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Quick Guide to Keto-flu Remedies

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This infographic explains what keto-flu is, who may experience it and how to lessen the common symptoms like headaches or muscle cramps.

I've had keto-flu myself so I know how bad it can make you feel. Once you give up most carbs, make sure you include foods like avocados (potassium), nuts (magnesium), bone broth or sauerkraut (sodium) in your diet. If you want to learn more, have a look at my post here: "Keto-flu" and Sufficient Intake of Electrolytes

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Martina Slajerova
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Martina Slajerova

I changed the way I ate in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. I had no energy, and I found it more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s when I decided to quit sugar, grains, and processed foods, and to start following a whole-foods-based ketogenic approach to food.

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Comments (48)

Hi there,
I just started the keto diet ab out 5 days ago. I'm experiencing severe muscle cramps and pains throughout my entire body. I've tried drinking pickle juice, taking magnesium supplements, eating more salt, etc. Nothing is helping...

In you keto flue blog above, what is respiratory depression ?

I have started keto (maybe better call low carb) diet three weeks ago. The reason I call it a low carb because I do eat a lot of goat and sheep yoghurt, kefir and fetta. I am allergic to cow milk and don't drink milk.
Prior to this, I was eating healthy diet veggies, little protein, no junk food or sugar at all, barely any fruits and couple of rice cakes only per day.
All this is to say that it was not a big jump but I am getting keto headaches still on and off. I am taking electrolytes...
Any thoughts?  Thanks

The infographic says "Our body needs more electrolytes during the induction phase of the ketogenic diet."
Does this imply that once the induction phase is completed, a lower, more "normal" level of electrolytes is OK?

Hi Chris, to avoid or lessen the symptoms of keto-flu, an increased intake of electrolytes is required (e.g. in case of sodium it's 3,000-5,000 mg of additional sodium occurring naturally in food) during the induction phase (to counteract the effects of carbohydrate withdrawal). You should be getting at least the RDA (or AI in case of potassium), ideally more. Once you get keto adapted, you still need to get enough electrolytes by following the RDAs.

I have been on Keto for three months. Suddenly i am experiencing severe headaches and brain fog. I am drinking electrolytes drink but it doesn’t seem to help. Do many people experience this? I don’t have any health issues whatsoever. I don’t want to go back to eating grains and potassium rich foods but this headache is going on for two weeks now. Please help

Hi Renata, you may need to include more keto foods high in electrolytes: The Importance of Potassium and Top 7 Low-Carb Foods High in Potassium
The Importance of Magnesium and Top 7 Low-Carb Foods High in Magnesium
Also, don't be afraid to add sodium (bone broth). Finally, reducing carbs slowly may be a better approach (e.g. first, reduce to about 50 g net carbs and the every week decrease by ~ 5 grams until you reach your target).

I was on a keto diet for almost three months. Then severe pain in both my shoulders appear. X-ray showed crystals in cetaceans. They advised me to stop consuming dairy products, except for butter and whey. Keto recipes are full of cheese, almost any dough substitute is without it. Cream, yogurt, cheese and more cheese. What should I do? I do not enjoy milk for more than three months and the pain in the shoulders has completely disappeared, without physiotherapy, without breaking the crystals with a laser. Thanks

Hi Andrea, you can follow a dairy-free keto approach, or limit it to the ones that are not causing issues. You can find all dairy-free recipes on my blog - there are plenty! (use the filtering tool on top): Recipes
I hope this helps!

Any suggestions about Vital nutrients collagen in bullet proof coffee and if VitD is needed for keto diet - I've been doing this for years, lost ton of weight, am at plateau so looking at all variables incl calories, inc veggies, dec protein and fat for dinner to dec calories - I suppl w/ VitBs for 2 or both genetic defects for methylation - am 51 yrs 5'8" 175lbs trying to lose 10-15lbs - I'm not slight but more stocky/muscular

Hi Andrew, I've written about weight loss plateaus here: How To Low Carb: 15+ Common Weight Loss Mistakes

I only have seven pounds to lose and this is my fourth day on 20 carbs a day... man oh man do I feel so sick. I have  major brain fog, headache, the sockets of my eyes hurt the pain is so bad, I feel so tired, I feel like a walking zombie, and have been resting in bed for few hours everyday I feel so sick. I did not expect this type of sickness. I'm  doing all the things listed here. ... I wonder if this is even for me I'm going to go a few more days that is all I can take physically. I decided I can not tolerate this I will  just become a  raw vegan which seems perhaps a better fit for me . I did the low carb thing because I knew it would be fast, but now I fine with just losing two pounds a week or even one.

I found this great article as well.  I thought I'd share.
I am going to try some of the remedies tomorrow.  

