by Charles Weber, MS

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. Processing Losses -- X,cont. Losses in the Kitchen -- XI. Supplementation -- XII. Side Effects and Heart Disease -- XIV. Potassium and thiamin in heart disease -- Strategies for CFS and fibromyalgia

When Blood Potassium is too High


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 years rheumatoid arthritis was the poor relation of medical research. Its victims did not do something dramatic like die, as they often did with pneumonia, or go insane as they did with syphilis, or bring tears to the eyes as with childhood diphtheria, or have nice bright , easily recognizable symptoms as with measles. Rheumatoid arthritis tended to be a disability of old folks with vague, sometimes disbelieved symptoms. That has changed and extensive, well-funded research is being done now partly because there has been a considerable increase in rheumatoid arthritis. Indeed, the Center for Disease Control has said that it is a leading cause of disability in the USA today. Rheumatoid arthritis was first proposed as a separate syndrome by Heberden and Haygarth in the early 19th century. Forming the backdrop of later research are several hypotheses, some borrowed from research into other diseases, and some with a novel twist of their own.

One of the oldest of these is the stress hormone hypothesis championed by Selye [Selye 1949 & 1950 p197-198]. Roughly his contention was that hormones released by the body, especially those released by the jacket of the adrenal glands, cause an adverse reaction to the joint tissues when they are released in too large amounts or the wrong ratios under conditions of environmental stress or psychic stress. His concept was generalized and only mentioned rheumatoid arthritis as an unlikely possibility. The theory had some plausibility since arthritis can be produced by injecting deoxycorticosterone (DOC), which is a potassium excreting hormone, into a person who has been suffering from Addisons's disease or into animals [Selye et al 1944][Turner]. Some support is given to this approach in that repressed hostility is probably correlated with rheumatoid arthritis [Cobb]. The dramatic affect that cortisone (first synthesized by Julian, which dramatically lowered its price and used against rheumatoid arthritis by Kendall and Hench in 1948) has on arthritis, removing all symptoms in a short time, would give encouragement to a scientist trying to approach this matter from Selye's viewpoint. This hypothesis has never been refuted although it has fallen into disfavor recently. This is probably because some rather severe side effects materialized eventually when medical people used cortisone for a long time. As one author put it "It is remarkable how cortisone can get a seemingly hopeless patient on his feet again. Sometimes it is so effective that he can walk all the way to the autopsy table." Cortisone changes to cortisol, which reduces resistance to infection (glucocorticoids, of which cortisol is a member, cause 5 times more likelihood of tuberculosis [Jick] ) , suppresses fever, causes polyarteritis nodosa (a blood vessel disease), and suppresses collagen synthesis. Some additional evidence that hormones play a crucial role is that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEAS] is reduced during inflammatory arthritis [Dessein]. Stress theories did not always emphasize steroid hormones. Histamine was suggested as possibly being involved [Eyring].

A group called "Arthritis Medical Information Society" had revived this concept. They had claimed cures using a "balanced" regime of injected hormones, hormones which include the steroid testosterone, a sex hormone. They claimed a preponderance of anabolic (tissue building) hormones prevent side effects. They also recommend better nutrition, which I suspect, was having the major affect, especially potassium nutrition.

McCord has proposed that arthritis may be caused by insufficient amounts of superoxide dismutase, an enzyme catalyzed by copper [McCord]. Copper supplements either as pharmaceuticals [Sorenson 1980] or as copper bracelets have been proposed with encouraging results. Copper as ceruloplasmin is high in the blood of rheumatoid arthritics [Zoli] [Louro] and this may be depleting copper by greater excretion through the bile. The reason why copper seemed to impact arthritis may be because a copper deficiency increases mast cells half again as much in rats [Schuschke], which increased numbers in turn increases inflammation caused by histamine release by those mast cells as stimulated by the immune peptide hormones. Also copper is crucial for the immune system, so it may be that a mycoplasmin infection to be mentioned later is more successfully resisted.

A boron deficiency has been proposed as accentuating arthritis. It has been proposed that the high incidence of arthritis in Jamaica and northern Thailand is because of low boron. I have no information as to a possible mechanism. However it has been found that borax will cure rheumatoid arthritis. It will also get rid of fluoride in the body.

