Leg Cramps on Keto: Causes, Treatment, and More

If you might have ever handled sudden, extreme leg ache on the ketogenic food plan, you’re not alone.

Although this excessive fats, low carb food plan could help weight reduction and even assist deal with sure medical situations, it has been related to plenty of unintended effects — together with leg cramps.

This article explains why some individuals could expertise leg cramps on keto and presents ideas for treating and stopping this uncomfortable facet impact.

Cramps are involuntary, localized muscle contractions which are typically painful. Leg cramps sometimes have an effect on the calf muscle, although they’ll happen in different elements of your leg as properly (1).

These contractions generally happen at evening and can final seconds to minutes. Most leg cramps are over in lower than a couple of minutes (1).

Although their actual trigger isn’t all the time clear, a number of elements, together with being pregnant, medical remedies, inadequate blood move, and the usage of sure medication, could enhance your threat.

The keto food plan could make you extra vulnerable to leg cramps for a number of causes (2).

Too little electrolytes

A possible reason behind leg cramps is an electrolyte imbalance.

Electrolytes are minerals which are important for vital capabilities in your physique, similar to cell communication. They embrace sodium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates (three).

If your ranges change into depleted, your nerve cells could change into extra delicate. In flip, this results in stress on nerve endings, which can trigger muscle spasms (four).

When adapting to the keto food plan, your physique could lose extra electrolytes by way of urination in response to decreased ranges of blood sugar and the hormone insulin (5).

This loss is usually biggest in the course of the first 1–four days of transitioning to keto, so muscle cramps associated to electrolyte imbalance could also be worse throughout this era (5).


People transitioning to the keto food plan typically urinate extra as a result of elements like lowered insulin ranges and elevated sodium excretion. In flip, elevated urination can result in dehydration, one other potential reason behind leg cramps (1, 5).

Dehydration is likely one of the commonest keto unintended effects and could thus enhance your threat of leg cramps (6, 7, eight).

All the identical, proof is blended and extra research are wanted (9).

Other potential causes

Several different elements can also trigger leg cramps.

For instance, sure medicines, similar to diuretics, bronchial asthma medication, and statins, are related to an elevated threat of those pains (10).

Additionally, sedentary habits, previous age, strenuous bodily exercise, and medical situations like liver and kidney failure are related to leg cramps (11, 12).


People on the keto food plan could expertise leg cramps as a result of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Other causes of leg cramps embrace sedentary habits and sure medicines.

Aside from leg cramps, different signs related to the keto food plan embrace complications, constipation, and fatigue — collectively often known as the keto flu.

These signs could likewise be brought about or worsened by dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, making prevention all of the extra necessary.


The greatest approach to forestall and deal with leg cramps on keto is to make sure that you’re consuming nutritious meals, supplementing if essential, and staying correctly hydrated. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Eat potassium-rich meals. Avocados, Swiss chard, spinach, onions, tomatoes, beet greens, and mushrooms are keto-friendly, potassium-rich meals that may assist rebalance your electrolyte ranges (13).
  • Choose magnesium-rich meals. Pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, cashews, kale, arugula, broccoli, and oysters are low in carbs and excessive in magnesium to assist your electrolytes (14).
  • Consider taking an electrolyte complement. Taking a magnesium, potassium, or multi-mineral complement could also be a good suggestion for these transitioning to a keto food plan (15).
  • Consume sufficient salt. Salt your meals and contemplate sipping on salted bone broth to cut back the possibilities of electrolyte imbalance.
  • Drink loads of water. Staying correctly hydrated could scale back your threat of leg cramps and different keto unintended effects, similar to complications and constipation. Pale, yellow urine is an indication that you simply’re correctly hydrated (16, 17, 18, 19).
  • Cut again on or keep away from alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and could worsen dehydration. Some analysis means that alcohol use could also be associated to leg cramps (20, 21).
  • Engage in mild train. Try strolling, stretching, and yoga when first adapting to keto. Avoid intense train for the primary few days to cut back the prospect of leg cramps (22).

If you might have persistent or excessive leg cramps, you need to go to a well being skilled to make sure that you’re not experiencing signs of a extra critical medical situation.


Staying hydrated, consuming loads of electrolytes, and partaking in mild bodily exercise could assist scale back your possibilities of leg cramps on keto.

While many individuals swear by the keto food plan, transitioning to a really low carb, excessive fats food plan can result in uncomfortable signs, together with leg cramps.

Nonetheless, making just a few easy adjustments to your food plan and life-style, similar to staying hydrated, consuming loads of electrolyte-rich meals, and partaking in mild exercise, could assist deal with and forestall keto-associated leg cramps.

If you’re experiencing leg cramps, check out just a few of the guidelines listed above — however bear in mind to go to your healthcare supplier in case your cramps are persistent or excessive.

Source hyperlink Weight Loss With Keto

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