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Old 01-28-2010, 03:11 AM   #1
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Problems with Ketosis (cortisol, insomnia, adrenal fatigue)

Hi Everyone

Does anyone know about the issues listed above?

Ketosis works great for mimimising my bingeing but I feel as though my body is racing all the time and overproducing cortisol. I sleep terribly even though I don't drink any caffeinated coffee or tea (because my blood sugar is too low?).

In the 6 weeks before Christmas when I stayed in ketosis, I spent about a month feeling hyper and then started to feel generally exhausted, I'm thinking because of adrenal fatigue.

Since Christmas I have been experimenting with non-ketogenic lc w.o.e. but these don't control my bingeing as well.

I have a couple of auto-immune conditions (Graves & Pernicious anaemia) so I really don't want to worsen my general health by exhausting my body but I have no quality of life whilst I'm bingeing and obviously, this is also terrible for my health (although I don't eat sugar).

Does anyone have any knowledge or experience of how ketosis affects the body ie does the hyper/ exhausted thing balance out after a couple of months? I know that various people have said their insomnia passed after a month or so. Did you then feel really tired or not? Is it possible to have too-low blood sugar in ketosis and how do you resolve that?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:36 AM   #2
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Sorry I don't know the answers to your questions but sound like you could benefit from a visit to your trusted G.P.
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Old 01-28-2010, 05:54 AM   #3
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Oh I have this issue as well! It can trigger generized anxiety and panic attacks for me! Well actually it has. Basically I'm keyed up all the time and I have heart palps, if I don't do certain things -

To help me with this I'm taking 3000mgs of calcium (of course there is zinc magnesium and D in this as well). I split the doses by 1000mgs 3 times a day with food. I also walk 3mls a day and (unfortunately) I have to take Cymbalta because even when I am doing EVERYTHING right I have the predisposition for anxiety and panic. I also can't stay in induction; I have to eat 40grams of carbs per day. If I go below this, I can't sleep, feel dizzy, anxious, tired, etc.

I'm not saying this is your diagnosis! LOL I'm no doctor, but what you've described is exactly how I am. I do more but I'm at work right now and have to go!!!! Check back later!
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:26 AM   #4
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I feel much better if I keep my carbs at 50-60g per day or higher as well. If I go lower than that for a few consecutive days I start feeling shaky, agitated etc, and it doesn't get better with time.

There are certain organs in the body that need glucose for fuel, and if you're not eating carbs, then your body will make what's needed by breaking down protein. Schwarzbein says that the process of making glucose from protein (gluconeogenesis) involves adrenal hormones. It's possible that if your adrenals are struggling to start with, this is enough to give you problems. Other LC writers don't ever seem to mention this, though, so I don't know how generally accepted it is.

I also wonder if maybe some people are more sensitive than others to adrenal hormones. I know I have bad reactions to drugs with adrenaline-like effects - I get shaky, racing pulse etc if I take cold remedies that have sudafed.
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Old 01-28-2010, 06:43 AM   #5
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Cathy - I really appreciate your feedback If I get any info that leads me to think I have a condition that Drs will recognise I'll be on their doorstep tomorrow morning Trouble is though that medical doctors don't really recognise adrenal fatigue so I'm pretty sure that I'd be told that I should just follow a 'normal' diet with lots of healthy grains etc!

I know though that some other people have similar reactions to ketosis. I've definitely read about some people getting insomnia, even though it probably helps the majority to sleep better.

Thank you for your care

Carb Ho - I'm really sorry to hear about your anxiety - that is sometimes a symptom of low bs for me but not always. It's great that you've developed ways of dealing with it. I take a low dose cal/ mag supplement but I ready that high doses of calcium can cause constipation, do you have this problem? (sorry, I don't know you and I'm already asking about your BMs ). Do you know if keeping around 40g carbs means that you are out of ketosis or are you still in (there seem to be conflicting ideas about whether ketosis is a yes/ no thing or if you can be just or slightly in ketosis)? And yes, please let me know the rest of your regime.

I'm at work too and can you believe I keep having to interrupt my time on lcf to actually do some work?
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:00 AM   #6
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Karen - sorry, I only noticed your name after I replied

Ailuros - That is so interesting, thank you. I have looked into Schwarzbein's approach. I really like her focus on healing and on not forcing the body. However, as I've said, I struggle to maintain control of my eating at non-ketogenic levels of eating. I definitely wouldn't re-introduce starches yet but I might try again to eat higher carb from veggies. Perhaps the problem is not the non-ketosis but that as well as increasing veggies I re-introduced nuts, unsweetened carob and a few legumes. Maybe I'll try to keep it ultra-clean again but with more non-starchy veg. I don't actually know my ketosis threshold so I don't know if this will be enough.

