Why do we suffer from headaches when we switch from a highly processed carbohydrate diet to a high protein diet? Many weight loss surgery patients ask this.
In fact, there are several reasons for headaches on a high-protein, low-carb diet. More importantly, there are some small things we can do to ease the headache:
First, when we transition from a processed carbohydrate diet to a high-protein diet, as recommended by most doctors and nutritionists for weight loss (bariatric surgery), we increase our intake of tryptophan. A short list of foods high in tryptophan includes cheese, meat, nuts, and soy. Taking tryptophan releases serotonin in the brain, which is considered a vasoconstrictor: it narrows our blood vessels. In modest amounts, this helps us feel good; but in larger amounts to which we are not accustomed, it causes headaches.
To balance the increased tryptophan (an amino acid – good thing) intake we should include appropriate complex carbohydrates in our nutritional rhythm: 2B/1B (2 bites of protein/1 bite of carbs). Here are some smart food options for your weight loss diet:
Next, it is imperative that we ensure that we are supplementing our diet with essential vitamins and minerals, and to this list I personally add herbal supplements that have been shown to be beneficial to our health and well-being through centuries of human use. Please check the list of supplements:
Feverfew: 200-300 milligrams daily
Ginger: 1,500 milligrams in 3 doses (500 milligrams) taken daily
Magnesium: 1,000 milligrams per day (WLS re-ops are known to be magnesium deficient)
Calcium with Vitamin D: 1,000 milligrams daily
Vitamin B6: 50-100 milligrams daily
Vitamin B complex as prescribed by your doctor, orally, sublingually or injected
If you wake up in the morning with a headache, I recommend taking a serving of Emergen-C. I firmly believe that Emergen-C is healthy for us because in a single dose you get 60 mg magnesium, 200 mg potassium; 60 mg sodium; 50 mg calcium carbonate; (your electrolytes); in addition to vitamin B6 and B12; Vitamin C, Niacin, Thiamine, Zinc and some others. Our little gastric bypass and gastric band bellies can absorb this supplement quickly and it is not difficult or painful to take. If you haven’t tried Emergen-C yet, please do. As a note, continue your regular vitamin regimen when taking Emergen-C. Use this water-soluble product to get just a little extra nourishment.
If your headache is chronic and you suspect more than a high protein diet, please keep a headache diary to identify the cause of the headache. dr Alex Duarte suggests following these things:
Diet – Diet and food allergies are the most common cause of headaches.
Hormones – Fluctuating hormone levels are known to cause frequent headaches.
Weather – Changes in barometric pressure and other weather conditions can trigger headaches.
Stress – Common cause of headaches.
Change in routine – A break in the regular routine (such as a change in diet) is known to cause headaches.
Dental problems or endodontic surgeries are known to cause headaches
Sensory stimuli – seeing, smelling and hearing can all cause headaches.
Hypoglycemia causes headaches.
Herbal remedies for headaches are more effective and less disruptive than over-the-counter chemical remedies in my opinion. Try supplementing your diet with feverfew, ginger, ginkgo biloba, chamomile, capsaicin, and/or valerian.
Thanks to Kaye Bailey