Wednesday 28 August 2013

Potassium may play an important role in Autistic Behaviours

This is not the kind of post that I expected to be writing.  How can the effect of something so simple as a mineral, not have been noticed by others and researched in depth?

Potassium (K+),  is one of several electrolytes that occur in humans, the others being sodium(Na+), calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), chloride (Cl), hydrogen phosphate (HPO42−), and hydrogen carbonate (HCO3)

Electrolyte balance or homeostasis is regulated by specific hormones.  These electrolytes are used to control many aspects of your body.  The concentration of each electrolyte varies across the boundary of each cell.  Electrolytes pass through the cell wall/membrane through so called ion channels.  These are like special valves that open and close based on particular pre-programmed circumstances.  When these ion channels malfunction, often due to a genetic fault, disease occurs.  Ion channel diseases have a special name - channelopathies.  This is still an emerging area of science.

In autism the brain has developed in an unusual way and although it is thankfully not a degenerative disease, the biological equilibrium it has evolved to is not the one originally intended.  There are both channelopathies and hormonal irregularities; indeed the two are interrelated.

Many hormones are interrelated and have multiple functions and therefore a change in one may have a cascading effect on others.  The same applies to the electrolytes, for example a deficiency in magnesium will trigger a deficiency in potassium.

Choride (Cl-)

I started my blog when I read about a successful clinical trial that set out to prove whether an imbalance in chloride between the extra/intra cellular fluid could cause one of the brain’s main neurotransmitters (GABA) to malfunction.  A clever Frenchman called Ben-Ari, had been researching neonatal seizures and proposed to trial the drug Bumetanide.    Bumetanide is known to block the NKCC1 cation-chloride co-transporter, and thus decreases internal chloride concentration in neurons. In turn, this concentration change makes the action of GABA more hyperpolarizing.  Do not be put off if this does not make sense to you.

The trial showed the positive effect on autistic behaviours of this long established and inexpensive drug.
A randomised controlled trial of bumetanide in the treatment of autism inchildren

Potassium (K+)

Not long after making a trial of bumetanide on Monty, then aged 9 years, I started this blog and my own research.  I soon came across a condition called Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation.  In this condition, the subject becomes overwhelmed by his senses of sound, light, smell etc.  After taking oral potassium, the symptoms disappear within 20 minutes.  It is claimed that this is also a characteristic of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).  Well sensory overload is pretty common in autism, and, as I have learnt, ADHD is really just a light case of autism.

There is almost no research into this condition, which is odd since it is linked to the very common ADHD condition.  The paper below  was only ever cited 3 times in other research, and only once in English.

I then did my own experiment using a small dose of K+  supplement (equivalent to one banana) to see if by any chance I could see a reduction in sensory overload.  I tested both my sons, and only in the ASD son did the potassium have any impact; and it was a marked impact.  I wrote this up in a blog post.

I kept potassium and channelopathy on my list of things to research and left it at that.

Ion Channels & Ion Channel Diseases (Channelopathies)

Ion channels are an emerging area of science all about how signals are sent throughout your body to control it.  It gets very complicated and is still far from fully understood.  So you may want to skip this part.

So far 300 types of ion channel have been identified.  The main types are:-

·         Chloride (Cl-) channels

·         Potassium channels

·         Sodium channels

·         Calcium channels

·         Proton channels

·         Non-selective cation channels

 Then there are differing ways in which the channels open and close such as:-

·         Voltage gated

·         Ligand gated

And odd ones like
·         Light gated

·         Temperature gated

·         Calcium activated potassium channels

When the ion channel and/or its gating does not work properly then a disease called a channelopathy may result.  Examples of well know disease are cystic fibrosis, various types of epilepsy and ataxia.

Puberty and Epilepsy  

As a result of the changes in hormones triggered by puberty it is therefore not surprising that around this time other changes occur in the body.  In some children with asthma, their symptoms become more mild or even appear to disappear.  In autism the hormonal changes often trigger an improvement, but may be the trigger of the onset of epilepsy.  When you consider the importance of all these electrolyte levels, and the variation of each across one each cell boundary in the body and how this is intertwined with how the neurotransmitters function, it is not surprising that a shift in Homeostatis occurs.

That shift in Homeostatis could be reflected in a mellowing of autistic characteristics.  But if you can now make some small adjustments in these levels via diet and mild drugs, why not investigate it?  You will not be able to achieve perfection, but you might be able to shift from one stable equilibrium to another one, with milder autism and no troubling side effects.

This would also imply that those children developing epilepsy during puberty might be able to treat it using the diuretic bumetanide.  By blocking the NKCC1 transporter, the level of Cl- is blocked and GABA becomes more inhibitory and thus the risk of an epileptic attack might be reduced, or perhaps eliminated.  This is surely worth some research?

