4

votes

Dry mouth - feeling dehydrated, but water doesn't help

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 17, 2010 at 2:30 AM

I noticed a few other posts on this, but has anyone found a solution for the weirdly dry mouth on strict paleo? Even my lips feel like they are cracking. No amount of extra water seems to help. Am I missing something important? I've been eating plenty of fat/oils.

990472da245e34f25e47af5d270b7a4b

(188)

on October 18, 2010
at 01:27 AM

Not diabetic...thinking now that body is just adjusting levels.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:30 PM

Yeh I had been virtually zero carbing for a while, with low carb veg and maybe 300g of squash. I tried to up my carb intake to ~40g which is what I thought I should be having (according to the Optimal Diet) on squash and carrots, but it was quite difficult and about 20g fructose. So far I've found a small sweet potato (mostly starch) to be far easier all round.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:16 PM

I agree, you should always drink if you are thirsty. HOwever, I also think one should explore the reason for any kind of thirst that seems excessive or unusual. Even more so with cracked lips.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:14 PM

Some people have trouble adapting to very low carb or staying on vlc long term. This may happen more with women. If there are some fruits that are not suspected of being an autoimmune issue, you may want to try adding a few of those and see if that helps. Maybe banana.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 17, 2010
at 02:34 PM

I want to second this. I also had dry mouth when I switched to LC, and drinking water didn't really seem to affect it. After a month it went away.

990472da245e34f25e47af5d270b7a4b

(188)

on October 17, 2010
at 12:25 PM

This makes a lot of sense. By strict paleo, I mean that I'm doing the autoimmune version Robb Wolf recommends - no nightshades, no dairy, no nuts, no eggs. My typical diet is free range meat with green and perhaps squash. My condition is spondylitis - I'm on Humira (similar to remicade) and NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories). I think I may break diet today just to let my body adjust more slowly. I feel really dizzy/weird. I do drink a couple cups of green tea in the morning. I'll also try to cut back on that to see if it helps. Thanks for all the support! My case is a tricky one.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 17, 2010
at 09:45 AM

Oh I didn't mean to clarify: your point about cortisol and electrolytes is clearly expressed and definitely right. I was just *adding* that cortisol and stress will give you a dry mouth and increase diuresis independent of that effect.

8f8c9548ba9f019c62c3ca4ea94ff9b3

(193)

on October 17, 2010
at 06:45 AM

Thank you for clarifying my words, David.

8f8c9548ba9f019c62c3ca4ea94ff9b3

(193)

on October 17, 2010
at 06:43 AM

Yes, everyone may be different, so everyone should seek a different diagnoses and treatment. To clarify my theory: I am reactive hypoglycemic. That means that my blood sugar will rise for two hours after a starchy meal. My blood sugar would then fall after the two hours. Because of my low blood sugar after two hours of a starchy meal, I secrete cortisol to bring my blood sugar up. But cortisol has a side effect because it causes sodium retention and potassium loss within the small intestine. This is why I get thirsty after two hours after. Sodium retention and potassium loss dehydrates me.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 17, 2010
at 05:51 AM

Drinking plain water makes you more thirsty, and you won't drink plain water? Your situation may be different than most, and I can't quite understand your water-juice-potassium-cortisol hypothesis. Being a paleo eater, I'm sure you're aware that humans have consumed water roughly forever, and juice only relatively recently.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:28 AM

I not sure what exactly is 'strict' paleo. Does that mean no fruit? Anyway, I never experienced this on lowcarb or paleo. Actually, I feel much LESS thirsty on lowcarb or paleo. And I drink less. Seems like carbs need more water. Once in a while, if I cheat a bit, then I feel thirsty afterwards.