Because of the dramatic successes that scientists had in their battle against bacteria and virus, it is not surprising that these men should turn their attention to finding an organism, which was responsible for arthritis. The fact that some infections could trigger an attack of arthritis must have given them encouragement. Not surprisingly infections have been searched for as causal to rheumatoid arthritis. I know of no infection that has been proven to chronically inhabit the joints, although viruses such as parvovirus, chronic hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C have been found to trigger arthritis [Siegel], lyme disease has been proposed by Malawista, and mycoplasma bacteria have been found to inhabit the synovial fluid [Schaeverbeke] (which is the fluid in the joints) and the joints [Poehlmann p353]. Mycoplasma has produced experimental arthritis in animals [Poehlmann p354].

The mycobacterium, Staphylococcus aureus, produces a persistant septic arthritis [Go]. Mycobacteria are rod-shaped, gram-positive aerobes, or facultative anaerobes. If gram positive bacteria are proved to be always or sometimes involved, anacardic acids in raw cashew nuts should prove to be useful (see http://charles_w.tripod.com/tooth.html ). As deduced from its genome, M. tuberculosis has the potential to manufacture all of the machinery necessary to synthesize all of its essential vitamins, amino acids, and enzyme co-factors. Rashid and Ebringer claim that there are antibodies against Proteus mirabilis in arthritics. They say there is a molecular similarity between “LRREI” amino acid sequences present in small or peripheral joints and “IRRET” motif in Proteus urease enzyme, and this may be why small joints are affected [Rashid]. Wilson, et al propose that ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, trimethoprim, sulfamethoxazole will cure Proteus especially with increased fluid and cranberry juice [Wilson]. Ebringer proposes that smoking makes one more susceptible to Proteus [Gorman]. Other infections are known to trigger arthritis and tooth abscesses can cause shoulder bursitis.

Wyburn-Mason suggested that maybe an amoeba causes arthritis [Wyburn-Mason].

Antibiotics ((tetracyclines such as tetracycline, oxytetracycline, doxycycline, especially minocycline, trade named Minocin by Lederle) has been said to be shown to cure many arthritics [Cole]. O’Dell claims that monocline is especially affective. Those antibiotics are specific against an odd bacterium species devoid of cell walls, which can enter the cells like viruses, called “Mycoplasma”. Mycoplasma are flask-shaped and are most likely descended from Gram-positive bacteria. They are not the same as mycobacteria. Due to their seriously degraded genome they cannot perform many metabolic functions, such as cell wall production or synthesis of purines. They are believed to contain the absolute minimum machinery necessary for survival. The Mycoplasma cell is built of a minimum set of organelles including a plasma membrane, ribosomes, and a highly coiled circular chromosome. However the above antibiotics are said to be only maximally affective if the patients stop eating sugars, fats, and grains [Poehlmann]. This would greatly increase potassium intake. High doses have been found to be more effective than low [Kloppenberg]. A clinical trial has shown that 80% of patients show a marked improvement using minocycline. When mycoplasma bacteria are involved, it takes a long time for doxycycline to take affect. It is said that that medicine has anti-inflammatory affects also, so one can not draw certain conclusions yet. As already mentioned, doxycycline may cause greater magnesium excretion, so supplements of magnesium might be necessary with this medicine. Long time use also creates nausea and photo sensitivity. You may see numerous references here. Tetracycline combined with clindamycin gave significant improvement to 90% of patients in an experiment [Gompel]. Mycoplasmin bacteria as a factor in joint pain is plausible and maybe other pain as well because those bacteria may well be increasing secretion of glucosteroid response modifying factors, although I have no evidence. People low in interferon-gamma are susceptible to mycobacteria and benefit from interferon-gamma treatment [Casanova]. Rothschild believes arthritis first started among Tennessee Indians 4000 years ago and spread from there. If so, this would be evidence for a bacterial or viral underlying cause.

It is possible that the vitamin D is having a direct affect on arthritis if arthritis is indeed an infection, for it has been discovered that vitamin D activates a cell receptor that activates antimicrobial peptide (cathelicidin), which is involved in killing of bacteria such as tuberculosis bacteria [Liu]. Equally likely would be vitamin D’s role in accentuating magnesium absorption, and thus potassium absorption.

