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Eur J Clin Invest. 1984 Dec;14(6):414-9.

Effects of potassium supplementation on insulin binding and insulin action in human obesity: protein-modified fast and refeeding.


To investigate the role of potassium deficiency in the development of glucose intolerance during caloric deprivation, potassium balance was maintained within normality with oral potassium supplementation in a group of obese subjects who underwent protein-modified fast and the results of the study of carbohydrate metabolism (oral glucose test, insulin receptors on monocytes and peripheral glucose utilization as assessed by euglycaemic clamp) were compared with those obtained in a group of obese subjects admitted to protein-modified fast without potassium supplementation. Caloric deprivation without oral potassium supplementation was followed by a negative potassium balance and a decrease of serum potassium levels; a decrease of the peripheral levels of insulin along with an increase in insulin receptors and a striking reduction of peripheral glucose utilization were also observed. The maintenance of normal potassium balance and normal serum potassium levels with oral potassium-chloride supplementation was associated with higher peripheral levels of insulin (P less than 0.01) and improvement of peripheral glucose utilization (P less than 0.01) whereas the binding of insulin to monocytes was unchanged. The data suggest that potassium depletion during protein-modified fast causes a decrease of the peripheral levels of insulin and a resistance to insulin action at the postreceptors sites which is reversed by potassium supply.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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