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Any Downside to KCl ?
Old 06-30-2011, 10:10 AM   #1
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Any Downside to KCl ?

In response to possible electrolyte depletion, and some leg cramps, I started using "Salt Substitute" instead of table salt.



This stuff is essentially potassium chloride (KCl). It's almost indistinguishable from salt, taste-wise.

Given that most consider that we get too much sodium in our diets, I see no reason not to use this in place of regular salt.

Am I missing anything?
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:28 AM   #2
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If you're on a low carb diet, you may well be getting too little sodium in your diet, not too much. Controlling the sodium (by increased intake of regular salt) will usually fix your potassium deficiency, if any.
At least that's the theory according to Eades. Plenty of detail in this blog entry:

The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D. » Tips & tricks for starting (or restarting) low-carb Pt II
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Kcl potential issue
Old 06-30-2011, 10:44 AM   #3
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Kcl potential issue

People on beta blockers for hypertension tend to retain potassium. You need to be careful and, perhaps, consult your physician, if you are taking one of those. (atenolol, or other -ols). Per the Eades post, you might be just dehydrated.
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Old 06-30-2011, 10:54 AM   #4
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I found that the salt substitutes replenish electrolytes better than salt while exercising in heat and humidity. I add a mixed amount of salt and substitute salt to drinks in the summer instead of the commercial exercise drinks. It will be 110 to 120 degrees and high humidity where I work today. I lose electrolytes and cramp severely in the summer, even with bananas. I don't take any drugs, or at least not yet so I don't have interaction concerns. YMileageMV
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:13 AM   #5
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Sodium Chloride (table salt) usually is a source of iodine which can lead to deficiencies when going on a low salt diet and can affect your thyroid. Does the salt substitute help with that?
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:48 AM   #6
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Is this due to sweating during exercise? Do you drink just water? When I'm out running longer than an hour, I usually mix half gatorade or other sports drinks with water to replace electrolytes. When I'm out more than 3 hours, I take mineral capsules like Hammer Endurolytes every 30-60 minutes, depending on conditions. They are kind of like the old salt tablets, but a better mix of minerals you need to replace. Water alone can dilute the electrolytes.

Gatorade is looked down upon in the endurance sports community but I think they did finally get rid of high fructose corn syrup. There is better stuff out there for the more serious athlete, but I usually quietly stay with the gatorade or powerade. It keeps updating and changing too. Now I'm hearing about coconut water, which is very high in potassium, though I haven't tried it. I drink chocolate milk as a recovery drink. Bananas are my favorite recovery food since I usually crave the potassium.

If this isn't exercise related, what I've said probably doesn't apply. And if you are on any meds, consult a doc. I didn't know what someone else said about beta blockers, for example. I don't want to steer you down the wrong path. I'm just saying what works for me to replace electrolytes and limit leg cramps. I used to get them more, but now that I know more about this I rarely get them. When I do, it's usually because I didn't keep up with the capsules or drinks.
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:24 PM   #7
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Used to get horrible leg cramps when swimming competitively in high school - nothing worse than waking up in the middle of the night with the onset of a cramp in your calf - can actually feel the muscle fibers tearing - yikes!....bananas were highly recommended then. Amazing how much you can sweat in the pool in the AZ summer while working out - used to 'steam' when getting out of the pool.
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Old 07-01-2011, 01:56 PM   #8
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In true LBYM style, when I made my mixture of salt and salt substitute, I used the ingredients listed in the better sports drink to get the electrolyte ratio right. One of the better sports drinks is Campbell's chicken noodle soup but is really meant for marathons. Worked for me and I didn't get all the unneeded sugar calories or the crash.
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Old 07-01-2011, 09:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devans0
I found that the salt substitutes replenish electrolytes better than salt while exercising in heat and humidity. I add a mixed amount of salt and substitute salt to drinks in the summer instead of the commercial exercise drinks. It will be 110 to 120 degrees and high humidity where I work today. I lose electrolytes and cramp severely in the summer, even with bananas. I don't take any drugs, or at least not yet so I don't have interaction concerns. YMileageMV
110/120 w/humidity? Hell?
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Old 07-04-2011, 06:58 PM   #10
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I have just started a med today for high potassium. Some of my transplant meds and Lisinopril the BP med, make me retain potassium near heart attack levels.

Also, I have had muscle cramps from both low potassium and low magnesium.

Mike D.
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