It is my contention that rheumatoid arthritis is either caused by a potassium deficiency or is greatly enabled by one (Potassium in the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis and heart infarction. 1974 Journal of Applied Nutrition. 26; p40. ) (Potassium deficiency as a cause of rheumatoid arthritis. 2000 Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. 208; 74-76. ) ( http://charles_w.tripod.com/arthritis.html ). Dr. Reza Rastmanesh has performed a clinical trial that establishes this (Rastmanesh R. 2008 A pilot study of potassium supplementation in treatment of hypokalemic patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized, double-blinded placebo controlled trial. The Journal of Pain. 9, issue 8; 722-731. ).
Potassium should be automatically prescribed for rheumatoid arthritis because getting potassium up to normal from the low values in all RA patients (LaCelle PL et al 1964 An investigation of total body potassium in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Proceedings Ann. Meeting of the Rheumatism Association, Arthritis & Rheumatism 7; 321 ) (Sambrook PN, Ansell BM, Foster S, Gumpel JM, Hesp R, Reeve J, Zanelli JM 1985 Bone turnover in early rheumatoid arthritis. 1. Biochemical and kinetic indexes. Ann Rheum Dis. Sep;44(9):575-9. ) is slow, even with a high unprocessed vegetable diet. There are tasty foods that are especially rich in potassium ( http://www.rheumatoidarthritisprogram.com/potassium-and-ra/ ).
However it is important that thiamin (vitamin B-1) be adequate when supplementing with potassium because heart disease can not materialize when both are deficient, but will show up if only one of those is deficient (http://charles_w.tripod.com/kandthiamin.html ). This is probably the primary reason why heart disease is a main cause of death in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
In view of the fact that this is not considered by current rheumatologists, it would be very valuable for you to bring it into your future research. It is not only that potassium is not considered by physicians in regard to RA, most of them do not even believe that a potassium deficiency is likely. This even though many of them prescribe what are actually supplements, but prescribed under euphemistic terms such as salt substitutes, sodium free baking powder, ORT salts (oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea), polarizing solutions, GIK (glucose, insulin, potassium) salts, vegetables, or glucosamine. A deficiency is further defined out of existence by defining the blood serum content normal as 4.2 when the actual figure is 4.8.
Sincerely, Charles Weber