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Old 02-17-2013, 04:26 PM   #1
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Problems with Electrolytes

Hey everyone,

I believe I had an episode of hyponatremia today. I know that when doing low-carb you basically lose alot of water and electrolytes, so it's important to eat/drink what you need to replace.

Can anyone tell me how much sodium, potassium, (and others like magnesium and calcium?) water I should be drinking when eating low-carb? I'm having a hard time judging.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:33 PM   #2
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I believe the easy recommendation is 2 cups of chicken broth per day as a minimum.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breadisdead View Post
Hey everyone,

I believe I had an episode of hyponatremia today. I know that when doing low-carb you basically lose alot of water and electrolytes, so it's important to eat/drink what you need to replace.

Can anyone tell me how much sodium, potassium, (and others like magnesium and calcium?) water I should be drinking when eating low-carb? I'm having a hard time judging.
It was hit and miss for me for quite some time. I had muscle cramps and twitches and felt lousy for days on end.

After much experimentation I ended up taking a daily supplement of 500mg of magnesium, 1000mg of Calcium and adding lite salt to my food a couple of times a day. I also make sure to eat avocados regularly which are high in potassium.

But the final piece was the most important: sodium. I started drinking broth when I felt fatigued and light headed and adding a bit of sea salt to my water every day. (If you need salt you can hardly taste it.) I haven't had any cramps, headache or fatigue for months now.

I don't know if that's what would work for you. For me the big insight was that sodium is what rebalances all the others. I could take supplements all I wanted --- and they helped --- but the right balance depends on getting enough sodium.

What's enough? The Nutritional Ketosis folks say 5 grams if you're in ketosis which is a lot of salt. I haven't been tracking mine closely, I just make sure to add sea salt to my water and food (and add a pinch of lite salt every now and then for the potassium.) I don't think I come anywhere near 5 grams though.

To feel immediately better drink broth. I found that it's like a miracle cure.

Good luck.
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Old 02-17-2013, 04:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. 5 grams really is alot, I don't think I was eating anywhere near that much. It's challenging because when I'm used to getting so many calories from carbohydrates, I know I feel better when I use less salt.
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Old 02-17-2013, 08:53 PM   #5
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Sodium doesnt usually fluctuate that rapidly, unless you are really over consuming water. Have you checked any of this with a doctor? Vague symptoms of things like dizziness or muscle cramps can be litearlly due to hundreds of causes.

I wouldnt necessarily assume its hyponatremia - which is actually NOT fixed medically with adding salt in most instances. More likely causes would be dehyrdation or low blood sugar.

Last edited by Strawberry; 02-17-2013 at 09:02 PM..
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Old 02-18-2013, 07:45 AM   #6
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When I am dehydrated, I wake up with terrible leg cramps. I make sure to drink more water. When I've been urinating a lot (a sign that I'm going into ketosis), I take a magnesium/potassium supplement before bed. And I don't limit my salt intake (though i don't over-salt, either). I eat bone-broth-based soup three times a week.

With this, I don't have cramping issues very much anymore.
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Old 02-18-2013, 11:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Strawberry View Post
Sodium doesnt usually fluctuate that rapidly, unless you are really over consuming water. Have you checked any of this with a doctor? Vague symptoms of things like dizziness or muscle cramps can be litearlly due to hundreds of causes.

I wouldnt necessarily assume its hyponatremia - which is actually NOT fixed medically with adding salt in most instances. More likely causes would be dehyrdation or low blood sugar.
Yeah, I doubt it's hyponatremia. I think it's simple dehydration which in turn causes electrolyte imbalance. Low carb is dehydrating. It certainly could be something else, but these symptoms are so common on low carb diets and so many people are able to rid themselves of them with adequate hydration and supplementation of the electrolyte minerals that it's not particularly controversial to recommend that someone try these simple fixes. And, if all else fails, you can always eat some carbs to see if it goes away. That would certainly be a big clue as to whether this is related to the diet.

Obviously, if the problems persist despite all that, one should see a doctor.
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