suffering cystisis for a week or so, she collapsed but did not black out. The paramedics found her blood pressure had plummeted. After being monitored in hospital for a few days we were told that she had an irregular heartbeat which would be treated with warfarin and betablockers. At the same time as the onset of her illness she had also become suddenly forgetful and confused. It was also mentioned that her potassium levels were low. I was amazed when I read up on potassium deficiency that her symptoms fitted exactly to this condition, though the doctors were quite vague as to the cause of this sudden drop in blood pressure. I would like to know why, if blood pressure tablets cause this condition, that we are not told to increase potassium intake to reduce the risk. I feel quite upset at the thought of my otherwise healthy mother suffering this condition unnecessarily. I would be pleased to hear your comments on this. Thank you

Posted by: Madeleine Williams on February 12, 2006 09:52 PM

 


I'm a 58 yr. old female. I take lasix for edema and it has resulted in low potassium,or perhaps that's just when my Dr.did blood tests to examine my levels. During a major surgery in July,2005 my potassium went so low I had to have several IV's of this mineral during my hospital stay. I have taken Potassium CL 10MEQ ER tablets orally since then and have been monitored closely by my Dr. I take a total of 4 tablets a day. I have recently been having flue like symtoms and lack of appetite. I feel drained and tired much of the time, also. I don't seem to have a interest in anything. If anyone has some ideas on this I would greatly appreciate it....
Thanks..Connie

Posted by: Connie on February 14, 2006 06:11 AM

 


Just need some advise i have had a possasuim defficantcy since a young age and with this being in line with my fathers history i have taken tablets to compensate for musle cramps and sever weekness so much so i cannot lift a leg or arm, i have not been to the doctors for tests as the symptons pass over severl hours and the only way they can tell how bad my complanit is is to go in when i have an attack. catch 22! Who is the best to contact with this condition in England, My father took tablets everyday and this weakend his hart muscles so much so he had an attack so be warned if you take these tables over a long period of time. Thanks for your time

Posted by: Chris Lunson on February 22, 2006 04:58 PM

 


I'm taking HCTZ 25mg daily for blood pressure and 1 slowk K. Also, I've added Soy Care (2) talblets a day for Menapause symptoms since I came off of the hormones. My recent blood work indicated that my potassium level was low and now I have to take 2 slow Ks a day. Could this come from the soy or due to the extra sweating I'm experienceing?

Posted by: W.E. Speights on February 26, 2006 07:52 PM

 


I believe potassium is my problem, I'm 31 and hypertensive(male) I went to the emergency room with fatigue,flu-like symptoms,confusion, and hyperventalation which created my hands to close in on themselves. The doctor said I was very low in potassium, my electrolytes were off balance, and something about diffusion of calcium? I'm wondering the best ways to remedy this since I take supplements and I still feel fatigue, and horrible muscle cramps in my rib area. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

Posted by: E. Mills on March 29, 2006 09:16 AM

 


what food are high in potassium ?

Posted by: lisa carter on May 24, 2006 05:32 AM

 


Lisa,

look at my response to the first comment (above) and you will find a link to an article that lists potassium-rich foods and gives all kinds of other information on this mineral.

(That is the second of the comments after the end of the article proper.)

Posted by: Sepp on May 24, 2006 11:58 AM

 


I read on a website that there was a vinegar, honey and distilled water receipe that could help with hyperhydrosis, sweaty palms and feet Do you concur this is correct??

Posted by: Brenda Smith on May 30, 2006 08:17 PM

 


what is the approximate time that it takes to raise the potasium level from 3.1 to 3.5 or higher? how much postasium should i take per day to raise the level?

Posted by: CAROL KIRKPATRICK on May 31, 2006 03:55 AM

 


my potassium keeps going down Itake potassium and Magnessium every day can taking Nexium for my Acid reflex cause potassium loss thank you ,also i have been to a Kidney doctor ,they didn1t find anything ,please let me know Linda

Posted by: linda on July 4, 2006 05:46 AM

 


Sorry Linda,

it is impossible to properly diagnose and recommend a cure for your condition through messages on the net, apart from the fact that I am not a medical doctor.

You really should do more research yourself, or find a nutritionally oriented doctor to consult.

Posted by: Sepp on July 4, 2006 10:27 AM

 


Malcolm, by email, sends a reference to a study on potassium poisoning, with the comment:

"After reading your good article on potassium I thought this might be a good addition to it, it reinforces what joe Vialls said. - malcolm"

The study he refers to is on the net. I have extracted two small parts.

THE TOXICITY OF ORALLY ADMINISTERED POTASSIUM SALTS IN RENAL INSUFFICIENCY

"There is, on the other hand, reason for minimizing the danger of toxicity from potassium in human nephritis. High concentrations of potassium in the serum are rare even in the most advanced nephritis, although these patients may ingest considerable amounts of meat and other foods containing potassium, and although they must continually be liberating potassium from the breakdown of tissue."

"It is unlikely that the conditions necessary for fatal poisoning by oral potassium administration can occur in patients with nephritis so long as urine is being excreted. The relatively slow absorption, the vomiting when large doses are given, the mode of distribution in the body and, most important of all, the continued ability of the most severely damaged nephritic kidney to excrete potassium all combine to make such poisoning very difficult to bring about."

