Potassium and kidneys

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #1

So, I tried to find something for potassium, following an innocent question “isn’t it bad for the kidneys”. My gut feeling is that it may be similar to sodium: Some people develop kidney disease from metabolic syndrome. Once they get their glucose under control, their sodium will be fine.

But I admit that I couldn’t find anything regarding potassium and metabolic syndrome. I did find some references to diabetic kidney disease, but that was it. I couldn’t even find hints at how much potassium is too much, and if this is connected to high carb or not. Anyone knows any references to talks or papers?

(Ron) #2

There are links in this discussion.


I’ve had to supplement potassium for decades. I take 3 huge pills (20MEQ) every day. That dosage didn’t change when I went on keto.

Sodium is a different issue. Most people on keto stop eating a lot of processed foods, which have lots of sodium in them as a preservative.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #4

Yes, there are some interesting links. However, none of them seem to adress the “cause” issue.

Our Kidney is able to regulate potassium fairly well, in most cases. But not for some of us. Why?
People recommend not to supplement potassium. I think this is questionable. Let me elaborate.

In the case of salt, we know that (usually) high insulin causes kidney failure. If people have high blood pressure, lowering insulin is the much better treatment than lowering salt.

In case of potassium, I would expect something similar. Instead of monitoring potassium, it would be better to restore kidney function. The fact that diabetic kidney disease seems to be the #1 cause for hyperkalemia indicates that there may be a connection. Hence the conjecture that reducing insulin might restore normal kidney function. Now, this conjecture might be false of course. Still, I would expect that we have any treatment option of hyperkalemia that is not “do not eat too much potassium”, since restoring kidney function would be much, much better than the difficult monitoring of potassium levels.

(Give me bacon, or give me death.) #5

The reason for this is that potassium needs to be kept strictly within a certain range. Both hypokalaemia and hyperkalaemia can be deadly. (For example, dysregulation of potassium is what makes refeeding syndrome potentially so deadly.)

The key to regulating electrolytes and calcium seems to be keeping salt within the healthy range. Doing that, most people have no need for supplements. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take supplements if you need to, but merely that most people have no need of supplements once they are eating properly.

(Utility Muffin Research Kitchen) #6

Healthy kidneys have no trouble excreting excess potassium. If in question, it’s better to have too much in the diet, as a deficiency can’t be as easily regulated (even though we have some recycling abilities).