Caffeine will cause your body to eliminate potassium (and conserve sodium) in order to protect your heart from dehydration.
Sorry I don't have the link handy.
Some how I discovered that taking potassium helps me with sudden gasping for breath, usually at night while trying to go to sleep or while sleeping, waking me up. Perhaps this is related to panic attacks, so I have heard it might be and fear is involved.
I take the powdered form of Now potassium. For some reason, they say you can take a higher dose.
I take 1/2 tsp 3x a day that is 175 mg 3x a day. I have been doing this for several years. Sometimes I try to stop but the symptoms return so I continue. It says on the container you can take that dose 4x a day.
I am so thankful you posted this. My son and I have this problem and it is potassium for us also. For years I would have panic attacks and finally realized it was potassium that I needed. It can cause shortness of breath, because it affects the muscles in the diaphragm..at least for me it does. I actually need mega magnesium and potassium everyday..can never get a doctor to believe me, nor help me..my son either. We do not know why..but we have had stress like crazy in our lives.
I had pulmonary embolisms and dvt in 2015..and in the hospital they gave me both potassium and magnesium as well as blood thinners. I get so scared now when I get short of breath..just trying to stay ahead of it I take the same Now potassium powder as well as the capsules. I seemed to need 4000 to 5000 mgs a day..told my doc..he gasped and said nothing.
I also have severe pitted edema..adrenal fatigue, fibromyalgia, cfs/me..this weekend we are going to make an incline bed. So tired of living like this.
Thank you again for posting..it is nice in a sad way to know we are not alone.
The FDA recommends 4,700 mg per day.
I find if I do not get close to that I get severe Charlie horse cramps at night.
The most effective product I found is Pico-Potassium found at rnareset(dot)com by Dr. Carolyn Dean.
Good to read your reply. I have gotten that same reaction from a doctor. I also take 3000 mg of niacin for panic attacks and when I told my doctor she expressed disapproval but offered no help. I still take it. I also have CFS. I have been using the spray on magnesium oil which also helps with the panic attacks. Lately I have started experimenting with nootropics. They seem to be helping with mood and energy. I am still in the early stages and move forward slowly, monitoring the results. Right now I am taking Aniracetam and Alpha-GPC. I just ordered the nootropic sulbutiamine, which is a synthetic vitamin b1 that is supposed to be good for CFS. I also have that thing with tight muscles in the chest area causing rapid breathing or shortness of breath which got worse when Covid arrived. The thing that helps me with that is doing the bowing exercises that they do in Buddhism. It opens up your whole body. If that is not something you can or want to do the Miracle Ball Method is also good.
I hope you and your son continue to feel better. Yes, it is good to know you are not alone.
Best wishes, Gail
I have had leg cramps for years. I tried dr bergs electrolyte powder, it works well. Hope this helps
(Winter Park, Florida)
I too am very grateful for this article. My husband has been suffering with almost all of the symptoms of low potassium. I'm starting him on a cocktail tonight of 1/4 teaspoon of sodium carbonate (washing soda) plus 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of potassium citrate (or potassium bicarbonate) in 1/2 glass of water taken twice a day. If anyone has input on doing something different I'm all ears. We're both super hopeful this will alleviate his chronic hip/leg pain as well as foot pain, muscle cramps and peeing a river every 30 minutes.
I am sure you did research before starting this therapy. Are you sure that starting with 1/2 tsp potassium citrate or gluconate twice a day is ok? I gradually built up over a period of 5 months from 1/8 to 1/4 to now 1/2 potassium citrate which I have with a tbs of apple cider vinegar. I have no plans in the near future to increase that amount. Potassium is wonderful but please use extreme caution while dosing. Best of luck!
Also grateful for this post. I'm dealing with this at this minute. I've been thinking it was a brain stem issue. Wondering about my neck being out (I have neck pain), or a thiamine deficiency, as that can be sooo helpful for folks with brain stem issues.
I'll try some potassium and see if it helps. I don't have powder, but do have capsules.
Low sodium V-8 juice has 870 mg of potassium in 8 oz. I drink a glass morning and night to keep away the heart palpitations and chest/diaphragm tightness that prevents a deep satisfying breath. The regular V-8 does not have this much potassium.
Fasted way to stop the leg cramp is to stick a 99mg potassium tablet under your tongue for about 10 seconds. Then drink water and swallow it. It works instantaneously. I've used this remedy for 10 plus years. I have low potassium at least once a month due to a chronic vitamin deficiency from Crohn's disease.
Molasses contains 376 mg or 8% daily value DV in 1 Tablespoon of Molasses. I took a couple of tablespoons of Molasses as a quick fix when I had breathing problems caused by a potassium deficiency several years ago.
Potassium for Multiple Ailments
Potassium has been used to treat arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and heart disease. An internet search should provide more information as will the book "Potassium Nutrition" by Charles Weber.