K+ ion channel disease – Epilepsy & Autism

There is existing research linking potassium ion channels to both epilepsy and autism

ADHD & Ritalin

I read some research about a stimulant drug used to calm children with ADHD.  It seemed odd to use a stimulant to produce calm.  Here again potassium (K+) and sodium (Na+) levels are at the centre of argument.
Then I noted a very recent article (July 2013) reporting a study of Ritalin on children with ASD and/or ADHD.

In the world of alternative medicine there is talk of Ritalin helping in ADHD due to it altering the level of potassium:-

This inverted ratio of Na/K may be helpful in explaining why a stimulant drug like Ritalin would have a calming effect on hyperactive children and adolescents. Ritalin does, indeed, have a stimulating effect on these children, but its stimulating mechanism is neuroendocrine and biochemical, not behavioural. More specifically, its stimulating effect is on the adrenal glands and the retention of sodium in the tissues relative to potassium. It is critical for normal cellular functioning that sodium and potassium (Na and K) be in balance for the optimal operation of the Na/K pump at the cellular level. It is also critical for efficient neurotransmissions that there be a proper balance between sodium and potassium (Na and K) for neuronal conductance.

Measuring electrolyte (Ka, Na, Mg, Cl etc.) levels

I would have expected that it was easy to check the level of electrolytes and indeed to check the levels in blood is very easy.  I have done this and all was normal.  When you read further in the literature, you will realize that the level of electrolytes at the extra/intra cellular level is not so easy to measure.  A whole business has been created by people analyzing hair samples for clues as to the balance or imbalance of various minerals in the body.

Hair analysis is used in forensic toxicology and  drug testing to detect the presence of various chemicals in the body.  The method has been adopted by the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) community to try to predict food intolerance and dietary deficiency.  It is viewed by the scientific community that much of the CAM use of the technology is not valid and potentially fraudulent,

So there is no certain way of checking the cellular level of electrolytes.  You can only measure what you eat and you can measure what is in your blood.

Other suspected electrolyte imbalances in Autism

There have been several studies regarding Magnesium and autism, but the peer reviews of these studies are highly critical of the methodologies used and conclude that nothing has been proven.

Vitamin B6-magnesium treatment for autism: the current status of the research

Calcium has also been put forward as an intervention.  One mother spent a great deal of time collecting supporting information in her paper below.

DAN doctors and Spironolactone

Having come across a “bible” of therapies proposed by DAN (Defeat Autism Now) doctors I noted the use of a potassium-sparing diuretic called Spironolactone.  For a change, there is actually a published paper setting out their case for this drug.  The case made has nothing to do with potassium, even though the intended purpose of the drug is to raise potassium levels.

Bradstreet et al wrote a paper on this in 2006.  It has been cited only 7 times up until 2013 and two of these times by the authors themselves.  This tells you that other researchers were either skeptical or just disinterested.

Potassium Supplements
There are many hundreds of types of mineral and vitamin supplements; these days many contain far more than recommended daily amount (RDA).  This is not the case with potassium.  Even though the RDA for adults is 3,500 – 4,700 mg, in the US supplements by law may not contain more than 100 mg of potassium.  In Europe potassium supplements with 500mg are common.

A typical banana contains over 400mg of potassium, which would seem to make a 100mg supplement pretty pointless.

In the US it seems that there is a perceived fear of potassium poisoning.  It is indeed the home of the lethal injection.  Potassium chloride in a very high dose will stop your heart.

You will even find people debating whether you can poison yourself with bananasIt would seem that while you can reduce your high blood pressure with bananas, it does not kill you.  One person was even eating 30 bananas a day!!

The fear of potassium though remains and it is all over the American internet.
But, in the UK, the National Health Service advises:-

You should be able to get all the potassium you need by eating a varied and balanced diet. If you take potassium supplements, do not take too much because this could be harmful.

Taking 3,700mg or less of potassium supplements a day is unlikely to cause any harm.

That amount of potassium would require 37 American supplement tablets each and every day!

In reality, a concentrated dose of potassium may indeed upset your stomach and this is why it is better to get it from a healthy mix of fruit and vegetables.  The average American apparently consumes about 1,000mg of potassium per day.

Internet Chatter

If, like me, you use Google to see what other people are up to, you will come across talk of potassium and autism.  The discussions in forums never get far, because someone starts talking about lethal injections, and then fear prevails.

Sodium Potassium Pump  (Na+/K+-ATPase)

The sodium-potassium pump was discovered in the 1957 by a Danish Scientist, who later went on to win a Nobel prize for his discovery in 1997.  Its main application has been in the understanding and treatment of heart disease, but it is now thought to be directly involved in a critical part of the brain already known to be damaged in autism. 

As I have already mentioned in my blog, the comorbidities of autism (asthma, high cholesterol etc.) mean that much of the work has already been done by others.

Those many people with hypertension (high blood pressure) are suffering due the way the sodium potassium pump works.  They eat too much sodium and far too little potassium and the end result is high blood pressure.

