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Potassium Level Monitors?

Posted by tvanslooten 
Potassium Level Monitors?
December 17, 2017 09:28PM
I have been battling nonstop horrendous PVCs and PACs for the past several weeks. It's almost worse than afib! Literally every other beat is a PVC or PAC when they get really bad and it can go on for hours at a time. It sucks!

At any rate, it would be nice if I could monitor my potassium levels at home as I suspect low potassium levels might be playing a role in these flare ups.

I dug up this old Conference Room topic on the Cardymeter:
[www.afibbers.org]

That topic dates back to 2012. Is the info still relevant? Specifically, is the cardymeter they talk about still available and still a good choice...or have better monitors and methods come out since then?

My other concern is that when you read that topic it doesn't sound like monitoring your potassium levels is very straight forward even with these cardymeters. They talk about calibrating and having to learn how to use the device properly and it doesn't sound easy. I have to believe by now there is a monitor out there that is easier to use!

Travis
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 17, 2017 10:28PM
Travis,

The periodic paralysis people were the ones who came up with the idea of using an agricultural meter (CARDY brand) to test the potassium content of salvia. Their sites would likely have the most recent info as it is VERY important to them.

An example: <[www.periodicparalysis.org]

George
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 18, 2017 12:11AM
I've got a lot of info on this but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Just putting this here as a reminder to myself.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 18, 2017 02:58AM
I sold mine. It would be worth looking into if you think that K+ is the key to your AFIB. Not that hard to use, but levels always fluctuate, wasn't worth messing with it for me.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 18, 2017 07:47PM
Quote
tvanslooten
That topic dates back to 2012. Is the info still relevant? Specifically, is the cardymeter they talk about still available and still a good choice...or have better monitors and methods come out since then?

My other concern is that when you read that topic it doesn't sound like monitoring your potassium levels is very straight forward even with these cardymeters. They talk about calibrating and having to learn how to use the device properly and it doesn't sound easy. I have to believe by now there is a monitor out there that is easier to use!

That meter is pretty much obsolete now. The replacement is the LAQUAtwin, which I've owned for about 2-1/2 years now. On the Partial Paralysis site someone wrote that it's unreliable, but they don't say what they base that on and my testing showed they're quite wrong. When I first got it I validated it by doing a blood draw at a lab for a basic metabolic panel five times. Each time I would walk out to my car and immediately use my meter to test saliva, then I would compare my results with the lab results. The lab was consistently 0.4 higher than my meter, which isn't clinically significant and isn't surprising anyway since even two labs won't come up with the same numbers from the same sample. The important thing is it was consistent, so I just assumed the lab was correct and always added 0.4 to my results.


This meter is not complicated to use. In fact, it's much simpler than the old Cardy meter. But it is a laboratory instrument and proper technique is crucial. Yes, it has to be calibrated and you have to do that before every single test. This is where people mess up. They think they only have to calibrate it once, or only every now and then. That is entirely incorrect. You have to calibrate before every single test, even if you just did one 5 minutes ago.

Calibration is trivially simple. I can calibrate and measure a sample in under 60 seconds. To calibrate you simply put a few drops of calibration solution in the meter, press the calibrate button, and wait a few seconds for it to finish. Then you rinse with plain water, blot dry, and do your test. The little bottles of calibration solution you get with the meter won't last long, and Horiba charges ridiculous prices for replacements. The calibration fluid is just distilled water that contains exactly 2000 ppm potassium, so it's not exactly complicated stuff. With some distilled water, potassium chloride, and some lab scales you could easily make your own. Or you can just do what I did and buy a big bottle of it here for $25. What I did was use a syringe to refill the convenient little bottles from the big bottle. (You have to remove the little nipple-like thing in the small bottle.)

