Metabolic Typing: Part 3 (Electrolytes)

Metabolic Typing Review of Part 2

In Part 2 we discussed the research done by William Wolcott and his incorporation of research that was done by Dr. Revici, Dr. Kelley, Ernst Gellhorn and George Watson who established the roots of nutrition and disease.  

They described various methods to design a nutritional protocol to match as close as possible to an individual’s metabolism to acquire physiological balance and metabolic equilibrium to prevent negative physiological manifestations of the human body or to reverse such aberration.

As a consequence of many years of research by these nutritional pioneers the following list of biochemical systems were discovered to achieve physiological balance and thus was born the customized dietary regimen called Metabolic typing.

In the following list of biological systems that require balance we have added another category that is essential to balance, and that is the essential fatty acids namely Omega 6 and Omega 3 which are the precursor substances for Prostaglandin pathways :

  1. ANS (Sympathetic dominance =Acid, Parasympathetic dominance=Alkaline)
  2. Oxidation ( Fast = acid, Slow=alkaline)
  3. Catabolic (Tissue =alkaline, system=acid), Anabolic ( Tissue=acid, system=alkaline)
  4. Electrolyte/fluid balance (Precisely regulated by 7 major electolytes but in terms of PH Chloride and Bicarbonate are the electrolytes the main regulators.
  5. Prostaglandin Pathways
  6. Endocrine (Pituitary,thyroid, parathyroid,adrenal,gonads) that regulate acid/alkaline minerals.
  7. Respiration (When oxygen is inhaled the body converts it into Carbon dioxide (CO2) and when exhaled the carbon dioxide is removed from the body. Carbon dioxide is a respiratory acid, so inadequate breathing can cause this respiratory acid to build up in the tissues.  This additional CO2 combines with water to form Carbonic acid that increases blood PH.
  8. Acid/alkaline ‘ash’ from food

Dr Guy Schenker who specialises in clinical nutrition has identified 6 other possible imbalances namely:

  1. Metabolic acidosis
  2. Metabolic alkalosis
  3. Respiratory acidosis
  4. Respiratory alkalosis
  5. Potassium excess acidosis
  6. Potassium depletion alkalosis

Electrolyte/Fluid Balance

An electrolyte is an electrically charged mineral and in the body there are 7 major electrolytes:

  1. Sodium (NA+)
  2. Chloride (Cl-)
  3. Potassium (K+)
  4. Magnesium(Mg++)
  5. Calcium (Ca++)
  6. Phosphate (HPO4-)
  7. Bicarbonate(HCO3-)

The purpose of electrolytes is to Maintain fluid balance between cells both inside and outside, hydrate the body, support nerve impulses, control muscle contraction and relaxation, and control body pH.  

Although this physiological balance is more passive compared to the autonomic nervous system or cellular oxidation balance, it it crucial in terms of bodily fluid circulation around and inside the cells.

Sodium NA+

Sodium controls body fluid and muscle function. Sodium is contained in the fluid outside of the cell and found in blood plasma  (the yellow liquid that transports the blood vessels and nutrients and waste around the body) and lymph fluid. Sodium is derived through our diet (RDA = 0.5-2g/day).

Always consume a sea salt that contains other minerals, refined salt is bad for the body.  

There exists some medical myths that have been handed down from somewhere:

Myth 1 : Drink at least 8 glasses of water/day – if you did, you would probably dilute the sodium in the body. Drink when you are thirsty.

Myth 2 :The body does not know when is thirsty– The body has around 50 perceptor signals and one is THIRST,

Myth 3 :Water flushes out fat and toxins – Water cannot dissolve fat and Toxins are fat soluble not water soluble

Myth 4 :Dry skin needs more water intake – Dry skin is generally a Vitamin A deficiency not a water deficiency.

Too much water will flush out the electrolytes and an extreme case could cause Hyponatremia where the cells can swell or cause a brain edema, and in some cases can put so much pressure on the brainstem leading to death.   There is approx 100g of Sodium in an average 70 kg body situated 40% in the bone and 60% of the fluid inside and out of the cells.

Chloride CL-

This electrolyte works with Salt  (Sodium Chloride NACl), and is responsible for the production of Hydrochloric acid or stomach acid.  

