by Charles Weber, MS

Since cell potassium is always low in rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to know how to avoid losses during processing food. This discussion shows how.

CONTENTS of other chapters: Back to INTRODUCTION chapter -- II. Arthritis Research -- III. Arthritis and Potassium -- IV. Roles of Potassium in the Body -- V. Electrolyte regulation (sodium and potassium) -- VI. Purpose of cortisol -- VII. Copper nutrition and physiology -- VIII. Nutritional Requirements -- IX. Potassium in Foods -- X,cont. Losses in the kitchen -- XI. Supplementation -- Side Effects and Heart Disease -- XIV Potassium and thiamin in heart disease -- Strategies for CFS and fibromyalgia

POTASSIUM NUTRITION (a book by Charles Weber) Potassium losses from perspiration, in urine, during diarrhea, from stress, poisons, and disease states are discussed in the book available here, as well as methods to supplement potassium safely, especially as involved in heart disease, gout, high blood pressure, and rheumatoid arthritis, and indirectly in diabetes. It is published by iUniverse publishing company and it is a very comprehensive book about potassium, probably much more so than any other. You may see the table of contents with chapter summaries and the introductory chapter by clicking here.

For millions of years humans have been omnivorous, that is, they ate both plants and animals for food. Such a diet gives plenty of potassium from the plants, and sodium, chloride, vitamin B-12, and iodide from the animals. For land animals remote from the sea, getting enough chloride is probably usually the single most serious nutritional problem, with sodium and iodide close behind. There is little significant binding action in the soil for iodide and chloride, and rather little for sodium in mature tropical soils. Plants do not concentrate these elements. As a result, almost the whole pool of sodium, chloride, and iodide is probably in the fluid of higher animals in many areas. This poses a fairly serious problem for animals which eat only plants. Some species will undergo great exertion to reach a salt lick if one is available. Their hormone system is geared to drastic conservation of these elements. Animals’ attraction to salt is probably centered around detection of the chloride ion, the only essential nutrient which can be tasted, by humans at least.

So far as we humans are concerned, we had the considerable advantage of an omnivorous diet. It was probably largely adequate in spite of considerable reliance on fruits, partly because of a slow growth rate. At least it was until recently. Within the last few thousand years and especially the last few hundred years, a series of agricultural practices, food processing procedures and industries have evolved which have altered our nutritional status dramatically. While some of these alterations have given us considerable advantages in stabilizing variations in our food supply, in destroying some potent poisons, and others have rid us of some terrible food borne diseases such as trichinosis, nutritionally they are almost all destructive to one or more nutritional molecules. Some are so destructive that they leave no essential value in the food at all.

Almost every nutrient is affected by one process or another. Potassium is often severely affected, and is lost in most of the processes. I will largely confine the discussion to the affect that these processing losses have on potassium and sodium. It must be realized though, that even when your potassium intake is adequate, processed foods should never be selected over unprocessed foods when you have a choice, for every nutrient is affected. I will discuss the processes more or less in the order in which they came into use historically.


Making cheese amongst those races of men who herd cattle or goats must go far back in time. It was and still is a rather good way to preserve milk for use on the trail, or for storage when the milk flow is too great for consumption. In the course of making cheese, the whey, which has a disproportionate share of the potassium, is discarded to feed animals at present. The only cheeses which retain the same potassium as whole milk are the yogurts and buttermilk. Cottage cheese is in an intermediate position with moderate losses. Milk is less costly than cheese per unit of protein, tastes good, and with modern refrigeration is fairly easy to store. It can be easily curdled with enzymes. There is little reason for eating cheese, then, in North America, and I do not recommend it for most people. I am not familiar with the affect on lactose of making cheese. If cheese is more digestible to people who can not tolerate lactose, this recommendation may have to be modified for them.


