What Is A Keto Headache?

One of the most common and problematic side effects of following a keto diet is a Keto Headache. It may sound scary at first but then you will realize that it is very common when people first transition into ketosis. This is a reflex reaction from your body because of the changes it undergoes when you adopt a low carb diet. 

You may not understand why it happens at first, and also that this is not a dangerous side effect. The headaches are most acute and last from 24 hrs to 3-4 days maximum. There are steps you can take to prevent this headache and also cure it if the situation calls for it. But let us first understand what leads to keto headaches and what exactly the body goes through.

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What Happens To Your Body When You Go Into The State Of Ketosis?

When you first switch to completely low carb and a high-fat diet, your body gets confused as its original source of energy was carbohydrates and not fats. Therefore, there is a metabolic gap or metabolic confusion. 

This is also known as the induction phase. It needs to get used to using ketones for energy and it takes time for the body to get accustomed to it. Your body loses the main source of fuel, glucose. This causes something called a mental fog, during the induction phase which again is very common. 

It not only causes your body to feel physically ill, for ex. Headaches etc but also causes mood swings. People get irritable during this phase as well.  

The brain fog will last long if you go into the low carb rate at a very slow pace but if you do it quickly instead, the phase gets over quickly. This means, if you reduce your carb intake drastically, the mental fog will last for a little while and fade away just as quickly. 

What Causes A Keto Headache?

The dreaded headache is caused by dehydration or electrolyte imbalances. This is when the sodium, potassium and magnesium levels in your body go haywire. It is important to keep a check on the balances of these electrolytes. If there is a problem, symptoms include fainting and nauseating which is enough to check on your electrolytes. Also, dehydration is very common during the starting phase of the ketogenic process. 

Another major reason is the withdrawal of sugar and carbohydrates. Your body gets addicted to sugar which is known as a craving or a sugar rush, the same happens with complex carbohydrates. Getting into the keto state leads to a lacking in both sugar and carbs, therefore leading to confusion and mental fog. 

What To Do When You Have A Keto Headache?

There are ways to prevent and cure a Keto Headache. These include: 

  • Consuming water and salt: Salt helps in balancing your electrolytes. Water is good to combat dehydration. Salt mixed with water helps in curing headaches.  
  • Exercising: The metabolism in your body increases and gets more flexible as and when you exercise more. It helps in boosting metabolism and speeds up the weight loss process which indirectly helps in fighting headaches. 
  • Consume supplements: Omega 3 fatty acids and other such multivitamin supplements have been proven as a helpful way to overcome the keto headaches.  

All in all, the Keto Headache may seem disapproving and a bad side of the keto diet but it shouldn’t be seen as a discouragement.  

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