Do you have any problems regulating your appetite whilst eating some starches?
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:05 AM   #7
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I don't really have problems regulating my appetite, and I actually find that I have more cravings (like pizza fantasies) if I don't eat starches. Starches seem to work better for me than sugar (whether processed, or in things like fruit). If I go too high with the starches, I actually stop being hungry, and feel lethargic and depressed instead. My husband used to have to tell me I was hungry, because I couldn't recognise it myself.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:07 AM   #8
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I really believe that we are all different. If you don't feel well while in ketosis, then maybe you shouldn't be in ketosis.

Some people need more carbs to feel "right" and some people don't feel well unless they are VLC (or ZC). There really is a lot of individual variance, and we really have to go by how we feel.

That said, there may be some underlying issue, that when resolved may solve your problems. I wish I knew more about this stuff (so, really my post isn't very helpful).

You appear to be willing to do your homework and look for the answers! Good luck!
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:22 AM   #9
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Thanks Laurie. I agree that different people suit different w.o.e., I just loved the appetite control that went with ketosis and I have read on lcf about people freeing themselves from bingeing through lc diets. I don't know if these are always ketogenic and if people have to stay in ketosis even when they've been eating this way for quite a while, but I'd be really interested to hear about others experiences with this.

Ailuros - I'm jealous having to be reminded to eat isn't something that happens to me unless I'm in ketosis (or eating a very clean high fat diet maybe??? I'll experiment with it).
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:27 AM   #10
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It wasn't a good thing that I needed to be reminded to eat. By that time, I'd be tired, depressed and cranky, but insisting that I wasn't hungry. Eventually, I learned to recognise it myself, but eating in a way that produces hunger signals when it's time to eat is definitely better! It was amazing to me when I realised that I was hungry if I hadn't eaten enough, and that I could actually start to trust my appetite.
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:34 AM   #11
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Sorry, I didn't mean to be flippant! I know that learning to trust your body is absolutely wonderful and fundamental to welbeing. I think that those of us who struggle with this (I am still struggling with it as disordered eating completely errodes this confidence) appreciate it for the amazing thing it is
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Old 01-28-2010, 07:38 AM   #12
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The odd thing is that even though I was almost never hungry, I was still gaining weight, because with too many carbs, I kept crashing, and the only way to pick up again was to eat - usually more carbs. Actually, my weight numbers are similar to yours, though I'm a bit shorter (5' 2"). I stay around 8 - 8˝ stones these days, but had crept up to somewhere over 10 before I started controlling carbs.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:11 AM   #13
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I don't have any answers for you---but what you decribed is me to a tee so I'm hoping someone has answers.

I do find that I need to keep carbs higher to feel well. I don't get the appetite suppression though that others get from being in deep ketosis yet if the carbs get too high or they are the 'wrong ones' for my body it can set me off on binges. I feel like I am constantly walking a tight rope. I also do better with starches then most other kinds of carbs but again, it's a balancing act. I don't know much about cortisol or adrenal fatigue but now you have me curious so I'm going to have to do some research. I do know all about the lack of sleep though---have had it pretty much since I started low carbing over 3 years ago. At times I was lucky to get 2-3 hours of sleep a night for weeks and months at a time. When I find the right carb mix and level I do better but still not a lot of quality sleep until a few months ago when I started taking D3--which I can say has helped tremendously.

Anyway, I can't offer much help but I can relate and I'm anxious to hear what advice/information others might have on this topic.
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Old 01-28-2010, 08:55 AM   #14
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Are you on supplementation? Do you have a good endo? You need testing and monitored supplementation from the sound of it.

Eating a full fat diet will be healing for your adrenals and Cod Liver Oil can help.
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Old 01-28-2010, 09:05 AM   #15
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I bet you'd get a good reply to this posting it in the Thyroid section of the forum. We have several resident experts there
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:11 AM   #16
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Ilpirata - Thanks, that's a great idea

Fawn - I've been on adrenal support supps before, including glandulars, under the care of a naturopath. They did help somewhat but my bingeing was really out of control then so I think there was a limit to how much they could help. Recently I've been concentrating on an anti-candida programme but I will look into adrenal-support supplementation again, thank you.
I eat a lot of fat, mostly from fish oils and monounsaturated oils as I don't like meat much and coconut oil and butter (which I'd be happy to eat by the block) seem to stimulate my thryoid.
I'm trying to avoid my endo at the moment as I think my thyroid is a bit overactive again (but without any weightloss) and he tries to medicate me down to the lowest 'healthy' thyroid level even though I feel terrible there.

