Keto Headache Symptoms and Why Does It Happen

Keto Headache

Keto diet or ketogenic diet is a trendy diet these days. Even though it is effective, one of its side effects is keto headache.

It is a high fat and low carb diet where your fat consumption about 70% and carb below 5%. Thus, having less than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day.

However, this process puts the body in a metabolic state known as ketosis. Ketosis happens due to the lack of blood sugar circulating in your body and breaks down the fat.

Who does it? A lot of individuals start the diet to lose weight. Others do it to manage certain health conditions, like, epilepsy, diabetes, and heart disease.

According to research, it is stated that it reduces the regularity of seizures in kids with epilepsy. It also helps to control the insulin level, which is good for individuals with diabetes.

Who should not do it? However, people with certain health situations should not follow this diet. Individuals who should not do it with this condition: liver issue, thyroid problems, pancreatic disease, gallbladder issue or removal, has a history of eating disorder.

Since your whole lifestyle changes once your start the keto diet, it has few side effects, especially in the beginning.

Why does Keto Headache happen?

There is a lot of factors why you will get keto headache at the beginning of the diet. Sometimes the headache lingers throughout the day, or you can only get keto headaches at night.


The most common reason is dehydration. This happens as people tend to urinate more than regularly as they start a keto diet.

During this change, the body reduces its stored form of carbs, known as glycogen. Water molecules form glycogen, so when it gets released due to the diet, water gets released.

Since you are low on carb during the keto diet, the body produces a lesser amount of insulin. Thus, the kidney releases more sodium, which makes the body dehydrated.

This can cause headaches. Some other symptoms of dehydration are impaired vision, nausea, weakness, dry mouth.

Low blood sugar

Since it reduces the carb intake a lot, the body goes into the metabolic state of ketosis. This burns fat as the primary source of energy.

Low blood sugar levels happen as the body depends on ketosis instead of glucose, a carb.

Not only can you get keto headache you can have other effects like brain fog and tiredness.

Electrolyte Imbalance

Similarly, when one drastically reduces the consumption of carbs, the body produces lesser insulin. Considering insulin’s role is to decrease the glucose levels in carbs, so the body makes less insulin when you stop taking carbs.

Having less insulin in the body, the kidney produces more sodium and the electrolytes that regulate hydration. The salt excretion gets rid of other crucial electrolytes’ stability, too, like potassium and magnesium.

This disparity is the root cause of individuals suffers keto flu indications. If one introspects of having a keto headache while on a diet, it may be connected to salt loss.

Toxins from Stored Fat

During the start of the diet, the body activates to use fat as an alternative to glycogen; it reaches into the fat stores. But these stores also store toxins.

So as the fat breaks down, the toxins break down as well. Once they mix with the bloodstream, it can cause nausea, fatigue, and headache.

Some other causes of keto headache can be a type of medication you are already taking, diuretics, lack of sleep, skipping meals, and excessive stress.

How to Get Rid of a Keto Headache?

Not only keto headache, but you can also get muscle cramps, nausea, weakness, and digestive issues. All these symptoms are known as keto flu.

However, most people get rid of these in a week.

Here are some tips to get rid of the headache:


At the beginning of the keto diet, you do not want to lose fat but water weight.

The amount of water you drink also depends on your weight. For example, if you weigh around 70 kilograms, drink a minimum of 2 liters of water.

However, if you drink a lot of coffee, your water intake has to be more.

You can even include water-rich foods like cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, and zucchini. These foods will keep you hydrated.

So, keep yourself hydrated and drink a lot of fluids.

 Eat Nutrient Foods

Add more nutrient ingredients to your list—foods that are high in vitamins and minerals.

Include electrolyte-rich foods such as tomatoes, almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocados, mushrooms, kale, and oysters. These foods are high in potassium and magnesium, which is appropriate for the diet.

Electrolyte supplements are also available but talk to a doctor before investing in them.

Also, do not be too restrictive on a diet at the start. Start slow and gradually progress.

Moreover, losing fat quickly can actually harm your body more.

 Salt Intake

Due to the keto diet, the body losses a lot of salt, which makes you dizzy.

However, there is an easy solution to this. Whenever you drink a glass of water, add a little bit of salt. If it is too salty for you, add some lemon juice for some flavor.

Limited Alcohol Intake

Drinking alcohol will increase the production of urination because it is a diuretic. This will result in dehydration.

 Avoid Intense workout

While starting this diet, avoid intense exercise at all costs. An intense workout will make you more stressed and most likely would increase the keto headache.

However, if you get headaches for a long period of time, consider talking to your doctor as there might be some other health issues.

There are some other side effects of keto which you might need to know:

Muscle Loss

A lot of doctors said muscle loss could potentially be a side of the keto diet.