An author and researcher, Dr Richard Moore, has a simple explanation on his website and a link to his book showing how diet can indeed control your blood pressure.  If you check the book on Amazon you will see many very favourable comments from people who have indeed lowered their blood pressure with bananas.

His book is called: The High Blood Pressure Solution: A Scientifically Proven Program for Preventing Strokes and Heart Disease.

Sodium Potassium Pump and Autism

I was looking for evidence (other than my own) that potassium levels affect the autistic brain.  Potassium plays a key role in how most ion channels function, but I was looking for something really tangible.  I think I have found it.

In my earlier posts I introduced readers to a part of the cerebellum called the Purkinje Cell Layer (PCL).  This is a critical part of the brain and unfortunately in autism, half of the cells are dead and this then manifests itself in altered brain functioning and hence behaviour.  

As recently as 2012, scientists in England showed that the neurons in the PCL are controlled by the Sodium Potassium Pump.

The paper’s summary concludes “We propose that Na+/K+ pump activity controls the intrinsic firing mode of cerebellar Purkinje cells”
Our new friend Dr Richard Moore puts it very simply:-

For the Na-K-pump to operate normally, the diet must have a ratio of potassium to sodium ratio (the K/Na ratio, or "K Factor") that is above a threshold that is somewhere between 2 and 4. Our ancestors ate a diet with a K/Na ratio ranging between 12 and 16. However, the average American white eats a diet with a K/Na ratio of less than 1 - about 0.6 - and the average American black eats a diet with an average K/Na ratio of about only 0.38! Obviously, the American diet generally has a very deficient K/Na ratio.

A low dietary K/Na ratio causes a low K/Na ratio in each and every cell in your body. This has been known since the end of World War II when whole body radio-active counters were used to determine the amount of potassium (a small part of which is naturally radioactive) in the human body. Almost universally, to their surprise, it was found that people with hypertension have a deficient amount of potassium in their body.

By 1983, several scientists including myself had worked out the vital role of the Na-K-pump in cell function to the point where our understanding predicted that other dysfunctions, or disease states, of the body's cells would occur. Not until the mid 1990's did anyone bother to look for these other conditions. Since then, it has become well established that in the U.S., our typical diet with its low K/Na ratio is the cause of:

About 95% of the cases of high blood pressure.
At least 90% of strokes whether or not high blood pressure is involved.
Much of the osteoporosis and kidney stones.
An increased likelihood of h-pylori infection with resulting stomach ulcer and stomach cancer.
An increase in the severity of asthma.
An increased likelihood of mental decline with aging.

In addition, there is some evidence that this low K/Na ratio in the American diet contributes to insulin resistance, to obesity, and to adult diabetes

So since in autism a critical part of the brain is already damaged and has been shown to be subject to oxidative attack and neuroinflammation, it is not surprising that it is particularly susceptible to further interference.  As a result whereas, in a typical childlike Ted, aged 13 with an aversion to fruit and vegetables, can function perfectly well and additional potassium made no measurable difference to his sensory behaviour, the same was not true of Monty, aged 10 with ASD, and with a diet full of fruits and vegetables.  The additional potassium actually changed his sensory behavoiur.  Now I have a plausible explanation

Electrolytes etc.

 If you really want to go into the biology and understand intercellular/extra cellular fluid, role of hormones vasopressin and aldosterone and all about sodium and potassium balance, then take 10 minutes to carefully read the following link:-

Autism and Heart Disease, Diabetes and Cancer

On this blog I have already shown that several strategies for cardiac health also help autism.  Since in autism there is proven high cholesterol and high neuroinflammation and most likely also hypertension, it would make great sense reduce these risks regardless of the fact that those steps may likely also reduce autistic behaviours and improve functioning.

I made a study into omega 3 and conclude “eat fish”, it is cheaper than omega 3 oil, and it definitely will help cardiac health, but probably will do little to nothing for the autism.

A high potassium diet, particularly if it is based on food rather than supplements, will protect your child from heart disease later in life.  He/she is already in an at risk group.

 So there are two very good reasons increase potassium and reduce sodium in his/her diet.  If you are not aware of the health issues surrounding autism, take a look at this:-

Without intervention, adults with autism spectrum disorder appear to be at significant risk for developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, and cancer by midlife.

For a general discussion on these and other health issues, there is a well-researched paper called:


In the case of Monty, aged 10 with ASD, incremental potassium in diet and via an over the counter potassium supplement (that also contains magnesium and B vitamins) has a positive effect on autistic behaviours.  The total daily potassium ingested (1g as supplement, plus banana, orange juice, potato etc.) is still probably below the adult RDA of 3.5g, but much higher than most 10 year olds with ASD.

There is a scientific logic to show why potassium might produce beneficial effects due to better functioning of the sodium-potassium pump, particularly in the Purkinje cell layer of the brain, which is a known to be damaged in ASD.