The test is done with the following steps:

  • Turn the meter on and calibrate
  • Rinse meter with plain water and blot dry
  • While your doing the above, fill your mouth with saliva
  • Spit out the saliva
  • Let your mouth fill with saliva again, then spit into the meter
  • Close the lid and press the measure button
  • Results will display in a few seconds
  • Convert the results to mEq/L as described below

Saliva correlates linearly with blood serum levels so it's a good surrogate test, but you have to convert the numbers. You'll find the instructions for that somewhere in the archives here on afibbers. I put the conversion formula in a spreadsheet. The Excel equation to convert from the ppm in saliva the meter gives you to the equivalent mEq/L serum levels used in medicine is:

((D1*0.026)/0.8)*0.05+3+0.4

where D1 is the ppm value and 0.4 is the adjustment I described above. Your adjustment will probably be different, if it's needed at all.


One last thing. If you're going to get all your potassium from food sources, then you're good to go, but if you're going to use supplements, there are a few things you need to know. First, don't even think about buying OTC potassium supplements. They're a complete waste of money. Under US law OTC potassium supplements cannot contain more than 99 mg of potassium, which is a fourth of a banana or a few sips from a can of LS V8. And I don't care what it says on the package, it does not contain more than 99 mg of potassium. You'll find a lot of supplements boasting much more, but read the label and you'll find they only contain 99 mg of potassium. I guarantee they don't contain more than that. The rest is just some (probably useless) crap they added so they could display a big number.

The best way to get supplements is by prescription, of course, but good luck with that. The irrational paranoia among medical professionals surrounding potassium is ridiculous and it takes a lot of convincing to get any doctor to prescribe it. And if they do prescribe it, it will probably be a uselessly small dose. The solution is simple: Just buy pure potassium chloride on Amazon. Measure carefully.

I used this meter and the info above to successfully manage my flutter for over 2 years. I could go on more about that but I've already written half that article you wanted here, so I'll stop now. ;-)
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 19, 2017 11:22AM
I used to use potassium chloride and one thing I found was it would set off the TSA scanner at the airport. Hence I would put the container in a bin so they didn't have to search my bag for it. One time they said my 3 oz was under their limit, but they did take me to the back and run an extra scan on it. Also, some find the chloride hard on the stomach.

I later switched to potassium bicarbonate as there are data suggesting benefits from the bicarb. <[nuts.com] Also K-bicarb is used in home brewing.

Though I was the person that originally brought the Cardymeter to the groups' attention, I never got one as I learned that with adequate magnesium, I could keep my potassium in the low 4's, which seems to work well for me. With my first afib episode and only afib related ER visit, I had a serum potassium level of around 3.2. This put me on the potassium hunt. What those who have gotten a meter will tell you is that potassium levels are pretty variable.

I still take some potassium but don't worry about it.

Some posters have found that excess potassium levels, even from food, can lead to rhythm issues, so more isn't always better. That being said, I've consumed up to 8 g of K+/day without issue.

A non-afibber who does a lot of fasting (and leads many others in this), and says that K bicarb is very beneficial on extended fasts (>20 days) also noted that starting with a small quantity and slowly increasing is the way to go.

If you have kidney issues (especially dialysis) proceed with extreme caution. The medics are concerned that potassium will build up potentially leading to fatal rhythm issues. This should not be an issue for those with healthy kidneys. From memory, 18-20g of K+ at once was where this can become an issue, even for those who are healthy. The healthy kidney will excrete any excess K.

I took 4+g/day for many years without issue - doesn't mean you can - pay attention!

George
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 19, 2017 11:49AM
There are several potassium supplements that contain more than 99 mg.

As always, those using potassium supplements should have healthy kidney function.

It's always better use food sources for potassium, but sometimes, supplementing is also useful. I carry capsules with me when eating out, in case I am surprised that what I ordered has been salted in the kitchen. I try to be very selective to avoid that complication. I've always found that potassium chloride supplements were irritating to my stomach... but that's just me.

Potassium gluconate bulk powder by NOW brand is one many of us have used for years.
[www.nowfoods.com] 1/2 tsp = 175 mg.

NOW brands also offers bulk powdered potassium citrate ¼ tsp = 448 mg
(typically, iHerb.com has good prices).