When resisting diseases, especially bacterial, there is probably another reason for keeping cell potassium normal with adequate nutrition. The effectiveness of potassium against arthritis could conceivably partly due to the ability of a potassium replete body to resist bacterial infection. Potassium is thought to be essential to defense against pathologic bacteria on the basis of increased liability to infection of deficient kidneys [Woods][Kahn] that have suffered no change otherwise, although rat kidneys are not depleted of potassium [Welt 1960, p223]. It may be that the reason for this has been found. It seems that the white cell vacuole requires an alkaline medium in order to both kill and digest microbes. To achieve this it must pump potassium into the vacuole using a calcium activated (Bkca) pump. This is known because, when a chemical blocks this pump channel, microbes are not killed in spite of normal phagocytosis (engulfing of microbes) and oxidase activity [Ahluwalia]. So it seems plausible to me that, when the pump is operating normally, a low cell potassium would make it more difficult to achieve the enhanced alkalinity. pH inside the cell goes from 6.98 to 6.48 from potassium depletion (based on assumptions) [Welt 1960, p219][Gardner 1953]. This may be the reason why potassium deficient kidneys are susceptible to infection and other infections may yet prove to be overcome with more difficulty. I know of no experimental information for the affect on mycoplasma bacteria though, although arthritis patients are nine times as likely to get tuberculosis, a mycobacteria, than healthy people [Seong].

It is possible that any strategy against mycobacteria would be enhanced if an intracellular enzyme called interferon- -inducible p47 GTPase (IGTP) in mice that is thought to disrupt a protective membrane around mycobacteria, and thus enable a lysosome sac to destroy the bacteria could be stimulated. Interferon gamma stimulates the overall process of mycobacteria destruction, but not directly the enzyme itself in humans [Singh]. For this last circumstance I would assume that potassium would be especially effective if the above potassium proposal is valid. There is a different bacteria called mycoplasmin which has also been implicated in rheumatoid arthritis according to this reference [Ramirez]. 50% of rheumatoid arthritis patients have had mycoplasmal bacterial infections [Nicolson]. Since mycobacteria are thought to be possible ancestors of gram positive bacteria it may yet prove possible to kill them with anacardic acids in raw cashew nuts as tooth infection bacteria are killed. Thus also acne, leprosy, and tuberculosis may also be cured. Someone should try it. It should be tried on mycoplasma as well.

Also it has been proposed that gallium can kill mycobacteria possibly by interfering with their iron metabolism. There are cases of people cured of rheumatoid arthritis by gallium [Olakanmi]. Gallium is an element and cannot be degraded by the body’s enzymes. Therefore experiments with it are inherently dangerous. Dr. Mirkin has posted instructions for using antibiotics against rheumatoid arthritis. It could be that using all these medicines simultaneously may prove to be especially advantageous. Do not try it yourself, though, because it could also prove to be dangerous. It is not likely that pharmaceutical companies will try it since non are able to be patented.

An opioid antagonist drug called Naltrexone (Naltrexone in the large 50mg 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 TH2, or type 2, anti bacterial response [Sacerdote]. It appears to be especially effective for minimizing symptoms and retarding progression of multiple sclerosis (MS)Advice how to proceed if you have been taking cortisol may be seen here. (also see these sites here.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 or stiffness the first week or two in some people. There are also reports from an extensive survey in this site.

I think some clinical studies on Naltrexone are in order, and it should not be a prescription drug due to the absence of side effects. 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.

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 (mutual enhancement) with Naltrexone. There have been a few case histories of improvement in what were probably rheumatoid arthritis patients. The active ingredient is said to be oleuropein or enolate There has been very little follow up research done on it.

You may see a list of laboratories that test for bacteria at this site, as well as some doctor’s experience with treating using antibiotics.

Also a recent blood analysis has disclosed that rheumatoid arthritis patients have ten times as many Epstein Barr (mononucleosis, herpes) virus antibodies as normal people [Balandraud]. So it is possible that some arthritis is a reaction to antibodies of that virus as the authors suggest. It has been proposed that maybe the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis arises from a latent herpes virus and that lysine supplements will put it into remission, based on a single case history [from a discontinued URL]. It is quite possible that rheumatoid arthritis is caused by more than one kind of pathogen.