It may also be that the magnesium, that is also present in the potassium supplement, is having a beneficial effect.  This could easily be investigated by some further research, should anyone be so inclined.

In any case, a relatively high potassium diet is well established to be very healthy and, along with strategies to lower cholesterol, will promote a healthy heart.  The literature shows that autistic people have elevated cardiac risk and so already have a good reason to be following this kind of diet;  I have just added another good reason.



  1. You may find this study by 6 doctors from Malta quite interesting - the same experiment as you did with the potassium, only the autistic children had severe symptoms and these were reduced to mild through potassium supplementation.

  2. Hi Benjine, can't find reference in that article to the experiment you mention ... is it in a different article? Thanks, Alexandria

  3. There are further details about the channelopathy hypothesis at (open access), with a specific mention of Asperger syndrome. Furthermore, a test for this channelopathy that you can get you dentist to perform using lidocaine gel is described.

  4. Thanks. I think I mentioned the lidocaine gel in another post. For some reason the potassium in a pill has a much bigger effect than the potassium in food. Just eating bananas does not help. The amount needed is within safe limits.

    1. HI Peter, Andersen Tawil syndrome gal here. For me an individual who is symptomatic when my potassium levels are in the low fours.. for me the carbs in a banana pretty much will cause an insulin spike that literally wipes out any benefit I might receive from the potassium contained in it. Sodium intake if higher will also quickly over ride benefit from potassium in food. Why it does this to me is definitely not something I understand well. I have discovered over years of potassium draws and recording how I felt when a particular draw was done I can almost predict what my potassium level will be. On days I feel focused, pain free, and what I would describe as normal my levels have been in the mid fives.. Right about that level when a physician is about to become concerned that my potassium is going to high.

  5. True Peter. I'm ultra sensitive to potassium in general, but even so eating a banana does not come close to helping me with my life long potassium deficiency issues. The pills work well, so long as my digestion is doing okay. Putting the potassium under my tongue & absorbing it can help if my digestion is off. People who have electrolyte/potassium issues often have digestive issues too i.e. absorption issues.

  6. I dont know why this is the first time Im reading this post given all the issues we have seen with potassium!

  7. It looks like channelopathies are an emerging field of research for neurological disorders- Have you thought to run 23andMe through promethease to find out if your son has any of the susceptible allelles?

    1. I did look at 23andMe because it is easy to do and not expensive. It would not do any harm, but it is not comprehensive.

      It all depends what you do with the data. It might tell you something useful, but if it misses a great deal of possible dysfunctions, is it really helping?

      Genome-wide analysis is also possible, but again who is going to interpret the data? When a hundred thousand people with autism have been tested and if they split the "autisms" by severity, onset, physical features etc, then it would likely become very useful as a tool.

      So for now, I am not in hurry to do genetic testing.

    2. One thing it told us was how many "methyl" groups supplements we could take. Since we have COMT homozygous we cant take all the methyl rich supplements in the market- And DD does get very hyper on the B complexes (though she clearly benefits at the start of supplementation)

    3. Go here for how to taste test for electrolytes:

      I recommend you try the malic acid with autistic kids. It really helped a girl with Rhett's, and later I read that Rhett's tends to involve high levels of ammonia in the brain.

  8. My name is Yuval L, I have Asperger's and am also interested in seeking treatment. I believe that electrolyte supplements have helped me, and I wrote a post about it on a neurologist's blog explaining why I believe this to be so. (Under "Addendum")

    If you are interested in chatting with me more, email me at yuval.levental [at]

  9. Thank you for posting that Yuval, that is a very interesting article.

    I am glad you found something that works for you! (hope it still has the same effects, or that the original ones still hold?)

  10. I am starting a trial of bumetanide. My 22 yr old son continues to be much calmer with Pantogam Active + low dose clonazepam (in the morning).
    I bought some potassium to supplement but it's sustained release (99 mg) and the bottle says don't use with diuretics. I am not sure why this would be. Can you advise what kind of potassium and how much? My son also eats a banana daily.

    1. Clonazepam is the most addictive medicine there is. Please be careful.

    2. Maja, the "autism dose" of clonazepam is tiny, 0.03mg in someone of 55kg. I have no doubt that at 1 or 2 mg clonazepam can cause dependence, but there have been no side effects after 3 years on the tiny dose. It is only the tiny dose that modulates the alpha 3 subunits of GABA receptors.

  11. The daily recommended dose of potassium is about 3500mg, which almost nobody gets. A banana a day is good, as is orange juice. In the US supplements are limited to 100mg, which is very little. I use a 500mg effervescent tablet, which half in the morning and half in the evening. This level of potassium has a positive effect on sensory issues, the banana does not help, the 250mg in one drink really does.

    So a sustained release 100 mg tablet is like eating one bite of a banana.

