Gastrointestinal disorders: the role of the K/Mg ratio

Potassium and magnesium supplements as tools for action potential regulation

Poor digestion, poor gastric emptying, alternating bowel pattern and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) are some of the Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) that our body can show when the transmission of nervous impulses is altered due to ionic concentration changes (measurable with the PPG Stress Flow and BIA-ACC devices).
In particular, potassium and magnesium alterations are decisive in causing nervous conduction imbalances, with symptoms that affect the muscles, the heart, the nervous and the gastro-intestinal systems.
These two minerals are important both individually and together. There is a connection between their concentrations: multiple studies highlight that magnesium deficiency is linked to potassium deficiency [1] and that while isolated potassium balance disorders do not alter magnesium homeostasis, magnesium loss produces a secondary potassium loss [2-5].
The potassium/magnesium ratio (K/Mg ratio, normally ranging from 4.6 to 5) can be evaluated with the (BIA-ACC device). It is the ratio between these two ions and is a prognostic indicator of the functional capacity of action potentials: the lower than 4.8, the more altered the membrane potential and, as a result, the generation of action potentials in excitable tissues.

For this reason, these systems are impacted:

  • Musclular: chronic fatigue, loss of strength, cramps, fibromyalgia [8];
  • Cardiac: arrhythmia, tachycardia [7];
  • Gastro-intestinal: bloating, acidity, poor digestion and gastric emptying, constipation, alternating bowel pattern and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) [9-12];
  • Nervous: mood disorders, irritability, "functional bipolar disorder" and [6].

Many patients report these symptoms, which apparently may seem to be ascribable to different etiologies.
Specifically, gastro-intestinal disorders such as bloating, acidity, poor gastric emptying, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome have a common denominator, i.e., membrane potential alteration. Feeling bloated with foods that do not need a significant commitment of the gastro-enteric system and being constipated despite the use of laxatives or frequent dyspepsia (difficult digestion) are symptoms the cause of which should not be searched only in the choice of the food that, if you will, has an effect downstream, but rather in the cause of the membrane potential alteration.
Restoring or maintaining proper magnesium/potassium ratio is essential to maintain membrane polarization values within the physiological range, thus not altering action potentials.
Potassium and magnesium supplements with special features (K/Mg ratio of 4.8) are an excellent support to activate action potentials. Measurements with devices (BIA-ACC – in vivo neutronic activation method – measurement of K40) in a sample of (1000+) patients with hydro-electrolitic disorders, medically-unexplained symptoms and related disorders and diseases, have shown that, if taken daily, before the morning snack or before lunch and combined with active lifestyle and adequate water intake (approximately 4% of total body weight), they restore total potassium (TBK) and extracellular potassium (ECK) values. Indeed, the primary goal of the potassium to magnesium ratio, is to stabilize extracellular potassium to a high of 2% of total potassium, increasing the cellular effectiveness of excitable tissues and hence of the entire gastro-intestinal tract.

Abbreviations: TBK = Total Body Kalium: total potassium, ECK = extra cellular kalium: extracellular potassium, ICK = Intracellular Kalium: intracellular potassium, K/Mg Ratio = potassium to magnesium ratio, Stmineral = soft tissue mineral, TBMg = Total Body Magnesium, Gly = glycogen, Free Gly: free glycogen, Tbprotein: total body proteins, Skeletal muscle FFM: muscular mass.

Authors: Dario Boschiero, Mariantonietta Lucafò - Date: 08/10/2020

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