It is possible for joints to become directly infected by pathogens, but the symptoms of this fairly rare condition are not exactly the same as arthritis. It causes skin rash, large lymph nodes, fever, and often affects the kidneys and heart [*] However an exhaustive search has not disclosed any microbe consistently present in inflamed tissue during rheumatoid arthritis prior to 1975 [Phillips] although some investigators believe that an amebic infection is involved. The Arthritis Trust of America and Canada is organized around the concept that killing an unknown microorganism with antibiotics will alleviate rheumatoid arthritis and claim to have had some good results. Also research has implicated bacteria called chlamydia in a disease called "reactive arthritis" [Gerard] which usually afflicts a few joints in the knees, ankles, or toes a few weeks or months after infection. When it affects other tissue it is called "Reiter's syndrome"

Antibiotics have been used successfully against sarcoidosis [Marshall]. Probably sunlight and vitamin D supplements should be avoided during sarcoidosis. Those authors believe that a mycoplasmin like bacteria is responsible for that disease, and suggest that similar bacteria may be involved in rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases like it by infecting white blood cells and causing autoimmunity. If mycoplasmin bacteria do cause arthritis, it may explain why vitamin D is effective in dampening inflammation during rheumatoid arthritis So it is also possible that the vitamin D is having a direct affect on arthritis if arthritis is indeed an intracellular infection, for it has been discovered that vitamin D activates a cell receptor that activates antimicrobial peptide (cathelicidin) as mentioned above, which is involved in killing of intracellular bacteria such as tuberculosis bacteria [Liu]. Even more likely would be vitamin D’s role in accentuating magnesium absorption, and thus potassium.

The most popular current hypothesis is the autoimmune hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that the body's mechanism for killing disease organisms gets out of order, and starts killing connective tissue cells or perhaps dissolving the connecting tissue itself. No mechanism has been advanced for the immune system getting out of order though. Moderately high statistical associations between rheumatoid arthritis and physiological circumstances that are closely related to the immune system have given investigators all over the world encouragement. Many do not even regard the concept as a hypothesis, but as a proven theory. A much higher association of antigen HLA-B27, which is a known immunity factor, with diseases in the arthritic group such as Reiter's syndrome and ankylosing spondilitis [Mikkelsen] has tended to reinforce this feeling that they are on the right track. Investigations into the autoimmune hypothesis are well funded. A number of medicines have come into use, most of which affect the immune system, but usually with bad side effects. These so called NSAIDs cause quite distinct and severe biochemical damage during drug absorption (uncoupling of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation proving to be most important) which results in increased intestinal permeability. All commonly used NSAIDs, apart from aspirin and nabumetone, are associated with increased intestinal permeability in man. Whilst reversible in the short term, it may take months to improve following prolonged NSAID use [Bjarnason].

It would seem strange that mesenchyme tissue (tissue derived from the middle layer of the embryo) is primarily affected, that it would take so long to be destroyed, or that there would be spontaneous remissions if the auto immune hypothesis were valid. At the very least some auxiliary hypotheses would be necessary. Millman has proposed that some of the cell wall off of bacterial invaders become incorporated into the collagen [Millman]. How cell walls would know enough to incorporate symmetrically on either side of the body would be mysterious. Effects of steroid treatment may be due to inhibition of arachidonic metabolic cascade (the prostaglandin hormones) especially to leucotrienes, which are thought to activate macro white cells [Nalbandian]. The number of white cells can rise extremely high in arthritis [Meyer]. The hypothesis seems plausible but attempts to adapt it to diagnostic techniques have been unsuccessful. There have been medicines proposed which dampen the immune system, but most of them cause the joint damage to get worse in the long run and are very dangerous during an infection. I regard the autoimmune hypothesis as a word that translates out to “we do not know what is going on”.

