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Ketosis and cold hands

by (78422)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created October 20, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Just trying an experiment and I am 3 days into a ketogenic diet. Planning on sticking with if for 30-60 days and longer if I dig it.

So I know it is "normal" to have cold hands in ketosis but I had two questions -

1- What is the cause/mechanism behind this? 2 - For those who have been keto for a long-time, with NO re-feeds does this go away after adaptation?

Edit - This is not a starvation diet, I am not significantly hypo-caloric, I am not suffering from a disease and I am not looking for a diagnosis. At 75gm + I have warm hands no matter what. On a ketogenic diet, so far, I feel great and am having no issues other than my hands being cold (not numb). Due dilagence on google shows this is common in Ketosis. However, it doesn't say A - Why people in ketosis have this symptom or B - Whether this symptom abates as keto-adaptation occurs. So for those who have been keto- or are keto- do you have this? Did it go away? Is there any study or consensus on the cause.

For instance - Light-headedness on Keto- is almost always related to Potassium and Sodium issues. That is the sort of data I am asking about.

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627 · February 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

+1 for mentioning Raynaud's! I have it and it was very bad pre-paleo. When I went paleo it disappeared but now since going keto, it's returned. Still not as bad as pre-paleo but here nonetheless. I am intrigued by your sensitivity idea raydawg! I must look into that. Is that what you did to solve your Reynaud's?

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17103 · October 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM

It's a good "problem" to have :)

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78422 · October 22, 2012 at 3:52 AM

Interesting. Will google.

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78422 · October 22, 2012 at 3:52 AM

Thank you!!! This at least gives me something to explore.

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78422 · October 22, 2012 at 3:51 AM

I'm actually having the same issue in general. Running quite warm, but intermittently get the cold hands. Not at the same time that I recall though!

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78422 · October 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM

I'm eating to satiety, have the protein around 15% and am not restricting calories. I'm even deliberately eating hearty because this is about adaptation not weightloss. I wonder if the metabolic machinery to generate ATP from fat is just insufficient for a while.

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4393 · October 21, 2012 at 12:05 AM

thx. so after 3 days have your hands got cold (colder), if so when did you notice this change. i wonder if the cold nose, feet symptoms etc are more specific to calorie restriction (which may be a thyroid thing), whereas with cold hands alone in keto with sufficient calories something else is going on?

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Been workin on this and you might actually be on to something. Intake is not the only caloric issue. Eating 2500 kcal is not the same as digesting or burning efficiently. Higher insulin, fat gets stored and burns inefficiently.

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 11:32 PM

Hands was dominant, feet in a few cases and no comments about ears, nose or nipples. (I mention the last only because that would mean that ambient temperature was a major factor...)

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18635 · October 20, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Ahh, cool. Well the answer still stands. Usually its do to significantly reduced caloric intake.

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4393 · October 20, 2012 at 11:18 PM

good question LLM. i cannot comment personally as i generally have coldish hands whether i am keto or not. Just wondering, during your due diligence, was it just cold hand anecdotes during ketosis that stood out, or were other cold extremities just as common, ie. nose, feet ?

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM

There are no threads that come up with any combination of "cold hands" and "ketosis" or "Ketogenic" or "Ketone" or... This relates specifically to a ketogenic diet.

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 10:04 PM

That thread has nothing to do with cold hands as a symptom of ketosis. The person was on a very low-calorie di et. Not really relevant .

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2353 · October 20, 2012 at 9:01 PM

I enclosed the phrase "cold hands" in quotes. When I repeated the search without the quotation marks, I got a lot of results. Thanks for the spur.

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717 · October 20, 2012 at 8:59 PM

"I've searched on the phrase "cold hands" and didn't get any search results other than this thread." I don't know what you did wrong but there have been dozens of threads here about cold hands on low-carb paleo.

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717 · October 20, 2012 at 8:58 PM

"I've searched on the phrase "cold hands" and didn't get any search results other than this thread." I don't know what you did wrong but there have been dozens of threads about cold hands on low-carb paleo.

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7 Answers

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17103 · October 21, 2012 at 7:38 PM

Might be related to Rayaud's Syndrome/Phenomenon which is possibly an autoimmune disease that cause cold hands and feet when exposed to cold. Not sure if there's a link to ketosis there.

Listen to the answer for question 6 in this podcast.

Personally, when I started doing IF and going into ketosis, I had an increase in body temperature and an overall immunity to cold - including hands, where in previous years, my hands and feet would become cold before anything else. (Perhaps this was also due to the shift to a higher fat vs carb intake.) Of course things like taking cold showers probably help the adaptation also.

