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What is causing my calves to be sore transitioning into a low-carb diet?

by (1005)
Updated about 6 hours ago
Created November 08, 2013 at 11:02 AM

I keep getting sore calves not related to exercise or muscle strain.

I'm eating enough calories, I'm supplementing with magnesium glycinate (3x 100mg a day averaging 700mg Mg after food intake), and I should be ok on my potassium (usually around 5g a day.)

Is this likely from not having enough sodium (averages a little over 2g a day) or is it from being low-carb (or something else)? When I eat, the soreness goes away (strange.) The longer between meals, the more likely it is to start feeling sore. My daily calcium intake is usually around 600mg or so.

I've been eating less carbs each day this week, down to around 100g today.

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1005 · November 09, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Nice, we're moving in opposite directions. I was doing the 5-6 meal a day high carb thing for a while, jugs of orange juice for days. It's probably just the quick snap into low carb while exercising that threw off my electrolytes. Regardless, 400mg is exceptionally low.

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0 · November 09, 2013 at 11:58 AM

I did paleo for the past 3 years and as of 5 months ago have actually switched to high carb , low fat , pure vegetarian . I was eating very low carbs but now am eating more like 1000g a day, how different ! I love it , I would like to learn more about why strict paleo ppl need more sodium like you say though... Thanks

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2401 · November 09, 2013 at 1:50 AM

We would have to make educated guesses about how Grok got all the sodium s/he needed. But the diuretic effects of a low-carb diet (due to the influence of insulin on the kidneys (water retention)) and resulting requirement for more of electrolyte minerals, esp. dietary sodium, are well documented and understood.

If you're eating 150g or fewer of good carbs/day and have an adverse reaction to just 400mg. of sodium/day, you're either a statistical outlier or have symptoms of something wrong.

5cb6f07cfdad145e029d316f2239004b
0 · November 08, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Interesting @paleot, I'm confused though as to why any refined sodium is necessary , our paleo ancestors wouldn't have eaten it?

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1005 · November 08, 2013 at 11:10 PM

The more sugar you eat, the more your kidneys hold onto sodium for dear life. That's why you can do 400mg, and I cannot fathom it.

5cb6f07cfdad145e029d316f2239004b
0 · November 08, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Yes @paleot , it's interesting that we seem to have the same reaction to doing the opposite... What do you mean water goes right through you? Isn't fluid retention a bad thing ? I also find it odd, as wouldn't the Paleolithic person eat zero refined sodium ?

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1005 · November 08, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Whoa, 400mg.. I need 1.5g bare minimum or water goes right through me. I use Himalayan pink. I'm thinking 3g/d is going to be the sweet spot.

I'm thinking you eat a ton of fruit / starches and watch your fats?

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1005 · November 08, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Good call, it's gotta be the salt. (Although I'm going to try a different kind of magnesium.) It's funny explaining to people that I want to add more fat to my diet for my health, and now I want to add more sodium. In the past, I was probably eating a ton of it.

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723 · November 08, 2013 at 9:37 PM

I do think that it has something to do with sodium. When I first went low-carb paleo, I would do vigorous cardio at my college gym (sweating a lot!). Almost every night, I would wake up in the middle of the night with a charlie horse or calf soreness. My problem was that, at that time, I was not adding salt to my food. I now eat more salt and do not have the calf issues, even if I do the same type of exercise. I also found a correlation between sweating and calf soreness. The more I sweat, the more often I have sore calves. I really think that it has to do with dehydration. Low-carbing prevents you from retaining much water. This is why many people have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night on low-carb. Definitely add some sodium in your diet!

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57
1005 · November 08, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Good call, it's gotta be the salt. (Although I'm going to try a different kind of magnesium.) It's funny explaining to people that I want to add more fat to my diet for my health, and now I want to add more sodium. In the past, I was probably eating a ton of it.

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0 · November 08, 2013 at 10:47 PM

I have cut my sodium to less than 400mg a day, that's average but no refined sodium... If I double it, every time I get calf cramps. There's a lot of negatives to consuming refined sodium.

5cb6f07cfdad145e029d316f2239004b
0 · November 09, 2013 at 11:58 AM

I did paleo for the past 3 years and as of 5 months ago have actually switched to high carb , low fat , pure vegetarian . I was eating very low carbs but now am eating more like 1000g a day, how different ! I love it , I would like to learn more about why strict paleo ppl need more sodium like you say though... Thanks

Cf08ad26759fdd206a2c9f9385080a57
1005 · November 08, 2013 at 11:04 PM

Whoa, 400mg.. I need 1.5g bare minimum or water goes right through me. I use Himalayan pink. I'm thinking 3g/d is going to be the sweet spot.

I'm thinking you eat a ton of fruit / starches and watch your fats?

5cb6f07cfdad145e029d316f2239004b
0 · November 08, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Interesting @paleot, I'm confused though as to why any refined sodium is necessary , our paleo ancestors wouldn't have eaten it?

5cb6f07cfdad145e029d316f2239004b
0 · November 08, 2013 at 11:10 PM

Yes @paleot , it's interesting that we seem to have the same reaction to doing the opposite... What do you mean water goes right through you? Isn't fluid retention a bad thing ? I also find it odd, as wouldn't the Paleolithic person eat zero refined sodium ?

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