I got Keto Flu. Spoiler: It Sucks.

Tired. Headaches. Insomnia. Waking up in the middle of the night with muscle cramps. Brain fog. Irregular heartbeat. In general, feeling pretty sh*tty.

These are all symptoms I was experiencing for a few weeks, not knowing they were all linked. I thought I was in some sort of funk, I was maybe exercising too much - pushing myself beyond my limits and my body was revolting.

I remember video chatting with my friend, and she could definitely tell something was wrong. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Uhh do you need me to bring you some salt?”

Shout out to Kathryn for being a grade-A friend with a 6-week old baby.

I was telling my symptoms to my nutritionist, and she quickly identified the issue. My electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium) were too low and my body wasn’t getting enough of them from what I was consuming. The solution? Bone broth, pink himalayan salt, and a product called Nuun Hydration. Shout out to Summer for having all the answers.

When you eat keto/low carb your body is changing the way it operates, and one of those changes is the way in which your kidneys go from retaining to flushing water. Perfect Keto has a good, science-based, explanation that you should read in detail, but here are the headlines:

  • When you begin a ketogenic diet and drastically cut back on carbs, your body produces less insulin and glycogen stores are depleted. For every gram of glycogen (stored carbs) three grams of water are stored as well.

  • As those stores are depleted, our kidneys go from retaining water to excreting more of it. If you’ve done keto before, you may have noticed that you experienced a “whoosh” early on, where you lost a lot of weight and felt less bloated.

  • This is water weight resulting from the excretion of water.

  • The upside? Looking better.

  • The downside? With this flush of water, important minerals called electrolytes are excreted too.

I immediately started drinking more bone broth with added himalayan salt, and taking one Nuun tablet a day. Almost immediately I was sleeping through the night with zero muscle cramps, and could tell the brain fog was on it’s way out.

Now, whenever I fast (even 16:8) I take Nuun, and add additional salt to my food. Shout out to my mother who thinks I’ve gone crazy with keto, fasting and *gasps* adding salt to my food (mostly kidding, a little serious, love you mom).

Here’s a great article from Jason Fung, MD, about The Salt Scam.

I love Nuun products, and to me the minimal carbs and artificial sweeteners are worth intaking because the benefits are incredible. You may feel differently, and hey - you do you. Honor that beautiful body of yours. Another brand to check out: Ultima Replenisher.

Have you experienced keto flu? What worked for you? Tell us in the comments!