There's a protocol whose name I forgot that involves sticking your hands alternatively in cold water and warm water for a few seconds each for several cycles to improve sensitivity.

We naturally cut blood flow to hands feet in order to keep our core temperature, but there's for some people a mechanism that provides an occasional extra pulse of blood to the hands when exposed to cold to prevent frostbite, etc.

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627 · February 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

+1 for mentioning Raynaud's! I have it and it was very bad pre-paleo. When I went paleo it disappeared but now since going keto, it's returned. Still not as bad as pre-paleo but here nonetheless. I am intrigued by your sensitivity idea raydawg! I must look into that. Is that what you did to solve your Reynaud's?

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78422 · October 22, 2012 at 3:52 AM

Interesting. Will google.

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4306 · October 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Exactly what has happened to me. Extreme warmth. Hands are always warm to the touch, even in winter. I surprise people, because their hands are usually cold. Less heating required.

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10919 · October 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Interesting. I never knew that was normal. I get really hot when I'm in ketosis, like right now. My husband is literally B*&^ing at me as I type because I have the french doors to our balcony open and I'm in a tank top and shorts in Warsaw, Poland. lol (It's 48 degrees right now) Maybe you need to increase your caloric intake or do some cold dips so you can get your BAT cooking. :-)

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17103 · October 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM

It's a good "problem" to have :)

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78422 · October 22, 2012 at 3:51 AM

I'm actually having the same issue in general. Running quite warm, but intermittently get the cold hands. Not at the same time that I recall though!

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2353 · October 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

I'm assuming that you've never had these symptoms before your experiment, that you're in good health, and that you're not in any phase of menopause (also assuming you're a woman). If all those are true, then I have a couple of ideas:

  • You could be subclinically hypothyroid. You could do a Mary Shomon thyroid panel for $250 to get some lab values to confirm this. This panel comes with with a one-on-one consultation about your results with best-selling author and patient advocate Mary Shomon.
  • You could be one of those people who do better on a higher level of carbs. Paul Jaminet advocates a ketogenic diet therapeutically ??? only for specific medical conditions, and only for a limited duration. People post to his blog regularly about how a level of carb ingestion far above that required for ketosis resolved all sorts of bad symptoms.

Personally, I'm colder now than I was on a SAD diet, but I've lost nearly 30% of my body mass, half of which was fat, which might explain my situation. I've always had cold hands and feet in weather below 60??F, so I ketosis probably doesn't explain my situation.

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 10:04 PM

That thread has nothing to do with cold hands as a symptom of ketosis. The person was on a very low-calorie di et. Not really relevant .

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3
2353 · October 20, 2012 at 9:01 PM

I enclosed the phrase "cold hands" in quotes. When I repeated the search without the quotation marks, I got a lot of results. Thanks for the spur.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9
717 · October 20, 2012 at 8:59 PM

"I've searched on the phrase "cold hands" and didn't get any search results other than this thread." I don't know what you did wrong but there have been dozens of threads here about cold hands on low-carb paleo.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9
717 · October 20, 2012 at 8:58 PM

"I've searched on the phrase "cold hands" and didn't get any search results other than this thread." I don't know what you did wrong but there have been dozens of threads about cold hands on low-carb paleo.

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0 · February 22, 2013 at 4:39 PM

I have been in Ketosis for more than one month now, and I just started getting cold today. I tried drinking warm/hot water and that didn't help, then I tried eating. 10 to 15 mins after finishin my meal I started warming up.

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26182 · October 21, 2012 at 1:15 PM

So I never experienced this when I went into ketosis. But I heard about it. Best answer I ever saw is that your capillaries get smaller and you blood slightly thinner since you are not pushing through as much blood oxygen.

I supposed this is related to the new metabolic pathway for energy.

I was never able to find any scientific literature on this, so it's just from what I've seen in forums.

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78422 · October 22, 2012 at 3:52 AM

Thank you!!! This at least gives me something to explore.

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18635 · October 20, 2012 at 9:57 PM

I'm sure you'll see this in other threads, but its primarily associated with too low of calories. More food normally takes care of it no problem.

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78422 · October 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Been workin on this and you might actually be on to something. Intake is not the only caloric issue. Eating 2500 kcal is not the same as digesting or burning efficiently. Higher insulin, fat gets stored and burns inefficiently.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52
18635 · October 20, 2012 at 11:22 PM

Ahh, cool. Well the answer still stands. Usually its do to significantly reduced caloric intake.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094
78422 · October 20, 2012 at 10:05 PM

There are no threads that come up with any combination of "cold hands" and "ketosis" or "Ketogenic" or "Ketone" or... This relates specifically to a ketogenic diet.

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