Over the years, am an aged female pensioner now, have discovered that some of these low potassium symptoms, as described above, become more evident during three days before and up to full and new moon cycles. With this knowledge, have now been able to forestall symptoms by taking a ground potassium gluconate tablet in juice. One should always be aware of how moon cycles can affect our bodies too.
Please explain moon phase 3 days before.
I think Wendy means that certain low potassium symptoms, such as arthritis, get worse 3 days before a full moon and 3 days before a new moon. Along these same lines, I have heard that nocturnal urination frequency also increases as you approach a full moon.
If you know anything about parasites, they are most active during a full moon...this explains most physical/emotional/psychological ailments we experience...
Severe Foot Pain
I too suffer from SEVERE cramps due to a gastric bypass surgery which can put you into malnutrition and even death eventually. My cramps begin in my feet and travel in seconds up to my hips leaving me paralyzed for hours. I have drank 1 cup of dill pickle juice for years now, getting relief nearly every time. I heard about taking 3 tbsp. of mustard and find within 1 min.my cramps subside. It always works. Please give it a try, and I guarantee you will find relief! Eating a hot dog helps it to go down. It can be hard to swallow but it is also a miracle remedy. Good luck!
For leg and foot cramps, I put lavender oil on. Within a few minutes, the cramp is gone. Works every time.
Severe Foot Pain
About a month ago, I woke up in the middle of the night with intense pain in one foot. I thought it was a muscle cramp and got up to use the bathroom. As soon as I put weight on the foot, it became such searing pain, I was certain I had fractured my foot even though I had not had any injury earlier in the day to trigger such immense pain. I hobbled to the kitchen to get a balm to put on it.
At least an hour went by without any pain relief (which was a 9 on a scale of 1-10) almost bringing me to tears. I then thought to take a potassium capsule in case it was a severe muscle cramp since I hadn't injured my foot.
30 minutes after taking potassium, the pain started to subside, and an hour later, it was gone, never to return. Strange thing. Never have I had such a searing muscle cramp on my foot before! Glad I had potassium tablets on hand and that it worked.
Between this and my sudden tooth nerve sensitivity issue this summer that was also cured with just one potassium supplement in one hour, I knew I had to write an article for Earth Clinic and send it out in a newsletter. Please check out today's featured article at the top of our new hypokalemia (low potassium) page if you haven't seen it yet.
I think it's imperative for people to learn what symptoms can be brought on by a potassium deficiency AND what can cause a rapid loss of potassium (the list is long). Additionally, that eating a banana is not always going to be as effective as taking a potassium tablet even though a banana contains 422 mg. of potassium and a supplement only 99 mg. I ate 2 bananas for 2 days when I had my tooth nerve issue, and they didn't alleviate the nerve pain whatsoever. But a simple and inexpensive potassium tablet cured my symptoms and quickly!
Cost per tablet: About 20 cents.
While researching for today's article, I was perplexed to discover that no medical website recommends potassium supplements, even for short term use. They all warn against it. So I think this is one reason why people hesitate to take potassium supplements unless prescribed by a doctor.
My sympathies to you on your latest afflictions! Bit in the wars lately aren't we?
I too, get severe muscle cramps occasionally, almost always when arising in the morning and if I get out of bed in a slightly awkward fashion.
It is usually my right thigh but sometimes my right calf muscles that go into spasm and send me through the ceiling and into the stratosphere. Painful? You could say that!
What I do (if I am able to hobble over to my furniture) is to immediately take a shot of Magnesium Chloride LIQUID in a full glass of water . This will often give relief from further spasms in a hurry. If I don't have access to that remedy, then I can take a dose of plain table salt in a glass of warm water (to dissolve the salt thoroughly).
I have had personal success with both methods.
I know that the latter is risky if one has high blood pressure but "any port in a storm"! Just be careful if you have high BP eh!
Cheers from Down Under, where we have our elections to-morrow. I am betting that a woman will get in!! (Pretty safe bet!! ).
I'm so glad you got relief from intense foot pain and tooth pain. I love potassium! I've been taking it for about six months now. I started with one eighth spoon of potassium citrate in a glass of water to which I added a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and, after three months I've increased the potassium to half a teaspoon. I have it in the morning before coffee and it tastes delicious. The result is no more leg cramps at night and the bonus has been the cold sensitivity in my teeth that had crept up over the years has gone. I can drink cold water or eat ice cream with no problem. You read a lot of scary info on the web about overdoing potassium. If you're cautious and gradually build up your dosage there are only good outcomes.
Be very careful with potassium. Potassium, magnesium and calcium are critical for muscles to work properly. If you get them out of the proper ratio, you can heart rhythm problems. It concerns me that you say you can gradually increase your potassium without issue. I'm not saying stop taking it, just be careful.
The two different forms of potassium that I have tried recently, which seem to work equally well, are Potassium Gluconate and Potassium Chloride. Perhaps you can start with a popular brand from your health food store and see how it makes you feel.