For convenience, there are capsules by Designs for Health which are more pricey…
called K+2… contains Potassium Glycinate Complex, Potassium Bicarbonate) 300 mg/capsule
[www.rockwellnutrition.com]

Pure Encapsulations has potassium citrate… 200 mg/capsule…
[www.herbsdirect.com]

There are undoubtedly many other brands as well.

The best: Knudsen’s Organic Very Veggie juice…..offers 610 mg potassium per 8 oz serving.
[www.rwknudsenfamily.com]

Just be careful not to add too much potassium. The caveat remains that unless or until the intracellular levels of magnesium have been optimized and stabilized, adding too much potassium can make ectopics or arrhythmia worse.

Jackie
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 19, 2017 06:42PM
Quote
Jackie
There are several potassium supplements that contain more than 99 mg. /quote]

No, there are not. You need to brush up on your chemistry because you're confusing different forms of potassium with elemental potassium. They're not equivalent. Selling a supplement containing more than 99 mg of potassium is illegal in the US. It would be pulled from the shelves and the sellers penalized.

[en.wikipedia.org]
Quote

Potassium gluconate is used as a mineral supplement and sequestrant. It is sold over-the-counter as tablets or capsules providing up to 593 mg of potassium gluconate, thereby containing 99 mg or 2.53 mEq of elemental potassium.

As I said in my post, you can buy pure potassium chloride in bulk because it's used as a salt substitute. And obviously you can buy things with it already added, such as salt substitutes and low-sodium V8 juice. But you cannot buy it in pills, capsules or any form intended as a supplement.

I'm not going to address the myth of potassium causing arrhythmias and ectopics. Its mechanism of action does quite the opposite, even in someone with low magnesium.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 19, 2017 09:58PM
Carey said---I'm not going to address the myth of potassium causing arrhythmias and ectopics. Its mechanism of action does quite the opposite, even in someone with low magnesium.

No myth, I had read on this site that potassium supplements were good for AF so I took potassium supplements for a few days, started getting a few min. runs of AF, I never got runs of AF in the daytime. I stopped taking the potassium and the problem stopped. My potassium levels are around 4.5, I will never take any potassium supplements. I would advise anyone that wants to take potassium supplements to get their levels tested before taking any.

Liz
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 12:16AM
Quote
Elizabeth
No myth, I had read on this site that potassium supplements were good for AF so I took potassium supplements for a few days, started getting a few min. runs of AF, I never got runs of AF in the daytime. I stopped taking the potassium and the problem stopped.

That's pretty solid scientific proof.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 02:26AM
My mother was on a diuretic and was taking potassium as well, she then was put on a potassium sparing drug, I took care of her meds and put them in her pill box. I was going to go to Florida for a few weeks and my sister in law was to take care of my mothers' meds. I told my sister in law that my mother no longer took potassium, unfortunately she gave my mother the wrong med which was potassium. They had to rush her to the hospital and gave her enemas to get rid of the potassium, I guess you would have waited for some scientific proof

L
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 09:01AM
Quote
Carey

That's pretty solid scientific proof.

Sounds like sarcasm to me. Sarcasm is not appropriate for posting here.

Previous users of the Cardymeter (who posted here) had solid correlations with too much potassium and increased arrhythmia. Some of them found that potassium was a "Goldilocks" mineral for them. Had to be just right. Just because it doesn't work that way for you doesn't mean that is the way it works with others.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 11:31AM
This is what I hate about the entire subject of potassium. Everyone is quite certain what it does without knowing how or why that might or might not be true.

Elizabeth, I didn't say hyperkalemia wasn't dangerous. It is, and potassium-sparing drugs are a good way to get there. It's just not dangerous for the reasons you think it is.

