Sunday, January 3, 2016

Potassium for cramps on LCHF/Banting


A short while ago, I wrote a blog post about the helpful role that Taurine supplements have played in assisting to reduce my cramping on low carb. However, I am continually reading and researching everything I can about this way of eating, and I came across some more helpful info, talking about how potassium could be a key in eliminating cramping. 

Firstly, I read what this young guy, named Andrew Scarborough, who has reversed his brain cancer using a specialized ketogenic diet, wrote on his blog -
here is the excerpt from Andrew Scarborough's blogInitially when I started the ketogenic diet I suffered with debilitating fatigue, migraines, increased seizure activity, and what is often called 'keto flu'. This is typically caused by loss of electrolytes, resulting in feeling sluggish with little energy. After introducing more potassium into my diet and regularly taking micronutrient supplements this improved dramatically. I think this can be a common problem because we are typically so used to having a lot of potassium in our diets from foods like potatoes which you can't have on a ketogenic diet. We love potatoes in this country! Here is more info about 'keto flu' and how to prevent it. This is the biggest problem people have when initiating a ketogenic diet for the first time so I believe it is crucial to know about it.

Then, I came across Esmee from Eat Meat.Drink Water says this: " I did add salt to my bone broth, but the salt alone (when I ran out of bone broth) did not prevent my legs or feet from cramping, or my heart from beating irregularly during my first two months on Zero Carb) the way bone broth did. Bone broth contains significant amounts of the important electrolyte mineral potassium. The symptoms of potassium deficiency include muscle weakness, muscle achiness, muscle cramps, and heart palpitations, all of which are on the above list of frequently experienced symptoms during the initial Zero Carb adaptation period."

Esmee also has a whole post about muscle cramps. Please take the time to read it, it's excellent. Again, she stresses the importance of potassium in alleviating cramping. 

Lastly here is another link you can read should you be interested:

So I decided to test the potassium for myself. I have, over the last five days, stopped taking Taurine, and, instead, have been adding this to my food (and once even drank it in water, yuck!) and, yes, it definitely works! I have NOT had a single cramp in these last five days, even though I have done some running, which usually triggers a mild cramp or two. 
This is what I have been using the last five days. We had it from when my husband was trying to lower his blood pressure by reducing salt. This stuff tastes a little vile/bitter on it's own, but added to food it's not too bad or noticeable.

So there you have it, another cramping solution to try. To summarize, for cramping, here are all the things you can try:

 1: Stretching (it's free and good for you to do anyway)

 2: Taurine 

3: Quinine (I have not tried this myself but have read on many sites that it has helped some people - you find it in tonic water, but beware the tonic waters with sugar) 

4: "No Cramp"type of tablets that contain a mix of potassium, magnesium and salt 

5: Potassium by itself 

6: Increasing your salt intake if you are not having salt in your lchf diet.  

I really hope this helps you as I have suffered terribly with the cramping and it's really awful and has made me question whether low carb is really all that good for me if it leads to such pain. Turns out, a little potassium has worked quite well this week. So keep on lowering those carbs!

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