There’s nothing worse than a bad headache at a bad time. You started the Keto Zone diet, bought all of the necessary supplements, and everything seemed to be going perfectly– until the keto headache rolled in.
These headaches are associated with the keto flu, although they’re far from contagious and dangerous. Keto headaches are perfectly normal to experience and a part of the symptoms that occur during the first few days on the keto diet.
There are a variety of factors that go into having a keto headache.
Glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates, binds with water, and as you use up the rest of your glycogen energy before entering ketosis, you also remove water. (1, 2) This not only gets rid of excess water weight, but it can also lead to dehydration. The dehydration then leads to an array of other lack of water symptoms such as headaches. (3)
On the keto diet, you use ketones for energy, but in the transition of going into ketosis, your body is still reaching for glucose (carbohydrates) for energy. Since you are limiting your carbohydrate intake, your blood sugar levels can drop to a new low, placing strain on your brain and nervous system. (4)
Studies show that sugar is also highly addictive and can exhibit a response similar to that of a cocaine addiction. (5) Once you cut out all of the added sweeteners and unnecessary sugars from your diet, you can experience some withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
Insulin regulates the glucose you consume, and when you cut back on glucose, your body cuts back on how much insulin it produces. When there’s less insulin, your body eliminates a large amount of sodium, which can throw off other electrolytes like magnesium and potassium. (6, 7) This electrolyte imbalance can lead to headaches.
Whether you’re looking to prevent the keto headache or remedy it, here are 6 things to try:
Drinking water can help rehydrate the body and ease the head pain. Try to get in 64-80 oz. of water per day and avoid drinking too many beverages that are natural diuretics like coffee and tea. Instead, drink 8 oz of broth or bullion 3-4 times a day.
To replenish the lost sodium, add a little bit of salt to every meal or even add a pinch to your glasses of water throughout the day. It can help to restore your electrolyte balance and ease headache symptoms. However, if you have high blood pressure, avoid this tip.
With lack of sleep comes high levels of cortisol, which contributes to irritability, stress, and even headaches. (8, 9) During your first few days of keto, try to get as much sleep as possible to aid your transition.
Drastically reducing your carbohydrate consumption means you need to be eating enough fats to replace your energy. If you’re not eating enough, the side effects, in the beginning, could come on a little stronger.
Make sure to hit that 70% range of calories from fats. Add butter and coconut oil to all of your meals and eat fatty meats like chicken thighs and bacon.
With the loss of sodium, comes an imbalance of magnesium and potassium in the body. To replenish these electrolytes, eat adequate amounts of:
They’re keto-friendly and loaded with electrolytes to ease your headache. (10) Adults should also supplement 200-400 mg of magnesium per day.
To avoid more dehydration, add Instant Ketones to your diet for extra sodium and ketone substrates. Not only will they help bring balance back to your electrolytes, but they’ll also aid the process of getting into the Keto Zone.
Good news! Keto headaches don’t last forever. You can expect them to stick around for a few days to a week, depending on how your body handles the keto changeover.
Once you adapt to your new diet, keto can actually help headaches and migraines. (11, 12) Push through the first week, and it gets better.
To prevent the keto headache, click here to shop Instant Ketones and other supplements.