Teresa - I sooo hear you on the 'tightrope' feeling I really struggle with how it seems like I have to do absolutely everything right to stay in balance or I fall apart! Ketosis doesn't give me a tiny appetite, but my hunger feels more managable, so I might eat a meal of fish, salad and olive oil but still want more and eat another piece of fish with 1/4 block of butter. But if I do it satisfies me, I don't go raiding cupboards and spin out of control. If staying in control means permanently avoiding trigger foods like nuts, that's fine, but I want to figure out how to stay in balance. I feel like I'm getting close and that the key is somewhere in lc.
I have such admiration for you in staying lc for years despite your insomnia I'm really glad the vit D has helped you. I take that too as my levels were very low. Sweet dreams
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:23 AM   #17
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Ketosis made me feel horrible and sick. My blood sugar drops too low and there were several mornings I'd wake up and puke. I felt like an Atkins failure because I couldn't get past it, but screw that! Who wants to feel like crap all the time when you have to go to work? I switched to Protein Power, which is a very good plan. I also have had binge issues in the past, but the higher intake of protein seems to help, as well as eating LOTS of fiber and something a little "starchier" every day like a low-carb torilla or bagel, or perhaps some wheat bran hot cereal. Sugar is the kiss of death and sets off binges big-time, so I avoid it. I add powdered fiber supplements to anything watery like shakes, sauces or soups to make them more filling.

It has also helped me to binge on healthy foods so there is no room in my stomach for crap. Shirataki noodles are wonderful for that---zero calories, zero carbs. Add some to soup or a veggie stir fry. I also really load up on vegetables, a salad for me typically is an entire bag of that lettuce mix stuff plus other veggies and protein added. I have been known to eat an entire bag of frozen green beans too with my salmon for dinner, both roasted in the oven to a carmelized yumminess.
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Old 01-28-2010, 10:52 AM   #18
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Straightscoop - INTERESTING I'd always thought that pp was almost the same as Atkins. As it happens, I'm reading an article on ketosis & metabolism on Dr Eades blog right now, so I'll look into the dietary recommendations too.
If you're eating more carbs from veggies and more protein, the w.o.e. must be a bit lower in fat, no? What are your macronutrient stats on pp?
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:01 AM   #19
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If you can find one, it would help to pick up a copy of the Protein Power book. You may be able to get it at the library, I have the original paperback from the mid-1990s so I don't know if any of their ideas have changed since then.

I don't have my book in front of me, but you calculate your protein needs based on your lean body weight. It's not a low-fat plan, but it's not a high-fat VLC plan either. Eades wants you on "the cusp of ketosis" for the first Phase, the intervention phase. You are allowed 30-40 NET carbs, which gives you a lot of wiggle room if you are eating high fiber foods. From what I remember, it was sort of inbetween Atkins and South Beach in terms of dietary approaches.

I am not doing it "by the book" right now, I'm sort of doing my own thing at the moment so I can't tell you what my exact macros would be. I also take thyroid meds and I have read that some people with hypothyroid conditions can't tolerate VLC diets well, so you aren't alone.

Last edited by straightscoop; 01-28-2010 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:22 AM   #20
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I'm not a firm believer that you need to be in ketosis to lose the weight either. Well look at my numbers, I'm probably in and out due to the fact that when I start feeling shaky or like I can't sleep I consume a healthy veggies, cheese or bran/whole grain cracker.

You say you don't eat any dairy, that's a red flag for me that you don't get enough calcium and no it doesn't constipate me. LOL But I also use a disolvable fiber in whatever I can. This has one carb per tsp so I count that too. Sorry so disjointed but I'm still at work! Just checked in.

A lot of good responses though!!!
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:24 AM   #21
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I did PP while I was losing weight, but I actually found the 40g still a bit low for me, and I didn't really start to feel quite right until I increased to around 60g as I approached maintenance.
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:49 AM   #22
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Yeah, me too. I also feel much better about 60 carbs, and have more energy to work out. The Intervention Phase of PP is the strictest part, but I think they say you can actually start around 50 - 55 if you feel better at that level of carbs, or don't have a lot to lose. From most of the posts here, it seems very low carb plans are the norm and the first thing people do when they stall is to keep cutting carbs to near zero, but it's not the right approach for everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ailuros View Post
I did PP while I was losing weight, but I actually found the 40g still a bit low for me, and I didn't really start to feel quite right until I increased to around 60g as I approached maintenance.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:16 PM   #23
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The MCT's can rev the thryoid for sure
However

I'd still consume more saturated fat from the meats. You are also probably insulin resistant from the sound of your binging/cravings and only saturates will really control that with less food. Does that make sense?