    1. The new adult RDA for K is 4700mgs and 5100mgs for lactating women.

    2. Avocados have 1068mg per whole avocado. If RDA is that high you might need supplement. What kind of efferfescent do you use? Cytra-K was not pallatable for my son when we tried that and I did not like the sorbitol reaction.

    3. I use a French supplement (Biofar) that has 500mg of potassium and 150 mg of magnesium. This would be illegal in the US, where 100mg of potassium is the limit.

  12. Is this potassium chloride? is there an over the counter brand that one can buy?
    Thanks so much, Peter.

    1. Some supplements are potassium chloride and some are potassium citrate, it does not really matter. The brand depends on where you live. I would buy an inexpensive product and take with a full glass of water. Some potassium supplements also contain magnesium, that is no problem. If the largest pill is 100mg then just take two or two and a half to make 250mg.

      Most are OTC, there may be some available on prescription for people taking diuretics, for whom 100mg would not do much.

  13. Hello Peter, Could you name the brand of the potassium you use? In order to trial potassium we would need 1-2 grm, right? How can I find a product with high amount of potassium so as to give a small number of tablets?
    Also, now that winter is coming together with inflammation, what first aid kit do you suggest having at home, just in case Nac stops working?
    Thank you

    1. Petroula, I buy a cheap effervescent tablet which has 500mg of potassium and 150mg of magnesium. It is made in France by Biofar. I pay about 2 eur for 20 tablets. I give half a tablet at 7am and half at 6pm.

      I have ibuprofen 200mg and sytrinol (tangerertin) in reserve. Both will reduce microglial activation. You should not use ibuprofen for long periods; but I was very surprised it had such an effect on our winter-time "autism flare-ups". Sytrinol also works and does not have side effects. Ibuprofen is much cheaper and is more potent.

      Our allergy related flare-ups (June to November) are well controlled by Verapamil.

  14. Hello Peter,
    you may be interested in the genetic findings ( supporting a role of potassium and chloride ion channels in (non-verbal) autism.

    1. Thanks Knut. It is a complex paper that again highlights certain ion channel targets and the possibility to change the trajectory of a young child's autism.

      " Another cluster of related genes suggests chloride and potassium ion channels as additional ASD-specific drug targets. The involvement of growth factors suggests the time of accelerated neuronal growth and pruning at 9–24 months of age as the period during which treatment with ion channel modulators would be most effective in preventing progression to more severe forms of autism"

  15. Very interesting. I have one 5-year-old Autistic son and an 18-month-old that is showing a few symptoms. I just had hair analysis test done on all of us and all 3 of us have potassium levels that are nearly bottomed out. I am going to begin supplementing to see what happens. I can't believe this has been overlooked. This was never mentioned or brought up before by our DAN doctor!

  16. What about 'G protein-coupled inwardly-rectifying potassium channels (GIRK)'?

    The literature makes specific mention that they are inhibited by norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors Strattera and Reboxetine. Our child has been taking 20mg Strattera for over a month and it's proven to be the most successful of the pharmaceuticals he has taken.

    Could this inhibition be the mechanism that's deriving much of the success of the Strattera? Also what's the difference between Strattera and Reboxetine? In Aus, one is marketed as an ADHD med and the other an antidepressant and yet not approved for the US.

    Thanks Peter.


    1. Strattera and Reboxetine look very similar and both have multiple modes of action.

      How long did it take for Strattera (aka atomoxetine) to show effect? What was the effect?

      "The initial therapeutic effects of atomoxetine usually take 2–4 weeks to become apparent. A further 2–4 weeks may be required for the full therapeutic effects to be seen"

      Perhaps the effect as a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, takes weeks, but the effect on potassium channels might be very much faster.

    2. We witnessed therapeautic benefit very early, within days even.

      The benefit has been what I would call, a global step change in overall functioning and not just an overall improvement in any one deficit. Simply, he just seems to be doing more of the right things both at home and school, that is what you would expect but not what has been traditionally done. Therefore this opens up many more opportunities for learning and socialising experiences.

      Could it just be maturity? Not sure as this only happened with the commencement of Strattera. We are still at a low dose and will likely increase to see if further benefits can be realised.

      This is also the first medication I've felt we haven't had to trade-off something to get benefit. Also, a couple more hoops to jump through before we are approved for a bumetanide trial. Things just take longer down here...


  17. Peter Lloyd-Thomas I am very glad you mentioned near the beginning of your blog entry that potassium is deficient when magnesium is deficient. Magnesium is first required for the presence of potassium. Magnesium also regulates potassium, as well as sodium, as shown in this study.