Increasing levels of potassium actually have anti-arrhythmic properties because it widens the refractory period, which lessens the opportunity for reentrant signals to initiate a self-sustaining arrhythmia like afib or flutter. As serum level rises past the normal range that effect becomes increasingly pronounced. In severe hyperkalemia, that eventually leads to an actual paralysis of the atria followed by the ventricles. Taken to extremes, death will be by asystole, not v-tach or v-fib as many sources like to claim. This is why potassium is used as a component of euthanasia (and execution) drug cocktails. It literally stops the heart and makes restarting it impossible. So the overall effect of too much potassium is a slowing and quieting of the heart, not an increase of ectopy. Now, what one individual taking small amounts of potassium that leave them well below the hyperkalemia range might experience is up for grabs because potassium's effects will be minimal. Also, people vastly underestimate how rapidly healthy kidneys will remove excess potassium. They think that taking a dose of potassium will last for many hours, but that''s just not true. So they take some potassium, four hours later they experience increased ectopy, and they conclude the potassium is to blame. But in fact it's already been completely eliminated from their system and quite possibly even led to an over-reaction by the kidneys that caused mild hypokalemia. Fact is, it's extremely difficult to maintain potassium levels higher than your kidneys want them to be. If you have healthy kidneys and aren't taking potassium-sparing drugs, your serum levels will be back to normal in an hour or two after even huge doses. Maintaining high enough levels to have a positive effect on afib requires a steady infusion or the aid of potassium-sparing drugs. This is why getting potassium from food sources is superior. Food provides a slow, steady infusion rather than a sudden bolus that causes your kidneys to aggressively excrete it.

Bottom line: Taken in sufficient doses, potassium will quiet ectopy, not increase it. That's not how it works for me. It's how it works for everyone.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 02:17PM
Part 1 response:

First… when discussing supplementing with potassium or magnesium, it’s always important to insert the Cautionary Alert that everyone doing this should know that they have healthy functioning kidneys.... verified by relatively current testing.

Second, those experts writing about the function of potassium, sodium and magnesium in the body, typically recommend food sources of potassium as a safe and reliable way to increase potassium if it’s low. Conference Room Session 72 quotes the science behind the importance of the Sodium-Potassium Ratio in Atrial Fibrillation and the function of the sodium/potassium pump by Richard D. Moore, MD, PhD. “Dr. Moore has spent the majority of his career as a researcher and educator in the field of biophysics, concentrating his efforts on decreasing high blood pressure” which would indicate he is significantly knowledgeable in the important balance or ratios of sodium and potassium. [www.afibbers.org]

In his first book, The Salt Solution, Dr. Moore offers this caution on potassium chloride:

“We don’t recommend potassium chloride supplements. The reason that the dosage is restricted by law to 99 mg is that concentrated potassium chloride can be corrosive and damage the stomach lining.” p. 104. So Caveat to those who use potassium chloride supplements.

Further supporting this cautionary warning, comes from Betty Kaman, PhD, nutrition consultant, in her book, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Potassium, but Were Too Tired to Ask… excerpts from page 126:

Potassium chloride is found in salt substitutes and in some supplements. As mentioned earlier, the chloride that remains when potassium is utilized may contribute to the retention of additional sodium, thereby defeating the purpose of the potassium supplementation. High levels. which would be necessary for supplementation, can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. Potassium chloride also interferes with vitamin B12 absorption. The depletion of one nutrient affects the requirement for another, so it may be a round-robin of no-good effects… footnoted with three study references.

Dr. Kamen reports “A German medical journal reported that potassium levels (along with magnesium) should be controlled and corrected by ingestion of electrolyte preparations for cardiac heath. Also footnoted.

Dr. Kamen says:
• Best to use a potassium supplement like potassium glycerophosphate or potassium cirrate rather than potassium chloride.
• The supplement should contain no more potassium than you might find in about 2 bananas to avoid potassium overload.
• Important to also eat food sources of potassium to help insure normal metabolism.
a) Hormonal control of potassium is mediated through the adrenal cortex hormones and hormones of anterior pituitary gland
b) Retention of potassium is facilitated and ensured by magnesium. The heart muscle cannot hold onto potassium in the absence of magnesium. Magnesium is necessary for the sodium-potassium pump function.
c) Vitamin B6 offers assistance to potassium metabolism helping to secure the adequacy of potassium.
End of Kamen excerpts.

