Headache On Low Carb Diet – Ketosis headaches, along with other symptoms of “keto flu,” are common unpleasant side effects of starting a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, this is a temporary discomfort that will go away once you transition into ketosis. However, you may be wondering what causes keto headaches and how to get rid of them fast. We don’t teach you! So we have the answer here.
A keto or ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet designed to teach the body to burn fat instead of sugar as a fuel source. Sugar produces glucose, while fat produces ketone bodies for energy (hence the name ketogenic).
Headache On Low Carb Diet
Once the switch is complete, you will experience rapid and safe weight loss. As an added bonus, a keto diet can help optimize blood sugar and insulin levels by reducing carbohydrate intake and the associated spikes in blood sugar. Sounds good, but what’s the catch?
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Well, a brand new diet can be very restrictive at first, and there can be some setbacks, especially when it comes to restricting the carbs you’re used to. These shocks, while understandable and common, can delay ketosis and prolong flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, ketosis breathing, and ketosis headaches.
Uncomfortable symptoms like ketosis headaches can haunt you for up to a week and can cause you to abandon the keto diet when you are about to enter ketosis. If you’re experiencing keto flu symptoms, in a sense, you’re on the right track: Your diet is working! Just like with sore muscles after a rigorous workout, the principle here is “no pain, no gain”. You’re unlikely to be happy with a persistent headache though, so where does it come from?
Sometimes changing parts of your hair can just be a headache, such is how sensitive we humans are to change and how firm we are with ourselves. If you suddenly change your entire diet from high carb to low carb, there are consequences, and they won’t all be good.
First, your blood sugar drops, and if it drops below 70 mg/dL, you have hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can cause symptoms such as brain fog, tremors, and headaches, all side effects commonly associated with the keto flu.
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Dehydration is another side effect of starting a ketogenic diet. If you have less glycogen (sugar) and less insulin, both of which help your body retain enough water, you can become dehydrated, which is another cause of headaches and so on.
When the body undergoes drastic changes like a ketogenic diet, it produces more cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones designed to deal with whatever caused the drastic change. This stressful situation will pass, but you naturally want to get through it and get back to health as quickly as possible.
Sugar, including the sugar in carbohydrates, activates the same reward pathways in the brain that street drugs like cocaine do. It sounds extreme, but any substance that releases dopamine in our brains can be addictive, and sugar addiction is as real as any other substance.
There are some tips for overcoming the symptoms of diabetes, including ketogenic options, that may surprise you until your body adjusts. When you stop eating up to 95 percent of the high-carb foods your body is used to, you may also experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, sugar cravings, and headaches. This is another factor that contributes to headache problems.
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Sodium or salt deficiency (hyponatremia) is a type of electrolyte imbalance. Your electrolytes are the chemicals that send electrical messages between cells, and you don’t want them to be inactive. Your salt and sodium levels also determine your body’s fluid balance, and without them, you could experience the aforementioned dehydration.
Each of these sodium-related factors can lead to headaches, but luckily, you can safely add salt back into your body. Many keto recipes call for pink Himalayan salt to keep electrolyte and fluid levels balanced. Read on to learn more keto headache solutions.
Entering ketosis can easily involve weaning off regular caffeinated liquids, such as sugary soda, energy drinks, or sweetened coffee. If you cut back on caffeine to cut back on sugar, you’re now on both drugs at the same time, double the trouble. Quitting caffeine can also lead to headaches, but you don’t have to say goodbye to caffeine if you don’t want to.
Coffee in moderation is actually good for you, and so is caffeine. Doctors often recommend a cup of coffee to promote bowel movements, and caffeine has been scientifically linked to successful weight loss and weight maintenance. The trick is not to add sugar to your black coffee – try cinnamon to reduce bitterness and consider adding MCT or coconut oil for a ketogenic coffee. These supplements help generate ketones, which boost your energy levels and speed up your transition into ketosis.
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Caffeine helps increase blood flow to the brain, and withdrawal from caffeine can cause these blood vessels to constrict, leading to headaches and even excruciating migraines. Consider adding caffeine to your routine temporarily or indefinitely.
While a keto headache is a temporary inconvenience, it can disrupt your life for up to a week, leading to dangerous tantrums with loved ones, unproductive work, and even distractions on the road. These are some quick remedies to keep you in ketosis and relieve your ketosis headaches.
If you have keto flu symptoms like a keto headache, it’s because you’re actively transitioning into ketosis. Many beginners can get discouraged at this stage and wonder how long their discomfort will last before they reap the benefits, but rest assured, as long as you stick to your diet (and don’t keep getting into and out of ketosis), ketosis problems usually don’t last more than the first week. Try our tips to relieve keto headaches, fatigue and brain fog and don’t give up because you’re almost there!
We’re bringing back a delicious diet so that when your body goes into ketosis, you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing anything…not taste, not pleasure, and definitely not satisfaction. A swollen, throbbing head and sore temples are no fun for anyone. Keto headaches are common, especially when you’re first transitioning to this new way of eating. The good news is that you don’t have to live with them! There are some easy ways to prevent headaches caused by using kero!
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Glucose is a type of sugar that the body uses as a fuel source. When you change your ketone metabolic state, your body begins to use primarily ketone bodies instead of glucose for energy. In some people with an impaired metabolism or a diet high in carbohydrates, blood sugar levels may drop, leading to headaches.
During the transition to ketosis, the body uses up a stored form of carbohydrates, called glycogen. Glycogen binds to water molecules in the body, and when glycogen is used, the body releases water [1,2].
Your body also produces less of the hormone insulin when you are in a state of ketosis. The hormone insulin helps you absorb glucose from the blood, and with ketones you consume less glucose and carbohydrates, so insulin levels drop. When insulin levels drop, the kidneys excrete excess sodium. Loss of water, sodium and electrolytes can lead to dehydration, headaches and other symptoms of keto flu. Other signs of dehydration include dry mouth, impaired vision, and dizziness [3,4].
In addition to ketones, overuse of certain medications, drugs, and diuretics can also lead to dehydration and headaches. Other factors that may play a role are lack of sleep and stress  .
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In addition to dehydration, low magnesium and low sodium are often two culprits of ketosis-induced headaches.
You can supplement your magnesium levels with nutritious foods such as avocados, dark chocolate, nuts such as almonds and Brazil nuts, and seeds such as pumpkin seeds [6,7,8,9].
Salty foods to increase the sodium content of the diet. You can use Celtic Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt, Arctic Sea Salt or Certified True Redmonds Salt! ❮ ❯
If you still have headaches after a few days or weeks in ketosis, it’s best to check with your doctor to make sure there’s no underlying problem.
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1) Fernandez-Eliaz, V., Ortega, J.F., Nelson, R.K., and Mora-Rodriguez, R. (2015). Relationship between muscle water and glycogen recovery after prolonged exercise at elevated temperatures in humans. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 115(9), 1919-1926. DOI: 10.1007/s00421-015-3175-z
2) King, R. F. G. J., Cooke, C., Carroll, S. and O’Hara, J. (2008). Assessment of changes in fluid status due to changes in body weight: perspectives on metabolic water and glycogen storage. Journal of Sports Science, 26(12), 1361-1363. Home office: 10.1080/02640410802192768.
3) Horita, S., Seki, G., Yamada, H., Suzuki, M., Koike, K. and Fujita, T. (2011). Insulin resistance, obesity, hypertension and renal sodium transport. International Journal of Hypertension, doi: 10.4061/2011/391762.
4) Riebl, S.K., Davy,
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