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Cola Can Trigger Muscle Weakness

June 6, 2009

Greek doctors have found that consuming multiple liters of cola-containing soft drinks per day can result in chronic loss of potassium in the body, contributing to muscle frailty and even paralysis, Reuters reported.

Some may think that “excessive soft drink consumption at this level is so rare that it is not a public health issue,” writes the author of an attending editorial in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, “we have every reason to think that it is not rare.”

Six published accounts of cola triggered potassium deficiency were identified by Dr. Moses Elisaf and colleagues at the University of Ioannina, Greece since 1994.

Patients in these reports had muscle complaints ranging from slight weakness to intense paralysis, and irregularly low potassium levels in the blood were present in all patients.

“Fortunately, all patients had a rapid and complete recovery after the discontinuation of cola ingestion and the oral or intravenous supplementation of potassium,” Elisaf and associates wrote.

“There is very little doubt that tens of millions of people in industrialized countries drink at least 2-3 L of cola per day,” Dr. Clifford D. Packer at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio commented in his editorial.

“The soft drink industry needs to promote safe and moderate use of its products for all age groups, reduce serving sizes, and pay heed to the rising call for healthier drinks,” Packer emphasized.

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