Posted by: Sepp on February 10, 2007 05:25 PM

 


I had gastric bypass surgery that caused me to become extremely ill. I was not able to intake food, water, or vitamins. I was put in the hospital and found out my potassium had dropped way below the normal average. The had to inject potassium in my body ASAP. After 2 days I completed stopped walking. I had no muscle strengh in my legs. Can the lack of potassium drop so low that this can happen? If so, are there any more people out there like me? I am learning to walk again though. Thanks Veronica

Posted by: Veronica Olguin on January 14, 2008 10:08 PM

 


I have a thyroid disease (hypertension) and I want to eventually stop taking my synthroid medicine, but what vitatmins or minerals can I take now to help me with that?

Posted by: DC on December 22, 2008 09:40 AM

 


DC, I believe you should find a physician who knows about nutrition and alternative cures, and talk things over with him. Your problem is too delicate for just some "over the counter" advice.

Posted by: Sepp on December 22, 2008 02:09 PM

 


I recently stopped taking crestor because of severe cramping pain in my legs. I experimented with 20MEG pills of Pot Chl several times a day and feel they are helping. How do I know the right amount to take and the best source for Potassium?

Posted by: Alice Sulinski on December 28, 2008 12:47 PM

 


Alice, cramping pain in legs may be due to potassium, but it could as well be missing magnesium, and in your case it may well be a lingering side effect of the statin drug you have recently stopped taking. To know more, I think you best look around for a doctor who is into holistic healing and who understands about nutrients (vitamins/minerals) and their influence on health.

Posted by: Sepp on December 28, 2008 01:45 PM

 


Hi Sepp! I found your article very interesting. I've been researching info related to your article since my husband found me on the floor after I passed out. My heart was pounding out of my chest and my palms were sweating and tingling. After a trip to the ER on Christmas morning the only thing they could find was really low potassium. I'm 29, mother of 3 boys, & I don't know how this could have happened. However, after reading your article I agree that our food isn't what it should be and even though I try to eat healthy I realize that there is too much sugar & salt in my diet. Thank you for your research & for letting us all know about it. I pray for change in our standards of food and diet. Please keep us updated on any new information you find out. Thank you!

Posted by: Natalie on January 4, 2009 04:33 PM

 


I think the reason potassium is restricted to 99 mg in pill form is because more than that dosage can cause excruciating stomach pain if taken in a SOLID or POWDER or DRY form and might be damaging to the stomach. If taken in water, large amounts can be taken with benefit and without injury of any kind. If memory serves me correctly, the estimated RDA for potassium is 4700 mg per day for an adult, and it would take 1-1/2 teaspoons of potassium chloride to meet our daily requirements

Posted by: George Eby on April 20, 2009 10:14 PM

 


http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/food/potassium-foods.htm

Posted by: Sara on April 27, 2009 07:33 PM

 


Now that I have read this article I'm pretty sure my problem lies within a shortage of potassuim The cramps I get is unbearable. I'm deffinately going to have a blood test

Posted by: Rita Nefdt on May 8, 2009 02:45 PM

 


I ran across your article after taking potassium for leg cramps. I immediately noticed a drop in my BP, something meds had not been able to keep under control since 1994. I was also having terrible side effects from medication. What I would like to know is how to get the potassium chloride you have mentioned. I'm not sure where to find it or what to ask for. Right now I'm taking a potassium supplement that I crush up and drink in a glass of milk. But, I'm worried about the effects this will have on my intestinal tract. After getting on a regimen of this, however, my BP has stayed around 117/75 consistently. Thanks for your article and hope you will reply soon.

Posted by: Linda on July 3, 2009 02:12 PM

 


Linda, check with your medico about where you can find potassium, and whether you should take it.

Posted by: Sepp on July 5, 2009 03:49 PM

 


I went to the ccu for a week after my potassium level dropped severaly low. I did not know this till the er did a blood work up. loss of muscle tone shortness of breath could not even get off the floor went to er in medi vac chopper, all due to low potassium. Had direct potassium directly to my iv burned like hec but did not know of my location or what was going on around me. thanks for the advice on trace minerals A SURVIVER OF LOW POTASSIUM THE SILENT KILLER!

Posted by: audrey on April 18, 2010 09:22 PM

 


Hi, I am looking for more information about ways of retaining potassium and magnesium in my body. I have been diagnosed with Gittlemans Syndrome and have for the last 17 years been taking K-Dur and magnesium supplements, and my levels are always dropping through routine blood tests, and am therefore told to increase my doses. I am currently taking 3 K-Dur 20's a day (1500mg each pill), 3 over the counter 500mg magnesium oxide pills and drinking 80 milliliters of Rougier liquid magnesium (1 milliliter = 100 mg magnesium) and 2 of 50 mg spironolactone.
I am only 30 years old and have always thought that taking all this medicine is not the healthiest way to combat this problem. I believe all this medicine is eventually going to cause more problems, which is probably what the drug companies are hoping for and am looking for any info you can spare or even a point in the right direction of some great literature that may help me get into better control of this problem. The Doctors are of no help, they only want to prescribe more medicine, so unnatural i think. I actually had a doctor tell me at one point that my sodium levels were low so he wanted me to increase my sodium intake, and until i read your article today, have been smearing table salt on everything i eat. OOPS. Any info or advice you can spare would really make my day. I would love to live a long healthy life. Thank you very much for your time.

Posted by: T.J. on September 8, 2010 09:46 PM

 


T.J. - It does not seem that there is currently any cure for your illness. Since the kidneys, by an inheritable malfunction, eliminate large quantities of minerals, the recommendation is to supplement those minerals. Your doctors seem to be right in their recommendations. Check out this little piece on PubMed for more ... http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18667063

Posted by: Sepp on September 9, 2010 03:58 AM

 















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