Currently there is considerable effort being put into exploring the role of the increase in tumor necrosis factor (TNF or cachectin or cachexin) during arthritis. TNF is a peptide protein hormone secreted by the immune system. Encouraging results are obtained by blocking agents [Campbell] such as Remicade, but dampen the immune system. However that therapy makes the patient more susceptible to infections such as tuberculosis, and if rheumatoid arthritis proves to be a bacterial infection, possibly make rheumatoid arthritis worse also. It probably receives some of its affect by sensitizing the pituitarv gland to secrete more ACTH and therefore stimulating the adrenals to secrete more cortisol [Staub] and thus be nothing more than a palliative affect. It has been proposed recently GIK solutions be used to suppress tumor necrosis factor [Das]. GIK (glucose insulin kalium) is really an injection of a potassium supplement, with glucose to accompany it into the cells, assisted by insulin. Probably what happens during potassium deficiency is that the low potassium causes cortisol to decline [Mikosha]. This in turn causes superoxide dismutase (an enzyme which degrades extremely active oxides like hydrogen peroxide and superoxide radical) to decline. As a result some of the cells are killed. At the same time the enzyme which cross-links connective tissue is inhibited and this causes severe problems with strength of blood vessels, spinal discs, and even the joints if continued a long time.

There is a hypothesis that the enzymes inside the lysosome sacs inside the white cells are released because of weakness [Weissman]. This may be happening when sodium urate crystals are ingested by the white cells in gouty arthritis or at least pseudogout [Wallingford] but evidence for it in rheumatoid arthritis is inconclusive. In any case the immune system is very complicated. It is too bad that such complicated and expensive autoimmune research is being performed because of what is almost cerainly primarily a potassium deficiency’s affect on the immune system.

The hypothesis that rheumatoid arthritis is an allergy is in the same general category as the autoimmune hypothesis. Such a hypothesis has the advantage, not shared by the autoimmune hypothesis directly, of advancing an environmental factor, which is almost certainly involved. The wide geographical variations already mentioned in chapter I virtually ensure this. Turnbull has had impressive percentages (50%) of arthritics improved by removing certain foods from the diet [Turnbull]. Others claim success by removing environmental poisons such as cooking gas [Randolph]. Anderson has been successful in removing a bad case of allergy by removing lustidine and sodium from his diet. However he removed sodium by adding potassium [Anderson]. Currently McDougall has published references to research around allergy affecting arthritis. However the diet he recommends is high in vegetables and therefore potassium and magnesium. Medical people do not pay much attention to this allergy hypothesis even as a diagnostic approach. The references on allergy often mention this, and it appears to be true of most of the literature. Zussman, who improved four arthritics this way, could not believe he was dealing with rheumatoid arthritis or was afraid of ridicule, and so entitled his article "Food hypersensitivity simulating rheumatoid arthritis" [Zussman]. Allergens in food is Dong's hypothesis as mentioned in Chapter I [Dong], but he has no controlled experiments to verify his contention other than the general population being a control.

Allergy is without a doubt part of the rheumatoid arthritis picture since arthritics have two to three times as much incidence of allergy as average [Zeller]. White cells respond to a human nuclei challenge with 3.5 times as much histamine production in arthritics as normal people [Permin]. At one time a hornet's sting caused me to break out in a rash and swell up tremendously. More recently numerous stings from wasps, yellow jackets, and a hornet caused nothing but a sharp moderate pain and irritation for a day or two resembling a mosquito bite. A genetic defect making me incompatible with hornets would surely still be with me. I put bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) on the sting immediately now, but not always and anyway it does not seem possible that this alkalinity would have an affect on an allergic response remote from the wound. This allergic attack preceded my bout with what was probably rheumatoid arthritis at about 54 years of age, which I was able to remove with potassium supplements.

Similar in practical application to the food allergic hypothesis, but probably physiologically different, is a hypothesis put forward by Childers. He maintains that poisons in the solanaceous family are causing rheumatoid arthritis [Childers]. This is the night shade family and includes tomatoes, potatoes, pepper, eggplant, and tobacco. He suspects a steroid chemical similar to vitamin D in its structure, or possibly one of the solanine alkaloids. If this hypothesis proves valid, it is possible that a substance similar to deoxycorticosterone (DOC) contained in these plants will be found to be responsible [Childers] since deoxycorticosterone stimulates potassium excretion. It is not likely that these foods will have more than an insignificant affect on those eating sufficient potassium if this is the cause of the affect.