Hi and Thank you.  Your information is great.  Two questions.
1. I just started the keto diet about 8 or 9 days ago.  I got the keto flu badly and mixed with it the real flu.  I want to stay in ketosis and reach the nirvana of weight loss.  Can you guide me on flu remedy stuff that can help suppress my cough and such?  I can't have honey or lemon or ginger as they have too many carbs.  I'm drinking herbal tea.  It helps but not enough.  Thank you for any suggestion you have?
2. When does your app come out and what exactly will it do?
Thank you again for your time, Sincerly, Jed 😊

I unintentionally & unknowingly started this diet about 1.5 yrs ago when I seriously cut back on carbs and pretty much eliminated sugar in an effort to eliminate my sugar addiction. I ended up feeling like crap and with headaches, so I stopped the diet, thinking I wasn't getting enough vitamins and nutrition. Many months later I discovered that there was such a thing as a ketogenic diet and when I started researching, I discovered a lot of useful information, including the answer to my 23-year-long question of why I felt so much better while pregnant than I ever have in general (pregnancy causes most women to enter into ketogenesis).
After this discovery, about 6 minths ago, I intentionally tried doing a ketogenic diet. I had not come across anything regarding the keto flu yet, but ended up with it again. That took several days to pass, but once it did I felt great and had lots of energy. I went from struggling to make it through the day without pain from fibromyalgia to it hardly bothering me unless I overdo it. Even took a vacation for the first time in years. It was great!!!
Then I laxed on being as careful of what I ate and started sneaking in sugar & carbs (apparently too soon)... Now every time I have sugar or carbs I drop out of ketosis & when I go back in I get the dreaded flu and worse yet these horrible headaches.
Is there any help for the awful headaches that came come with the keto-flu?
Stephanie Barnes, did you ever find the answer to your restless leg problem? I have suffered from this off and on for years & have no idea why it comes and goes. I am relatively new to the keto diet so it's not, at least strictly, from that, but it is quite possible, maybe even likely, that it is a contributing factor.

I use magnesium oil for my restless legs and it works wonders put it on before you go to bed or Feel twitchy you can get it from Amazon

I started the keto diet on January 2nd and have been suffering from restless leg syndrome ever since. It is keeping me up at night and I am wondering if there is something I am doing wrong?Tonight I am making the electrolyte drink mentioned on your site, even though it is 2:30 in the morning.  I'm hoping the extra potassium will help. I have been supplementing with magnesium at night and trying to drink lots of water during the day. I haven't seen anyone else mention this side effect. I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for Thursday. Any ideas on what I might be doing wrong?

Thanks for this.really helpful.

Gorgeous infographic and very easy-to-understand keto info. Can't wait to share it. Thanks!

Thank you so much Ann!

Thankyou for this info., i'm about 4 weeks in and thought i had gone through the worst, but the past week i have been exhausted to the point of having naps in the afternoon! Today my energy has returned, and feeling a lot better!  So it's helpful to know it was actually keto-flu and it took that long to fully get into ketosis!
Great site, thanks!

Thank you Cathy, I'm glad it helped!

This is very helpful information.  It explains why I was having the symptoms I was.  But that is all gone now.  Thanks for the science.

Great info I had no Idea, Thanks!

Absolutely great.  Thank you for your work.  Printer friendly graphics are MUCH appreciated as I can post them in the kitchen.  I appreciate that many of yours are and hope that all of them can be printer friendly at some point.

Thank you Khara! 😊

Excellent Graphic!!! Your site is a welcoming find for my patients who I coach thru a ketogenic diet. THANK YOU for all the time and energy you put into this.. you are impacting the world.

Thank you so much Emily!!

I suffered a pretty bad case of Keto Flu 5 days into the diet. It was exacerbated by forgetting my anti-depressants for 2 days in a row. Luckily I had a very Keto-intelligent friend to talk me through it. She was able to see that my potassium was very low through my FitnessPal Food Diary also. I got potassium supplements the next day and that has made a HUGE difference. I am feeling better all around a few days later. This is more about health than weight for me and I am very pleased so far. Your site is one of the best I have seen. I have been on it for almost 8 hours now. I'm obsessed.

Thank you so much Emily! I'm glad you feel better now! 😊

Hi! I've been a month in Keto and lost 11 pounds and all of a sudden I got this keto flu... I started getting quite worried and a bit scared because I got hypertention and palpitations... I take enough salt and magnesium and finnally I see it can be lack of potassium. I aslo may mention that we are in the middle of record-breaking heat wave these days which dosen't help! I'll get some supplements... I can tell you that where I live (Barcelona)hardly anybody knows about this diet and I feel quite alone in this adventure... My doctor is not happy with this WOE. I'd love to find one that aproves. But I really think and hope it's my solution to 25 years of fighting against my weight problems.

I know how you feel. It's hard to find a doctor that approves this (or any diet different than the "standard" one) in the UK, too. I'm quite lucky that I found a few but it will take time before it's generally accepted that a low-fat diet is the wrong way to go. Good luck!

Great graphic. This and the others you have produced are really helpful. Thanks. Looking forward to more of these. They are really helpful as I promote the healthy keto approach to my friends and family. It makes the info so much more attention grabbing and easier to understand.

Thanks Janice! 😊

Great news all round. The especially  good bit for me is the android!  Hooray

We'll do our best to finish it asap 😊

Very interesting and informative.  I was a little confused, though, when you speak of water and electrolytes being "exerted"... Do you mean "excreted"?

Well spotted & fixed! 😊

You might want to put this infographic over at /r/ketorecipes, because newbies seem to be coming out of the woodwork, and are asking questions about keto flu.

Thank you, I will! 😊

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