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11 Answers

5
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 17, 2010
at 06:22 AM

I had (and occasionally still do have) this, to the extent of drinking about 3L of water at night and more during the day. The main possible culprits seem to be: excess protein and/or low carbohydrate (increasing dieuresis) or electrolye imbalance, as others have suggested. While extra protein can exacerbate the problem, reducing it doesn't seem to do much to resolve it (I tend to keep around 1.5g/kg). I definitely don't get enough potassium as a rule (although I tend to get substantial amounts of salt only very infrequently), so it's difficult to tell if this is a factor. Carbohydrate seems to be the main factor and the problem is reduced now that I'm eating a small sweet potato most days. It's difficult to discern though, since I find you can't just switch the problem on/off instantly, since after a period of higher water intake/excretion, your kidneys will adapt and so make you thirsty such that you drink up to the expected level of liquid. Following on from Luming Zhou's point about cortisol, cortisol and so stress in general can make you thirstier by giving you a dry mouth and increasing dieuresis. Certainly I find that stress, caffeine or tannins (coffee, tea, cocoa) instantly make me need more water.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:30 PM

Yeh I had been virtually zero carbing for a while, with low carb veg and maybe 300g of squash. I tried to up my carb intake to ~40g which is what I thought I should be having (according to the Optimal Diet) on squash and carrots, but it was quite difficult and about 20g fructose. So far I've found a small sweet potato (mostly starch) to be far easier all round.

8f8c9548ba9f019c62c3ca4ea94ff9b3

(193)

on October 17, 2010
at 06:45 AM

Thank you for clarifying my words, David.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:14 PM

Some people have trouble adapting to very low carb or staying on vlc long term. This may happen more with women. If there are some fruits that are not suspected of being an autoimmune issue, you may want to try adding a few of those and see if that helps. Maybe banana.

990472da245e34f25e47af5d270b7a4b

(188)

on October 17, 2010
at 12:25 PM

This makes a lot of sense. By strict paleo, I mean that I'm doing the autoimmune version Robb Wolf recommends - no nightshades, no dairy, no nuts, no eggs. My typical diet is free range meat with green and perhaps squash. My condition is spondylitis - I'm on Humira (similar to remicade) and NSAIDs (anti-inflammatories). I think I may break diet today just to let my body adjust more slowly. I feel really dizzy/weird. I do drink a couple cups of green tea in the morning. I'll also try to cut back on that to see if it helps. Thanks for all the support! My case is a tricky one.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on October 17, 2010
at 09:45 AM

Oh I didn't mean to clarify: your point about cortisol and electrolytes is clearly expressed and definitely right. I was just *adding* that cortisol and stress will give you a dry mouth and increase diuresis independent of that effect.

3
8f8c9548ba9f019c62c3ca4ea94ff9b3

on October 17, 2010
at 05:19 AM

I used urinate so much at night that I have to drink so much at night. I think it's typical of reactive hypoglycemics. I think it's due to an electrolyte imbalance from excess cortisol secretion during hypoglycemia.

Cortisol causes sodium retention and potassium loss within the small intestine.

For example, I get thirsty two or three hours after my dinner time. Starting from that time, I would drink water all night and urinate all night.

I think fruit or fruit juice will help. Because of the potassium content. It helped me.

In fact, I once got water poisoning from drinking so much water at night. See my blog for more info.

But I think it's important to get a balance of electrolytes. For example, I can't eat salty food by itself because I will get very thirsty and urinate too much right after and/or have kidney pain. But I don't have a problem eating a meal with a balance of electrolytes.

Even if I get thirsty after a balanced meal, I won't drink plain water. Drinking plain water will make me even more thirsty.

Drinking fruit juice solves the problem. I think fruit juice contains potassium; which is important when the small intestine is excreting potassium due to excess cortisol. Drinking fruit juice or at least water with juice from a squeezed citrus fruit helps me if I ran out of fruit juice.

How do you know that you have too much sodium in your body? If you didn't do any test, then how do you know? Each individual is different, so the cause of dehydration may be different.

Restricting sodium may be deadly if you have Addison's disease, for example. However, eating a normal amount of sodium may be excessive on the kidneys for someone with Cushing's syndrome.

For me, I think it's due to reactive hypoglycemia. But for you, I think you need time to adjust because you may be hypoglycemic from too much insulin and/or not enough carbs.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 17, 2010
at 05:51 AM

Drinking plain water makes you more thirsty, and you won't drink plain water? Your situation may be different than most, and I can't quite understand your water-juice-potassium-cortisol hypothesis. Being a paleo eater, I'm sure you're aware that humans have consumed water roughly forever, and juice only relatively recently.

8f8c9548ba9f019c62c3ca4ea94ff9b3

(193)

on October 17, 2010
at 06:43 AM

Yes, everyone may be different, so everyone should seek a different diagnoses and treatment. To clarify my theory: I am reactive hypoglycemic. That means that my blood sugar will rise for two hours after a starchy meal. My blood sugar would then fall after the two hours. Because of my low blood sugar after two hours of a starchy meal, I secrete cortisol to bring my blood sugar up. But cortisol has a side effect because it causes sodium retention and potassium loss within the small intestine. This is why I get thirsty after two hours after. Sodium retention and potassium loss dehydrates me.

1
94401dfe2f2229a8da7037fe76fe61d3

on June 30, 2013
at 04:10 PM

Actually, on low carb diets you lose a lot of sodium and it needs to be replaced. It is what helps you hang onto other minerals. Volek/Phinney talk about this in "The Art and Science of Low Carb. Living".

Johnny Bowden writes about it here: http://jonnybowdenblog.com/salt-and-the-low-carb-diet/

1
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on October 17, 2010
at 02:08 PM

Could it be just too much salt?

I only ask this because when i was first on paleo i was using a lot of salt. A lot. In addition i was shooting for ketosis most of the time so i would sometimes think, wrong though i was, that i should drink less water. This combination led to me feeling always thirsty. Unquenchably so.

Anyway, i just cut back my silly level of salt usage, drink things like bone broth more often (which i believe may have some hydrating-capabilities that are still being discovered), keep hydrated and im fine now.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:16 PM

I agree, you should always drink if you are thirsty. HOwever, I also think one should explore the reason for any kind of thirst that seems excessive or unusual. Even more so with cracked lips.

1
1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on October 17, 2010
at 05:09 AM

What's your version of 'plenty' of fats? I know immediately when I haven't had enough dietary fat: my skin feels dry and tight - on my face, hands, lips, and inside my mouth. I also upped my sodium and water intake to help stay hydrated, and that has worked well. When I hit about 150g fat per day, my skin is pretty happy.

I also used to be on a medication that caused dry mouth, and I found that my old toothpaste left me the same way. Are there any substances you're using now that you weren't before?

0
586922f42c19f69c9e70d2cba610b832

on December 13, 2013
at 07:46 PM

Perhaps this will help explain it:

Google dangers of zero carb diets mucus

@Lindy

0
B18a14b64b51df9370872be9b8ca3f06

on August 11, 2012
at 09:59 PM

wen u say paleo diet u mean stone age?

maynot bring funny but my n....s ( tthe grreeks he aor who everrchaen myceanian or who ever and celts or who ever may have cereal farmed for 3k yrs whats the adaption there?

0
990472da245e34f25e47af5d270b7a4b

(188)

on October 17, 2010
at 05:40 PM

Thanks for so many thoughtful responses. I'm going to do the following: (1) cut back on adding any salt, (2) go without the bacon/sausage for a few days, (3) cut back on dried fruits (they're dehydrated, after all!), and (4) if I'm still having issues, I'll add a sweet potato in the mix. Bone broth is a good idea too!

I greatly appreciate this forum for troubleshooting. As Loren Cordain recently mentioned, there's been no controlled trial of this diet for those with autoimmune, but I'm willing to be a guinea pig for those with ankylosing spondylitis (inflammation in the spinal cord). I'll post results later.

0
E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on October 17, 2010
at 04:23 AM

I have sometimes felt a little dehydrated on strict paleo, usually coupled with more water retention. Hot tea with or without almond milk seems to help. Sometimes bubbly spring water, like Pellegrino, can feel more hydrating too.

0
5841391284e7af8c495c54bd90d3a795

(2764)

on October 17, 2010
at 04:00 AM

Are you a recent Paleo convert? Diabetic? It could be that you're still adapting.

990472da245e34f25e47af5d270b7a4b

(188)

on October 18, 2010
at 01:27 AM

Not diabetic...thinking now that body is just adjusting levels.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on October 17, 2010
at 02:34 PM

I want to second this. I also had dry mouth when I switched to LC, and drinking water didn't really seem to affect it. After a month it went away.

0
072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on October 17, 2010
at 03:12 AM

When I notice I am the most thirsty is when I have not paid enough attention to drinking water throughout the day after a good CF workout. I think looking toward a Paleo diet is a little bit of over-analysis. If you feel like you are dry or thirsty, then you are probably dehydrated. Drink more water.

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