A poison that interferes with copper metabolism is another possibility. Smoking tobacco is known to cause emphysema, which is in turn is known to be often caused by a copper deficiency. Childers has had 70% of his volunteers report improvement by deleting these vegetables. However only 30% responded to his survey [Childers, private communication] so these figures could be as low as 25% and 10% respectively. Unless rheumatoid arthritis has more than one cause or is misdiagnosed, even 70% is too low to establish anything as a primary cause. While the causal evidence is not excellent, the evidence is good enough to persuade one to remove these vegetables from one's diet while symptoms of arthritis are still present, just in case. There are plenty of other vegetables. Also never eat green or sprouting potatoes raw. Green potatoes have a very virulent poison, virulent enough to kill some people. The poison is destroyed by frying and baking but not by boiling. Also useful to know is that most of the solanines are close to the skin and possibly the other poisons as well [Childers, inside addenda].

Those poisons are not the only ones that can cause, accentuate, or mimic arthritis if indeed they do. Fluoride has been shown to cause joint pains that mimic or are identical with rheumatoid arthritis. This is important since many municipal water supplies are fluoridated. 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.

A recent study has indicated that something in decaffeinated coffee significantly increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women drinking more than 3 cups per day. It is probably residual solvents that are causing the problem, possibly by inhibiting the kidney’s retention of potassium, but perhaps the high fluoride content of coffee may be involved somehow as well.

vitamin B-3b, niacinamide, has been proposed to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis somewhat. This may because it is involved with the synthesis of cortisol. Vitamin B3 deficiency is likely among people who eat a lot of corn or millet. There is evidence that cetyl myristoleate in a certain type of mice reduces the symptoms of arthritis (maybe only osteoarthritis) [Diehl].

It has been proposed that coeliac disease from eating gluten in wheat is more common than thought and may contribute some of Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis [Sinaii]. A genetic inability to digest gluten would not strictly be an allergy, but the damage to the intestines could conceivably affect potassium nutrition and have the affect suggested. It has also been proposed that lectins, or plant proteins which bind certain carbohydrates, contribute to rheumatoid arthritis by enabling antigens [Cordain]. Gluten and concavelin A are lectins.

Certain herbs have been shown to considerably mute pain and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis without side effects. Because they can not be patented there has not been much research on them. I suspect that they are primarily palliative, although interference with potassium excretion has not been explored.

These hypotheses are not necessarily mutually exclusive and that potassium deficiency is a common thread that runs through many of them is highly probable. Potassium is an element that is essential to every cell in the body. It and sodium are controlled by at least five steroid hormones, several peptide hormones, and some molecular hormones. It would not be surprising that more than one disease syndrome could arise from a deficiency, especially considering that in addition to that, the twenty five or more essential nutrients are often either deficient or wildly oversupplied in our society as well, in addition to numerous poisons. Considering the last statement it would not be surprising either if fuzzy, inconclusive results were obtained with both nutritional experiments and medication. With such a complicated physiological situation as potassium you must surely see why I will always recommend that nutritional solutions be attempted by eating unprocessed food rather than supplements whenever possible. Thus imbalances tend to be avoided as well as other deficiencies. In particular it is essential to have adequate magnesium in order to absorb potassium efficiently, and maybe inositol also. Also a very dangerous imbalance in regard to heart disease can occur if vitamin B-1 is deficient .(see this site for a discussion).

The difficulty in diagnosing arthritis sets doctors up for misdiagnosis. Hemochromatosis (build up of iron in the body) was misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis in the past [Espinosa-Morales], for instance.

I will attempt to explain potassium physiology especially as it pertains to rheumatoid arthritis, gout and heart disease, how it can be changed in the diet, how it may be interacting with copper, how it can be supplemented, and dangers associated with its use in succeeding chapters (see links at the beginning). I am convinced that a perceptible improvement can be had in a few weeks even with food alone and potassium can be brought to normal in a few months at most for most people. It does not have to be completely normal in order for you to be reasonably healthy. Also potassium supplements as the bicarbonate are safe in the absence of metabolic shock or a vitamin B-1 deficiency.

Most of the recent research has centered around the autoimmune hypothesis or in developing medicines which deaden pain. Unfortunately many of these medicines have had bad effects from the medicines especially on the kidneys or make one susceptible to infection.

