Intermittent Fasting - headaches

by 608 · May 07, 2013 at 06:30 PM

I'm not sure if this has been asked before, so please don't bash me!

I've been doing IF for the last 3 days...16/8 hr schedule. I've been waking up with a dull headache, almost like a migraine. Has anyone else experienced this?

Is this due to being VLC-around 20-30g per day?

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8 Replies

11476 · ABOUT 19 HOURS AGO

It could potentially be unrelated to the fasting-I often wake up with a headache if I wasn't well hydrated before going to bed- dehydration is the main trigger for my headaches, so after a night of fasting/no water I can get a little headache going. If you are fasting it might be easier to forget to sip a bit of water when you're felling thirsty, because you are not eating during that time.


If you've gone to VLC at the same time, then this is probably more of an issue than the IF. At any rate, I would say give it a week to see if it gets better or worse. There's a number of things that may be the problem but it's best to check to see if there is a problem first.

37013 · ABOUT 19 HOURS AGO

It's hard to judge based on 3 days and the small amount of info available. In general, though, IF should be something that makes you feel better not worse if you're ready for it.

I'll just say 2 things:

  • IF should evolve naturally; you either wait a LITTLE longer before eating each day or you eat a large breakfast and don't eat again until you feel hungry, etc. It shouldn't feel forced and your fasting period should normally start after a large meal.
  • The headache could have more to do with what you ate than when you ate. It could be related to your activities, your sleeping posture (pillow), etc. It could be something you stopped eating/drinking, such as coffee, at the same time you decided to try IF.

Since IF is something you should feel comfortable with and enjoy, perhaps you should go back to regular meals for a week or so and try it again if/when a comfortable desire strikes you.

5814 · May 07, 2013 at 06:30 PM

(1) I can't do LC and IF at the same time. One, or the other. I usually eat most of my carbs at dinner, as I work out in the morning.

(2) You might try some kind of low key exercise if you have the time. Walk, leisurely cycle, rollerblade, etc. Just enough to trigger some endorphins. See if that helps the the headache.

(3) Not sure where you live, but the weather patterns where I live (Florida) have been crazy lately. Barometric pressure is all over the place. I am NOT prone to headaches (I occasionally get headache-free migraines, but not really since going paleo 3 years ago). And I have been struggling with near-migraines for 2 weeks. Could be weather-related.

0 · May 07, 2013 at 05:50 PM

if headaches are persistent then consider getting your blood sugar tested. being slightly hypoglycemic (prone to low blood sugar between feeds) can cause this. sometimes this will be coupled with slight weakness or whoozy/shakiness. If this occurs you should shift your 8hr feed window to start later like 2pm and end at 10pm just before bed with most of your carbs for the day placed in the last meal of the day. This will help with blood sugar levels at the end of your fast the next day.

0 · January 12, 2013 at 03:23 AM

This happened to me as well and I read this:

"Skipping meals or fasting also can trigger migraine attacks."


3967 · February 14, 2012 at 03:49 AM

I hadn't tried fasting until almost 9 months into Paleo eating, about 3 months after my weight stabilized at around a 30 lbs loss. Prior to Paleo/Primal, not eating would give me wracking headaches. My first time trying a fast after eating Paleo I had no headaches whatsoever. But then, I don't try IF that low carb as you are.

(tangent: In fact, eating Paleo remedied a chronic headache problem anyway, I was taking excedrin or ibuprofen or aleve or advil about 2-5 times a week.) I haven't taken any since . . . last august.

8185 · February 14, 2012 at 12:22 AM

If it's your first real try at low carb, it could be low carb flu as well. But once you're adjusted, you shouldn't be getting the headaches.

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