Dizzy / Light-headed
Dizzy / Light-headed , 06-27-2011 08:21 PM


Junior Low-Carber


I've been low-carbing since January. I don't follow any specific diet plan other than just eating as few carbs per day as my discipline will allow me. I've lost about 48 pounds now, about 10 to 15 pounds from my goal weight.

About a month or so ago I started working out - my body was so full of energy that I just felt like I wanted to work out. Prior to that I didn't exercise at all during my weight loss.

First 2 weeks working out were great - I was amazed at how much more energy I had and how much longer I could jog on the treadmill, use the elliptical, etc. Then my energy level dropped and I started feeling dizzy/light-headed from time to time. Very mild, but noticeable. That was about 3 weeks ago. I had blood tests done about 5 weeks ago and everything was fine - doctor was amazed at my cholesterol improvements. Not sure if they tested me for nutrients/vitamin levels though.

I went to the gym yesterday for the first time in a week and just couldn't muster up the energy to really work out hard. I did some walking on the treadmill and a couple of sets of not-heavy-enough weights (chest and back). At first I thought this was all due to over-training but now I'm thinking it's something else. I did some googling and see that people who get lightheaded/dizzy from low-carbing often say to try magnesium/potassium/calcium supplements, or to just eat more carbs, or to just eat more calories. I'm eating ~2000 calories a day (I'm 5'10", 212lb). I eat anywhere from 5 to 35g of carbs per day. Everything I've read (that is trustworthy) says that I don't need to eat any carbs at all. I'm drinking tons of water every day.

So the only thing I can think of is that it is a lack of a vitamin/mineral in my body, so I picked up a magnesium/calcium supplement this afternoon and am going to try that for a few days to see if it helps. I'll also stop working out and start consciously aiming for ~50g of carbs per day.

Has anyone else experienced this? Web searches seem to provide lots of people who do, but they're all on day 5 of induction, etc. I'm well past that as I've been low-carbing in earnest since early January.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 06-27-2011 08:57 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


I feel that way when my iron gets low-- have you had that checked?

KAS

"We are 118 lb. women working our way out of fat suits" the motto of my first workout partner.

"Ballroom dancing beats aerobics any day, my personal goal is to be able to Quickstep or Viennese Waltz without a break for a full hour."--personal fitness goal
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 06-28-2011 02:17 PM


Junior Low-Carber


I am going to make a dr appt tomorrow unless there is a turnaround. My wife has iron pills - I took one yesterday afternoon, along with the magnesium/calcium supplement. Not noticing any difference other than I kept waking up last night.

So today I am eating carbs to see if that has any impact. I had my first slice of bread in months this morning with my breakfast, and just drank a 15oz 'Naked Green Machine' drink (it's one of those 'fruit booster' drinks they sell at Starbucks) about an hour ago. It has 66g of carbs - a huge amount. And last night I drank a very large protein shake (Jay Robb's vanilla egg protein mix but instead of my usual unsweetened almond milk I used real milk). Still not feeling any different.

The one thing that just hit me as I type this is that perhaps I'm not eating enough fat to fuel my body. I'm definitely eating enough calories, but perhaps not enough fat. I've been eating a couple of handfuls of nuts most days though.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 06-28-2011 02:24 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Mark, if it is a low iron count the supplement will take a week or two to really remedy the situation since our bodies have to use the iron to make more red cells and build that back up.

I am always surprised by the fat cravings I get if I let my fat intake get too low. I found my Omega-3 fatty acid supplement helps with that--a lot. It is amazing when I discover I am craving a salad because there is olive oil in the dressing!

KAS

"We are 118 lb. women working our way out of fat suits" the motto of my first workout partner.

"Ballroom dancing beats aerobics any day, my personal goal is to be able to Quickstep or Viennese Waltz without a break for a full hour."--personal fitness goal
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 06-28-2011 06:38 PM


Senior Low-Carber


DO NOT TAKE IRON!!! It is very dangerous for a man to do this as you DO NOT HAVE A MONTHLY CYCLE TO RID EXCESS IRON FROM YOUR BODY!!!

Just eat red meat and you'll get plenty. Zinc, too.