Grain has been milled for a long time. It is possible that even cave men pounded seeds on rocks. As long as mortar and pestle was used. the so called "stone ground" technique, it was virtually impossible to lose any nutrients out of the flour by milling. However, as time went by clever ways were developed to separate the bran and germ from the rest of the grain. Most of what little potassium nourishment there is, is in these two parts. At first this was fairly laborious, and only the rich could afford the fine white flour that resulted, and was held in high esteem as luxurious. The poor envied the noble people who ate this food, but Marie Antoinette's advice to eat cake notwithstanding, they could not afford to do so. As cheap power came to be harnessed to the milling procedure, white flour came to be increasingly available to those who envied it, as a prestige symbol. Since they depended on grains for a considerable part of their food supply, millions of people lost their lives to the "wet" heart disease of beriberi and other B vitamin diseases. At the same time as the vitamins which prevented these diseases were lost, potassium was cut 75% in flour to a 25% remainder. They were probably protected to some extent from the "wet" heart disease of beriberi by the potassium loss. However vitamin B-1 is now added to most white grains so this protection, to the extent it obtains, no longer is pertinent. I suspect that most of the heart disease currently is probably at least influenced by this potassium loss. Since these losses are the cases, white flour is completely off the list of foods, which should be eaten by anybody, but especially by arthritics. This obtains even if the flour has been fortified. Grains in general should be used sparingly by arthritics until they fully recover.


The use of honey as a sweetening agent goes far back in history. It is not surprising that the bees supply a food low in potassium for the winter since they have no urinary system, and not only do not need it as mammals do, but probably would be hurt by too much. Honey did not, as a rule, make up a large part of people's diet because of the difficulty of obtaining it.

Starting in Roman times, sugar cane became available, and began to spread around the world. It reached Spain in the eighth century, the rest of Europe in the thirteenth, and was carried to America by Columbus [Abrams]. More and more efficient ships transported it to the far corners of the world. At the present time, not only does it make up a large part of the diet of the affluent people of the world, but it is usually in the form which has been recrystalized for purification so many times that it has no essential nutrients of any kind left. Its potassium loss is total. This "food" should never be eaten at all by anyone. If sweetening food is a psychological must for you, then at least use Barbados molasses or fruits. Molasses that has been extracted several times is especially high in potassium. It is called "black strap" molasses. It has moderate amounts of some other vitamins and minerals also.


Fats and oils contain little water and therefore little potassium. At the same time they are very high in calories. Therefore when this part of the food is extracted, and the remainder fed to the animals, the animals may benefit (if they get enough essential oil elsewhere) but people do not. In addition, Hunter believes that those oils which are extracted by solvents always contain traces of the solvents used [Hunter] Since these solvents are usually chlorinated molecules, a residual of poison is left behind.

Animal fats are even worse because they have very little of the oil soluble essential vitamins in them in addition to being low in potassium (except butter which at least has vitamin A). One of the frustrating circumstances is that their increase in our diet is even codified into law. Meats, for instance, are by federal statutes not to be defined as high quality unless they have flecks of fat. People should be free to eat as much fat as they wish, but to put a federal stamp of approval on such a senseless custom has got to be almost in same class as insisting that only high quality heroin be sold. The rigid codification around milk is just as bad. A simple labeling requirement for dairy products and meat is all that should be required.

Hydrogenated oils are almost in the same class as animal fat since the linoleic and linolenic acid vitamins (the omega oils) are destroyed. I suspect that this is contributing to swollen prostrate tissue at least. There should be enough oil in the vegetables eaten to take care of those two vitamins as well as vitamin E. If not, hydrogenation undoubtedly makes the matter even worse by tending to wash the oil soluble vitamins out of the intestines. There is also the possibility that the hydrogenation creates a mild poison, especially partially hydrogenated, although I know of no evidence. Reading the label does not help, because the law has been altered to read permit 0% “trans” fat even if there are small amounts present.

Anyway, there is no law that says you must eat fats and oils, so they should be used by arthritics as sparingly as possible. Those few that are used for frying should not be hydrogenated and preferably not extracted by solvents, but mechanically pressed out.


Salt used to be a commodity of great value, comparable to gold. Wars were fought over its trade [Kaunitz]. Towns in England and Germany ending in "wich" and "halle" where salt was traded bear mute witness to this ancient trade. When efficient mining techniques made salt inexpensive, it became practical to use salt to preserve food by raising the osmotic pressure of the fluid that the food was carried in or the food itself. Fish, meat, cucumbers and other vegetables were pickled and preserved this way. These foods became so popular because of our attraction to the chloride ion, that even in summer time when preserved foods were unnecessary, they became part of many meals and picnics.

This means of preserving has two major drawbacks in regard to potassium. First, the sodium displaces potassium in the food cells, and the potassium is discarded with the liquor in those cases where the food is immersed or loses liquid. A glance at the food table in which salt treated frozen or canned goods are shown will confirm this. This can cause fairly considerable loss of potassium.

