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  • IF and headaches

    Hi Ya'll !

    Do you think I should be concerned if I get headaches when I fast? My fasts look like this: dinner around 7pm and my first meal around 9am (sometimes noon if I don't have a headache). I wake at 5am and do yoga until I eat at 9am (teaching but still doing some). I wonder if I'm creating too deep a deficit and my blood sugar lowers? I typically have low blood pressure...could that have something to do with it?

    Thanks for any thoughts/experience on the subject!

    Lynn

  • #2
    I doubt it's your blood sugar. I used to get light headed when I first stood up during fasts but that seems to have gone away now. If the headaches are bad though, I probably wouldn't IF until I figured out why.
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    • #3
      i agree that it's probably not your blood sugar. lightheadedness makes sense with fasting, but i haven't really known anyone to get a headache without some other, separate reason (i.e. caffeine withdrawal).
      how often are you fasting? it might be worth it to take a week or two and experiment to see how your body reacts to different length fasts, the foods you eat when you break your fast, the activities you're doing, etc.
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      • #4
        i was attempting a daily fast but have cut back to every other day. i have a cup of black coffee daily so no caffeine withdrawal. i have been watching what i eat and can't find anything that relates to it yet. once i eat, i'm fine, unless i wait too long...the other day i ended up with a fierce migraine which may have been related to sprinting, pms, and fasting...

        i've now cut out dairy and fruit so i'll see if there's any impact with that.

        thanks for your reply

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        • #5
          I started IF without altering my diet as far as dairy or carbs. I do just a little dairy, maybe a glass of milk, some cream, and then I keep my carbs between 50-100g each day. So far, with IF, I have lost 3-4 pounds, and I think I am still losing. I noticed the first week or so being hard, with a little lightheadedness and fatigue. Now, I have more energy than ever. I think your body has to adjust, and when it does, you feel really good. At least I did.

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          • #6
            I try to fast once or twice a week, I usually don't worry too much about how long the fast is, if I start to feel bad in anyway I will break my fast. Sometimes 24 hours is super simple, other times 15 hours in I am reaching for a little something to eat. I would eat something small next time you feel a headache coming on during a fast. If that resolves the headache then you have a good ideal that the fast is a contributing factor. I would guess the more you fast the easier it will get and soon this won't be an issue any longer.
            Last edited by Kev; 09-01-2010, 10:25 AM.
            Strive for healthy today.

            Satisfaction is the death of desire.

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            • #7
              thanks for the suggestions, guys...i'll pay attention to items above in the next couple of weeks and not to wait out when a headache begins setting in...
              i'm due for a physical soon but hopefully it is just an adjustment period.

              thank you!
              lynn

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              • #8
                Wow, must not be too many migraneurs on this board!

                As someone who both has and treats people for headaches/migraine, I can tell you that headaches from fasting or skipping meals is extremely common (people commonly refer to these as "hunger headaches"). For this reason, I do not do intermittent fasts. Though I will say I can go a lot longer in between meals before I'll get a headache than I could before I went primal. (And I'll say that going primal was the best thing I ever did for my migraines!). So yeah, don't be afraid to break the fast if you get a headache (just don't do it with a piece of fruit - it'll get worse. I've learned that lesson about 2,000 times now...)
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                • #9
                  If you are susceptible to migraine, fasting can be a trigger. When blood sugar gets too low, your adrenal system kicks in to remedy this, triggering headache in some people. This is why lo-carb diets are good for people with migraine. The blood sugar tends to be more stable. For further reading, check out The Brain Trust Program by Larry McCleary, MD.

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                  • #10
                    I suffered migraines for years. I'm thinking hormone related. I'm post menopausal, so I think that's why I no longer have them. I did my longest fasts yet the last two days, and the only thing I suffered was tummy growling fiercely in the last 2 hours. Maybe try to ease into them and maybe NOT do them around menses time?
                    Starting Weight/BMI: 184/29.7
                    Current Weight/BMI: 130 /21.0
                    Ultimate Goal: 125/18

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jturk View Post
                      (And I'll say that going primal was the best thing I ever did for my migraines!). So yeah, don't be afraid to break the fast if you get a headache (just don't do it with a piece of fruit - it'll get worse. I've learned that lesson about 2,000 times now...)
                      I was hoping for the same with primal but they have gotten worse. Thank you for the fruit suggestion! I could see that doing the same for me.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Just4ME View Post
                        Maybe try to ease into them and maybe NOT do them around menses time?
                        Best suggestion award! I don't *ease* into much and menses is high time for migraines for me...
                        Thank you!

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                        • #13
                          Lynn, I notice that you've only been a member since July, and I wondered if you're new to the primal way of life. FWIW, I needed to be on a primal diet for many months before my blood sugar settled down enough for me to consider IFing. Otherwise I most definitely would have gotten headaches and worse. If you're new to primal, maybe you just need to give it a few months for your body to get stabilized? Just a thought...

                          And I've been IFing for ONE WHOLE DAY so believe me I'm no expert! But I do know more than I'd like to about low blood sugar.
                          Last edited by primalpatty; 09-01-2010, 04:15 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks, Primal Patty...I will do just that...slowing down on the IFing sounds like a good option. I'll try again in a month or so. Thanks!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Just4ME View Post
                              Maybe try to ease into them and maybe NOT do them around menses time?
                              +1 on easing into them, no experience on the other half of the suggestion.

                              When I started IF I simply skipped breakfast, then delayed lunch until the first sign of being uncomfortable, after a while skipping lunch and eating an early dinner, you get the ideal.
                              Strive for healthy today.

                              Satisfaction is the death of desire.

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