Low potassium/sodium levels with Lyme?

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writer girl
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2010
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/23/2010 11:55 PM (GMT -6)   
My potassium/sodium levels keep dropping. My diet is excellent, full of potassium-rich foods. No other obvious reason why my levels might be low. I've been trying to understand why this might be - particularly because low potassium levels makes the risky side effects of my antibiotics even riskier. (Also - low potassium makes you feel extra-crappy).

My own detective work makes me think that I'm not absorbing potassium efficiently - that possibly the magnesium that the Lyme buggers feed on has robbed my body of a mineral that aids in potassium absorption. But I'm surprised I don't read about other LD sufferers with the same issue, nor was it obvious to my LLMD.

My own self-treatment is to add a magnesium/potassium supplement in the middle of the day (I can't take magnesium or calcium within 6 hours of antibiotics) and eat lots of potassium-rich food at that time.

Anybody else have this problem or have a solution?

bucci
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1477
   Posted 12/24/2010 8:37 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I have no idea where my sodium pottasium is at???

but it is true, from what I have been told, by doctors and have read about lyme eating up the magnesium.

BUT ...I still don't take it and am not even on antibiotics because there is another school of thought on lyme treatment and people taking magnesium. From Fry Labs research lymers taking magnesum relapse.
I know 3 doctors that say NO to magnesium . My doctor wouldn't even let me do the epson salt baths when he was treating me.

I know it is a big part of so many other naturopaths protocols and I am in a lot of pain and feel lousy and always wonder about the magnesium but I still don't take it . My doctors told me to make it up in food but no supplements.

Just wanted to share that so you can ask your LLMD what he really thinks about that research. (you can google around about it too, of course.) sometimes it helps to bring the research with you to your doctor so he doesn't have to leave the room to google around himself on the computer.

keep us posted. sodium / pottasium balance is more important than a lot of us realize. I don't even know if this is something on every blood test????

mtguy1999
New Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 9
   Posted 12/24/2010 12:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi

Potassium and sodium are very easily absorbed from the diet/supplements. The primary problems with gradually, or rapidly, dropping levels are; 1. vomiting and or liquid stools, 2. poor re-absorption in the renal tubules due to low ADH from the adrenal glands (basically a weak adrenal gland situation, low kidney yin/chi)
http://www.lymeaid.net/Lyme-Treatment.htm

Traveler
Elite Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 36310
   Posted 12/24/2010 1:38 PM (GMT -6)   
I also have issues with my sodium/potassium levels. They got so low at on e point my GP told me to increase my salt consumption! When I asked by how much, he told me as much a I could stand!

I would think that part of my issues with low sodium/potassium levels (or any other nutrient) is from my issues with malabsorption.

Although, I am now on meds for thyroid & adrenals now & although I still have salt cravings from time to time, I no longer go into my kitchen & just start eating salt!
Co-Moderator, Lyme Disease ;)
"Absence of proof is not proof of absence" - Dr. Edwin Masters, great LLMD & researcher -RIP

Treating with Acupuncture, Traditional & Modern Chinese Herbs & Western Herbs.

MoralAnimal
Regular Member


Date Joined Oct 2010
Total Posts : 134
   Posted 12/26/2010 4:18 AM (GMT -6)   
I have low sodium/potassium problems. At one point I was drinking salt water, eating salt out of my hand, and supplementing with a magnesium/potassium/calcium pill every day. It felt like I wasn't absorbing it. I have been recovering from mal-absorption the past few years because I have celiac disease, so I figured that with time my gut would heal and I wouldn't have problems. But that didn't happen and I got worse.

After a while I found that the more carbs & sugar I had in my diet, the quicker I got depleted of sodium which sent my potassium out of whack. So I started a modified candida diet and I stopped needing to drink salt water or eat salt. Then my naturopath put me on an adrenal support and that helped TONS and I only needed the mineral supplement once every few days! Then I discovered that eliminating EVERYTHING that I am reacting to as a sensitivity (in my case, multiple naturally occurring chemicals in food and plants) fixed my mineral absorption problems and my blood sugar problems and my yeast problems and I don't need my adrenal supports anymore (and feeling better than I did when I was on them... I was on them for 3 years!) AND it has helped in reducing the pain from the damage the lyme has done to my body so that I can manage it better.

It may be that your body cannot use the potassium that you are eating because you have a food sensitivity/intolerance or allergy? They can be subtle and difficult to identify sometimes.

Post Edited (MoralAnimal) : 12/26/2010 2:22:57 AM (GMT-7)


bucci
Veteran Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1477
   Posted 12/26/2010 9:13 AM (GMT -6)   
i don't know if this helps but I take NO magnesium supplements and my blood work just came back
magnesium 1.7 range 1.6 - 2.6

potasium 4.0 3.3 - 5.3

sodium 141 133-145

calcium 9.2 8.4 - 10.4


and I feel extra crappy too.....