An example of some foods you might do well with for many different reasons

eggs
bacon
red meats
chicken skin/dark meat chicken
tallow
lard
pork rinds


and of course your personal allotment of veggies. Possibly even mixed in more soups with a touch of heavy cream.

There's a work around for this and you might also consider Gymnema, an herb more powerful than the amino acid L-Glutamine. It's an ayurvedic herb and you can use up to 4000mg 2x a day. Be careful though, if it touches your tongue, anything sweet will taste horrid after that. That might be good or bad.......it depends on the person!

Again, while higher carb might be better for your condition you have the insulin resistance going on which dictates everything some days.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:31 PM   #24
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I get the initial revved up feeling from ketosis and suffer from a little insomnia at first, but my body eventually settles down and I feel great. One thing I notice, and this is something Dr. Atkins talks about, is I don't need as much sleep. Instead of sleeping solidly for 8 hours a night, I now sleep solidly for about 6. I'm sure that is directly related to the high energy. I don't feel bad getting less sleep. In fact I feel really good.
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Old 01-29-2010, 12:15 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teri f View Post
I get the initial revved up feeling from ketosis and suffer from a little insomnia at first, but my body eventually settles down and I feel great. One thing I notice, and this is something Dr. Atkins talks about, is I don't need as much sleep. Instead of sleeping solidly for 8 hours a night, I now sleep solidly for about 6. I'm sure that is directly related to the high energy. I don't feel bad getting less sleep. In fact I feel really good.
That seems to be common, and I did start to sleep OK again after the first couple of weeks, but still felt jittery and with muscles that turned to cotton wool after a few flights of stairs even after six months.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:52 AM   #26
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I'm sorry for you. I feel terrific and have so much energy now. In fact, I have run up and down 3 flights of stairs many times during this 12 hour shift. I hope you find something that works better for you.
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Old 01-29-2010, 01:55 AM   #27
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It's not really a problem for me as long as I don't try to drop my carbs too low. I've done about ten flights of stairs so far this morning, without giving it any thought, but I couldn't do that on 20g carb per day.
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Old 01-29-2010, 02:31 AM   #28
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I would strongly advice against going into ketosis if it makes you feel sick. Any doctor would give you that advice, and as far as the possible dangers of being in ketosis they are still heavily debated, which regardless of one might chose to believe still warrants caution.

As advised earlier, foods rich in protein and fiber will help to curb binging. Also, what often helps is completely avoiding large meals (as they are triggers), and instead eating up to 6 small meals a day with no more than two and a half hours between. This also keeps your metabolism active, increasing calorie burning as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable.
If you can, also avoid any refined white flour, as it's as addictive as sugar and triggers binging. Alcohol also triggers binging, as well as caffeine and any artificial sweetener.

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Old 01-29-2010, 05:53 AM   #29
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Wow, thank you all so much

I have just bought PP on Amazon, thanks Straightscoop & Ailuros. I think I just needed to hear that someone was eating more veg and less fat than Atkins induction levels and had healed their disordered eating that way. I was also really impressed that the PP Lifeplan has sections on autoimmunity and the leaky gut - subjects I'm particularly interested in.

Fawn - Fantastic info, thank you.
Yes, I'm sure I'm very insulin/ leptin resistant, despite not having eaten sugar or refined carbs for 8 years! I'll definitely work on eating more sat fat from eggs, 100% beef burgers and bacon (if I can find nitrate-free) and look into Gymnema Sylvestre, which sounds like a great recommendation 'cause L-Glutamine didn't do much for me.
"Again, while higher carb might be better for your condition you have the insulin resistance going on which dictates everything some days." Yes, it's a real downer 'cause some days I feel like I do everything right but still feel all wrong but it's good to be reminded that it's not just some kind of personal failing.

Teri - Yes, I think lots of people have an initial period of being a bit hyper and then it settles down but it's been really interesting to see that this isn't the same for everyone. I'm very glad you're feeling great on

Bodhi - Thank you for your words of wisdom I couldn't agree more about avoiding sugar, alcohol and refined foods - keeping my balance is hard enough anyway; I don't stand a chance if I eat sugar. I truly believe it is an Eviiiiil drug , at least for me. I gave it up years ago because it made me really depressed - I was diagnosed as bipolar and prescribed lithium (which I never took) but the mood swings and some of the depression lifted when I quit sugar

Thank again Everyone. I really appreciate the great advice and I have lots of new ideas to experiment with
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