  18. Also, since you did mention magnesium in this piece, I think it is important to bring up this fact : sufficient magnesium protect cells from aluminum. Dr. Christopher Exley speaks about how the mineral silica, in water, removes aluminum from cells (probably because silica and aluminum are of a similar atomic number), but never mentions where aluminum goes - aluminum goes where magnesium was meant to go - because aluminum and magnesium are also of a similar atomic number - during a magnesium deficiency, aluminum looks enough like magnesium, so is accepted into cells and poses as magnesium, but does a terrible job. Apart from that issue, the potassium issue you mentioned may explain why so many children with autism also have diabetes - researchers can induce diabetes in experimental animals by feeding them a low potassium diet.

    1. I enjoyed listening to those presentations in regards to aluminum. The silica has to be in the correct form to work as well. It is difficult to attain the water he speaks of. So I was researching it and came across CSA 28 used for growing marijuanna and I wondered what it was composed of and whether or not it would work as an agent to eliminate the aluminum but I want elimination to be safe. Either envelope and eliminate the metal or create something to bind to it that won't attach to something else and cause a problem.

  19. Tootie, aluminum plays a role in the sodium/'potassium channels, I refer to the graph where as alums salts mix with sodium AL can raise the voltage sodium levels and if you look at the resting period as unchanged the potassium levels are reduced because of alum salt interference or shift. this will explain the lost of potassium. I introduced this to many of the Scientist at the 9 and 10th Keele conference where Chris Exley brings all theses great studies together from around the world. Where we find in aluminum studies aluminum stores in the human body is in tissue, organs mainly the liver and skin. the aluminum in the sodium/potassium can act as a anti-perspiring effect preventing the other heavy metals from excreting or purging thru skin. the way one can test the tissue now is with the Oligoscan(spectrophotometer), which I have found to be better than a hair sample as Dr Tennent three hair test sample to three different labs where all different. Chelating the liver topically is key to reducing the aluminum in the liver due to the nature of metals salts storing closer to the skin wall. this is accomplished by a osmostic poultice over the liver of a stronger salt to attract the aluminum.
    For more on this subject on skin purging please contact me thru Herbalix Restoratives website and we will be share these studies with any interested parties.

  20. My son began sleeping through the night in 2013 when I added Body Bio potassium (13 drops) to every glass of water he drinks. His chiropractor suggested it after testing his urine. His chiropractor is trained in Cary Reams work. Potassium has been good for us, at least for sleeping.

  21. Please contact me by email: I have discovered something very important about Roundup (the pervasive weedkiller contaminating our food): I believe that glyphosate (the active ingredient) gets into proteins by mistake in place of glycine. If this is true, it would totally mess up the regulation of the sodium potassium pump, such that it overshoots when it's stimulated. This would pump too much potassium out of the blood and push too much sodium into the blood, creating the imbalance. The simple answer is to eat a strictly organic diet in order to get rid of the glyphosate. This is a wonderful post and it will help me in my research on autism & on glyphosate. Thank you for sharing your discoveries with others! Stephanie Seneff, MIT.

  22. I have been diagnosed with ADHD for over 24 years. I've been on every stimulant medication available, and was a victim of abusive phsychtrists/doctors/teachers during the RItalin/Adderall fad for the early 90's.

    I've been off all medication for over 15 years now.

    I've had to learn how to adapt without the use of anything but sheer will power and stubborn persistence.

    Recently, I've been on an elimination diet. One night I was hungry, and made some guacamole. Ate about 1 large avacado, of the two I used.

    Something remarkable happened!!!

    I was able to focus, and become calm. For the first time in years, I was able to read and retain what I read, just like on medication.

    Not knowing what was in avacados,
    I continued to experiment with it; eating a 1/4 piece, a half. Timing the length of the effects, cross referencing the results with what else I ate that day.

    When I looked up what nutritional value avocados contained, I found that they are majorly high in potassium. 1 large avocado having 1200mg of potassium.

    I researched if there was a link to potassium and ADHD, and read a paper about a boy and his mother who had issues with lidocaine and possible Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis.

    POTASSIUM CURBS MY ADHD!! It helps so much, that I use my diet to enrich my body in this element.

    I cannot thank you enough for spreading your experiences! I have a couple friends who suffer from different forms of autism, and will be passing them this informative website.

    Thank you so much!!

    1. Thanks for your feedback, I am glad you have found an effective therapy at last.

  23. I found this all utterly fascinating, so thank you for sharing your experiences and research. It seems ludicrous that here in the U.S. we are limited to 100mg potassium increments, when I suspect that hardly anyone consumes a diet that is reaching the 3500mg (or 4700mg) mark. We are however, sadly consuming massive amounts of sodium. I'm not going to put on my foil hat and start spouting conspiracy theories regarding the 100mg limitation, yet I am going to continue to research potassium levels and ASD. Thanks again.

