Electrolyte Deficiency and/or Imbalance

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by LittleBluestem, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    I tend toward low blood pressure and drink salt water almost daily to support my adrenals and help keep my blood volume/blood pressure up.

    I recently had a hair mineral analysis done. My sodium (Na) is borderline low and my potassium (K) is too low to measure. My calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) are in the normal range. This makes my Ca/K and Na/K ratios high and my Na/Mg ratio low.

    I do yard work for my parents. I usually drink during and after a work session. Several days ago I got there late, so didn’t work very long (close to an hour). When I came in, I went straight to preparing dinner without drinking anything. While standing in the kitchen I was hit with light-headedness, dizziness, and nausea. I did think to grab a glass of water as I headed for the sofa. After sipping about half of the water, it occurred to me that some salt would probably help. I refilled the glass and added 1/4 teaspoon salt (half Na, half K). With1/2 hour I was feeling much better and able to pick up some sandwiches for dinner. It was amazing what a difference a glass and a half of water and 1/4 teaspoon salt made in the way I felt.

    If you have dizziness and/or lightheadedness, it might be a good idea to get your mineral levels checked. Be careful about drinking salt water if you have high blood pressure or are on any kind of medication. The root cause of the problem may be low functioning adrenals, so you might want to test for that too.

    I have read that it is not unusual for molybdenum to be low in people with ME/CFS. My molybdenum is too low to measure.
  2. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Hi, I had several episodes of low sodium. This is not something to take lightly. First you need a blood test as hair analysis is not a reliable measurement of what minerals are in your body. Arsnic is one of the few that do.

    My low sodium was caused by a medication. But there can be other causes as well.

    You probably need to see an endocrinologist. Low sodium like potasium can kill you. Better to get it checked out than play around with the salt and not know if it is really helping.

    If your sodium is low you have to watch your liquid intake as it can dilute what sodium you have in your bloodstream.

    Please have this checked out. I ended up in the hospital two times.

    Take care.


    ETA Part of a sentence disappeared. It should read talk to your physician who may refer you to an endocrinologist.[This Message was Edited on 06/15/2010]
  3. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    low sodium and low potassium are definitely not good.....like gap I have wound up in the hospital from these issues and my mom's best friend lost her daughter due to low potassium induced cardiac arrest.....I am surprised that your Dr didn't put you on prescription strength potassium if it's that low

    I would definitely get some OTC potassium and start taking it.....also orange juice, bananas, and potatoes are good food sources

    seriously, I don't want to alarm you, but actually yes I do - this is REALLY important
  4. SnooZQ

    SnooZQ New Member

    Yes indeed. My neighbor was rushed into ER several times w/low potassium issues & near-death experiences.

    Any sort of electrolyte imbalance other than the mildest is cause for serious concern.
  5. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    Yeah, the girl who died was only in her early 20's, too, and between her death and my own issues with low K, I wound up researching it and it's very very important
  6. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I may have been unclear in my above comment. Yes we have to be careful that we don't become dehydrated and get an electrolyte balance.

    I had the low sodium because of a medication which meant it was not just a matter of getting enough salt. It was only a temporary solution. If for some reason low sodium/potassium any of the electrolytes are chronic, you need to see a doctor, possibly an endocrinologist.

    What is scary is how quickly this can happen.

    I had a friend who almost died and her electrolyte imbalance was from an intestinal ailment. She eventually had to have surgery. Once that was fixed she did not have any more episodes.

    Any type of electrolyte imbalance can be deadly.

    Take care.


    ETA If your condition is chronic just taking potassium supplements/salt will not necessarily help except in an emergency situation. In fact it could be masking another medical condition. I would think liquid would get into your system faster if in an emergency. If I am not clear or if someone with medical background can help me here, please do. My brain has been farting all day!! :>)[This Message was Edited on 06/15/2010]
  7. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Many people have said that exact phrase to me, LOL!!!!!

  8. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    The low sodium/potassium episode was just a one-time thing. My sodium level was at the bottom of the normal range, unlike my potassium which was undetectable. I am taking the salt water for adrenal support. My blood pressure runs low, so I do not need to be too cautious. I am avoiding adding extra salt to my food because I don’t want to become accustomed to eating salty food and have difficulty cutting back on the salt when I need to. I use sea salt in the salt water, but commercial iodized salt for food. The nutritionist said to continue using the iodized salt for food, possible because I have signs of underactive thyroid, but always test normal.

    My doctor referred me to the nutritionist who did the hair mineral analysis because I was concerned about my zinc, copper, and iron levels. They were fine, but these other issues appeared. The nutritionist has me taking over-the-counter potassium. The three tablets I am taking each day only constitute 6% of the Daily Value for potassium. I asked the nutritionist if I should take more to bring the level up faster. She said no. I noticed that the potassium bottle says to take one tablet a day or as instructed by your health care professional. Maybe too much potassium too fast isn’t a good thing. I am not taking any supplemental calcium until the potassium is higher per the nutritionist instruction.

    I am also taking molybdenum at 300 mcg/day. Fortunately, I already had that on hand. I just had not got to starting it yet.

    I will be retested three months from the initial test. If the potassium has not increased, I will check with my doctor about prescription strength tablets. She is an hour and a half away and I am short on energy and money, so I am going to see how things go with the nutritionist first.
  9. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    I can not emphasize enough how important it is to get a blood test. You may or may not have a problem.

    Hair samples are not reliable testing for such disorders. Shampoo, hair dye, dry hair, etc. can all skew the results.Hair close to the root will result in a different reading than hair that is longer. A blood test is simple and accurate.

    Taking too much potassium can also be dangerous and trying to sort out your symptoms can be tricky. While it sounds like it could have been potassium creating your symptoms, you don't know for sure. There might be something else going on.

    Take care.

    ETA I see the nutritionist did the hair testing. I would recommend a dietitian as they have medical training. Anyone can say they are a nutritionist.[This Message was Edited on 06/16/2010]
  10. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

    Some good information about hair analysis. The following article is talking specifically about testing for mercury in the body. I broke this into paragraphs for easier reading.

    For the original article see:


    From the National Council Against Health Fraud.

    Hair Analysis. Hair analysis is performed by sending a
    sample of hair to a commercial hair analysis laboratory,
    which issues a computerized report indicating the number
    of micrograms found and whether that amount should be
    considered harmful. This procedure is not valid.

    Hair contains trace amounts of mercury from food, water, and air,
    regardless of whether the person has amalgam fillings. Because
    hair can absorb mercury from external sources, amount
    of mercury it contains does not necessarily reflect the amount
    within the body.

    In addition, hair mercury testing cannot be
    standardized because hair thickness, density, shape, surface
    area, and growth rate vary from person to person. The laboratory
    used most for hair analysis is Doctor’s Data of Chicago,
    which reports “toxic mineral” levels as “high” when
    the amounts are near the top of their “reference range.” [21]

    This merely means that the specimen contained more than
    most other hair specimens handled by the lab. It does not
    mean that the level is abnormal or that the level within the
    patient’s body is dangerous. Thus even if hair analysis were
    valid, the reporting process is not.
  11. gapsych

    gapsych New Member

  12. LittleBluestem

    LittleBluestem New Member

    The “nutritionist” (my term for her) I am seeing is a Registered Nurse, has a B.S. in Nursing, and is a Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist. I was referred to her by my physician.