If your physician puts you on low salt diet because of fluid retention, then your stomach acid production will suffer and you will not make enough, causing Heartburn, Indigestion and GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux), which allopathic physicians calls a disease (I wonder what gene is causing this problem….maybe they found it when they conducted the human genome project).

GERD is simply not enough acidity in the stomach causing the Esophageal Sphincter ( lower muscle valve) to open, allowing you to taste what you are trying to digest (wonderful??)    

Appropriate stomach acid levels keeps this sphincter closed.  It is recommended to avoid taking anti-acid pills which are prescribed by doctors because they believe there is too much acid, but the opposite is true, so taking anti-acids will make the situation WORSE.

Furthermore, Chloride is found in the Extracellular Fluid (outside of the cell) to assist in fluid balance for the blood, and between the cells and acidity balance in the tissue, organs and blood.

Chloride is obtained from the dietary intake of Sodium Chloride (salt) (approx 115g is in the body, suggested daily intake is approx 750-900 mg since the daily average loss is 530mg)

Potassium K+

This is the most important electrolyte and is found in Extracellular Fluid. It is used extensively throughout the body which is why the RDA (Recommended Daily Intake) is 4700 mg (that’s 12 bananas worth).

It is involved with the natural Pacemaker function (rhythm) of the heart, and deficiency can cause Atrial Fibrillation (irregular heartbeat)and a higher pulse rate.  

The body uses microscopic Sodium-Potassium pumps (NA-K) for muscle movement (electrical conduction for muscle movement); the nervous system uses 60% of the calorific intake to work these pumps to conduct electrical impulses, and for each cell to move nutrients in/out of each cell such as Amino Acids, Glucose and Calcium.  

These cellular pumps are also used to electrically charge the cells and regulate bodily fluid exchange.  Each cell has between 800,000 to 30 million pumps/cell.  

Furthermore, there are Hydrogen-potassium (H-K) pumps in the stomach to manufacture stomach acid for digestion.  

This is why the RDA is so high but to consume this much potassium you would need to eat at least 8 cups of vegetables or 12 bananas, so what I do is to juice certain leafy green vegetables like Beet leaves (1 cup = 1500 mg of potassium), pissenlit, chard, kale.  

Deficiency of Potassium is caused by diet, surgery, stress, sugar/insulin, BP drugs, salt, alcohol and ketogenic type diets.  (Approx 98% of Potassium is in the cells.)

Magnesium Mg++

This electrolyte is important for muscle/nerve function, which anybody who has had restless legs or muscle cramp knows only too well. RDA = 450 mg/day.

It is used in more than 300 enzyme biochemical processes in the body including protein synthesis, essential for brain and liver functions, calms the nerves, promotes cell growth, supports body excretion, enhances tissue elasticity and is used for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins converting them into energy.  

Drinking soda is the fastest way to deplete magnesium out of the body from the phosphoric acid.  

Ensure you drink enough water which can overcome deficiency.

Taking 3mg of Boron/day( boron is found in plums, strawberry, peach, cabbage, dandelion, apple) reduces magnesium excretion in the urine.   

It is also used in blood glucose control and blood pressure regulation.  Finally it is used in oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis for the energy cycle process. (the body contains around 25g where 30-40% is in the muscle and soft tissue and 50-60% in the bone and 1% in extracellular fluid)

Calcium Ca++

Calcium is important for muscle contraction (in fact calcium activates enzymes to achieve muscle contraction, but is also needs Magnesium to regulate Calcium and Potassium balance for muscle movement.

Potassium is used to regulate membrane potential since it is an electrochemical signal sent to the muscle that triggers the contraction/relax mechanism.

Finally Sodium is also used in muscle contraction since it controls Potassium to maintain membrane potentials, neuron impulse transmission and blood clotting (approx 99% of Calcium is in the skeleton, 1% in the blood), Calcium is used to process high levels of protein in the blood). RDA=1000-1500 Mg/day. (As you would expect 99% of calcium in the body is the bone and teeth)

Phosphate (HPO4-)

Bones are made from Calcium and Phosphorous.  Phosphate is crucial to cellular energy production since it is the 3 phosphate molecule- the triphosphate part of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP Energy storage component for every cell, and as oxidised food particles fuel the cell the ATP storage elements are always replenished providing we eat ). ( 85% found in the skeleton and the rest stored in tissue around the body)


This is used for the buffer mechanism to regulate Blood PH as we discussed before.