The second problem is that an increase in sodium above its optimum intake causes a greater excretion of potassium as was discussed in Chapter VIII, "NUTRITIONAL REQUIREMENTS". It is a significant increase and fairly well documented [Koch]. Of course too little sodium causes a much greater potassium loss than too much [Peterson]. I suspect that the adverse affect on health from sodium (or chloride) is not so much from reduced cell potassium as it is from the hormone imbalance that one or both create in hormones. Ultimately each mineral must be independent of the others and attaining this independence for odd intakes may be damaging over a long time. Hypertension and heart disease are what seem to be primarily involved. So far as I know, no one has defined every detail of this [Kolata]. There are at least three hypertension syndromes and potassium plays a central role in at least one half the cases [Meneely 1958]. Hypertension can often be reversed by sodium restriction alone. However hypertension from sodium chloride can also be irreversible [Meneely & Battarbee 1976]. Keep in mind that when sodium is restricted, chloride is also, and chloride is said to account for 80% of the hypertension of salt [Whitescarver]. This is probably why potassium chloride supplements raise blood pressure instead of lowering it.

It is my opinion that the body is organized around a drastic sodium retention, and that the sodium in meat is adequate and may even be optimum for normal human needs [Oliver] if enough meat is eaten. A total of about 1.5 grams of sodium per day (equivalent to about 3.8 grams of salt) should be close to the above amount. This amount of sodium has the same number of atoms as about 2.5 grams of potassium. It is an amount that should be easily obtained from the average unprocessed diet, except for vegetarians. It is considerably less than that which the average American receives [Grim 1970]. The above amount of salt is a rough estimate and is not based on a precise estimate or survey of American intake, nor has it been established that completely deleting salt is advantageous.

It is possible that a little more may be desirable on hot days because of perspiration. Such supplementation is probably not usually critical, because apparently the bones store up to 45% of the body's sodium [Grim 1980]. Sodium acquired by mother's milk is instructive. It furnishes 0.2 milligrams per Calorie on the average. If an adult were to receive his sodium from this source, he would then receive about 0.5 grams of sodium per day. It may be that the sodium evolved low in mother’s milk partly as a compromise to protect the mother, and partly to prepare the child for a life on the sodium deficient African Savannah. Until the optimum amount is determined for sure, it might be better to organize one's thinking and strategy around a moderate amount, rather than use salt and processed food.


There are two procedures which have come into vogue largely within the last century or so. These are the canning and freezing of food. Freezing of vegetables would be especially valuable if it were done correctly. The way it is actually done is to boil the vegetables to kill the enzymes, called blanching, and then moving the vegetables around the plant in water filled troughs or flumes to the subsequent processing and packaging steps. By the time they arrive at a store, they have lost anywhere from 20 to 50% of their potassium and some much more if the liquid is drained off [Bills], and other water-soluble vitamins are similarly affected (it is conceivable that holes in spoons have killed more people than guns have). My best guess as to an average loss would be one third. Since these are our richest source of potassium, these losses are serious. It may be a considerable part of the degenerative diseases which have arisen in our society in recent years [Snively][USDA]. There is no way for the shopper to know which if any vegetables are unaffected, so that it is important that arthritics use as few frozen or canned vegetables as possible. It might be possible to make a crude estimation after the purchase by how washed out the taste is, but it is dubious.

It may be that vegetables cooked right in the package will prove to be an exception. Also foods which have high migrations of sugar out while immersed may have minimum reductions. Brussels sprouts may be an example as can be noted from the table.

The safest habit to get into until processors start listing procedures and losses on the label is to use only vegetables straight out of the fields. It makes eating a little more difficult in the winter, but not especially so, for vegetables are trucked up from the south all winter, and their cost per nutritive value is comparable to preserved food.

Continue with this Chapter X, Kitchen Losses and references


Dr. Reza Rastmanesh from Iran has recently performed a large controlled clinical trial testing potassium supplements against rheumatoid arthritis with dramatic decreases in pain in all subjects and increases of cortisol [Rastmanesh]. He would now like to continue his clinical research testing potassium in conjunction with other nutrients, especially magnesium, in an English speaking country. His credentials are impressive. If you know of any rheumatology department able to employ him, please contact him with the email address = r.rastmanesh at . His curriculum vitae is available in this site.

