Have you heard about Max Gerson, MD. and his works around cancer and metabolism? If yes, then you might also know that one of the conditions he focused on in healing and preventing cancer was a potassium deficiency. He discovered that one of the vital factors to prevent cancer is having a balanced level of potassium.
How Important Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals with an electrical charge. When dissolved in water, they will separate into negatively and positively charged ions. The major electrons in your body are sodium, magnesium, calcium, and of course, potassium. They are not produced in the body but exist in the bodily fluids like urine, sweat, and blood.
These electrolytes play an important role in nerve function. Through electrical and chemical change, nerves were able to communicate with each other. Moreover, electrolytes also help in bone building, blood clotting, muscle contraction, maintaining a steady heart rhythm and keeping the blood pressure stable.
What Is The Connection Between Cancer And Potassium Deficiency?
What Gerson noticed on his cancer patients is that a large percentage of them were severely deficient in potassium. This made him and others think and inquire about the body’s potassium-sodium balance and what it has to do with cancer progression. The answer can be found in how electrolyte imbalance and low potassium levels affect cellular processes.
According to a research which begins in the 1970’s, three things happen when cells are stressed through exposure to toxicity:
- The cell loses potassium.
- The cell accepts more sodium.
- The cell swells with too much water.
This is called cellular edema, which results in the inability of the normal cells to generate energy (ATP) in a healthy way. They become susceptible to mutation and cancer. Once became cancerous, cells’ normal functions are turned upside down. Instead of generating energy through balanced mineral input and oxygenation, cancer cells generate their version of energy through consuming glucose in an anaerobic environment.
Signs Of Potassium Imbalance
For adults, the normal potassium intake is 4,700 mg/day and 3,000 mg/day for children, according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Anything below that could result in a deficiency. Some of the signs that you are low in potassium are irregular heartbeat, constipation, muscles cramps, weakness, and fatigue.
Moreover, people with cancer usually suffer from two other potassium related conditions. One is the tumor-lysis syndrome wherein cancer cells spill their intracellular contents upon destruction, which can cause severe electrolyte imbalance. This sometimes happens after chemotherapy. The other one is hypercalcemia in which high levels of calcium are found in the blood. This can often be seen in individuals with multiple myeloma, lung cancer, and breast cancer. Both these conditions can affect the kidneys and result in a seizure. If left untreated, they can be dangerous and even deadly.
If you suffer from symptoms mentioned above or you have breast cancer, try getting an electrolyte balance test. It would also be a great idea if you will include potassium-rich foods in your diet – broccoli, salmon, nuts, squash and lima beans.
Potassium plays a huge role in the body. That’s why you must find ways to get enough of it from healthy sources every day. Especially for those on a healthy breast journey and for those who wish to stay healthy at any age, staying in electrolyte balance is really crucial.