I'm a 30 y/o male, 6'4" 220lbs, been low-carb (45-60g/day) paleo for about 3 months, I've lost a ton of weight, and I feel great. I've only had one problem since starting paleo- back spasms.
I can massage the spasms out, but they come back after a few hours. Ibuprofen helps, but I really don't want to take it. I'm thinking that I haven't been replenishing electrolytes properly since going paleo.
The spasms started about 3 weeks after going LC- and from what I've been reading, when you're LC, your body doesn't retain much sodium. Add to that the fact that I have hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), I don't eat any processed foods, and I don't salt my food. By my estimates, I've been getting about 1200mg sodium per day. I'm betting I don't get enough sodium (or other electrolytes).
I found this recipe for a homemade electrolyte drink in a few places online, and wanted to get people's thoughts:
2 quarts of water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt substitute (potassium salt)
I'm concerned about two things:
1) Baking soda acts as an antacid, neutralizing stomach acids, which will make food harder to digest. Is baking soda a bad idea?
2) I would think there should be twice as much potassium as sodium, but this recipe has it the other way around.
In the meantime, I've been salting my food for the past couple days (no change in spasms yet). I've also been supplementing with Albion magnesium chelates for about 2 weeks right before bed (slowly working my way up from 100mg).
Coconut water. If you want to be sure you're not short on electrolytes this is what I'd go for every time. Plus you get to smash things and eat coconut if you're going homemade. And it is higher in potassium.
For the baking soda, I wouldn't worry about a little alkalinity affecting your digestion otherwise we'd have to cut out all vegetables!
Spasms are more usually casued by magnesium deficieny, you'll want to increase your supplements to at least 400mg magnesium and decrease any calcium supplements you're also taking.
You shouldn't drink just before eating or with food anyway as even plain water will dilute your stomach acid.
You can mix normal salt and the potassium salt in equal amounts, this will give a good ratio. Drink that in your water, then salt your food to taste with normal salt. 1.5 teaspoons of the salt mix gives ~3.1g potassium, and ~1.2g sodium ( giving a 2.6:1 ratio). This will give a good amount of both.
To make my own electrolyte drink, I often add a little each of lemon or lime juice, salt (sea or himalayan), and coconut milk. It's really tasty. You could also add a touch of sugar, honey, or maple syrup if you need more of a recovery drink.
When I go for long hikes I often use Alacer's electro mix (by the same people who make Emergen-C).
Your stomach "acid" does not actually have to be acidic to digest foods as the majority of the work is done by enzymes. I remember seeing in an article about food combining that if your stomach even becomes slightly acidic the enzyme required to break down carbohydrates is totally destroyed. They seemed to think this would have a bad effect on digestion but I'd imagine the carbs are simply assimilated some hours later in the lower intestine.
I don't think it's healthy to limit your carbs so extensively. There is one important thing that I feel should be common knowledge but simply is not. Refined sugar is not an even remotely healthy form of carbohydrate and should never be consumed period. The only reason it doesn't kill someone when they eat it is because of the shear amount of work that the body does to stop your heart from exploding(so to speak). It's extremely jarring and damaging to the health. I suffered from dizziness and loss of vision when standing or even sitting up too quickly for nearly two years and made a full recovery when I cut refined sugar entirely out of my diet. Even by replacing it with unrefined cane sugar one would notice a phenomenal improvement in their overall health and well being.
Spasms most likely indicate that your back muscles are not getting the nourishment they require and are becoming stressed by over taxation. I'd recommend continuing to salt your food, only with un-processed sea salt if you don't already as it contains some 100 odd essential minerals and incorporating beets or onions into your diet if you don't already eat them and maybe easing up a little on the carb policing and doing more exercise instead if you have the time.
In regards to the electrolyte drink, it looks good to me.
All the very best,
Racing heart while resting 3 Answers