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Fluid and Electrolytes on Low Carb Diets

Discussion in 'Optimal Fitness' started by persistence, Apr 24, 2014.

  1. persistence

    persistence New Member

    After reading appropriate sections of the book "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living" I am now aware of the fact that low carb diets tend to be natriuretic: the kidneys dump sodium in urine, and the body contracts circulating volume. It is the contracted volume that causes some people to end up with extreme fatigue. As this gets worse, the body starts to sacrifice some of its intracellular potassium, leading to cardiac dysrhthmias and muscle cramps. You start losing muscle too.

    Now if you are overweight, hypertensive, and holding lots of water weight, then these effects might actually be a virtue. But if you are like me - very lean and totally normal water retention and blood pressure - you get to see the ugly sides of this problem. I have all of the symptoms described above. And the real shocker was that my problems controlling blood glucose after eating carbs may in part reflect a sodium deficiency. I can totally correct my glucose response to carbs for a few hours after ingesting enough sodium. Unfortunately, after a few hours I disregulate glucose again.

    The recommendation made in "The Art and Science of Carbohydrate Living" is for people on a low carb diets to take five grams of sodium a day. That's about two and one half teaspoons of sea salt, and that is a lot of salt. What the book does not make clear is what is the amount of *fluid* you should be taking together with that salt? Has anyone seen guidelines for this?

    Since part of the problem here is the body is contracting fluid volume in order to hang onto sodium, it seems that the correction to this problem would require you to correctly balance both your sodium intake as well as the amount of fluid you are taking.

    I have tried the five grams of sodium for the last few days, and my most severe symptoms resolve. But my extreme fatigue remains. I am now convinced I have a severe electrolyte management problem. What I really need is to identify a doctor who specializes in low carb and who is very good at managing these electrolyte issues. If anyone has a referral I would love to have that. I have exhausted my local resources, and every doctor I have including my endocrinologist wants to solve this problem by having me take more carbs.
  2. JMO

    JMO Silver

    In the book, I think they recommend having bone broths daily to overcome this problem. I've had this problem too. Coconut water seems to help for me. I prob wasn't eating seafood enough in the beginning. Also, I now take trace minerals.
  3. persistence

    persistence New Member

    I'm taking 16 oz of water with 1/2 teaspoon of salt, five times a day. But I am wondering if that is the right fluid balance. I want to get the water and the sodium together, to balance those two critical elements in the right proportions.

    Coconut water has very little sodium but massive amounts of potassium. This is actually one of the questions I have. Should I be taking extra potassium together with the sodium? My blood tests typically show potassium at 4, but this is the free potassium in the blood, and what we should care about is potassium inside the cell. I really don't understand the issues here well enough to feel comfortable supplementing potassium yet. I think I need some professional help figuring this all out.

    How are you getting the trace minerals? What is the product name, and if you have some rough recollection of quantities of the key electrolytes in that it would be good to see.

    Do you feel all of your symptoms have been corrected after doing this?

    This diet has just about killed me. Good thing I am persistent or I think I would have stuck head in oven a long time ago.
    seanb4 likes this.
  4. JMO

    JMO Silver

    My DO gave me NutraMedix Trace Minerals and QMP (Quinton Marine Plasma) Isotonic. I also sometimes mix Humic Minerals (vital Earth) in my water. The coconut water just makes me feel better. I feel sooo much better now. I was prob really dehydrated. Bone broths are great too!
  5. JMO

    JMO Silver

    Also, Dr. Tim recomended to me Synerplex Electrolyte Concentrate during a consult.
  6. Gagnrad

    Gagnrad New Member

    There's a much-linked post of Dr. Eades's on this, persistence.

    I don't know that this is an effect of low-carb diets, so much as an effect that happens when you start them. As Mike Eades puts it:

    I think people should adjust after awhile. It's certainly a fact that hunting peoples seem to have consumed relatively little salt. Stefansson, while staying with Eskimos, once put salt in a stew to make sure no-one else would take any: he knew they couldn't stand the taste. Salt becomes vital when people switch to a farming lifestyle: agricultural settlements seem to be, as it were, predicated on deposits of salt; it seems you need it for making HCL for digesting the excess carbohydrate.

    But, sure, not enough salt can be a problem on transitioning.

    The Eades prescribe potassium to all the patients they put on a low-carb diet:


    Jack says not to add salt to water -- to salt your food instead. I'm not entirely sure why, but it seems he says that pure water hydrates better. I think this comes in a blog he did on water and hydration. I'd have to read it again, and closely, but as I recall he said that. It'll be in one of the blogs posted over the last three or four months.
  7. Andrea

    Andrea What is NOT on the menu?

    I thought it was because salt diminishes the EZ. But then, a lot of things happen to the water after it has left the drinking glass - like mixing with stuff in the stomach. The size of the EZ can change in seconds...
    seanb4 likes this.
  8. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    oysters fix that problem
    Josh and Danco3636 like this.
  9. BJK77

    BJK77 Gold

    I tend to feel dehydrated on a regular basis - pretty much constant dry mouth, but I always find relief after eating my 6-12 oysters at lunch. Unfortunately, it's a temporary feeling, but I do notice a definite difference in the dry mouth for a short while after eating them.
  10. Josh

    Josh Gold

    Progesterone issues perhaps.....
  11. persistence

    persistence New Member

    The research literature I have seen so far suggests that this is a persistent diuretic effect of low carb diets. It is seen most clearly when you start the diet because many overweight people retain a large amount of fluid, and the dramatic lowering of the fluid levels results in large weight loss early in the diet. Eventually you get to some steady state level, but the diet itself is an ongoing diuretic.

