Low Serum Sodium

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Low Serum Sodium

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Old 09-15-2014, 12:17   #1
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Default Low Serum Sodium

Hi everyone. I know I have not posted in a while, but I am never far away. I've been on Keto for almost a yea and a half now without cheating or the desire to cheat. It's become a wonderful way of life. After my initial A1C of 10.7, my highest A1C has been 5.1, but usually in the 4s. After 9 months, I was taken off of Metformin.
However, during an initial use of statins for about 2 months I was hit by large muscle systemic pain. It was completely debilitating. I spent a year on bed rest trying to endure the pain, then another year trying to find any natural treatment that would help. High dose vitamin D3 and K2 therapy helped but the required K2 to prevent organ calcification is encased in beeswax, it sent my BGs a bit higher than I liked so I stopped.
Finally, two months ago, I was unable to endure the pain any longer and opted for pain management and further tests. These tests will occur shortly. They put me on Indomethacin and Tramadol for the pain and that helps so much. I can't believe I used to live like that. Even with these meds, it's not completely gone.

All this said to tell you about what happened to me last week. I found myself in an ambulance. Because Tramadol is now being classified as a Class 4 drug, the VA is cracking down on it. But nothing else but the combination of Indomethacin and Tramadol takes the edge off of the pain and enables me to live life. Still, my Internal Medicine doctor wants to get rid of it. He tried me on Cymbalta for pain. I started with 20 mg last Monday. On Thursday morning, I decided to do a fat fast. Later that day, I found myself paralysed from the waist down and my arms and face tingling and threatening to follow suit. I called the ambulance. It was terrifying.
Apparently, one of the side effects of SSRIs is Low Serum Sodium. On Keto, we require about 5 grams of sodium. My fat fast barely had 400 mg. I learned that low serum sodium can cause anything from leg cramps, tingling and numbness to full blown paralysis. One minute I was pouring a drink and the next I could barely stand. Then I couldn't feel my legs at all. My arms and face threatened to follow suit. Once they ruled out stroke, the tests came back with low serum sodium. It wasn't even incredibly low. But the combination of Keto, Fat Fast, and Cymbalta was a recipe for disaster. They had to very, very, very slowly drip saline into me lest my blood vessels would rupture. After a few hours, sensation began to return.
I think I was on the edge of this long before the Cymbalta because about 9 months ago I started struggling with foot cramps. Once the doctors were through with me, they completely went away and I even felt much more energy and less fatigue.

I never knew how important sodium was in the body. So, especially for those of us on a very low carb high fat diet, please get more sodium. You may not think you need it, but if you suffer from low energy and muscular cramps and pain, please consider getting more.

I wish this were the complete solution for me, but small victories are good too. :-)


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Old 09-15-2014, 17:14   #2
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Default Thanks for the reminder!

I have been suffering from pretty consistent leg cramping at night, and I've been attributing it to lack of WATER (I am well aware I don't drink enough of the stuff). But come to think of it, I haven't necessarily been ingesting much salt lately, either.

Is there a decent electrolyte balancing product out there that (a) doesn't take like crap and (b) is carb-free? It might be time for me to start ensuring I supplement my intake.

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Old 09-15-2014, 17:29   #3
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Add salt to whatever you drink, just enough so you don't notice it. Or drink a cup or more of broth a day.


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Old 09-15-2014, 18:01   #4
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I do exactly as silvertiger says . . . even adding a few grains of salt when I make a cup of tea. I've seen OWC (for all our newbies, this is my everlovin' husband, the OldWoodChopper) get weakened & loopy from dehydration & overheating too many times. Troops in the tropics are issued salt tablets, and even when we don't fall into that category, we need to remember how important this is.

I think a lot of the business about salt being unhealthy is just so much hogwash.

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Old 09-15-2014, 18:18   #5
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I was told years ago to eat low sodium but my endo picked up in my last full panel in Dec. last year that the very drug my cardiologist had put me on had pulled it way low and he agreed and took me off it pronto. It was a mild diuretic. So the balance is tricky, but I tend to agree with Shanny. My late husband, a doctor, told me that only about 10% of us are sensitive to sodium and I've read that again lately.


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Old 09-15-2014, 18:41   #6
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Bree! I am horrified! Thank you for the warning and I hope your body is stabilizing.

I find the weird colored, odd textured ancient sea salts keep me balanced and less crampy much better than regular table salt. Supposedly they have more minerals.

I used to make and enjoy bone broth. Even when I forgot to salt it, it prevented leg/foot cramps (lots of trace minerals in them bones). Then it started raising my BG so I am avoiding it for a few months in hopes I can return to it someday.

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Old 09-15-2014, 21:18   #7
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Bree, one of the things affected by statins is CoQ10. My endo recommended I use it along with the statin (I quit all statins a year ago but still take CoQ10 every day). Apparently the statin makers are well aware of this detrimental effect, but choose to try to get everyone to take statins anyway.


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Old 09-15-2014, 21:18   #8
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Default The Salt Debate

I honestly think that the salt controversy is over done. Some people are very sensitive to salt while others are not. I found this press release very different from the arguments for cutting salt - Sodium's influence on blood pressure statistically insignificant

Sometimes I think the cardiologists and even the other medical groups rely on over-hyped research that may be faulty. And the salt industry goes too far in the other direction creating conflicts. Many of today's guidelines are based on so called expert consensus and not on complete scientific basis.

Since I have taken the limit off of salt consumption, I am not having foot or leg cramps. They only side effect was the pain from neuropathy. By finally having steadier A1c's (within three percentage points) my neuropathy has greatly decreased and many days I don't even notice it - even with the increased salt intake. Yes, I do take a diuretic because without it my legs swell greatly and walking becomes almost impossible.

We are all different and our bodies do react to different medications and foods in ways that can be difficult to diagnose, but with patience and perseverance we can discover what we need to do. Yes, our doctors can help when they have an open mind (many do not) and treat the person and not one symptom.

Good luck Bree and have patience!

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Old 09-15-2014, 22:58   #9
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Bree, I am so sorry you have to go through this! I hope you get some relief soon. Thanks for the warnin.

I don't pay attention to how much salt it take in at all. I taste my food and if it needs salt I add until it tastes good to me. I use the pink himalayan salt mostly and some times a flavored sea salt. I even bought a himalayan salt tequila shot glass! Makes a might good shot! One day I found myself licking the glass like a salt lick! Needed more salt that day I guess. The glass doesn't hold up real well, but it makes for a good lick now and then!!

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Old 09-15-2014, 23:22   #10
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Learn something new every day! We have a lamp carved from a chunk of himalayan salt, but I did NOT know it was also carved into shot glasses! Genius!

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