Cody



RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 06-29-2011 12:02 AM


Junior Low-Carber


So, the lightheadedness is finally gone. It went away about 6 hours ago and I have a clear/normal head for the first time in a while. So something I did today was definitely the cause. But now I just have to backtrack and figure out what the 'cure' was, from the following that I did today:

a. Based on the theory that my potassium levels are low, I ate 2 large bananas (I know, lots of carbs), and also mixed a half-teaspoon of Morton's 'No Salt' with a bottle of water and drank it. It has potassium in it.

b. For the first time in many months, I ate quite a few carbs today. This morning I ate a piece of whole wheat bread toast with my usual breakfast of turkey bacon/eggs. Then around lunch I bought one of those awesome tasting but super high-carb "Naked" Fruit smoothie drinks they sell at Starbucks. At 15 ounces it was 66g of carbs on its own. Then for dinner I went out with the family and partook in a nasty meal of cheeseburger (with bun) and fries. Fortunately, it didn't taste all that good. I guess my body just doesn't care for carbs anymore.

c. As I did yesterday, I took a magnesium/calcium supplement.

d. Yes, I followed some apparently bad advice and took another of my wife's iron pills today. I'll definitely stop taking that.

RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 07-18-2011 12:07 PM


Junior Low-Carber


Just to update this post...after I thought the problem was solved, it soon came back later that day. It now comes and goes - about half of every day I'm feeling lightheaded. The past few days the fatigue has subsided - I have a decent amount of energy back, but not the 'take life by the b*lls' sort of energy level that I had for the months prior during my weight loss.

About a month ago I went on a 7-night all-inclusive vacation. I did eat a fair amount of carbs, and I have continued to eat anywhere from 50 to 150g of carbs per day since, hoping that it was just a side-effect of low-carbing. It hasn't worked. A few days ago I bought a multivitamin and am trying that.

Last Thursday I was really feeling it so I called and finally made an appointment to see my doctor. Very nervous about this, as on one hand I'm relieved to at least finally get some professional advice but at the same time I worry he's going to blame it on low-carbing and tell me to go back to a high-carb diet. I've lost 50lbs and I don't want to go back to being fat again.

The other day I was describing my symptoms to a relative and he immediately said that it sounds like allergies to him. I'm hoping that's the case. I'll post back an update.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 07-18-2011 12:18 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


An iron supplement is dangerous for men if they have hemochromatosis. But many men's vitamins include iron because the normal male can get deficient.

Sounds like the problem is ongoing-- that makes it something to check out with the doctor-- they can check for deficiencies.

KAS

"We are 118 lb. women working our way out of fat suits" the motto of my first workout partner.

"Ballroom dancing beats aerobics any day, my personal goal is to be able to Quickstep or Viennese Waltz without a break for a full hour."--personal fitness goal
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 07-18-2011 05:56 PM


Junior Low-Carber


Went to the doctor. He said that, based on my symptoms (and a quick physical exam) that there is a possibility I may have Lyme disease. He sent me for usual blood tests and also a lyme disease test. I'll know the results within the next 48 hours.

To cover other bases, he also prescribed Nasonex spray. He mentioned that I do have allergies, but they shouldn't be causing my symptoms.

He said that, so long as it is Lyme, then all is needed is antibiotics.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 04-02-2014 02:25 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


I just did a search on low-carb and lightheadedness and found this post. I was hoping that Mark might see my post and respond. I was wondering what the outcome was.

If anyone else has info on this topic, I'd love more info.

I've been doing low carb for about a year but I stalled early on when I started eating sweets with sugar alcohols. I stopped the sweets a few weeks back and my weight has started to drop again. My intake of carbs has been similar to the OP, meaning that I don't really count carbs but I avoid them as much as possible. I rarely eat any type of grain and if I do, it's a very limited amount. I eat only low-carb breads and very rarely fruit.

Over the past several months, I found that I needed to take salt or bouillon every day and that helped with heart palpitations and with lightheadedness. I was sick this past week and started noticing a really bad lightheaded feeling over the last few days. The bullion doesn't seem to help. So I'm hoping to get some answers. Hopefully it's just from having been sick but I hope it goes away soon.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 04-02-2014 02:41 PM


Junior Low-Carber



I'm happy to report I'm still here, alive, and haven't experienced the lightheadedness in at least a couple of years now.

As usual, the doc was completely off-target with the Lyme diagnosis.

