Potassium is a very common concern that arises when people ask about our product, MgBRIGHT. People often ask, "Isn't potassium supposed to help my muscle cramps? I've been eating lots of bananas, but it isn't helping..." The truth is, very few people are actually low in potassium. It is found it most foods. Yes, there are certain medications and conditions that can cause low potassium, aka "hypokalemia". Diuretics, also known as water pills, are the biggest culprit. Most people with muscle cramps have NORMAL potassium. But a much less talked about problem is too MUCH potassium ("hyperkalemia"). Here are some conditions and medications that can cause this issue:
- Renal insufficiency
- Medication that interferes with urinary excretion:
- ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers
- Potassium-sparing diuretics (e.g. amiloride and spironolactone)
- Mineralocorticoid deficiency or resistance, such as:
- Addison's disease
- Aldosterone deficiency
- Some forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Type IV renal tubular acidosis (resistance of renal tubules to aldosterone)
For example, are you taking any of the following ACE inhibitors?
Benazepril (AKA Lotensin)
Captopril (AKA Capoten)
Enalapril (AKA Vasotec / Renitec)
Fosinopril (AKA Monopril)
Lisinopril (AKA Lisodur / Lopril / Novatec / Prinivil / Zestril)
Perindopril (AKA Coversy / Aceon)
Quinapril (AKA Accupril)
Ramipril (AKA Altace / Tritace / Ramace / Ramiwin)
Or any of these angiotensin receptor blockers?
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If so, you may have too MUCH potassium, and taking potassium and/or magnesium will make your cramps WORSE (magnesium increases the retention of potassium.) Sometimes, people on these medications have normal potassium, but still are getting unexplained cramps, even after supplementing with magnesium. In my experience of talking to hundreds of customers, these above medications are HIGHLY connected to cramps. It's not clear how, but I suspect they are able to cause cramps.
If you have cramps that aren't responding to potassium or magnesium like MgBRIGHT, and you are on one or more of the above medications, talk to your doctor! You may want to try a lower dose, try a different class of medication, or best yet, lose weight and get healthy, so you don't need any medications at all.