Tired From Not Enough Salt Heres Why

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/28/2024

Picture this: You've committed to the keto lifestyle, ready for energy levels that soar sky-high. But instead, you're feeling wiped out, and it's only noon. What gives? Turns out, your salt shaker might hold the key.

I know because I've been there. When I dove into keto, fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. After digging and self-experimentation, I discovered an unlikely hero in my kitchen cabinet—suitable old sodium chloride.

In these next few minutes with me, you'll find out how tweaking your salt intake can turn things around on a ketogenic diet.

We'll uncover why too little salt leads to lethargy and cramps when carbs are low; we'll talk hydration hacks to keep fatigued at bay; plus, we'll learn just how much salt is enough without overdoing it.

Stick with me—I'm about to share insights that could flip the switch on your energy crisis.

The Role of Sodium in Ketogenic Diet Fatigue

When you're on a ketogenic diet, your body sheds more water as it burns through glycogen stores. This process can take a toll on your sodium levels—think of it like squeezing out a sponge.

Without enough sodium to hold onto that precious water, fatigue sneaks up on you.

Understanding Keto-Induced Sodium Loss

Your cells normally stockpile glucose and water for energy. But when those reserves drain without carbs refilling them, they also let go of their salty sidekick: sodium.

Less glucose means less need for storage space—and just like tossing old clothes from a cramped closet, your body ditches the extra fluid and salt, too.

This isn't just about feeling tired; low sodium can throw off everything from how sharp your brain feels to how well your muscles work during that post-work Pilates class.

The Hormonal Response to Sodium Depletion

A drop in sodium sparks an alarm inside you—cue the release of aldosterone. It's like having an overzealous bouncer at the club door who not only kicks out too much potassium but leaves you with some uninvited guests, muscle cramps, and even more fatigue.

Potassium Levels and Muscle Function

What happens next if aldosterone plays tough with potassium by shoving it out? Your muscles might start rebelling because they depend on these minerals to function smoothly. The result?

There is a higher chance of getting sidelined by muscle cramps or spending more time yawning.

Hydration and Salt Balance on Keto

When you're running on ketones, your body sheds more water than when carbs are in the mix. This is why proper hydration becomes non-negotiable on a keto diet. But it's not just about chugging water; it's also about keeping salt in check.

The Dehydration Paradox

You might think drinking plenty of water would solve all dehydration woes, right? Not quite. As your body adapts to keto, it doesn't hold onto as much water or sodium as before. The result?

You feel thirsty often, even though you may be sipping H2O throughout the day.

To combat this paradox, adding some salt to your meals can help retain the fluid balance needed for optimal function—a sprinkle here and there goes a long way.

The Risks of Overhydration Without Adequate Salt

It seems counterintuitive, but hear me out: overhydrating without upping salt intake could dilute the little sodium in your system.

We've seen cases where folks aim high with their hydration goals yet miss the mark by sidelining salt—this only deepens fatigue rather than quenching thirst effectively.

A pinch of pink Himalayan or sea salt can give flavor and function to that glass of lemon-infused keto-friendly H2O.

Recognizing Symptoms of Low Sodium Intake

Suppose you're feeling more like a sloth than a sprinter while on keto; your salt shaker might be to blame. Low sodium levels can leave you feeling weaker than one-ply toilet paper.

When your body runs on ketones instead of carbs, it sheds water—and with it, sodium—like an overzealous dog shedding fur in the summer.

From Weakness to Insulin Resistance

The signs of low sodium aren't always as apparent as forgetting where you put your keys (again). They sneak up on you. One minute, you’re fine; the next, headaches are crashing through your brain like cymbals, and weakness washes over you like a wave at high tide.

But that's not all; even insulin-resistant people may want to join this unwelcome party because glucose uptake can get lazier than teenagers during summer break when there's insufficient salt.

Nausea might also nudge its way into your day-to-day life without enough salty goodness in your system—a bit like that annoying neighbor who pops by uninvited just when dinner’s ready.

And let's talk about restlessness—that jittery feeling could have everything to do with insufficient sodium rather than too many cups of Joe.

To keep these unwanted guests at bay and ensure every cell in your body is firing on all cylinders, check out how vital electrolytes are for avoiding keto flu symptoms. A sprinkle here and a dash there could save the day.

Hormonal Fluctuations Due to Sodium Imbalance

Imagine your body's hormones are like a seesaw. On one side, you have sodium – the silent regulator of stress and sleep. When sodium dips too low, this balance is thrown off.

Man sleeping in bed

Elevated Cortisol and Adrenaline Impacting Sleep

A dip in sodium can signal more aldosterone, which seems helpful but comes with baggage – raised cortisol and adrenaline levels. These two are notorious for turning nights into a restless countdown till dawn.

Have you ever tried sleeping while feeling like you've just run a marathon? Not fun.

This hormonal imbalance doesn't just toss and turn with you; it also loves playing dominoes with your well-being during daylight hours by influencing blood pressure and kidney function.

Studies show that excessive aldosterone leads not only to insomnia but may crank up anxiety levels, too.

The message here isn’t to go wild on saltshakers; instead, it’s about striking that delicate electrolyte harmony our bodies crave on keto diets—a tune we're still learning to play perfectly.

Salt Intake Recommendations for Keto Dieters

When riding the keto wave, your body's salt needs can take a sharp turn from conventional wisdom. Let me break it down: on keto, your body flushes out more water, and with it goes the precious sodium we often take for granted.

Counterintuitive Effects on Blood Pressure

We've all heard that too much salt increases blood pressure like nobody’s business. But here's where keto flips the script. Your carb-light lifestyle might need more of what most diets tell you to dodge.

That’s right - while nixing carbs, your kidneys get jazzed up and send sodium packing at an Olympic pace, which could lead to lower blood pressure than expected.

Still skeptical? Consider this: recent findings suggest that low-carb eaters might not experience the same salty side effects regarding blood pressure as their bread-loving buddies.

Daily Salt Intake Guidelines for Optimal Health

Moving beyond myths means rethinking our daily shake of salt – aiming for about one to one and a half teaspoons daily keeps things going nicely in Keto Town.

It strikes the right balance so electrolytes stay friendly, and fatigue hits the road instead of striking you after cutting those carbs.

Low Salt Intake Effects on Keto Fatigue and Fasting Concerns

Low salt intake can exacerbate fatigue on a keto diet and may also raise concerns about fasting. While reducing salt intake is often recommended for general health, extreme restriction can lead to electrolyte imbalances, contributing to fatigue and potentially breaking a fast.

It's crucial to strike a balance, ensuring adequate salt intake to support energy levels and fasting goals. Thus, addressing the question, "Does salt break a fast," highlights the importance of mindful salt consumption within the context of fasting and keto diets.


So you've seen how crucial it is to strike the right balance. The effects of low salt intake on fatigue and keto diet can throw a wrench in your energy levels.

Remember, sodium isn't just for flavor—it's a powerhouse electrolyte that keeps tiredness at bay. Keep those fluids balanced; sip water, but don't forget to sprinkle some salt.

Tune into your body's signals: weakness, headaches, or cramps could all point toward needing more salt. Trust me, adjusting your shaker habits might be the game-changer for peak performance on keto.

Your journey should now feel less like a battle against exhaustion and more like an empowered path forward. So shake up your routine and let every pinch propel you toward vibrant health!

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