These scientific efforts are further thwarted from pursuing nutritional investigations because a certain amount of resistance to new ideas is normal in scientists. Providing the innovations have a means of being tested, there are a number of differences between medicine and pure science that can result in some medical innovations being ignored or rejected without an adequate assessment. Social-organizational factors in medicine appear to favor the acceptance of theoretically glamorous, pharmaceutical, and high technology innovations over simpler and less profitable ones [Forman] even in government research. "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep man in everlasting ignorance. That principle is condemnation without investigation" (from Herbert Spencer). From the time that cod liver oil was suggested as a treatment for rickets [Schmidt] one hundred and fifty years went by during which cod liver oil actually declined in popularity with the medical profession. It was not until Sir Edward Mellanby established it in 1920 that it could no longer be denied. Let us hope that we do not have to wait 150 years before potassium is routinely prescribed against arthritis. Or As Sir Percy said to the younger physician in Bernard Shaw’s play “The Doctors Dilemma” – “Really my boy! It is not that I mean to belittle your discovery. It is just that such discoveries are remade once every 15 years. Yours perhaps is truly unique in that it has not been remade for at least 100 years.” At least no one is burned at the stake these days.

Potassium has not been part of any experiments in the past. However, 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 me with email using this address; isoptera @ att.net (remove spaces).

But this does not mean you can not perform what are safe experiments with food or one or two thousand milligrams per day of potassium bicarbonate supplements while waiting for replication of Dr. Rashmanish’s clinical trial. Just be very certain that your vitamin B-1 intake is adequate as well, say with wheat germ, or you could trigger the heart disease of beri-beri.

I am almost alone in championing the potassium hypothesis among scientists at present, although Das has suggested it in the form of glucose-insulin-potassium (GIK) salts [Das] and 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 more than 3500 people.. You hardly have to wait until the last word in research has been unraveled in order to take steps to at least get all the potassium that was originally present in your food. There could be endless debate in scientific circles as to which fang the poison came out of in snake bite, or its exact chemical composition, or its mode of action. However this should not prevent one from staying away from the head end of a snake, even a non poisonous one, until such time as the matter were resolved in detail. Potassium is known beyond any doubt at all to be essential to all life and is known to be often deficient and always deficient during arthritis.

REFERENCES are at the end.

Continue to chapter III, ARTHRITIS and POTASSIUM



The author, Charles Weber, has a degree in chemistry and a masters degree in soil science. He has researched potassium for 57 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, 2007, 2008).

All commercial printed rights to this article are reserved.

Email to; isoptera @ att.net (remove spaces) or phone 1 828 692 5816 (USA)


Fluoride in drinking water and many foods can cause pains in joints resembling arthritis, as well as weakened bones, damaged thyroid, and an Alzheimer like disease.
There is an an article discussing anacardic compounds in cashew nuts to cure a tooth abscess which will prove useful.
There is also an article which proposes some speculation about diabetes, including capsaicin in chili pepper as a cause.

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

The pioneering efforts about potassium for arthritis by Charles de Coti-Marsh in the 1950s and 1960s enabled him to form a foundation currently active in England that promotes the use of potassium and has helped 3500 people.
There is a site
that contains reviews of natural remedies for many diseases .

You may find useful a search for abstracts of medical journal references, "Gateway". or a list of medical . search engines. or Google’s “scholar” feature.

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) (also see these sites; 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 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.

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 kept from psychiatric disorders after head injuries.
See this site for evidence of a correlation between magnesium deficiency and cancer.

The taurate has been 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.

There is strong evidence that taurine could have beneficial affects on type I diabetes, and could reduce organ peroxidation and plasma lipids. The retina, lens, and nerves respond better to taurine than other organs [Franconi]. Taurine may make a copper deficiency worse, based on a single case history [Brien Quirk, private communication]. This may be because taurine may be mobilizing copper and zinc into the plasma [Li]. So if you should decide to take taurine, make sure your copper intake is more than adequate, as well as your zinc. 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 (it lowers borderline hypertension by decreasing epinephrine, but has no affect on normal tension) [Fujita]. 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. Chloride in salt causes high blood pressure, while sodium lowers blood pressure somewhat.

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

You may find useful for definitions and easy to use a search for abstracts of journal references, "Gateway". or a list of medical search engines

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.

If you have Iexplore, 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. One of its features is a search for articles only those in scientific literature.

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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