The dreaded Keto Flu

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Today I am going to talk a bit about one of the major issues we find with people starting LCHF/keto: the dreaded keto flu

Headaches,

Dizziness,

Brain fog,

Fatigue,

Irritability

Nausea

Lethargy

Increased heart rate/ palpitations

Muscle cramps

Feeling lightheaded

Do these sound familiar? Did you ever thought what was going on with you?

If you have the above symptoms and have not been careful about your electrolytes, you are probably being a part of the keto flu affected team Yes, all those symptoms can manifest in the initial stages of LCHF/keto and every time you do get lazy or forget to balance your electrolytes.

So, what are electrolytes you will ask

Electrolytes are micronutrients – minerals found in the body used for maintaining homeostasis (balance). They intervene in all functions of our bodies, such as muscle contraction, heartbeat, nerve function, fluid balance, sleep, etc.

The most relevant in the context of a LCHF/keto diet  are potassium, sodium, and magnesium

So, why do I need to monitor my electrolytes?

When you change from a high carb diet to a LCHF diet, your body will tend more to release water than store it. Why? Because you do not have insulin spikes due to the type of foods you eat, and that will signal your hormone system indicating to your kidneys that there is less need to retain water and higher need to eliminate that water. When water excretion increases, minerals are also excreted at a higher rate, leading to lack of important electrolytes and to the symptoms associated with the so called keto flu.

So, what do I do?

A baseline blood analysis before starting will tell you upfront if you need any supplementation even before starting. Then check it regularly to be sure you are on track. Besides that, and as easy to do measures that will help to ease the symptoms or even avoid them:

  • Increase your water to maintain hydration.
  • Up your sodium intake – use pink salt, sea salt or a good iodized salt (1 to 2 tsp perday in a glass of water)
  • Drink water with LoSalt (Nusalt, madson salt) for potassium – potassium is a very tricky mineral and supplementation with pills is not advised unless prescribed by a doctor. Too much potassium is as dangerous as its deficiency.
  • Supplement with magnesium (several forms forms available, magnesium glycinate and magnesium citrate are the best options, citrate having a laxative effect)
  • My favorite: eat vegetables and other foods high in these nutrients. (Veggie phobia exists and there is no need whatsoever for that): For Potassium – avocados, nuts, kale, spinach, mushrooms; For Sodium: bone broth, pickle juice, bacon; Magnesium: dark chocolate, nuts, fish;

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