Electrolyte Deficiency

Electrolyte Symptoms
Calcium Cramp in the legs and feet

Irritability/Twitching around the eyes

Chronic cough


Magnesium Weak muscles

Hyper irritability

Irregular heartbeat

Potassium Fatigue




Sugar craving

Brain fog

Sodium Headache


Loss of appetite


Brain fog

Electrolyte Cellular Balance

Electrolyte Inside cell Outside cell
Calcium low high
Sodium low high
Magnesium high low
Potassium high low

Prostaglandin Balance

Prostaglandin balance is directly related to Omega 6 and Omega 3 balance.  

What are prostaglandins?

What have they got to do with metabolic typing?  

The name Prostaglandin was named by Ulf Svante von Euler (1905-1983) when he discovered an active lipid substance (e.g fat soluble vitamins, fats, sterols) producing a hormone like effect in seminal fluid released from the prostate.

It is known now that the prostate gland provides the main synthesis for these microgram quantities of acidic lipids and is hypothesised that they play a role in the ‘Vas Deferens’ ( a tiny pipe network that transports seminal fluid from the testes to the penis in preparation for ejaculation). 

Later as laboratory technology advanced, many more of these prostaglandins were discovered in many other parts of the body, and how they were produced.

This criminal ‘lipid hypothesis’ linking dietary fat with increased heart disease has potentially caused long term suffering of many people who believed this non-scientific ‘pish posh’.  

By spreading this nonsense, millions avoided healthy fats so critical to the manufacture of prostaglandins, which are essential to health, specifically protection from heart disease such as Atherosclerosis (prostaglandins are essential signaling molecules for Vasodilation or relaxation of the heart muscle).  

So with their lipid hypothesis they actually exacerbated potential health risk, promoting health damaging trans fats in margarine which blocks the manufacture of Gamma linoleic Acid (GLA) needed for PG1 and PG2 production (as you can see from the diagram).  

This ‘lipid hypothesis’ even prevented people from taking the food that could manufacture PG1/PG2 without the need to convert from GLA but they were all the demonized fatty food like eggs,butter animal fat,organ meats etc, while recommending highly damaged (and damaging) free radical promoting vegetable oils.

Hormones, which are regulatory substances used to stimulate specific cells or tissues to function, are released from various organs that are Endocrine derived (specific organ to a distant part of the body) system.  

Whereas, Prostaglandins behave in a similar manner but they are Autocrine/Paracrine derived ( acting on itself/acting within the vicinity or localised ).

It was also found that  prostaglandins were a member of a family of substances (called Eicosanoids) which are manufactured by a dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The Prostaglandins are transient insofar as they are metabolised rapidly.

Referring to the diagram below, it shows the 3 Prostaglandins Series 1 (PG1) derived from DGLA, Series 2 (PG2) derived from AA and Series 3 (PG3) derived from EPA.   

The fatty acid Base dietary sources are LA ( Linoleic Acid for Omega 6 ) found primarily in plant grain oil, nuts and ALA ( Alpha Linoleic Acid for Omega 3) found in plant seed oil and vegetables and some nuts.  

A third category is Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)  which is found naturally in grass fed beef and grass fed dairy.  

CLA is also produced in the body by bacterial conversion of LA.  PG1/PG2 series of Prostaglandins are involved in inflammation response promotion by recruiting Mast cell and Macrophage cells to treat injury and effect repair.

They also regulate the human reproduction system and inducing labor.  

PG3 series Prostaglandins are responsible for protecting the body from heart attack and also acting as mediator for inflammatory response so the Omega 6 Conversion pathway that promotes inflammation (as it has to repair the body) and the Omega 3 Conversion Pathway that dampens inflammation (once repair is complete).

So PG3s provide anti-clotting function, lowering of triglycerides (fats in the blood), blood pressure control and the improvement of skin conditions.

You will notice also from the diagram, certain nutrient deficiencies actually inhibit both pathway production.

