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What is Keto Flu and How to Avoid It? Managing Your Symptoms

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When I started the Keto diet I definitely went through this period in my adaptation to a fully ketogenic diet. Now with experience on my side, I have come to realize I never had to go through this period.

If you properly plan and prepare prior you will be able to sell through this time frame without any ill effects. It isn’t really a “flu” in the traditional sense but the side effects feel very similar to what people describe when they have the flu and hence Keto kind of “borrowed” the term so what is keto flu and how to avoid it?

At its most fundamental the “Keto Flu” is a side effect of what occurs when your body drops the glycogen and associated water weight. When this water weight is dropped you have a large drop in your electrolytes, primarily sodium level, which are stored within it. If you don’t work to replenish them you will get hit with the Keto Flu.

Now we will discuss ways to mitigate the issues surrounding the keto flu and what you can do before starting your ketogenic journey to be stocked and prepared for this adaptation.

Symptoms Of Ketosis Flu Or Keto Flu

Once you start on a ketogenic diet and are getting ready for its many benefits you start feeling sickly and tired. You may also have multiple issues like a headache, temperament/annoyance issues, or difficulty focusing or concentrating.

Fortunately, it’s transitive and short-term, you should soon feel fine again. For most people, you will have more energy than before you started the keto diet.

What Causes The Keto Flu?

The transition from a sugar/carbohydrate metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism causes a drop in the body’s glycogen storage and excess water related to this.

Once the water and glycogen start being dumped, typically the fast initial weight loss, you lose vital electrolytes. This is in the form of mostly sodium, which was contained in the same water volume that you just eliminated from your body by starting the Keto diet.

This mass drop in electrolytes causes the body to become “out of whack” as these electrolytes need to be in a very specific ratio to each other to maintain homeostasis of the body systems, without this being correct you can get the very ill feeling very fast.

When Does Keto Flu Hit?

This will typically start within 24 to 48 hours as you start to lose the associated water weight. You will want to work on a supplementation plan prior to starting the keto diet and have them on hand. I would suggest starting supplementing as soon as the first meal.

If you supplement well in advance you will note that you may totally bypass this as that’s what we are working to prepare for you in this article! I hope that you don’t experience this as I never want to myself!

How Do I Beat The Keto Flu?

You need to start increasing your supplementation with at least minimal additions of pink sea salt, I personally use Redmond’s, or you can find something similar, just make sure it isn’t table salt.

The reason I am anti-table salt is due to the fact that it is almost nutritionally worth nothing other than the iodine possibly. The investment in your health is worth the cost today, the bag I listed above has now lasted me over a year and may well make it to two years!

The Himalayan and similar sea salts contain far more minerals and helpful electrolytes to keep your body running smooth and level. I would recommend that you learn to add salt liberally to your meals to ensure you are consuming plenty to help yourself through.

Other Options To Smooth The Transition:

  • Increase salt intake with each meal and mix in a little with your water
  • Slowly lower carbohydrate consumption By 25-50 grams per day until under 20 grams a day.
  • Lower physical activity for the induction period (approximately the first 6 weeks)
  • Increase fat intake to provide more fuel for the body to utilize
  • Don’t limit intake of food other than carbohydrate count

What Supplements Can Help With The Symptoms?

Electrolytes are the main supplement you will need to focus on for the first couple of weeks while switching to a Ketogenic lifestyle. If you don’t put some attention to this then you will feel the wrath of the keto flu and understand why you should have spent the time to prepare fully in advance!

The electrolytes that are stored in the glycogen water storage are Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium. These are all needed in specific quantities to manage our system in homeostasis.

Many of the maladies spoken of online from new keto dieters are related to a deficiency in one of these core electrolytes from their systems.

Below we will go into each electrolyte and some possible sources from your diet along with issues that can be resolved by proper intake of electrolytes.

Magnesium – Solving Symptoms Of Ketosis Flu

Magnesium is an abundant mineral in the body and is present in many foods and other food products. It is also available through dietary supplements and is even present in some medicines.

Magnesium plays a vital role in the use of calcium and potassium. These 2 electrolytes are involved in processes that are important to nerve impulse conduction, muscle contraction, and normal heart rhythm.

Quality Sources Of Magnesium Through Diet

Magnesium intake should be around approximately 400 mg per day, though this varies by age and possibly diet. This is easily manageable through diet if you make the correct food choices.

Below you will see the top selections in our opinion to solve this without supplemental pills and powders.

Top 5 Sources From Dietary Selections:

  • Almonds, 1 oz, 80 mg
  • Boiled Spinach, 1/2 Cup, 76 mg
  • Avocado, 1 Cup Cubed, 44 mg
  • Chicken Breast, 3 oz, 22 mg
  • 90% Lean Ground Beef, 3 oz, 20 mg

Issues Related To Lack Of Magnesium In The Body

  • Heart Palpitations
  • Leg Cramps (Especially At Night)

Potassium – Solving Symptoms Of Ketosis Flu

Potassium is the most abundant essential nutrient which is naturally present in a great many foods and available as a dietary supplement. Potassium is present in all body tissues and is required for normal cell function.

Potassium is absorbed via passive diffusion, primarily in the small intestine. Your kidneys control potassium excretion in response to changes within your dietary intake.

Potassium excretion increases rapidly in healthy people after potassium consumption, unless body stores are depleted.

Quality Sources Of Potassium Through Diet

Potassium intake should be around approximately 4700 mg per day, though this varies by age and possibly diet. This is easily manageable through diet if you make the correct food choices.

Below you will see the top selections in our opinion to solve this without supplemental pills and powders.

Top 5 Sources From Dietary Selections:

  • Avocado (Haas), 1 Medium Avocado, 689 mg
  • Spinach (Raw), 2 Cups, 334 mg
  • Chicken Breast, 3 oz, 332 mg
  • Beef Top Sirloin, 3 oz, 315 mg
  • Broccoli, 1/2 Cup Chopped, 229 mg
  • Coffee, 1 Cup, 116 mg

Issues Related To Lack Of Potassium In The Body

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue, both physically and mentally
  • Fluid retention (due to excess sodium)
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Heart palpitations

Sodium – Solving Symptoms Of Ketosis Flu

Sodium is a key to help send signals between cells and also controls the number of fluids within your body. Your body requires sodium for your cells to work the correct way.

Most foods have sodium in them. The most common form is sodium chloride, found in table salt. Each person loses a certain amount of sodium each day through sweat and when they go to the restroom.

Quality Sources Of Sodium Through Diet

Sodium intake should be around approximately 2300 mg per day per the AHA, though this number varies by age and possibly diet. Ketogenic diet followers have reported up to 5-6k a day of intake as you continually flush it out when not utilized. Studies show that lowering sodium can be very detrimental to health and longevity.

This amount is easily managed through diet only if you make the correct food choices. Below you will see the top selections in our opinion to solve this without supplemental pills and powders.

Top 5 Sources From Dietary Selections:

  • Healthy Sea Salt
  • Ham, 3 oz, 1100 mg
  • Cottage Cheese, 1/2 cup, 350 mg
  • Pork Rinds, 1 oz, 500 mg
  • Beef Jerky, 1 oz, 600 mg

Issues Related To Lack Of Sodium In The Body

  • Confusion, Forgetfulness and Reasoning Issues
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches

Final Thoughts on What is Keto Flu and How to Avoid It

The keto flu is totally avoidable even though people the world over act like it is a badge of resolve why let yourself be impacted negatively? If you follow the above steps and guidelines you will gracefully move into a ketogenic lifestyle.

If this was helpful and informative and you know others who are in the same place feel free to share this with them.

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