The potential side effects of prescription potassium chloride…K- Lor 20 mEq:

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
• confusion, anxiety, feeling like you might pass out;
• uneven heartbeat;
• extreme thirst, increased urination;
• leg discomfort;
• muscle weakness or limp feeling;
• numbness or tingly feeling in your hands or feet, or around your mouth;
• severe stomach pain, ongoing diarrhea...
Continue: [www.rxlist.com]

Okay – so now, on to address the “Myth” statement. This is important because it’s no myth but rather science-based fact offered by two of the well-known and respected magnesium researchers, the late Mildred S. Seelig, MD, MPH and Andrea Rosanoff, PhD authors of The Magnesium Factor. Dr. Rosanoff actively continues with her magnesium research. Following are a few referenced excerpts from the archived post on core nutrients that assist in managing Afib…

KEY NUTRIENT #2 POTASSIUM
Quotes from Seelig/Rosanoff – The Magnesium Factor (6)

“If the level of magnesium within a cell becomes too low, there are three dire results:

1) There is not enough ATP available for the cell’s necessary energy reactions to maintain the “enzymatic” pump that moves potassium into and sodium out of the cells.

2) Potassium leaves the cell and cannot re-enter, which creates a risk of arrhythmia.

3) Calcium rushes into the cell, where it does not belong, and creates its excitatory and hardening havoc.”

Drs. Seelig and Rosanoff explain that this low magnesium state allows cells to malfunction in predictable ways:
• The secretion of adrenaline increases abnormally and cells over-respond to the adrenaline stimulation
• All muscle cells, including those in the heart and blood vessels tend to contract and become unable to relax
• Glucose is not properly processed as a result of insulin resistance,
• Blood tends to clot more easily – risk for MI and stroke

The supporting biochemistry:
Magnesium is required by adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase), which maintains the sodium-potassium gradient across all membranes and regulates intracellular calcium levels, myocytes function and calcium reuptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Magnesium is also important for maintenance of cardiac rhythm, vasomotor tone, neuromuscular function and parathyroid hormone metabolism.(7)

Magnesium is important in regulating the intracellular potassium content. Intracellular magnesium activates membrane-bound magnesium-dependent sodium-potassium ATPase, which pumps sodium out of the cell in exchange for potassium. In addition, extracellular magnesium retards cell efflux of potassium on a biophysical basis. Thus, magnesium deficiency impairs the sodium-potassium pump and allows potassium to escape from the cell, to be lost in the urine.

Hence, magnesium depletion can lead to potassium depletion. In fact, hypokalemia occurs in 46% of hypomagnesemic patients; total body potassium depletion maybe profound, and massive supplementation of potassium may fail to correct it until the magnesium deficit is repaired.(7)


POTASSIUM AND THE REFRACTORY PERIOD.
Potassium prolongs the refractory period…or the time when the heart is resting between beats. At this time, heart cells can’t be stimulated to contract.

Supporting biochemistry:
In the resting state, cardiac muscle cells are polarized due to gradients established by the active inward transport of potassium ions and the outward transport of sodium ions. Various stimuli-including drug-induced effects-can cause shifts in these gradients, producing a decrease in the internal negative membrane potential. This process is known as depolarization.(9)

Adverse effects or clinical consequences of potassium depletion predominantly affect the cardiovascular and neuromuscular systems. Both respond to the associated hyperpolarization of electrical tissue.

The presence of hypokalemia (potassium depletion), decreased membrane permeability to potassium (which prolongs action potentials), shortens refractory periods and increases the incidence of spontaneous and early depolarizations.

