“Taurine can potentially improve calcium homeostasis. It reduces intracellular levels of calcium. It also regulates mitochondrial calcium homeostasis.”

This was a message from my one autistic friend in our WhatsApp group, as another autistic friend in the group was going in and out of hypokalaemic periodic paralysis in a state hospital in another country.

The phlebotomist had arrived unannounced to draw blood for a general electrolyte count and some other thing. We were not assuming that these hospital people understand

  • that the high-sodium high-starch hospital meals can do this to a person with a genetic predisposition to this condition, and
  • that extracellular electrolyte values don’t accurately reflect intracellular potassium.

To help her help them, we sent her Dr. Breu’s thread too, because doctors and nurses don’t always believe that patients may know something about molecular and cell biology.

She’s out of hospital now. Not cured, though, of course, but stable for a while.

Oh, and if you’re wondering how I got from hypokalaemia (potassium deficiency) to regulating intracellular calcium: it’s the calcium channels in the cells that are typically the problem in hypokalaemic periodic paralysis, but the result of that is not enough potassium ends up in the right places, as the electrolytes have jealous dances with each other. The same principle (with different nuances) is at play in sensory overstimulation.