What Is Keto Headache? (Causes, Preventions, and Cures)

Keto headache is a common symptom people will experience when they first start off with keto.

You’ll find that many people talk about a keto headache as a pounding headache, brain fogginess and general uncomfortableness when they first start going keto.

Many people will think that keto isn’t working for them - and quit - when in fact, this is a part of the natural process when your body is shifting from burning carbs to burning fats.

Rest assured keto headache is part of the ketosis adaptation process, but hopefully this article will help you understand what exactly the keto headache is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it so you can stay in keto longer and get back to feeling better.

Signs of a Keto Headache

Signs of keto headache include

  • Brain fog
  • Low energy
  • Actual headache
  • General irritability

Some people also refer to this group of symptoms as “keto flu.”

What Causes a Keto Headache?

When you go keto - you’re drastically shifting your diet and your relationship to food.

As such - a bunch of things in your body change as you adapt to your new way of eating.

First of all, it's common to be extremely dehydrated as a result of keto. If you find yourself constantly thirsty - this might be your culprit. Start, by drinking more water.

Second, you might have an electrolyte imbalance. If you simply rehydrate with water, you might have very low electrolytes compared to the rest of the water content in your body. The easiest way to fix this is by refueling with a great electrolyte mix (we’ll touch on this in a second).

The third is carb withdrawal. Going keto means you’re specifically low in carbohydrates and your body will feel “low energy” until you learn to turn on your ketone production - which can take a while for some people.

How Long Does The Keto Headache Last?

While it varies for each and every person - keto headache lasts between 1 and 7 days. Some people report it stronger during days 7-10, but after two weeks most people have adjusted properly.

It is possible you won’t experience keto headache at all, but it is something for most people to expect while starting out on keto.

How to Prevent Keto Headache?

There’s a few ways to prevent keto headaches and a few ways to make them better.

Expect them to happen

If you don’t know what’s happening, a keto headache can be devastating. But, once you plan on it happening and know that the keto headache is coming - it’s a lot easier to handle and much less debilitating to deal with.

Drink more electrolytes

One of the main issues on keto is the electrolyte imbalance it can cause. While you can mess around with adding in more salty foods to your diet, the best way to add more electrolytes is to just drink them directly.

Our favorites are Drink LMNT. They are sugar free, delicious and will help you stick through keto even through the ups + downs.

Try a sample pack of LMNT for free here.

Note your carbohydrate intake

If you’re just low carb, but not fully in ketosis - you won’t have enough glucose or ketones to properly fuel your body. This is a recipe for disaster and you need to make sure to plan around it.

Supplement with Ketones

Again, if your body isn’t fully transitioned to creating enough ketones to fuel you with - you may be able to add ketones to the mix to help supplement your energy levels.

We really like these ketones from Perfect Keto. 

Feel free to experiment

It’s your body and keto is a tool to help you improve it. Feel free to experiment with these suggestions and find out what works best for you.

How to Stick To Keto Through Keto Headache

The best way to stick to keto even if you get a keto headache is to get a plan. If you have a plan and can plan on sticking to it - even when it gets hard - it’s going to be much easier to stay with keto and see success on it as well.

Lucky for you, we have a 14 day trial to the best meal planning app on the internet here and you can try a keto meal planning service for free today.

Our other Keto Resources

Other Keto Headache Citations & Resources

About the Author

Joel Runyon

Joel Runyon is the founder of Ultimate Meal Plans. Joel is an ultra endurance athlete and entrepreneur. He's also the founder of Ultimate Paleo Guide and is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE ® - a lifestyle performance brand helping people push their limits in fitness and life.