For cardiac cells, the result of these alterations is a propensity for arrhythmias, particularly in persons who are taking digitalis (Rutecki & Whittier) (10)

Caution: "A note of caution about beta blockers. Beta blockers diminish the regulation of serum K during potassium loading. In the presence of beta blockers, plasma potassium can spike during a potassium load."
Dr. Moore (8) Chapter 19, Information for the Physician, p. 323,
Drugs That May Make the K Factor Dangerous

It's not simply the amount of potassium that's important, it's the dietary and IC potassium-to-sodium ratio, which needs to be at least 4:1


Insufficient dietary intake leads to potassium deficiency (hypokalemia)
A ‘tea and toast diet’ typical in the diminished appetites of the elderly is conducive to hypokalemia but easily applies to the typical Standard American Diet (SAD) devoid of potassium-containing fresh vegetables and fruit. Therefore, while arrhythmia is easily explained in an aging population, it also can just as easily be associated with poor dietary choices—foods with high salt content (sodium chloride) or other potassium depleters. Even something as routinely basic as heavy exercise producing abundant perspiration sets the stage, especially if potassium stores are already low or marginally low.

About 90 percent of the sodium consumed in the average diet is in excess of body needs and must be eliminated in the urine. Therefore, urine levels reflect dietary intake. Aldosterone, a hormone made and secreted by the adrenal cortex, acts on the kidneys to regulate sodium metabolism.

The Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs suggests about 5 grams of salt, which provides about 2 grams of sodium, per day. We really need only about 0.5 gram to maintain the body's salt concentration and probably 1-2 grams to be safe, unless we perspire a great deal or are active exercisers.

Most people consume excess sodium. The average American diet contains about 3-6 grams of sodium, or about 7-15 grams of salt, per day.(11)

True culprit in over-doing salt intake is not the salt shaker, but rather processed, packaged foods…the hidden salt.(12)
Systemic organ dysfunction Brief mention that additional consideration to the Na/K balancing dilemma includes systemic dysfunction such as -- hyperaldosteronism, adrenal tumor, kidney impairment with sodium/potassium retention/excretion dysfunctions are suspect when the normal levels are not maintained, and the appropriate testing to rule out organ dysfunction is definitely important. Some instances, judicious of using the potassium-sparing diuretic aldosterone antagonist, Spironolactone or similar drugs, are useful in preventing the body from absorbing too much sodium and keeps potassium from getting too low. Another observation (7) indicates potassium-sparing diuretics such as amiloride, triamterene and, to a lesser extent, spironolactone have magnesium sparing properties and may be useful in the prevention of magnesium deficiency secondary to long-term diuretic therapy..
Source: The Strategy - [www.afibbers.org]
====

More non-myth explanations of the role of magnesium and potassium in the refractory period by former afibber, Patrick Chambers, MD… [www.afibbers.org]

Also:
Importance of magnesium for the electrolyte homeostasis - an overview
(adjusted slightly for translation clarification)
Armin Schroll
Deutsches Herzzentrum München, KIinik für Herz- und Gefaßchirugie, Lothstr. 1 1, D-80335 München, Germany

Summary: Disorders of electrolyte homeostasis are known at many diseases and clinical situations. They have serious consequences for the cell. Mg-deficiency is followed by a K-deficiency, which cannot be equalized by K alone: a refractory hypokalemia always needs additional Mg supply for its restitution.

From K, Mg-deficiency a Na/Ca-overload of the cell with aggravating consequences will follow: impaired activity and vitality with electric instability. Mg which (prevents) development of a Ca-overload is also able to restore electrolyte homeostasis by sufficient supply competitively. The pathophysiologic relations for development of a cellular imbalance and its restitution concern the Na/K-pump, the Ca-pump and the Na/Ca-exchange.

The clinical applications of Mg therefore are manifold: recovery under diuretic treatment, coronary heart disease, arrhythmias, perioperative electrolyte therapy, transcellular shifts, coronary dilatation and so on. [www.mgwater.com]


Jackie
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 04:59PM
I don't understand what that novel had to do with the myth I mentioned. The myth is simply that hyperkalemia is arrhythmogenic when in fact it's quite the opposite. Go find some EKGs of progressive stages of hyperkalemia and you'll see what happens, and it's certainly not tachycardia. Further, I don't dispute in the least that magnesium is essential, along with sodium, calcium and potassium. I don't know why you're talking about magnesium so much.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 06:23PM
Sorry, Carey - I was expanding because it's important for all the new readers we have now to understand the importance of the proper balance of intracellular magnesium, potassium, sodium and also calcium.