    That links recommends taking extra sodium as well. If you are shedding sodium and only supplement potassium you are going to screw up your electrolytes even more. The research I read supplemented 5 grams of sodium and 1 gram of potassium per day, and I do not understand why that ratio.

    In my case, I think I need to be under supervision of a real doctor who understands these issues. It's getting clearer to me now that most of my problems relate to electrolyte imbalances. I tried to take the five grams of sodium (via celtic sea salt) / one gram of potassium (via potassium chloride) per day, and now that pushes my sodium too high. I am simply not understanding how to get back into balance, and maybe there is some other issue contributing to the problem. I think these problems are bigger than my ability to solve them.

    I found a local nephrologist (a specialization that should be pretty expert in electrolyte issues...) who runs a metabolic clinic. So maybe the combination of electrolyte and diet expertise will help me figure this out. If this guy starts pushing high carbs, then what to do...? I think my endocrinologist is starting to think about electrolytes now as well and is starting to run her own tests.

    In Redox RX at point 7 there is the passage:

    "Avoid any exogenous salts in your drinking water if you can. This is not an axiomatic rule. Why? Salts. In addition to metals, salts can also conduct electricity. In cells we do not want a salt disturbing semiconducting flow of electrons. This creates loss of efficiency for energy transfers because it creates a smaller exclusion zone in water in a cell. In salt electric conduction, there are no free electrons moving, so the conductivity depends on the specific ions used in the salt. When a salt is in water, it is either melting or dissolving, so that the ions of the salt are free to move to conduct the current. Their atomic sizes however limit coherent conduction with 100% efficiency that is seen in a semiconductor. K+ is the key element in life’s equation with water to create a semiconductor that has the same properties we see in a topologic insulators."

    I don't understand the point here regarding mixing with water. Why would it be okay to take the salt with food but not okay to take it with water? Either way the salt will end up in blood serum in the same form?
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2014
  12. yewwei.tan

    yewwei.tan Gold

    EZ water tends to stay in its charge separated state until something comes along and disrupts that state. It's possible for your body to uptake the EZ water that you drink into the cell cytosol before it loses all of its EZ structure. See Pollack's 'Fourth Phase of Water' book for more info.

    It's not an axiomatic rule because your body has its own means of structuring water to create EZ within a cell. The May 2014 webinar showed us exactly how that happens within neurons.
    rlee314 and seanb4 like this.
  13. persistence

    persistence New Member

    Yewwei, do we want EZ water inside the cell or not?

    It's not clear are you saying it is better to drink the water with salt pre-mixed than to eat the salt with food?
  14. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    "The research literature I have seen so far suggests that this is a persistent diuretic effect of low carb diets." Really? So do high carb diets.......this is why diabetics have polyuria as a major symptom. The effect is tied to a LOSS OF CHARGE EVERYWHERE IN THE CELL!!!

    When a cell membrane loses charge it can not do what it should anywhere. This is why being too low or two high is bad........same key opens both doors.
    seanb4 and Josh like this.
  15. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    "I don't understand the point here regarding mixing with water. Why would it be okay to take the salt with food but not okay to take it with water? Either way the salt will end up in blood serum in the same form?"

    Loss of membrane charge again is the reason......if it is low you can not remove the NaCl from the water drunk
  16. persistence

    persistence New Member

    I guess there are multiple ways to end up with polyuria (excess urination). For example: diabetes mellitus, adrenal tumor, diabetes insipidus, etc.

    However, outside of those disease conditions, more carbs generally means more water weight, not less.

    Gary Taubes shows the science in "Good Calories, Bad Calories" that high carbohydrate diets cause kidneys to retain sodium. Higher sodium means your body retains more water in order to balance out the sodium concentration.

    As carbs are reduced in the diet, your kidneys release excess sodium and water, and that is why low carb diets produce the initial large weight loss: the body uses up glycogen (tightly bound with water) and the body downregulates sodium and fluid volumes.

    You are right that specific diseases change those results, but I'm not clear on why that helps to understand the basic diuretic effects of high versus low carb in otherwise healthy people.

    This part is just outside my pay grade. I just don't have the foundation to understand the claim or comment.
  17. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    No ..........high carb diets you retain water if your redox is OK.........if it persists out of the seasonal model redox will lower and water is excreted........T2D is the result.
    Optimalbound, seanb4 and rlee314 like this.
  18. nicld

    nicld Gold

    I had that recommended too as my sodium was at the bottom of the range. I did not get any and next test is was back up. We will see what he says next week.
  19. persistence

    persistence New Member

    Has anyone ever done a clinical study documenting that? It would be great to see how low and high carb diets are affected by different blood chemistry parameters of the populations studied.
  20. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    electron steal syndrome from non native EMF = Calcium efflux (EE4) = water can not stay bound to proteins with negative charges = why you are all dehydrate despite your actions to drink RO water.
    Optimalbound and rlee314 like this.

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