Fatigue, Insulin Resistance, Potassium Deficiency, Hormone Issues, Cramps on the Carnivore Diet? You may not be Getting Enough Salt!
September 25, 2019
On the carnivore diet (or keto diet) it’s reasonable to be eating 10-15 grams of sodium chloride a day to get enough salt!
Otherwise, the body will push the cortisol way up, because the body is trying to keep the sodium, it’s one of the mechanisms. So on the carnivore diet we can cause insulin resistance if not getting enough sodium.
Also, not getting enough sodium is going to cause us to waste potassium, because there’s a sodium potassium counter exchanger in the kidney, so when we absorb sodium we get rid of potassium. So we’re going to have to waste potassium in order to hold onto the sodium, and it’s hard to know which one the body’s going to favor.
We have so much more sodium in our blood than potassium. If we look at the concentrations of sodium and potassium, in the blood potassium is around 3.5-4 and sodium is around 135 or 140, so sodium is clearly very important and our body’s are going to hold that level of sodium in the blood very constant and it’s going to do that at almost any cost.
It’s going to give us insulin resistance in order to hold on to sodium! So low sodium diets are a very big problem! So when people go keto or carnivore and they get fatigued and they get electrolyte abnormalities or they see their hormones tank, it’s very likely because they’re not getting enough salt, and their cortisol is going way up and then they have to push up the aldosterone as well, all in order to save the sodium. So giving yourself enough sodium is a really important thing.
Our ancestors probably had access to blood which is very high in sodium, or higher in sodium, and fresher meat would’ve had more blood in it and been saltier than the meat that we get today.
And then there were things like salt licks, likely our ancestors probably realized that salt was a good thing and they probably would’ve had access to salty rocks. So yes our ancestors didn’t have access to salt shakers but they had access to salt licks which are naturally occurring in the environment so they would’ve had these.
Many people doing carnivore / keto, have issues with cramping and charley horses, this seems to be related to other electrolytes. For some people it’s potassium for some people it’s magnesium.
It’s not entirely sure why we’re not getting enough of these on carnivore diets or why we’re wasting them, perhaps it’s because we’re not getting enough salt, and sodium is causing us to waste magnesium or waste potassium but regardless it’s pretty darn safe to supplement with magnesium and potassium. Magnesium supplementation really does seem to help a lot of people in terms of transition into carnivore and in terms of muscle cramps, so it’s reasonable to supplement magnesium especially when starting the carnivore diet / keto diet.
Living the adventure, and advocating a passionate and healthy lifestyle, Renee is a freediver and creative. She trains and teaches freediving in Dahab, Egypt, documenting her journey along the way, sharing her love of the sea and her passion for freediving and self-development.