  24. I have noticed this and I still have some cytra-k packets. My son was severly damaged by depakote and I was prescribed cytra k and L-carnitine. The carnitine was for the hyperammonia blood and the cytra k was for the treatment of metabolic acidosis. It was a nightmare for him and caused dysfunction and cognitive delay. I have long since discontinued the depakote and have extra Cytra-K.
    Occassionally I give him half of a packet with some himilayan salt when he is dehydrated. I have had him off the depakote over a year now and his hair has been growing back, nails are thicker and he is responsive to his environment, much healthier than he ever was. He sweats a lot, pees a lot, and drinks a lot from the ketogenic diet. When it is hot it is worse. This salt and the potassium he loves. I just don't overdue it because I don't want a cardiac issue. Honestly wish it was nice all of the time and sunny and I did not have to go through harsh winters out here. He does a lot better when he we have sunlight. The vitamin D is a big deal for him. Thinking about moving.....He has far fewer seizures when there is sun. Quality D3 with K2 is not the same, neither is cod liver oil. The sun really makes a big difference. I have pretty severe ADHD and hyperfocus on many sciences and our son has symptoms of ADHD and Autism. Potassium seems to be a help in our family.

    I use Kiwis too they seem to help.

    I make a lot of foods with Avocado products and it seems to help. I use the Avocado and I use Avocado oil.

    I am currently interested in the Patricia Kane protocol because balanced fat ratios seem to make a noticeable difference. I sense with my son I have some pathological autoimmune syndrome that is attacking membranes and possibly myelin. I cannot get a referral for an immunologist. I cannot go off of the ketogenic diet for him because when I try functioning, focus, hyperactivity, and seizures are worse. He is on a different type of keto diet that also helps with inflammation that I have created for him based on a lot of observations and research.

    We have no history of phenol allergy in our family and yet suddenly our son has this phenol allergy. There are products that are supposed to help with those kinds of things but honestly I still give phenols but control the inflammatory response. This seems to help and allow him some enjoyment. There is no anaphylaxis risk.

    Depakote decreases folate. Retorical Q: Why is this not a good idea?........

    The miRNA profiles of the brain of infants is altered from aluminum, mercury, and medications. Psychotropic medications specifically Haldol, lithium, and Valproate induce changes in the miRNA profile in the brain.

    These are strong substances and we need to re-think the use of them. miRNA plant sequences can transfer into our physiology. I was told by a geneticist that food is not medicine....This is so far from being true. I am sick of the marketing, I am sick of the meds, I am sick of the outcomes of taking care of sick people indoctrinated to believe that these pharmaceuticals are there only hope and that nothing else will work. I do not entirely discredit them but they are over-hyped in the US and marketed all over TV along with vaccines. They use healthy people to advertise all of these drugs and the reality is if you actually take care of these people you will see how much is really going on.

  25. Hi Peter
    Could I ask if this Alkaline supplement is ok to use? My son is 9 and weighs 115lbs. He is very robust, muscular and heavy from trampolining for many years.I will start with a small dose and buil up to match your 250mg twice a day if needed.My son isnt on any other drugs but we are currently trialing Charlottes Web CBD oil to help his anxiety.The ingredients follow:
    Each serving contains (10g=1 measuring spoon):

    0g Protein
    2,8g Carbohydrates
    0g Fat
    3000 mg Fructose
    2000 mg Inulin (prebiotic fiber)
    500 mg Potassium
    300 mg Calcium
    200 mg Magnesium
    50 mg Silicium
    5 mg Zinc
    2 mg Manganese
    1 mg Iron
    0,8 mg Vitamin B2
    0,5 mg Copper
    50 mcg Molybdenium
    50 mcg Chromium
    30 mcg Selenium

    Many Thanks

    1. Sonia, this supplement has many ingredients, so you will not know for sure what is causing any effects that it produces. Some people respond badly to calcium supplements for example, others do well with Inulin. Even Zinc can be good or bad.

  26. Thank you Peter.I can't get just the Magnesium pottassium supplement/effervescent anywhere.I can't even find ones with lower doses to make up.This was the closest in mg I could find and I've been looking for 3 weeks.Ill return it.If anyone can direct me to a supplier I'd be most son's anxiety is escalating daily.

    1. Sonia, in the US you can buy a powder version of potassium citrate. This looks to be the closest thing.
      Now Foods, Potassium Citrate Pure Powder

    2. Sonia and Peter, you can also find potassium bicarbonate on amazon - this version has the added benefit of being easy on the stomach.

    3. That strongly depend if someone has an abundance of stomach acid or is actually low in hcl.

    4. Maybe that's it aspie - my son tolerated potassium bicarb better but could be due to histamine issues hisstomach acid was higher. Or he just needed bicarbonates. However I think my stomach acid was fine and I noticed with potassium bicarb, it just felt better. Worth a try regardless - maybe best taken away from meals just in case. ?

  27. Thank you Peter.I can't get just the Magnesium pottassium supplement/effervescent anywhere.I can't even find ones with lower doses to make up.This was the closest in mg I could find and I've been looking for 3 weeks.Ill return it.If anyone can direct me to a supplier I'd be most son's anxiety is escalating daily.

