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Electrolytes and Keto   Leave a comment

One of the problems I’ve had with the keto diet is I occasionally feel a little run down. Or I get headaches out of the blue.  It doesn’t happen as often now that I’ve been doing it for over half a year, but at first it happened a lot.  This had to do with a major change in my body that is easy to fix if you understand what’s going on.

When you adapt from a glucose based energy system to a ketone based one, how well you retain water changes.  Glucose in your system allows you to retain water easier.  When you become keto adapted your body is in a state where your blood glucose levels show as fasted most of the time, so you retain less water.  This explains the rapid weight loss right after you start on keto.  Your body is expelling water it no longer has the glucose to retain.  This is just a quick explanation, for a more detailed one just Google “glucose water retention” or “keto water retention” and you’ll get a good list of articles by people substantially more educated on the subject then myself.

When your body expels water it also expels electrolytes.  And it’s the lack of electrolytes that leads to the fatigue and headaches.  Fortunately replacing them is relatively easy, save for one.  I’ve included links to the products I’ll mention below.  They’re all Amazon affiliate links.

The first thing to keep in mind is if you’re losing electrolytes due to water loss you need to replace the water along with the electrolytes to get the balance back.  To do this I recommend keeping a bottle of water with you at all times.  My bottle of choice is an insulated version of the Blender Bottle.  I’ll throw a little ice in it and then fill it up with water.  It insulates really well.  I’ve had ice chunks stay frozen in it all day, and the water stay ice cold over night.  Best part is that if you use it for mixing supplements it comes with the Blender Bottle whisk ball that makes sure everything dissolves nicely.

The supplement I’ve used to take care of the fatigue and headaches is Keto Vitals.  It comes in a pill form so it’s easy to take.  It’s not too pricey and gives me a quick, small shot of the four electrolytes I need (magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium) to get me back on track.  Some days I need a little extra so I’ll take 2, but I’ve never needed more then that to get up and running again.

If I want something to flavor my water, I’ll add Nuun tablets.  They have a variety of flavors and even different formulations (like one for hydration and another designed to give you more energy).  The flavors are good, plus it gives the water a fizzy feel like soda.  This can be helpful if you’re first switching over and are missing your soda fix.  If you use this with the Blender Bottle don’t seal the bottle lid right away because it will build up pressure.  I doubt it would create enough pressure to damage the bottle but it could make it a pain in the neck unscrewing the cap.  Put the tablet in and just let it sit open until it stops fizzing and then it’s ok to put the lid on.

Another supplement I take to help things along is a multi-vitamin.  They contain some of the electrolytes you need, plus have the benefits of a multi-vitamin.  My preferred one is Centrum Silver for Men.  It’s for older men (50+), which I’m not quite yet, but close enough that I figured why not.  If you follow the link by clicking on the picture below it will have links to the one for women and a general one for adults, not just the men’s formula.  Just scroll down a bit.

Now I mentioned that electrolytes are relatively easy to replace save for one.  Between the Keto Vitals and the Centrum Silver I’ve gotten most of what I need back.  With my dietary intake I’ve closed the gap on all but one, which will remain low still.  That one is potassium.  When I tracked my dietary intake near the beginning of this journey I noticed I was always running low on potassium. All the electrolytes are important so I needed to figure out a way to fix that imbalance.  Luckily I found a really easy, but unexpected way to make it happen using the Blender Bottle full of water I start with every day.

I found a product called No Salt on Amazon.  It was designed for people needing to control their sodium intake (which is generally not a problem for keto lifestyle people).  Instead of being sodium chloride (table salt) it’s potassium chloride.  It doesn’t taste exactly like salt but it’s close enough for my purposes.  Each 1/4 teaspoon serving gets you 20% of your potassium needs for the day.  So along with using it to “salt” my food I eat I also add a 1/4 teaspoon into my first water bottle.  Dissolved in the water you can taste a slight difference but it isn’t a bad taste.  If I drink about half the bottle and fill it back up again the taste goes away.  That plus my dietary intake gets me most of the way.  On days when I feel like I might be getting tired I’ll just do another water with No Salt to top me off.

That’s how I deal with the water retention/electrolyte issue involved with keto.  If you have other ways I’d love to hear them.  Leave a comment below.  And again if you’re interested in any of the products I mentioned there are Amazon affiliate links below. The affiliate link doesn’t change the price for you but does benefit me so I appreciate the support.  Have a great day and see you next time.

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