I am pretty certain it was one or a combination of:

1. Not enough sodium.
or
2. Not enough food (particularly fat for energy)

Looking back, I am pretty certain it was more a problem with lack of electrolytes (sodium). When you go low carb you cut out all of the high-sodium junk food (at least I did). That's fine....until you start working out and sweating. Then you need to replenish the sodium. No - don't go buying gatorade : )

My advice:

a. If you started experiencing this, like I did, once you started lifting heavy weights/working out, then I would definitely up your intake of salt dramatically. I liberally use it when I cook, on my breakfasts, etc. Any salt will do but I do sea salt.

b. If you are not exercising and experiencing this then I would be concerned enough to see a doctor, but one thing to try would be to really up your fat intake. Eat a couple of avocados per day, etc. for a week and see if that does the trick.

Hope this helps. I don't normally monitor these forums anymore but did get the notification that someone responded to this post. I blog at http://www.lowcarblearning.com and can be contacted directly through there. Would love to hear how you made out!

mark
http://www.lowcarblearning.com

P.S. for some motivation to others that may stumble on this thread: don't give up! When I had the lightheadedness I was seriously questioning my diet, and the numbskulls that were telling me I needed to eat more grains to compensate were starting to convince me, but I stuck with LC and I've been at a great weight for 3+ years now and I find it pretty easy to maintain. They key is that there is no ONE diet for anyone. You have to continually test/re-test and evaluate your eating, based on your situation. For me, eating very LC and not exercising was perfect. No side effects/issues. Once I started lifting heavy weights, I 'bonked' due to the low sodium and/or not enough fat, as discussed above. Changing your exercise routines/intensity requires a re-evaluation of your diet.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 04-02-2014 05:39 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


Mark,

Thank you so much for responding. I'm so glad to hear that you are doing well.

I did start supplementing sodium a few months back when I had some heart palpitations. Having the sodium does keep the palpitations away. I try to have around 3000 mg of sodium (bouillon and salt) each day. I noticed that it used to help with the lightheadedness, but not sure what's going on now. I am just getting over being sick so maybe that has something to do with it.


I have been doing much research this morning and it seems that potassium is also a good idea to supplement. I read that sodium takes water out of the cells but potassium keeps the water in, preventing dehydration. So, I'm going to add potassium along with the sodium.

Thanks for the idea about fat. I used to eat a lot of fat when I first started low carbing but I have definitely cut back on that lately so that may be part of the problem. I will check out your blog.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 04-02-2014 07:49 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Shar,

You might also want to look into magnesium. I had that problem a couple of times. Now I supplement sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Karen

Keep you head up and your carbs low.


1/20/2014 165.2 Same as last year at this time. Crud!
2/10/2014 164.0
2/23/2014 158.2 (plus 5.75 inches)
3/9/2014 157.2 (one lb in 2 weeks.... uggghhhhh however 2.5 inches)
3/16/2014 154.2
3/23/2014 154.6 (3/24/2014 153.8)
3/30/2014 155.0
4/21/2014 159.8
4/27/2014 155.6
5/4/2014 157.6
5/18/2014 161.4 (back up again)
5/24/2014 156.6
5/31/2015 156.2
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 04-02-2014 08:28 PM


Newbie Low-Carber


Karen,

Thanks for the response. I do take a rather high dose (about 3 tsp) of Natural Calm every night. I've been taking it for years. I had actually wondered if it might be causing the problem but I don't think it is.

I've increased my water intake today and I had some potassium. I'm also going to eat extra fat and see if I feel better.

Maybe my carbs are just too low. I don't count them and have been eating mostly meat, cheese, eggs and a few veggies.
RE: Dizzy / Light-headed , 04-03-2014 09:24 AM


Advanced Low-Carber


Shar,

I am protein sensitive so I have to watch how much I eat. Excess protein is converted to glucose. I have had to adjust my protein level again here recently. I am keeping it at 55-60g a day. Otherwise, my FBG seems to go up around 100.

Karen

Keep you head up and your carbs low.


1/20/2014 165.2 Same as last year at this time. Crud!
2/10/2014 164.0
2/23/2014 158.2 (plus 5.75 inches)
3/9/2014 157.2 (one lb in 2 weeks.... uggghhhhh however 2.5 inches)
3/16/2014 154.2
3/23/2014 154.6 (3/24/2014 153.8)
3/30/2014 155.0
4/21/2014 159.8
4/27/2014 155.6
5/4/2014 157.6
5/18/2014 161.4 (back up again)
5/24/2014 156.6
5/31/2015 156.2