Post Edited (bucci) : 12/26/2010 7:16:44 AM (GMT-7)


bauhaus
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 12/26/2010 3:24 PM (GMT -6)   
hello every body,
i have no idea what my mineral levels are. i do take a mineral complex...
one  dr. told me to supplement with sea salt, which i already do. 
 
but what speaks to me real loud, is my appeite for fried pototoes! with SALT!). since trying to be gluten and dairy free, i have lost 15 lbs (don't need to). sometimes it's hard to know what to eat.
 
it seems when this hits, and i satisfy the crave, i do feel stronger, and more nourished.  i believe in how our body speaks to us...

Traveler
Elite Member


Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 36310
   Posted 12/26/2010 4:35 PM (GMT -6)   
HI Bauhaus!
I would like to suggest that you get your thyroid checked at minimum. I feel it would be best if you could also get your adrenals tested as well.

Salt cravings that "drive you" to eat certain foods (salty ones!!) can be a sign of thyroid and/or adrenal fatigue.

The other thing is please, please be sure you are using iodized sea salt!! We need the iodine still.


Here is a link from the American Thyroid Assoc. for anyone interested in the effects of not getting enough iodine & how it effects the thyroid.

www.thyroid.org/patients/patient_brochures/iodine_deficiency.html

I hope this helps someone.
Co-Moderator, Lyme Disease ;)
"Absence of proof is not proof of absence" - Dr. Edwin Masters, great LLMD & researcher -RIP

Treating with Acupuncture, Traditional & Modern Chinese Herbs & Western Herbs.

vcast
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2013
Total Posts : 417
   Posted 5/9/2013 8:21 PM (GMT -6)   
I thought I would resurrect this old thread.

A routine potassium test came up extremely low (2.2 on a 5). It was low enough to where I was admitted to the ER for IVs. This is the first time I've ever had any potassium problems, which have been monitored carefully for over a year now.

My question is, could a new antibiotic, specifically Ceftriaxone be causing this? Ive ruled out almost every other cause. My diet is perfect and contains an overabundance of high potassium produce and supplements. Last adrenal and thyroid tests were fine too.

springsjean
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2165
   Posted 6/18/2014 8:38 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi vcast, just found your old post and was wondering if you found the cause of your low potassium levels?  I am having problems with muscle tightness and was wondering do you have that symptom with your low potassium?  Thanks.
Lyme, HME, HGE, bartonella. 4+ years undiag. despite 10 drs.
Current meds: folbic, neurontin, cymbalta, Prior meds: bactrim, doryx, amantadine, amox, minocycline, tetracy, roxithyromycin. IV refused by ins. Supplements: boluoke, alpha lipoic acid, AG immune, magnesium, milk thistle, resistant microbes, cats claw
FEELING GREAT THESE DAYS! Hang in there - it does get better.

Melig
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 4/11/2016 12:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Spring jeans. Tight muscles are a symptom of low potassium.

sweetpeaisme
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 498
   Posted 4/11/2016 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Ive had two episodes of racing/pounding heartbeat w/chest pain, that ended in E.R.-BOTH visits my potassium was low...the rediculous thing is E.R. just gave me a 'cocktail' as they so eloquently put it, but they didnt prescribe a potassium supplemnt

gkamom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2015
Total Posts : 768
   Posted 4/11/2016 1:12 PM (GMT -6)   
sweetpeaisme, the ER won't give you a potassium supplement prescription.

Several reasons but the most important is that too high of a potassium level is as dangerous as too low. The other is they don't want to become your primary care provider.

If you have a regular primary care doc, you should call them and tell them what is happening.

There are a few things you can look into. Are you on blood pressure medication?

Many of the first line bp meds are actually diuretics so they work by taking fluids out of your system. Some people call them water pills. But with the water comes minerals like potassium. If you don't replace the potassium by diet, then your numbers can get dangerously low. If you are on a diuretic, your doctor can just switch you to another type of bp med which is what I did.

If you are drinking a lot of water or are dehydrated for some reason, you need to replace the potassium that your body isn't absorbing. So if you are drinking lots of water, it dilutes the potassium you do have and the level drops. No matter the reason that you have increased your water intake you need to also add the potassium back. So I normally don't take a potassium supplement, but I have been pretty sick the last few months. Even water makes me sick, but in order not to get dehydrated I sip water frequently. I have also added in a potassium supplement on the days I don't eat anything. It's actually prescription that I have had for a while and keep on hand for emergencies (its actually to prevent kidney stones but I no longer take it daily and have the left over bottle), but I'm always careful never to take more than the prescription because I know that is a safe level.

