2

votes

Migraines and ketogenic range carb intake

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 09, 2012 at 7:16 PM

Ive been Primal off and on for about 6 months, fully committing about 5 weeks ago. I cut out all grains, legumes, and sugar including natural sugars(except the small amount in my 85% soy-free dark chocolate). But I wasn't really losing any weight, even though I noticed massive health improvements. So I cut back to 50 mg carbs daily to get some pounds off. I've been at this level for 4 days now and have lost 3 pounds. However, this morning I got my first migraine in 6 months, and the worst one I've had in about 15 years. Any one else have problems like this when initially restricting carbs to a ketogenic level? I'm trying to decide if this is a detox-type symptom of reduced carbs, or if I should reevaluate how many carbs I'm getting every day and possibly increase it. I'm not doing anything crazy restrictive, just eliminating most fruit, and watching how much avocado and macadamia nuts I'm getting.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:36 PM

To add to my previous comment, going low carb flushes your body of water (which gives some people the initial rapid weight loss), so migraines are associated with dehydration. Drink lots of water, and eat lots of salt.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on June 12, 2012
at 10:59 PM

One thing I found that helps: drink ungodly amounts of water. Like half a liter to a liter of water when you first start feeling a headache coming on. Works every time for me.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on June 10, 2012
at 02:08 PM

It sucks for sure.

01eb62476756ea980bf8fc048179d4bc

(374)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:42 AM

Yes, it was developed for epilepsy.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:14 AM

I thought it was invented by MDs to cure seizures, not migraines....??

01eb62476756ea980bf8fc048179d4bc

(374)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:50 PM

Actually coconut oil itself is not 100% MCT, closer to 60%. You can buy pure MCT oil though.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:02 PM

I get about 2-3 days of headaches, and a migraine on the 2nd or 3rd day, when switching from higher carb to less than 50.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on June 09, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Going VLC triggered migraines for me, but only for a few days. I don't get them anymore, which is a miracle given my miserable migraine history.

  • Eb9aefa4c5d5e2dcb8226356a23c3b1f

    asked by

    (10)
  • Views
    12.9K
  • Last Activity
    1429D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

10 Answers

2
7d46858749ff63fd065e3e70a7e5ac6e

on June 09, 2012
at 09:12 PM

I got headaches during the "low carb flu" period... they did go away though a migraine sounds much more debilitating...

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:02 PM

I get about 2-3 days of headaches, and a migraine on the 2nd or 3rd day, when switching from higher carb to less than 50.

4b5be253ac1981c690689cab7e4bf06d

(3043)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:36 PM

To add to my previous comment, going low carb flushes your body of water (which gives some people the initial rapid weight loss), so migraines are associated with dehydration. Drink lots of water, and eat lots of salt.

2
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on June 09, 2012
at 07:57 PM

Anecdotally, it's more common to hear that migraines have been reduced or eliminated with a ketogenic diet, and there is some clinical research being done with ketogenic diets as a treatment for migraines: http://www.lanutri.de/media/Publikation_Koenings.pdf

That's not to say that, in your case, ketosis couldn't have triggered your migraine, but it seems unlikely.

1
F31d10b54b31428e189d9b771bf7b1d1

on June 09, 2012
at 10:19 PM

Kimberly, I am surprised because the phrase "ketogenesis" was invented by MDs who tried to cure migraines with extremely low carb diets. It worked, and this is one of the rationales for low carb diets.

I cured my migraines (on my way to becoming paleo) with coconut oil. I have not had a single migraine since starting coconut oil each morning (never after noon).

The idea is that coconut oil is very good for the brain. Instead of the brain burning nothing but carbs, it can now burn the medium chained fatty acid which are 100% of coconut oil. Check out: http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/mp4/LJO190v1_WS

Paleo should be good for migraines.

4ef079c57d2140bba4dbf4e30240a645

(4413)

on June 10, 2012
at 12:14 AM

I thought it was invented by MDs to cure seizures, not migraines....??

01eb62476756ea980bf8fc048179d4bc

(374)

on June 09, 2012
at 10:50 PM

Actually coconut oil itself is not 100% MCT, closer to 60%. You can buy pure MCT oil though.

01eb62476756ea980bf8fc048179d4bc

(374)

on June 10, 2012
at 11:42 AM

Yes, it was developed for epilepsy.

1
3f5bbb444498a24f1a9720d75fa7c903

on June 09, 2012
at 09:58 PM

Do you get migraines with low blood sugar? Could be you will have an adjustment period in blood sugar levels until your body gets used to ketosis and burning fat for fuel.

0
A1da2af448b9b8ac1e69f839df2e1a00

on December 13, 2013
at 06:37 PM

I agree with Faith 1 in that a ketogenic diet was not developed to treat migraines. However, you guys should read into the similarities between epilepsy and migraines, the medication I use to take for migraines is actually for epileptics too. I cycle out of ketosis occasionally, when I do I sometimes get migraines again, ketosis definitley helped reduce the severity and frequency of migraines for me.

0
B2c1944a30794634b9ead8d2dc9104ee

(0)

on January 11, 2013
at 06:03 PM

My migraines have increased significantly on the diet and I've only decreased my carbs to 75 grams/day. People who are prone to migraines can be sensitive to any kind of change in their bodies, so hopefully your migraines will get better (I'm hoping mine do!)

0
45ccc27cf1f9e6aced20343b0c7cfd65

on December 13, 2012
at 05:20 PM

I just want to point out that the ketogenic diet was NOT developed to treat migraines, it was created to treat uncontrolled childhood epilepsy in the early 1900's. A simple internet search provides plenty of information on the history of the ketogenic diet.

While it may help migraines, telling folks it was developed to do so is misleading.

0
B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on June 10, 2012
at 02:07 PM

Common. Though the cause isn't clear. Either way if it is induced by an increase in ketone production it will subside in a few days. For some it is longer or shorter or non-existant.

B9cc28905ec54389c47cde031d709703

on June 10, 2012
at 02:08 PM

It sucks for sure.

0
Cdbbfeddd688e3f35f7d7dfeb3a4fda0

on June 10, 2012
at 01:58 PM

Your body may be adjusting. In the new atkins book they recommend drinking broth. The kidneys expel sodium when you first lower your carb intake. The broth helps replace the lost sodium and relieves your low carb flu symptoms.

0
Eb5ad630bb366c5f7dcf656810aa3f95

(506)

on June 10, 2012
at 04:38 AM

I used to get migraines every few months, usually when I was tired and hungry. I too got one during the first few days of going paleo, but since then I'm not sure I have even had one. And this is despite consuming plenty (infact, probably more than before) of the usual culprits they blame for triggering migraines - cheese, dark chocolate, red wine. And I still work shifts, so I'm still occasionally very tired (like now, as it's 0520 of night shift that has only just calmed down!)

So yeah, looks like fluctuations in blood glucose were probably to blame, which have been levelled out my adapting to fat. Or, as I suspect Art Ayers would say, it was to do with inflammation that has settled now I'm taking Vit D and eating a low inflammation diet. So I would give it a bit more time.

One final comment: possibly chill out with the weight loss monitoring. The whole "I've lost 3 pounds in the last four days" thing... shifts in hormonal/electrolyte balance, how much is in your gut and all the rest of it mean that how much FAT you've actually lost just isn't as acccurate as all that. If you'd truly lost 3lbs of fat - a calorie deficit of over 10,000 - in 4 days, you probably haven't eaten a single thing!

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!