Help me not die :)

(Josh K) #1

Hi Everyone,

I’m new here. I’m 35 years old and I tried keto last year. I wanted to see if anyone else has experienced what I did so that I can avoid it this time around. I got interested in keto after watching a lot of videos from Thomas Delauer and decided to go all in (probably my first mistake) and do what he described as a therapeutic ketogenic diet where your fat macro is at 80%. I was taking a magnesium and potassium supplement as well as making sure I was getting plenty of minerals (ie. sea salt, magnesium, potassium, zinc, etc.). Within about 2 weeks of that I started having severe breathing problems. I would try to sleep and would wake up because I wasn’t breathing. It was pretty scary… I assumed that it was due to my keto diet because nothing else with my health had changed except for that so I went and ate a huge bowl of carbs (oatmeal) and within 1 hour my breathing was back to normal.

So it’s been around a year and I’ve been too scared from that experience to get back into trying Keto even with a lower fat macro. Has anyone else experienced this? If I can pinpoint the cause so I can avoid that in the future I’d like to get back into keto.

(Brian) #2

I have not experienced what you have. I did wonder whether you could have been ODing on some of the supplements. (?) Too much isn’t necessarily a good thing for some of them. But I’m not a doctor…

Have you thought about maybe doing something a little less radical and doing it in steps? (Thinking in terms of starting at the standard American diet…) Maybe your first step is to eliminate the sugars and processed crap and hang out there for a few weeks. Then maybe start eliminating the starchy and naturally sugary foods starting with the worst offenders and working your way down. It’s OK if it takes you a couple of months to get there.

I have no idea where you’re starting from. For someone who has very little to change to start their keto way of eating, it’s probably not that difficult. For someone who is starting from a raw vegan perspective and decides to go full carnivore, it’s huge, and I can’t help but think that the shock to a person’s body would also be huge.

Just a thought…

(George) #3

Sorry you had that experience, sounds pretty scary. Only thing I can think of were the supplements, but that’s just a total shot in the dark. Before keto, I had apnea, would get breathy after doing a flight of stairs, and had 1 instance of where I freaked out from not being able to take deep breaths, I thought I was going to pass out, and I had never experienced that before. But again, this was all before I started losing weight on keto.

I didn’t jump right into it either, but it was fairly quick. Went from regular eating 1 week, to limiting to a max of 80 carbs on week 2, then 40 carbs week 3, and from week 4 till now I’m anywhere between 8 and 20 per day.

I don’t take any supplements, and only recently starting taking a daily multivitamin (within the last 3 weeks), but just to put my wife at ease when I do extended fasting.

(Diane) #4

I agree that eliminating processed and high carb foods would be a good beginning (eliminating anything with added sugar and maybe grains). You might also stick to small servings of lower carb fruits like berries (possibly apples, pears or grapefruit in VERY small amounts). Definitely stay away from bananas and grapes. Increase the lowest carb veggies, limit/eliminate starchier veggies like potatoes, carrots, corn and peas.

The has many free resources for both low carb and ketogenic ways of eating (which you don’t need to subscribe to their website to access). I’ve found their visual guides really useful.

I would reiterate that you may need to be careful about supplements, especially potassium. Overdosing on potassium can cause some scary symptoms.

Good luck!


Can you post what supplements you were taking and how much of them? I have felt, on occasion, like I had to concentrate to breath and that it wasn’t automatic when I was low on magnesium. Taking magnesium seemed to help, but it may have just been all in my head. What form of magnesium were you taking? Mag oxide doesn’t absorb well at all, only about 4% will absorb. Respiratory problems is listed as a symptom of low magnesium.

Or perhaps it was a reaction to something you were getting too much of. Probably not too much magnesium as that would cause “the runs”.

(Scott) #6

Potassium you should get enough of from veggies. I didn’t add magnesium until I was three months in because I was afraid of disaster pants. I would start slow and eliminate breads first and then potatoes while upping fat. You can after a few weeks add magnesium if you like but don’t add too many things at once so if something is causing a problem you can identify it.

(Diane) #7



Loads of people try too hard in the beginning, only real rule u need to follow is less than 20g carbs a day. Do that for 2 weeks and ull be fine. Only thing id supplement on is salt in the beginning, keep it simple.

(Graci) #9

My first thought before seeing any other replies was you either had a reaction to supplements or took wayyy too much. Some people can take normal doses, but don’t metabolize them efficiently and it can become toxic in your system. Hope you get it figured out so you can try Keto safely :blush:

(Karim Wassef) #10

Can you describe your breathing problems better?

What was your height, weight? Do you sleep on your back? We’re you congested? Sleep apnea?


Yikes! Another vote for taking a close look at the supplements. Getting the right amount of potassium can be very tricky, and too much can be dangerous. From what I’ve seen - but I’m not an expert – getting enough sodium does help keep the others in balance, so there are many long-term Keto folks who just make sure they get enough salt (maybe supplement with magnesium as well), and leave it at that.

(Mmmm, butter!) #12

Honestly, I wouldn’t necessarily add all those supplements in at the beginning. Just ease into the diet and have blood work done to see if you are actually deficient in salt, magnesium, potassium, etc. No sense in adding them in if you don’t actually need them.

(Josh K) #13

When I experienced this I was 6’4" and about 240 lbs. I was taking a men’s multivitamin from Vimerson Health. I wish I could remember the brand and amount of magnesium/potassium that I was taking in addition to that but I can’t. I know it was just a brand from walmart though. I had already lost 10 lbs from exercise at that point, I was going to the gym three days a week, running a few miles each day and taking Brazilian jiu-jitsu as well. Lots of exercise.

Specifically, the breathing problems I was having were happening when I would lay down. I would feel like I couldn’t get a full breath and had to really work hard to fully inhale. I didn’t have any irregular heartbeat of any kind which from what I’ve read is common for some people. I had tried to sleep on my stomach, back, side… nothing was working. I wasn’t congested at the time or having anything else that inhibited my breathing and I’ve never experienced sleep apnea before. After doing some deep and slow breathing exercises for about 5 minutes I would feel better enough to lie back down and try to sleep. Once I would fall asleep though I’d wake up after a couple of minutes gasping for breathe.

This didn’t last too long before I got up and did an emergency carb-up. Within a very short time of getting some carbs in my system I was breathing fine again and slept like a baby. To be specific on the carbs, it was about 3 packets of instant apples and cinnamon oatmeal. I know, lots of sugar too. :neutral_face:


Any other symptoms, like mental confusion or panic attack? There is a very small number of people who are genetically unable to metabolize fat correctly [PPAR gene] and therefore wouldn’t have ketone levels to support lowered glucose to the brain. Did you happen to take any blood glucose or ketone readings?

(Ethan) #15

Sounds like either apnea or supraventricular tachycardia

(Karim Wassef) #16


I’ve had SVT and you definitely notice some heart palpitations. It feels like having your heart flop around like a fish.

(Ethan) #18

@carolT Not always. I have it at night and didn’t know until I got a zio monitor. The only symptom I had was being jolted awake as if not breathing. I have skipped beats and all daytime, but no SVT in the day.


I guess I had it worse then. But I could breathe just fine even while coughing up blood in the ambulance.

Could be Afib? I’m not seeing the connection to carbs solving the attack though. The heart loves ketones, so it makes sense that maybe there’s a problem making ketones and having glucose dip low.

(Ethan) #20

Electrolyte imbalances could cause it though during adaptation