Sluggish Brain- not sharp

(Jayciid) #1

Hi All,

Joined with a query that has been hampering me for months now!

I’m a diagnosed T2Diabetic who has successfully reversed this and lowered blood sugars solely through adherence to a ketogenic diet. Weight good, skin clear, obviously it’s doing some good. I aim for <50g carb per day with a 24 hour fast day weekly.

That said, I don’t feel great mentally / neurologically. My mind doesn’t feel sharp, my brain feels swollen and inactive, my reaction times (particularly my eye movements) are sluggish. Occasionally this results in dizziness and coordination difficulties and feeling overwhelmed with processing visual information when driving. I often slur words and facial movements are arduous.

I have been down medical route to get checked out for other things unrelated, however it has only started since I’ve gone keto. Head CT scans clear, blood tests normal.

I know electrolytes can be affected on keto, so I take extra salty water drinks daily. And also take magnesium supplements. This seems to help a little but not totally.

Does this resonate in any way with anyone ? It’s really frustrating because I’ve completely changed my life / numbers / weight with this diet, but I can’t truly say I’m happy on it because of these symptoms. The feelings are there all the time and consistently.

The only other potential relevancy is that I take a low dose of Effexor (and have done for a number of years predating my diet change). I have wondered if this medication is not agreeing with keto.

Any insights would be most appreciated? As this is my first post I apologize if I have not followed protocol in any way and please pick me up on it if so!!

(Robin) #2

You’ll be hearing soon from folks with way more knowledge and experience than me. My only thoughts are, are you getting enough calories and no eating at too big a deficiency? Have you ever tried for the under 20g carbs goal? Did it help?
Also… your personal info always helps. Age, gender, weight (start and now), how long you have been eating keto, and an average days food. It all helps.

(Jayciid) #3

Hey Robin, thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

I have updated my blurb a little in my profile with some of my details / what I eat. Hope you can see this, and this is the kind of thing you meant?

I have not gone as low as 20g per day, no. I have full 24 hour fast days, but on my ‘fed’ days my magic number is 50g.

My thinking was that, if I’m having these problems at 50g, going lower will only exacerbate. Is your thinking that my carbs may be too high and hence I may not be fully fat / keto adjusted (even with my fast days)?

Thanks again for your time,


(Bacon is better) #4

Not sure what the problem might be, but I notice that I can eat a certain amount of carbohydrate above 20 g/day, remain in ketosis, and yet start experiencing some of the symptoms of excessive carb intake (in my case, joint pain, skin conditions, etc.) You might try cutting your intake back a bit further. Dr. Phinney has the people at Virta tell their patients to eat under 50 g/day total, in the hope that that will put them under 20 g/day net. Dr. Westman, on the other hand, tells his patients to stay strictly under 20 g/day total.

Dr. Phinney’s suggestions when people aren’t getting the results they want are (a) eat less carbohydrate, and (b) eat more fat.

I don’t see how cutting down on carbohydrate intake could have an interaction with an anti-depressant, unless it could be that your system is now making more serotonin and so, in combination with the SSRI, you now have too much serotonin in your brain.

You might try switching to a different drug. Many people get good results from Celexa (citalopram), or the newer (and thus more expensive) version, Lexapro (escitalopram). Also, and I hesitate to suggest this, but once you have weaned yourself off the Effexor (which you are going to have to do in any case, in order to switch), you might try going completely without for a month or two before starting the new drug, just to see how you feel. It’s possible that you might not need the new prescription.

(Robin) #5

@Jayciid @PaulL I’m copying your more detailed info here so others won’t have to go find it.

-Aged 31

-Start weight: 15.5 st, Current Weight: 12 st

-Been on keto diet (<50g carbohydrate daily) since August 2019

-Average food day: boiled eggs, cheese, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, chicken / tuna mayonnaise sandwich (low carb bread). Main evening meal = fresh meat + frozen veg variations, with berries and full fat cream for dessert. Black coffee aplenty. Sparkling water.

Supplements / Medication: 3g salt dissolved in water, 2x daily. 500mg magnesium. Vitamin B1 100mg. Effexor 75mg XR.

(Robin) #6

I can tell right away that you’ll get some flack for the veggies and fruit, if that’s where your 50g of carbs come from.
BUT… you’ve been at this a while, and so something must have changed. I’ll leave it to the wiser folks on here to be more specific. Many started due to a T2D diagnosis and I’m positive you are not alone in being on an anti-depressant.
How long have you been having these symptoms/feelings?
Welcome to the forum. Hope you find some answers/insight.

(Robin) #7

@Jayciid… you might want to check out @PaulL recent post in the “sodium on keto” thread. It made me think of your issues. You never know.

Sodium on Keto