The health of people in the USA is abysmal, and a major part of it is poor nutrition. As the 12th century physician, trying to cure by diet before he administers drugs, said; “No illness that can be treated by diet should be treated by any other means" or as Hippocrates expressed it in 460 - 377BC; "If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health." It would seem that a healthy life style has been known for a long time. It is my belief that an unprocessed, unfrozen, not canned, high in vegetables diet would keep a large majority of people reasonably healthy and without the need for fad diets. 80% of Americans do not eat adequate vegetables, but even though 72% of Americans take vitamin or mineral supplements daily or sometimes [Sardi p148], their health is atrocious, especially old people..

I would suggest that a partial solution to the problem of poor potassium nutrition would be to place a tax on all food that has had potassium removed by food processors and completely fund all Medicare and workman’s compensation for injuries and disease that relate to rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and high blood pressure. This would also take the onerous tax burden now incurred for them and place it on the shoulders of those who cause the problem

The author, Charles Weber, has a degree in chemistry and a masters degree in soil science. He has researched potassium for 45 years, primarily a library research. He has cured his own early onset arthritis (33 years old). He has published articles on allied subjects in; The Journal of Theoretical Biology (1970, 1983), The Journal of Applied Nutrition (1974), Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology (1983), and Medical Hypotheses (1984, 1999).

While it is not the policy of this author to use testimonials, you may, if you wish, tell of the outcome of health strategies to a site which archives such experiences.

All printed rights to this article are reserved. Electronic rights are waived.

Email to; isoptera at or 1 828 692 5816 (USA)


There is an an article discussing anacardic acids in cashew nuts to cure a tooth abscess, which can prove useful.
There is also an article which proposes some speculation about diabetes.

Fluoride in city water will cause fluorosis discoloration of teeth, weakened bones, damage to the kidneys an immune system, and, worst of all, damage to the nerves resembling Alzheimer’s disease.

The pioneering efforts about potassium for arthritis by Charles de Coti-Marsh enabled him to form a foundation currently active in England that promotes the use of potassium for arthritis and it has helped 3500 people.

There is a site that contains reviews of natural remedies for many diseases .

It has been found that borax will cure rheumatoid arthritis. It will also get rid of fluoride in the body.

See this site for some links to health articles.
For a procedure that discusses tetrathiomolybdate for removing copper and thus preventing further solid cancer growth and Hodgkin’s, see this site. This might buy some time until you can persuade a doctor to try tumor necrosis factor or interferon or an opioid antagonist drug called Naltrexone (Naltrexone in the large 50 mg size, originally manufactured by DuPont under the brand name ReVia, is now sold by Mallinckrodt as Depade and by Barr Laboratories under the generic name naltrexone) that blocks some endorphin receptors. Said blockage is thought to cause the body to temporarily secrete more endorphins, especially after midnight at night. These endorphins are thought to stimulate the immune system, and in particular to stimulate the TH-1 or type 1 antiviral response by decreased interleukin-4 and with increased gamma interferon and interleukin-2 and a simultaneous decrease of type 2 anti bacterial response [Sacerdote]. It appears to be especially effective for minimizing symptoms and retarding progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) There are drugs listed in this site that should not be taken with low dose Naltrexone, including cortisol. Advice how to proceed if you have been taking cortisol may be seen here. (also see these sites; this site and this site and this site and a trial) . A few doctors have had encouraging results in Crohn's Disease, and even to some extent in cancer. Low doses of Naltrexone (LDN), 1.5 to 4.5 milligrams, at bedtime is used (timing is important, and it is important not to buy slow release forms). It is said to have no known bad side effects at those doses other than insomnia the first week or two in some. There is also reports from an extensive survey in this site. and an extensive discussion at this site. I think some clinical studies on Naltrexone are in order, and it should not be a prescription drug (I have a petition to make Naltrexone an over the counter drug with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research FDA Rockville MD 20857, Re; Docket No. 2006P-0508-CPI. Perhaps if enough people wrote supporting the petition it could be enacted). Though side effects appear unlikely, it is not proven over longer periods. If you try it (it is a prescription medicine in the USA), it seems likely that you should discontinue if you get a bacterial infection in view of its inhibition of antibacterial response It is also being explored for AIDS by Dr. Bernard Bihari, 29 W 15th St. New York, NY 10011, 212) 929-4196 who is still prescribing Naltrexone for HIV/AIDS. (and currently Executive Director of the Community Research Initiative). Dr. Gale Guyer of Advanced Medical Center located in Zionsville, Indiana also is using it for cancer. Dr. Bihari has shown promising results for a large percentage of his cancer patients.