The best food to eat for potassium is banana if you like it. It's the B part of the BRAT diet (for when you are recovering from a stomach bug).

Two more things. Since this has happened twice, you need to keep in your brain what that feels like. If you are like me, you tell yourself you'll feel better if you just rest. But the problem is that your muscles need potassium to function.

Your heart is a muscle and very low potassium levels can cause the heart to stop. The first time I had this happen my level was at 2 and the er doc said any lower and I could have died.

Don't intend to scare you, but you need to follow up on this with your doctor because you want to make sure its not a medication you are on that is causing this to happen.

Kim

Melig
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2016
Total Posts : 40
   Posted 4/15/2016 5:03 AM (GMT -6)   
Sweetpea I'm having awful probs with low potassium - I'm severely depleted. I had paralysis n near heart attack in the low 3s 3.2 I think they gave me 5 large potassium pills in er n bloods shot up ten points here's the thing....that's not possible with only 5 supplements would literally take months. I developed severe weakness muscle cramping so bad in legs they bruised deep all over heart probs spasms n I was written off as psychological --- stupid idiots. Anyways I continued to suffer with no1 knowing what was wrong with me or trying to help me another blood test showed low potassium 3.4 n they didnt think that level could cause these symptoms well it can. Then I started drinking coco water as it's a lot of potassium n symptoms subsided but didnt end just got easier still wouldn't believe me eventually got doc who said 3.4 is too low n you need to be at least 4 even though reference ranges are 3.5-5.1 I don't see the prob in giving supplements since you can go up to 5 ...when I was healthy I was 4.5. I ended up ripping up my stomach again at Xmas with antibiotics so I couldn't take supplement n deficiency got worse so now I'm on max dose of it but can't get enough supplement in one day to override deficiency I really need iv. I might contact the doctor who is not my usual doc n ask him is there any way I can get iv I was kicking myself I didn't ask last time I was there dont wanna keep annoying him but I can't go on in this state weakness. I can feel muscles twitching k coming out coz there's not enough then on a day iv a lot it goes back in there's never enough to cover all cells in body I feel like crap I was very healthy b4 this never had heart or exercise probs.


The er can give prescribed supplements they prob just didn't think it was low enough a lot of docs don't understand a lot about it.

N what are your symptoms?

cbur53
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/26/2017 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I have been having low potassium episodes as well. My muscles start to twitch and tighten, I feel a bit confused or light-headed, head aches, and then I start to shiver hard and have heart arrhythmia. My doctor did give me a prescription but he sent me to an endo who thinks it's all in my head because the tests are normal (between 3.6 and 4.0). She also said it was a thing for a kidney doc, not an endo, but the kidney doc won't see me unless I have a low enough test. He wants me to get tested when I have an episode but they usually are on the weekends or at night and when they come in the daytime, I don't feel safe driving myself the hour it takes to get to the lab and usually I don't have anyone to drive me... and I get scared and take the pill. Usually it takes at least 2 or 3 of the 1 gram pills to feel better.

The reason I knew it was low K is because many years ago I had such a spell and my naturpath gave me Potassium citrate powder. It usually only happened once or twice a year so I didn't think much of it until about a half year ago when it started happening every day. So I got myself 2 lbs. of potassium citrate powder from amazon, put a teaspoon in water and drink it throughout the day. That's a few grams, I think, but if I don't do that I get the spells again. Cheaper than the prescription anyway.

Girlie
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 33899
   Posted 12/26/2017 5:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi cbur53 - welcome!

Interesting about the potassium levels. I'm not sure if I was ever tested.


Do you have lyme disease?
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi

cbur53
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2017
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 12/26/2017 6:28 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not positive, since the results of the test were negative, but I've been sick for over 30 years with all the symptoms of lyme. Of course, it's all in my head, you know, but it's on these forums that I find the best advice that has helped me.

Girlie
Forum Moderator


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 33899
   Posted 12/26/2017 6:43 PM (GMT -6)   
okay - so you've been reading posts on here - you know that you can't rely on tests...many false negatives.

Are you going to get evaluated by a LLMD, so you can get treatment if you do indeed have LD?

What lab did you have the lyme tests done at?

You could post the results (was it a WB?) and maybe there are some lyme specific bands showing up.
Moderator, Lyme Forum
Symp started April/2013; Buhner's Lyme May 15-July24/14; Igenex pos. July 3/14
Doxy: July 4-Aug.24/14;Zithro July26-Aug24/14; Amox + Proben. Aug. 29/14;
added biaxin Sept. 26/14
Disc. amox,added Ceftin Nov. 20th.;
Disc. biaxin added Buhner bart herbs Dec/14;Jan/15 pulsing Tinda (w/ Ceftin);
Abx/herb break Apr-July/15; July-mino; Aug. added Rif;
Nov./15 mino - to biaxi
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