A study has shown that a few percent of individuals have muscle loss even though they do many intense muscle training workouts.

Furthermore, it is stated that the reason behind this not having enough carbs. Both protein and carbohydrate are needed for muscle building and maintaining it.

Mostly they lose muscle from their legs.

As we age, the loss of muscle mass can be a health hazard. It can decrease the strength and also make you weak in general.

Bad breath

Bad breath, which is also called keto-breath, can sometimes happen at the beginning of the ketogenic diet.

Ketones releases in your breath, sweat, and urine. Acetone is a form of ketones which releases during breathing and has a bad metallic taste. This is different than the regular bad breath.

You always carry mint flavor gum male; sure, they are sugar-free gum. Nowadays, we get mouth freshener spray in the market. Make sure to buy them the next time you visit your local stores.

Moreover, have a basic oral routine, brush your teeth two times a day, and use mouthwash at least once a day.

Leg Cramps and Sore muscles

Sore muscles and cramps are another side effect of the keto diet. The development of cramps and sore muscles can be bothersome.

Some people develop leg cramps due to the keto diet known as hyponatremia. This happens cause the sodium level is tremendously low in your blood.


You might be sleep-deprived as you start doing the keto diet.

It is reported that a lot of people has sudden insomnia due to the intake of carbohydrate is extremely less.

Some people who are doing this diet for a long time said they sleep better than before after adjusting to the keto diet.

Yo-Yo Dieting Patterns

The Keto diet is a very tough diet to maintain and also highly expensive. Thus, the keto diet can also lead to yo-yo dieting cause individuals cannot stick to the diet for a long time.

If you are going on and off with your keto diet, it has some serious health consequences.


Ketosis can initiate a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis for people who have diabetes. It would help if you were not doing the keto diet unless you have your doctor’s permission.

This happens when the body keeps up many ketones. Ketones are produced as the by-product of burning fat. The blood turns to be very acidic and can harm numerous internal organs and tissues like the kidney, brain, liver, etc.

However, for people who suffer from hyperglycemia problems keto diet can be very effective. Be mindful of your blood sugar level and glucose level many times each day.

Some of the symptoms are dry mouth, nausea, sickness, vomiting, bad breath, continuous urination. If this happens for weeks immediately, contact your doctor.

Change of Eating Behaviours

The brain release a chemical called neuropeptide-Y (NPY) once you start taking fewer carbs. Neuropeptide-Y is a condition when the brain tells your body that it is craving carbohydrates.

Furthermore, this chemical builds up over time and makes you crave more crab. This might result in an unhealthy eating pattern.

According to doctors, it has nothing to do with will power but more of the biological response to the body.

Kidney stones

One of the serious consequences of the keto diet is to develop a kidney stone in the future. High rates of calcium-based kidney stones have been reported recently.

Most doctors who manage keto diets for kids with epilepsy have reported kidney stones are a common problem for children. About 5% of patients suffering from the condition. However, it is treatable and the currently suggested by experts that the diet should be continued.

Recent research recommended citrate supplements can also reduce this risk. Talk to the doctor before taking any supplements, particularly if you have any health issues.

Dehydration may result in light-headedness, kidney injury, or kidney stones. Make sure to drink a lot of fluid throughout the day.

Weight Loss Could Come Back

You lose weight extremely fast on the keto diet. What happens to cause initially you lose the water weight rather than the fat.

Moreover, the keto diet is highly restraining; doctors do not advise following this diet for a long period of time.

Most dieticians suggested following it for one or two months for quick weight loss and then going back to a more flexible diet. However, most individuals will regain a lot of weight as soon as they are back on carbs.

Though many studies are going on if being on the keto diet for a long time will help to lose and maintain weight.

Menstrual Cycle Change

Your menstrual cycle will most likely be irregular once you start the keto diet. It can even stop completely.

This happens cause of the quick weight loss and the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, estrogen, and progesterone drop during the diet.

Long-term disturbance of period can have serious side effects, such as low bone density. This is the cause of the drop in estrogen, which is extremely vital for bone health.

Furthermore, it can also disturb your mental peace and lead to depression and anxiety.

You need to talk to your doctor if you are facing an irregular menstrual cycle.

Final thoughts

We hope this article helped you resolve your doubts and questions.

Keto headaches are the most common side effects of the ketogenic diet. However, give your body some time, your body will adjust to this new lifestyle soon.

However, keep in mind if any of the side effects prolong beyond a week, you must contact your doctor.

Please eat clean food, even though 70 percent of the diet is consuming fat but do not eat junk food. Remember to drink plenty of water.

If your main reason for doing the keto diet is to lose weight, remember it is a short-term process and does not have any long-term benefits.


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