Olive leaf extract has shown clinical evidence of effectiveness against a wide range of viruses, including AIDS [Bihari], herpes, and cold viruses. It sometimes produces a Herxheimer or pathogen die off symptoms (from effectiveness against bacteria?). There is evidence that it is synergistic (reinforce each other) with Naltrexone. There have been a few case histories of improvement in what were probably arthritis patients and CFIDS patients. The active ingredient is said to be oleuropein or enolate. There has been very little follow up research done on it.

Also it has been found that curcumin in turmeric or curry powder will inhibit several forms of cancer, including melanoma. People who live in India where these spices are eaten, have one tenth the cancer elsewhere. Here is an article with anecdotal evidence for pressurized oxygen, zinc, vitamin B6, and vitamin C after head injuries. They also claim a fair percentage of prison inmates from psychiatric disorders after head injuries.
See this site for evidence of a correlation between magnesium deficiency and cancer. The taurate is proposed as the best magnesium supplement. Taurine or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid is an acidic chemical substance sulfonated rather than carboxylated found in high abundance in the tissues of many animals (metazoa), especially sea animals. Taurine is also found in plants, fungi, and some bacterial species, but in far less abundance. It is an amine with a sulfonic acid functional group, but it is not an amino acid in the biological sense, not being one of the twenty protein-forming compounds encoded by the universal genetic code. Small polypeptides have been identified as containing taurine, but to date there has been no report of a transfer RNA that is specifically charged with taurine [from Wikipedia]. It is essential to babies. It has been found that supplements of the amino acid, taurine, will restore the abnormal electrocardiogram present during a potassium deficiency by an unknown mechanism. This information has been used in several case histories by George Eby to control a long standing type of cardiac arrhythmia called pre atrial contractions (PACs), a benign but irritating and nerve racking heart problem, with 2.5 grams of taurine with each meal. . Taurine is said to be low in the diets of vegetarians. The 2.5 grams recommended by the American Heart Association causes diarrhea in some people and should probably be reduced in those people. Taurine has been used for high blood pressure, migraine headache, high cholesterol, epilepsy, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, liver disorders, alcoholism, and cystic fibrosis, and depression. . Keep in mind that some people may have a genetic defect that limits the amount of taurine tolerated and that adequate molybdenum may desirable. Also taurine may make a copper deficiency worse based on a single case history, so adequate copper may be necessary [Brien Quirk, private communication].

A site is available which shows. foods which are high in one nutrient and low in another (including calories). This last site should be especially useful for a quick list of foods to consider first, or for those who must restrict another nutrient because of a genetic difficulty with absorption or utilization

There is a site with several links to potassium nutrition articles.

If you use medication, you may see technical evaluations and cautions of drugs at the bottom of this site.

The very extensive USDA Handbook #8 may be seen here. To access the information you must press "enter" to search, and then divide Kcal into milligrams of potassium. This last table is very comprehensive, is used in search mode, and even lists the amino acids. There are also links in it to PDF types of printouts from the table for individual nutrients available here Just click on the “A” or “W” button for the nutrient you desire. A table that has already done the potassium calculation is here in descending concentration or in alphabetical order.

There is a free browser called Firefox, which is said to be less susceptible to viruses or crashes, has many interesting features, imports information from Iexplore while leaving Iexplore intact. You can also install their emailer. A feature that lists all the URLs on a viewed site can be useful when working on your own site.

There is a tool bar by Google that enables you to search the internet from the page viewed, mark desired words, search the site, give page rank, etc. A link enables a literature only search.

There is a free program available which tells on your site what web site accessed you, which search engine, statistics about which country, statistics of search engine access, keywords used and their frequency. It can be very useful.


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Bihari B 1995 Efficacy of low dose Naltrexone as an immune stabilizing agent for treatment of HIV/AIDS [letter] AIDS Patient Care 9; 3.

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Email to Charles Weber = isoptera at or 828 692 5816

All printed rights to this article are reserved. Electronic rights are waived.

This article was updated April 2014

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