  28. I've been taking an electrolyte product called: Electro Mix by the Emergen-C company.

    Here's the ingredient list:

    I've been taking about 9 pkts./day ---I need the electrolytes while I am on a Ketogenic diet. These packets give me quite a lot of potassium which my body/mind really like.

    It's available directly from the Emergen-C website as well as Amazon. I buy a case at a time. It's been very useful.

  29. Sorry about the links---you'll have to cut and paste the tinyurl into a new page.

  30. I started taking 600 milligram potassium gluconate per day in order to combat my Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. My bloating, constipation and breast pain went away. Also I discovered I no longer experienced attention deficit. How great is this?

  31. I wish I could give potassium supplements to my son. He has serious gastric pain, and potassium could aggravate it:

  32. Dear Peter, I tried giving my son potassium to help with his mild sensory/OCD issues. I started with 13 drops (40mg) of Bodybio (potassium phosphate) in 100ml of water. Seeing no change, I decided to double the amount the following day (26 drops - 80 mg) but given that this is still low, I gave it to him right after his usual banana in the morning (which presumably is slow release). In a question of minutes he had a very bad OCD episode (meltdown because he had messed the pieces of a completed rubik's cube). It was very interesting to see that the imbalance of K seems indeed to be at the root of his issues, but for some reason we got more rather than less OCD. Was it that I built it up too quickly (given the banana)? Or the fact that it was potassium phosphate (didn't find anything about this in the blog). Should I have added Mag? I would appreciate your thoughts. It would be great if we tackled the sensory issues. Many thanks again so much.

    1. Julie a quick increase in potassium from a supplement does seem to provide a short-term benefit from sensory sensitivity. I used 200mg of potassium. A banana contains about 800mg of potassium, but it is released very slowly as it is digested, so it has no effect.

      The real story is more complex and seems to include HCN channels, which are affected by potassium among other factors.

      Blocking HCN channels seems to resolve Misophonia, when people are disturbed by specific repeated sounds (a noisy clock, someone sniffing, eating loudly etc).

      OCD is slightly different. I think a person might express their reaction to sensory sensitivity via aggression and in another person it is via OCD.

      In adults, the interesting treatment to block HCN channels is 100 mcg of a drug called Roflumilast/Daxas. A similar effect on HCN channels is also possible using nicotine, but nicotine also has negative effects.

    2. Hi Peter, after trialing picamilon, with no adverse effect. i have ordered baclogen and pantogam, but didnt go ahead after reading tolerance building effect. i have started potassium citrate (200mg) just once in the morning - think i can positive results. She used to react to her sister's "self-play talk" but not now. I also added Mg L-threonate. And removed Rg3 ginsenoside as it looks to be GABAb antagonist.

      my current list:

      pre-breakfast: NAC (600mg)

      morning: omega3+D, ADHD multivitamin, Mg-Lthreonate, Acetyl-l carnitine, Potasium citrate.

      after lunch: ADHD multimineral, Broccomax (1 caps)

      pre-dinner: NAC (600mg)

      after dinner: Ca-Mg citrate.

      pre-sleep: mixed with cereal (L-theanine, 20B multistrain probio, PS128 L Plantarum, 299V L Plantarum)

    3. Pantogam is the drug which does eventually lead to tolerance issues. Baclofen is safely used by many people with autism.

      One pediatrician did leave a comment a while back saying that she prescribed it to patients with high functioning autism with no safety/tolerance issues.

      Some readers of this blog find Baclofen beneficial in severe autism.

      R-baclofen is again back in research trials for use in autism.

    4. Hi Peter, thanks for the response. Yes i do remember that pediatrican comment, which sounded really positive, until i read another user comment further down was saying he starts to get irritable and uncomfortable after missing his schedule by few hrs. Perhaps as you said earlier, just worth a try if my kids misophonia doesnt go away with potassium (so far just 200mg potassium looks promising).

      so far based on my observations of my daughter and per multiple tests we have done, i think her possible root cause comorbidity seems to be "oxidative stress/gut dysbiosis/EI imbalance".

      i will keep learning and trying, again to say this blog is and you are amazing. hugely valuable data in one place, hard to get it anywhere else. i am now reading your archived posts :)

    5. If Potassium works, but the effect fades too fast, it looks like Ponstan is the next thing to try for misophonia.

  33. I have difficulty eating solid foods because of the increased visceral sensation, many foods make me manic, I often have episodes of hallucinations after meals, the first thing doctors and people said to eliminate from the diet was gluten and milk, but without success . My biggest offenders are animal proteins, it seems like I'm overdosed on some potent stimulant after eating, I always regret after eating meat because it's 10 minutes of pleasure that turn into torture for the next few hours.. Looking at this post, I practically don't ingest potassium , I will eat more bananas and avocado and wait for the results.


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