Magnesium is the topic because it's the essential nutrient for maintaining a calming or non-excitatory status in heart cells. Afibbers must always be aware and be sure they are continually getting enough magnesium to keep heart cells 1) calm and 2) functional. Magnesium is quickly depleted by a long list of culprits.... including stress, calcium excess, chemicals from drugs, alcohol ... right at the top of the list.

Most afibbers are found to be deficient in magnesium. Getting enough magnesium from diet is fairly difficult. This emphasizes the point that if one takes in too much potassium, and but they also have low IC magnesium levels, that imbalance can support arrhythmia or at least ectopy because of the shortened refractory period that results. I mention magnesium a lot because many afibbers have no idea what their IC levels are and often are told their serum magnesium is in range which is misleading. So the awareness connection is important.

Also, many people are using calcium supplements and eating a lot of dairy products for the 'healthy bones' calcium effect. Here again, the body needs only a minor amount of calcium for proper function and an "excitatory" calcium overload keeps "calming" magnesium out of heart cells...so guess what happens? Same with sodium. The body needs some sodium but far less than most people think. And this is detailed in the CR 72 report I referenced.

Final... On the topic of elemental potassium available in supplements, I contacted Tech Support for NOW brands... the potassium gluconate bulk powder that we have mentioned and used for many years... (from our vitamin store @ iHerb).


1/2 teaspoon is approximately 1100mg of whole Potassium gluconate powder…. 175 mg of that is elemental potassium.

Jackie
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 09:00PM
Carey:

I understand what you are saying that hyperkalemia doesn't promote arrhythmogenic activity--mild hyperkalemia has a limited effect on the heart, Moderate hyperkalemia can produce EKG changes, severe hyperkalemia can cause the heart to stop beating. But hyperkalemia can lead to abnormal heart rhythms, whatever they are. I did get some abnormal heart rhythms that one time when I had taken potassium powder, stopped the Pot.and never had the same experience.

Liz
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 09:43PM
Quote
Jackie
1/2 teaspoon is approximately 1100mg of whole Potassium gluconate powder…. 175 mg of that is elemental potassium.

Sure, if you've got any form of potassium in bulk form then you can figure out how much actual potassium it contains and measure it out, but that means you're taking a bunch of something else that may or may not be helpful or safe. Given the quantities I was taking for two years, having to ingest 1100 mg of gluconate to get 175 mg of potassium would have been completely unfeasible. It would have required doses up to 250 grams (over half a pound) to terminate my flutter episodes. That's obviously not feasible, digestible or even affordable. The alternative was potassium chloride, which required a teaspoon. Half pound vs a teaspoon? No contest.

My advice to anyone seeking to raise their potassium levels is to do it with diet. Doing it with supplements requires time, money and homework, and if you do your homework well, you'll know that potassium chloride is really the only viable option. Other forms of supplements are simply too short of potassium to be useful. After all, there's always low-sodium V8, which is just V8 with potassium chloride added, so you can always use that to fool yourself and your doctor into thinking you're not taking potassium chloride. Coconut water is the next, probably healthier, option.
Re: Potassium Level Monitors?
December 20, 2017 10:23PM
Quote
Carey

and if you do your homework well, you'll know that potassium chloride is really the only viable option. Other forms of supplements are simply too short of potassium to be useful. .

Potassium has a molar mass of ~39, potassium chloride is ~74 (hence 53% K+ by weight) and potassium bicarb is ~100 (hence 39% K+). Not that much difference. and you get the advantage of consuming the bicarb. Though not quite as readily available as KCl, which is in every grocery store, it is not hard to come by.

I concur that food is an excellent choice. I get around 3.5 g/day from food.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/20/2017 10:25PM by GeorgeN.
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