What is Keto Flu?
Keto flu is your body’s way of responding naturally to the restriction of carbohydrate. Since the Keto diet is moderate in protein, high in fat, and low in carbs- instead of burning glucose for energy, you burn fatty acids instead. Fatty acids are a backup fuel source that your body ends up using due to the lack of glucose. Ketosis is the metabolic state of burning fat instead of carbs and is the key to weigh-loss in the Keto diet.
When you cut out the carbs from your diet there are three main changes that occur :
• Your cortisol levels increase :
When you’re on the Keto diet- it makes your body feel like it’s in starvation mode. The way your body reacts in this situation is to trigger the release of stress hormones, in this case cortisol levels.
Some symptoms of increased cortisol levels are insomnia and irritability. As your body begins to adjust to using ketones and fat as its new source for fuel, your cortisol level should get back to their normal levels.
• Sodium and water flush :
By consuming less carbs, your insulin levels end up dropping as a signal to your kidneys to release sodium from your body. This causes you to lose water weight- about 10 pounds worth, as the water shuttles the sodium out of your body. This process usually happens during the first five days. Due to having low levels of insulin and loss of glycogen you end up having symptoms like nausea, headaches, dizziness, diarrhoea, muscle cramps and constipation. The best thing to do is to consume enough electrolytes and fluids, which will aid the alleviation of some of the cellular symptoms.
• Your T3 thyroid hormone levels decrease :
The thyroid gland produces a hormone that’s called T3. The function of your thyroid and your intake of carbs are connected closely- so, by cutting out the carbs, your T3 levels can end up decreasing. This can happen in conjunction with the T4, which is another hormone produced by the thyroid gland. These two T’s are responsible for your metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. While your body is busy adjusting to the Keto diet, the decrease in the T hormones can make you feel fatigued and your brain feel foggy.
Keto Flu Symptoms
• Muscle soreness
• Poor focus
• Sugar cravings
• Sore throat
• Stomach pains
• Brain fog
How long does Keto Flu last for?
Keto Flu symptoms begin after the 24 to 48 hour mark, thereafter the symptoms tend to last from a few days, to about two weeks, and at most- up to a month. It really depends on your body’s way of handling the symptoms and adapting to the different sources of fuel for energy in the Keto diet.
Keto Flu Remedies
Stay Hydrated :
Water is one of the best ways to kick the Keto flu, especially when a bit of unrefined salt is added. The minimum amount of water you would need is your current body weight divided by two- that’s equivalent to how many ounces of water you should drink. For example, if you’re 150 pounds, you should aim for 75 ounces of water.
Drink supplements that contain electrolytes :
You need to make sure that you’re taking in extra sodium when you’re on the Keto diet as it acts like a natural diuretic. So, to feel better fast, start replenishing your electrolytes. The key players here are magnesium, potassium and sodium- if you aren’t taking in enough of them due to your diet, as it is difficult due to the low-carb diet, then take them in the form of supplements.
Magnesium : Keto Flu symptoms like fatigue, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Supplement with 300 to 500 mg daily or eat chicken, fish, spinach, or beef.
Potassium : Keto Flu symptoms like muscle weakness, cramps, and constipation. Supplement with 1000 to 3500 mg daily or eat winter squash, fish, leafy greens, or meat.
Sodium : Keto Flu symptoms like cramps, or if you’re living or exercising in a hot climate. Supplement with 5000 to 7000 mg daily.
Take exogenous ketone supplements :
Exogenous ketone supplements boost your body’s energy by raising the levels of ketone in your blood, which aids in fatigue. This doesn’t mean that the supplement is a replacement for the proper Keto diet, it just means that it aids you it taking your diet up a notch- especially when you’re experiencing the Keto Flu. Take smaller doses of the supplement throughout the day for the first 3 to 5 days of the Keto Flu to see a difference.
- Natural Remedies for Keto Breath
- Vegan Keto Diet Meal Plan
- Keto Flu: Symptoms and Remedies
- Step by Step Keto Diet Plan
- The Ultimate Keto Diet Guide
Increase your fat intake, especially MCTs :
By increasing your intake of fat, you would naturally speed up your body’s phase of adaption- resulting in burning fat instead of glucose quicker. However, fat goes through the lymphatic system to the heart, fat cells and muscles before reaching the liver- once reached it turns into ketones for the body’s fuel.
The upside about consuming MCT oil is that it immediately goes to the liver after it’s digested, so it can be used immediately. So, by consuming MCT oil you can even prevent Keto Flu altogether. Some ways to increase your intake of fat is by snacking on eggs or grass-fed jerky and adding some coconut oil to your coffee or tea.
Consume bone broth :
Bone broth is a great way to drink a serving of water as it also contains electrolytes like potassium and sodium- which offset the feeling of discomfort on a cellular level. But any water that you consume in your diet is a great step to get you prepared for the Keto rebound.
Consume activated charcoal :
Activated charcoal detoxes your body of toxins as the charcoal binds to molecules that have positive charges, such as pesticides and toxic molds. As your body adapts to burning fat as fuel, the extra fat gets shed. Toxins are stored in the extra fat, so by consuming activated charcoal it will assist in the removal of the toxins and to optimize your overall well-being.
Take enough good rest :
You can conquer the Keto Flu when you take enough good rest- like a sound night’s sleep and naps during the course of the day. Your cortisol levels will be in check resulting in your Keto Flu symptoms lessening. Try to aim to have a good 7 to 9 hours of sleep at night.
Mild exercise and meditation :
The main goal when it comes to Keto Flu is to reduce your cortisol levels, this is especially important in the initial stages of the flu. In order to do so, opt for some mild exercise such as a walk or yoga- this helps relieve stress which will help you. If you’re not into exercise, then opt for meditation until your body has adjusted to the Keto diet.
Increase your carb intake if all else fails :
Sometimes, increasing your fat intake won’t help with the Keto Flu symptoms. If this is the case with you and you’ve tried adding more fat and you’re still stuck with Keto Flu symptoms, then up your intake of carbs by a bit. By refeeding your body with carbs, you’ll start feeling better as your body begins to adjust to burning fat- as your body will have carbs (glucose) to utilize for the adjustment.