Low carb flu and headaches


One of my PT and nutrition coaching clients is suffering from low carb flu and headaches, I wanted to share the info I’ve provided to them to aid any other sufferers… So here’s some thoughts and links regarding headaches and feeling flat when you’re new to Paleo…

This article provides good background info on carb flu, give it a read.

Low carb flu is relatively common when people go on a reduced bad carb diet, such as Paleo / primal eating. Try and monitor your intake of macronutrients, a great app is MyFitnessPal, to ensure you’re getting the correct (rough) amount of carb / fat / protein for you and you’re exercise regime; this is really important!

You’re body is going through a change, a very healthy one, but in the transition period you can feel flat and rundown due to the hormonal responses. One change is a reduction in serotonin, a known cause of headaches on a ‘low carb’ diet, especially during transition. You can combat this by eating certain foods and taking supplements:

5-HTP is a precursor of serotonin and therefore boosts serotonin levels, I’d recommend getting and taking some, there are plenty of sources such as Holland & Barrett.

A great combatant of headaches is magnesium. Really up your magnesium levels / intake by eating lots of dark leafy greens (the best is spinach), pumpkin seeds and mackerel. For breakfast, especially before your morning gym sessions, drink a ‘green smoothy’ with a couple of big handfuls of spinach mixed in. To make a Green Smoothy simply blitz the following ingredients in a blender:

  • 300ml water
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • A handful of blueberries / raspberries
  • A scoop of protein powder
  • A scoop of powdered coconut milk

Don’t be afraid to top up your carbs on a gym day with white rice either. Monitor those macronutrients though guys.

Stick with it though guys, you may feel a bit worse for wear now, but once your body adapts you’ll feel on top of the world.

If you’ve got questions, just ask in the comments 🙂

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