Blood work questions

(Geoffrey) #1

I’ve got several questions about my most recent blood work but this question is in particular about my sodium and potassium levels.
I’m doing my own research but thought I’d toss this out to y’all and see what you think about this.
Now I tend to subscribe to the theory that because my blood is being compared to people who are eating SAD and not carnivore like me that the comparison may not be totally valid.
So here’s the deal, my sodium came back a little low at 133L and the average is stated at 135-145 mEq/L.
My potassium came in a little high at 5.9H and the average is stated at 3.5-5.3 mEq/L.
My doctor is concerned and thinks I’m drinking too much water and flushing out my sodium and he thinks I should stop taking a potassium supplement.
To me those numbers don’t look bad. One is just barely low and the other just barely elevated.
So does anyone have any insight to this and what may be the best route to go?
My doctor want to test me again in six weeks to see if stopping the supplements will change anything.
Between the Keto Chow minerals and as much as I salt my food I find it hard to believe my sodium could be low unless it’s my zero carb diet still flushing out my electrolytes but if that were the case then why isn’t the potassium low as well?
My last blood test six months ago those numbers were fine but I was using LMNT then. Maybe I need to go back to that.

Then there’s this to look at, the high potassium reading was on my Comprehensive Metabolic Panel but on Basic Metabolic Panel my potassium was listed as 4.6 with the average stated at 3.5-5.3 mEq/L.
That one has me confused to say the least.

So, what say you!


Interesting. Looking forward to more replies on this.

I take extra potassium through my electrolyte brand. I use Dr Berg’s because it has 1000mg potassium and I was getting too little potassium each day when I tracked it for 6-8 weeks, (800mg on average day and 1500 mg on the highest day only a few times a month). So I supplemented to be sure. My comprehensive panel always showed me between 4.0-5.0 potassium the past 10 years, but I thought it strange to be even that high since I didn’t get much from my diet. This last test after over a year on those electrolytes my potassium is 5.3. But the high end “cutoff” on my results is 5.1, not 5.3 like yours. :joy: Why is there no uniform reporting? I’d be fine on your test but am considered elevated on mine. Lol

Anyway I have a lot less bone pain and muscle pain since taking more potassium, sodium, and magnesium, so I kinda like that it’s at high end. I wonder what level is considered extreme, too high, and dangerous.


So it really depends which website/institutiom you wanna trust more because there is no consensus on what a high level of postasium is, which causes Hyperkalemia. If you trust Mayo Clinic they say anything above 6.0 needs immediate attention. eMedicinehealth says anything above 7.0. Cleveland Clinic says Hyperkalemia is above an 5.5 but heart problems begin above a 6.5. And the NIH states above 5.5 is the danger zone. Good grief, that’s quite a wide range. Who is correct?

It appears that there is some commonality between a few of these institutions (sort of,) and that is for it to be considered “high” it has to be above a 5.5, but to be considered dangerous it has to be above a 6.5.

(Bob M) #4

Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.


How much water are you drinking? Level of exercise?
What is you weight? Are you on any medication(s)? Were you having an issue with your electrolytes issues before keto/carnivore? Have you also done a urine test for sodium levels?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #6

You might want to increase your salt intake a bit, which is likely to bring potassium into line. You could reduce your potassium supplement a bit, too. If we aren’t getting enough sodium, the body can buffer the blood pH with potassium, so increasing sodium can help lower serum potassium.

Sodium excretion is faster on keto, because reducing insulin allows the kidneys to return to their normal rate of excretion, so we advise increasing salt intake a bit on keto. A couple of recent studies have documented that the healthiest sodium intake is 4-6 g/day, which translates to 10-15 g/day of table salt, including the salt already present in our food.

Your doctor is concerned about your potassium level, because both excessively high and excessively low potassium (hyper- and hypokalaemia, respectively) are fatal. Are you taking the potassium supplement because of a known problem, or just because?

Also, your doctor is right about how hyper-hydration can mess with electrolytes. Drink to thirst. The stupid notion that by the time we get thirsty we are already dangerously dehydrated is a canard devised by some marketer at a sport drink company.

(KM) #7

Totally agree with this. I think about early humans. I cannot imagine someone choosing to drink if they weren’t thirsty, any more than I can imagine them choosing to lie down and go to sleep at 9:00 a.m. simply because the grass looks soft. It’s just not how humans operate.

(Robin) #8

Thankfully, @PaulL and @kib1 already chimed in with actual knowledge to back them up. I just have opinions based on me.
In my initial gung-ho stage, I drank way too much water and took truck of supplements that I probably peed out.

Now I just take magnesium for muscle cramps and regularity, and collagen for vanity. And I salt my coffee and my water but not excessively.

Usually if my numbers are close to the vicinity of the given range, I don’t worry about it. But take heed of Paul’s warning. He doesn’t use the word “dire” very often.

(Geoffrey) #9

Exactly. That’s what makes me so critical and distrustful of the medical sciences.

(Geoffrey) #10

Approximately 4-6 16 ounce tumblers of water per day with a half tablespoon of Keto Chow electrolytes in two of them.

170 lbs.
11 months ago I was 225 lbs.

I take 50 milligrams of Flecanide twice a day.

No to both questions.

(Geoffrey) #11

I’ve started that today. I stopped using the Keto Chow minerals which had the potassium supplement in it as well as sodium and magnesium. I take an extra magnesium complex so I’ll continue that and I’ve started just putting Redmonds in my water.

Thank you, I was going to ask you how much. Now define what g/day means. Grams per day?

I asked him why he was concerned and he said it could cause heart problems and since I already have a heart issue it makes sense.
I take the supplements just because it was advised when I first started carnivore that I should start supplements because as my body adapted to burning fat for fuel my kidneys would start dumping electrolytes.
Good info Paul, thanks.

(Geoffrey) #12

I don’t think I drink water to excess but I do think that maybe I drink it more out of habit than thirst. I’ll have to reevaluate that.


I think your doctor is 100% correct to re-test in 6 weeks. The medicine you are on, flecainide, can affect your electrolytes, especially serium sodium.

My neighbor was on it for about 10 years and got off because he experienced periherial neuropathy brought on by the flecainide and had difficulty walking. After discontinuing the drug, he returned to normal after about 3 months. I am not sure which drug he changed to.

(Geoffrey) #14

Very good information, thank you much.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #15