3

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After going Paleo my joints started to crack and my tendons hurt!

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 25, 2011 at 4:57 PM

I have been eating paleo for over 2 months now. But for over a month now I have been experiencing cracking joints (crepitus). It started with my feet and ankle's which give a cracking sound every time I walk normally without my shoes on. After this every other joint in my body started to also give cracking sounds. I went to my doctor and he said this is nothing to worry about.

But for over a week now I also have pain in (what I think are my) tendons over my whole body: my hips, shoulder blades, knees, fingers, arms and feet. I went back to my doctor and he said I needed to check my blood to see if there is any kind infection of if my rheumatoid factor is out of the ordinary.

I just got the results and there doesn't seem to be an infection and my rheumatoid factor is 5.7, which seems to be pretty normal.

This might be considered good news, but I have no clue what is causing these problems. Does anyone of you maybe have an idea what I am doing wrong, or what the cause of this could be?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 27, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Daniel-- these ranges don't seem that low if you consider Dr Cate's explanation that "these are ranges for minimums". Paul Jaminet had a good post on protein for athletes that balanced optimal intake with minimizing nitrogenous waste. Lyle McDonald and Martin Berkhan have both done semi-systematic reviews of the protein literature and come up with much higher "optimal" intakes, but neither address excess protein much. Also, the marginal return on additional grams of protein is tiny if anything beyond 2 g/kg bodyweight...http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=2712

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 27, 2011
at 02:10 AM

Yes! As an older person my joints absolutely REQUIRE bone broths and I have some every day.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:08 PM

The tumeric seems pretty intuitive, but I'm curious about the reasoning behind the cream?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on November 26, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Wow, that's way lower than I thought! I know that, when I eat more protein, my skin gets worse. Time to start making bone broth :)

C15a99fe3154e0dbca0558627081d6db

(35)

on November 26, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Okay, I will definitely drink more water since I haven't been drinking that much.. But I think it's highly unlikely that I have been eating too much protein.

C15a99fe3154e0dbca0558627081d6db

(35)

on November 26, 2011
at 03:36 PM

No I haven't yet because I really don't want to go back to the pasta's and bread since I know how bad they are for my health...

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on November 26, 2011
at 03:35 AM

i think the reasoning is sound and ressonates wiht my experience. i would just add, dont underestimate gelatin, chewy meat, tendons and meat near the bone

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 25, 2011
at 10:05 PM

These protein ranges are ridiculously low and well-below optimal for body comp. Protein intake tends to be self-limiting; high protein intake does not cause problems for healthy people (allergies to certain high-protein foods excepted).

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 25, 2011
at 10:02 PM

May or may not be diet related. Have you tried resuming your "pre-paleo" diet and seeing what happens?

C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:57 PM

These are ranges for minimums, if that makes sense. You can always eat more, though some people may run into trouble depending on particulars of their metabolism. Men tend to build on more muscle and bone with any excess dietary amino acids, whereas fewer women have that capability.

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:39 PM

+1 because that's exactly the solution that worked for me.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:19 PM

Are these minimums, or actual ranges? If ranges, they look awfully low. I've been taking 150-200 grams per day for years with no ill effects, I'm a 83kg male, and I'm "sedentary" (office job, heavy exercise 3 times a week). Bodybuilders generally take 1.5 to 3.0 times their bodyweight in kg per day.

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7 Answers

7
C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on November 25, 2011
at 08:56 PM

I've heard this from patients and another doctor friend who went paleo (from reading my book Deep Nutrition, so per some it's not paleo b/c she still includes lots of dairy). I believe the common thread for all of them was twofold.

  1. overconsumption of protein (needs vary with amount of exercise, see protein calculator below)
  2. underconsumption of water. More protein creates lots of nitrogenous waste for the kidney to excrete, and doing so requires lots of water. If we don't get that water, our bodies do different things to cope with the nitrogenous waste depending on our metabolic makeup. In some cases, you'll get kidney stones. In others, gout-like symptoms. In still others, this cracking thing that I think relates to amino acids/nitrogen binding to collagen proteins in your joint tissues. Dr Mary Vernon and Dr Dukan advocate for copious amounts of water intake, from 1.5 to 3 quarts per day.

And I can't believe I didn't add this: Bone broths. The more protein-rich food you eat, the more you need broths to provide the family of glycosaminoglycan molecues that facilitate collagen production in your joints.

Here's my protein intake chart for men and women. You can see the general pattern and continue accordingly if you are a heavy exerciser, which people in my weight loss classes have not yet tended to be so I haven't included numbers for them yet. after-going-paleo-my-joints-started-to-crack-and-my-tendons-hurt!

C687adb6aeab5d10b73ae1e272bc348f

(664)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:57 PM

These are ranges for minimums, if that makes sense. You can always eat more, though some people may run into trouble depending on particulars of their metabolism. Men tend to build on more muscle and bone with any excess dietary amino acids, whereas fewer women have that capability.

C471216c9fb4fcf886b7ac84a4046b49

(1371)

on November 26, 2011
at 03:35 AM

i think the reasoning is sound and ressonates wiht my experience. i would just add, dont underestimate gelatin, chewy meat, tendons and meat near the bone

C15a99fe3154e0dbca0558627081d6db

(35)

on November 26, 2011
at 03:37 PM

Okay, I will definitely drink more water since I haven't been drinking that much.. But I think it's highly unlikely that I have been eating too much protein.

25b139cc1954456d9ea469e40f984cd3

on November 25, 2011
at 10:05 PM

These protein ranges are ridiculously low and well-below optimal for body comp. Protein intake tends to be self-limiting; high protein intake does not cause problems for healthy people (allergies to certain high-protein foods excepted).

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:19 PM

Are these minimums, or actual ranges? If ranges, they look awfully low. I've been taking 150-200 grams per day for years with no ill effects, I'm a 83kg male, and I'm "sedentary" (office job, heavy exercise 3 times a week). Bodybuilders generally take 1.5 to 3.0 times their bodyweight in kg per day.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on November 26, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Wow, that's way lower than I thought! I know that, when I eat more protein, my skin gets worse. Time to start making bone broth :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on November 27, 2011
at 03:30 AM

Daniel-- these ranges don't seem that low if you consider Dr Cate's explanation that "these are ranges for minimums". Paul Jaminet had a good post on protein for athletes that balanced optimal intake with minimizing nitrogenous waste. Lyle McDonald and Martin Berkhan have both done semi-systematic reviews of the protein literature and come up with much higher "optimal" intakes, but neither address excess protein much. Also, the marginal return on additional grams of protein is tiny if anything beyond 2 g/kg bodyweight...http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=2712

4
3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2

(11697)

on November 25, 2011
at 08:08 PM

Maybe you are not eating enough gelatin? Make sure you drink bone broths, liver, hearts, fats, etc.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 27, 2011
at 02:10 AM

Yes! As an older person my joints absolutely REQUIRE bone broths and I have some every day.

2
0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765

(2240)

on November 25, 2011
at 07:35 PM

I'm new to the forum, but just wanted to add some thoughts since I just started all this.

This has been happening to me, too, and I'm 25 days in (just started paleo Nov 1st). From what I've read/tried so far, for me it seems to come down to a bit of dehydration and possibly not getting enough potassium. I woke up around day 15 with a cramp in my shin that felt like a shin splint, but drank about 24 oz. of water and within 5 minutes of waking/water/walking around it was completely gone. The cramp was also accompanied by stiff muscles and joints elsewhere.

In the last week I've upped my water intake a bit, which really just means I've been paying more attention to make sure I get enough. Before I wasn't thinking about it and with the better sleep I've been getting, I've woken up several mornings feeling dehydrated and/or stiff/crampy. I had also gone rather low-carb by the 2nd week just by accident really, but I've made sure to get some kind of starch in each day (banana, sweet potato, baked potato mostly) and overall things seem to be leveling out.

For reference, I've been trying to follow Kurt Harris' Archevore Diet as close as possible since the 1st (http://www.archevore.com/get-started/). Overall, I feel 100% different in just over 3 weeks and have lost 20 pounds (starting from 255 down to 235, age 32, height 6'1"). I'm finding a lot of it definitely involves a bit of trial and error, but it's worth it. Having fun learning to cook, too!

Edit: Oh, and about the cracking joints thing specifically, my fingers, neck, elbows, etc. have always cracked a bit, but what I've noticed on the days I feel dehydrated is that my joints themselves feel and "sound" really dry, and it actually hurts a little to crack them. Other than the day I had the shin cramp, I've had 2 or 3 other days where my joints all felt this way.

1
0dc1d63c3d5975f5115f535c6a90c9dd

(2283)

on November 25, 2011
at 05:55 PM

Maybe increase carbohydrates from safe starches?

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on November 25, 2011
at 09:39 PM

+1 because that's exactly the solution that worked for me.

0
244e1f82efb3fd15d2da39397488fb24

(549)

on November 27, 2011
at 01:51 AM

That happened to me. Turns out I have fibromyalgia. This diet pretty much cured it. Those are also telltale signs of vitamin A toxicity (pre-yellow skin). Maybe you're eating too much liver or cod liver oil? Just an idea.

0
Bb42dbb28995dafcb26f4ef04b4448ae

on November 26, 2011
at 07:14 PM

A lot of paleo foods can still be high in mycotoxins (from mold). I had this problem for a long time before I came across the Bulletproof Diet. I used to have joint pain, even on a paleo diet.

The guy who made it calls it "upgraded paleo". It takes into account mycotoxins, food preparation, and a lot of other stuff that the regular paleo diet doesn't. He has a really simple infographic explaining what to eat and what not to eat:

http://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-complete-illustrated-one-page-bulletproof-diet/

Hope that helps!

0
C30a9037bd77608e5951284841e0031d

on November 25, 2011
at 08:59 PM

Are you doing any dairy at all? You may need plain raw cream. You may also need to eat anti-inflammatory like turmeric and tulsi in your diet, if you are eating clean and this is still happening..

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on November 26, 2011
at 09:08 PM

The tumeric seems pretty intuitive, but I'm curious about the reasoning behind the cream?

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