I've noticed that since I started low-carbing (and now even lower carbing with Paleo) I experience almost-daily random episodes of sudden weakness accompanied by moderate seizures of anxiety. They never last long (maybe ten minutes), and in charting them against my new "diet" I see no correlation between what and when I'm eating, time of day, activity level, number/type of carbs, etc. I am getting plenty of sleep and am usually below 20 total carbs per day. I'm a little more stressed than usual lately but this feels very different than work stress to me.
Has anyone else experienced this? And if so, how long until it went away for you? Any tips on dealing with it?
asked byJennie (539)
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on June 11, 2010
at 01:11 PM
In the new Atkins book, they claim that low-carb flu is caused by a deficiency of salts. They have a couple of broth recipes that contain sea salt as well as salt substitute (which is potassium salts).
It's not a ton of salt to consume, but when people go off processed foods, they are suddenly eating one heck of a lot less salt. I don't have the book - I heard this in an interview with Dr. Volek.
You might also get a blood glucose meter. They are cheap, what you describe is not totally inconsistent with hypoglycemia. Here's a list:
hunger, shakiness, nervousness, sweating, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, confusion, difficulty speaking, anxiety, weakness
Sound familiar? When my blood glucose gets low enough, I start to experience mild aphasia and confusion. Those certainly aren't the most common symptons, but they are absolutely real, and having the BG meter means that I can document them!
on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM
Yes, I personally experienced this within the first month or so of following the Primal/Paleo Lifestyle. Not the anxiety, but just feeling like pure dog-shit for about 2 weeks straight.
It seems to be relatively documented and wide-spread. Robb Wolff has talked about it in his pod-casts that people will pretty much feel shitty/bad for the first 3-4 weeks.
Mark Sisson recently did an Article on it as well.
It seems to manifest itself in different forms for different people. I will admit, that "seizures of anxiety" sound more intense than the normal description most people give. But if it is highly time-locked with your recent dietary transition, it would make sense that they are connected.
Although, if they do get any worse (duration, intensity, frequency), I'd drop the the local Family Doctor for a quick check-up.
on June 09, 2010
at 10:56 PM
How much fat and how many calories are you eating? Yes you could have 'low-carb flu' but if you are low-carbing you need lots of fat. Like 65-75% of calories.
on March 13, 2011
at 03:16 PM
Your brain needs energy. If you stopped to supply carbohydrates, you have to provide an alternative, i.e. fat! See ketogenic diet for more details.