Another observation is the recommended 2:1 ratio which is necessary, since if you swing too far in either direction (typical ratio for people eating fast food or processed food could by 15 or 20:1 which would continuously saturate the conversion enzymes for the omega 6 conversion pathway, and leave nothing to activate the Omega 3 conversion pathway unless you consumed enough fish oil and/or fish eggs. 

In effect you have necessary opposing systems (an ‘On’ and ‘Off’ switch) synonymous to the ANS Sympathetic (On switch) and the Parasympathetic (Off switch).

The traditional Eskimo/Inuit and Carnivorous animals do not have these conversions enzymes  (D6D), to produce prostaglandins, so they rely of fish oils (for PG3) and organ meats (for PG1/PG2) to produce the essential Eicosanoids.

Hugh Sinclair (1910-1990) a British medical researcher and nutritional expert was tasked at the start of WWII to analyze the nutritional status of the British population.

He claimed that diseases of civilization (coronary heart disease,cancer, etc) are caused mostly by a deficiency of essential fatty acids (EFA), and as he stated in his letter to the Lancet in 1956, highlighted that EFA deficiency creates excessive cholesterol deposits within the epidermis leading to arterial plaquing contributing to the increase of blood coagulation ( this makes more sense than the ‘Lipid Hypothesis’ ).

Finally, to achieve Prostaglandin balance there are guidelines were established from a convened workshop in 1999 headed by the Center of Genetics, Nutrition and health Washington DC:

Essential fatty acid dietary intake guidelines ( to maintain as near to the recommended 2:1 ratio):

LA ( Linoleic Acid ) = 4.44g/day-6.67g/day (upper limit)

                             =         2%-3% of a 2000caloric diet

ALA (Alpha LA)   =         2.22g/day ( no upper limit)

                                            1% of a 2000caloric diet

However, this does not take in account the dietary intake of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), or Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA) or Dihomo Gamma Linoleic Acid (DGLA) or Arachidonic Acid (AA) within the guidelines but I would incorporate these other dietary foods into the daily consumption guidelines.

To help you achieve this, stay well away from all the poisonous vegetable oils, limit your consumption of any nuts (e.g 6 walnuts, 6 brazil nuts), eat fish twice/week (preferably salmon, sardines, arctic char), eat liver twice per week (liver pate is ok), eat a little butter every day, eat 3-4 eggs/day, plenty of vegetables daily, use coconut or butter to fry eggs.  

Remember, these are optimum guidelines so if you exceed them a little it will not kill you.

In Part 4, the concluding part we will explain the rest of the balance criteria and how you can roughly assess what metabolic type you are in order for you to customize your own diet for health.

“The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must come from nature, with an open mind.”

– Paracelsus (1491 – 1541)

“Our task is not to treat the disease, but the patient.”

– Vincent Preissnitz (1799 – 1851)

“It is much more important to know what sort of person has a disease, than to know what sort of disease a person has.”

– Sir William Osler, MD (1849-1919)

Check out the Previous Article in this series:


  1. The Metabolic typing diet William Wolcott & Trish Fahey (2000)
  2. PMS.Prostaglandin and essential fatty acids Breen Johnson 2010 Pulling down the moon Website
  3. What do Prostaglandins do ?  Hormone health network website
  4. How to naturally lower prostaglandins with foods  Janet Renee 2015 Livestrong website.
  5. 3 steps to reduce pms and balance your hormones Natasha Turner 2014 Chatelaine website
  6. Tripping lightly down the prostaglandin pathways Sally Fallon & Marg Enig 1999 Weston A Price Foundation
  7. Prostaglandins Basic Chemistry and Action T.Zreik, H.Behrman GLOWM Website
  8. Prostaglandins & inflammation E.Riccio, G.Fitzgerald NCI Pubmed 2012
  9. The future of predictive safety evaluation in 2 volumes Vol 2 1982 A.Worden, D.Parke, J.Marks
  10. Hugh Macdonald Sinclair Wikipedia
  11. Omega 3 fatty acids and health: an overview  Siberiantigernaturals website
  12. Fluid/Electrolyte balance Austin Community college
  13. Electrolytes Nate Morrow Builtlean website
  14. Naturopathic quotes

Author: Eric Malouin