Can potassium buildup cause lipofuscin deposits?

Q I understand that centrophenoxine (also known as Lucidil) reverses the damage caused to brain cells by aging and the accumulation of lipofuscin, a build-up of potassium.

Also, I am 69 years old and have been taking your potassium bicarbonate for quite some time. Does this expose me to potassium build-up?

JOE, Novato, CA

A Lipofuscin is an aging pigment composed of lipid-containing residues of lysosomal digestion found in the brain and elsewhere in the body. It is probably the product of the oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids, and is thought to be symptomatic of membrane damage, or damage to mitochondria and lysosomes. Lipofuscin is also known to contain sugars and metals, including mercury, aluminum, iron, copper, and zinc. As pro-oxidants, the metals may play a role in lipofuscin formation. Potassium is not know to be involved, although calcium is fingered in a recent article for lipofuscin in retinal pigment epithelial cells.1

In a 1983 paper,2 centrophenoxine reduced lipofuscin deposits (studied both biochemically and histochemically) in aging rat brains, thus indicating that the drug inhibited lipofuscin accumulation by elevating the activity of the antioxidant enzymes. Acetyl L-carnitine has done the same.3 Durk & Sandy have recommended DMAE as an alternative to Lucidil (centrophenoxine). Lucidil contains DMAE.

With regard to potassium buildup, individuals suffering from kidney diseases may suffer adverse health effects from consuming large quantities of dietary potassium. End stage renal failure patients undergoing therapy by renal dialysis must observe strict dietary limits on potassium intake, as the kidneys control potassium excretion, and the buildup of blood concentrations of potassium (hyperkalemia) may trigger fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

If you suspect that this may apply to you, please have your kidneys checked by, at least, undergoing a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, which should include the kidney tests for BUN (blood urea nitrogen), a waste product filtered out of the blood by the kidneys, and creatinine, a waste product produced in the muscles and filtered out of the blood by the kidneys. Thus, blood levels of creatinine are a good indication of how well the kidneys are working.


  1. Zhang L, Hui YN, Wang YS, Ma JX, Wang JB, Ma LN. Calcium overload is associated with lipofuscin formation in human retinal pigment epithelial cells fed with photoreceptor outer segments. Eye (Lond). 2011 Apr;25(4):519-27.
  2. Roy D, Pathak DN, Singh R. Effect of centrophenoxine on the antioxidative enzymes in various regions of the aging rat brain. Exp Gerontol 1983;18(3):185-97.
  3. Amenta F, Ferrante F, et al. Reduced lipofuscin accumulation in senescent rat brain by long-term acetyl-L-carnitine treatment. Arch Gerontol Geriatr 1989 Sep-Oct;9(2):147-53.

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