Updated: Mar 28, 2020
A new research study by researchers from Wenzhou Medical University in Zhejiang province lead by Dr Don Chen revealed that almost all Covid-19 patients exhibited hypokalemia and that supplementation with potassium ions was one of the many factors that assisted in their recovery.
Hypokalemia is best described as low level of potassium (K+) ions in the blood serum. Mild low potassium does not typically cause symptoms. Symptoms may include feeling tired, leg cramps, weakness, and constipation. Low potassium also increases the risk of an abnormal heart rhythm, which is often too slow and can cause cardiac arrest.
It was found that as the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus attacks human cells via the ACE2 (Angiotensin- converting enzyme-2) receptors, it also attacks the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), causing low electrolyte levels in particularly potassium ions.
The study involving 175 patients in collaboration with Wenzhou Hospital found that almost all patients exhibited hypokalemia and for those who already had hypokalemia, the situation even drastically worsened as the disease progressed.
However, it was found from the study that patients responded well to potassium ion supplements and had a better chance of recovery.
The researchers noted that the end of urine K+ loss indicates a good prognosis and may be a reliable as a sensitive biomarker directly reflecting the end of adverse effect on RAS system.
The study has yet to be peer reviewed and has been published in the open platform medRvix : (https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.02.27.20028530v1.full.pdf+html)
However, doctors at various hospitals in Wuhan, Shanghai and Guangdong have witnessed similar occurrences and also found that potassium ion supplementation helped patients towards recovery.