Weird muscle cramping

Discussion in 'Food and nutrition' started by joshv, Nov 28, 2005.

  1. joshv

    joshv Guest

    I know that it is normal to experience some level of muscle cramping
    and or fatigue when transitioning to a low carb eating plan. I went
    through this, and it was relatively short term, a minor annoyance. The
    cramps disappeared, and I am able to undertake rather intense endurance
    exercise (biking, running) with no cramps or fatigue/

    I am now experiencing something like the opposite. If I 'fall off the
    wagon' and start eating significant amounts of sugar and carbs for
    several days (say, around the holidays), I start to cramp very badly,
    especially in the legs, even under very light exertion (a trip *down* a
    set of stairs can trigger it). Endurance exercise is damned near
    impossible. I can't walk a mile without extreme pain.

    Does anyone else experience this? The simple solution is to stop
    eating the crap. And when I do, the cramps disappear very quickly.
    But my question is, what the hell is causing this? It seems something
    about low-carbing has changed the way my body works, because I never
    had this problem with sugar and carbs previous to adopting a low carb
    way of life.

    I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while on
    low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do). The
    proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch fibers.
    When on low carb, the now minority fast-twitchers lay dormant, and
    don't do much of anything, because they have no glycogen, their fuel of
    choice. When I give them enough fuel, they spring back to life. But
    now, there just aren't enough of them, and they have become inefficient
    through disuse, thus they fatigue very quickly, and send out pain
    signals telling my brain to stop whatever it is I am doing. So
    basically my theory is that by training while on low carb, my muscles
    have become so efficient at burning fat and ketones, they've lost the
    ability to effectively utilize glycogen.
     
    Tags:


  2. I thought it was a sign of potassium deficiency?

    "joshv" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >I know that it is normal to experience some level of muscle cramping
    > and or fatigue when transitioning to a low carb eating plan. I went
    > through this, and it was relatively short term, a minor annoyance. The
    > cramps disappeared, and I am able to undertake rather intense endurance
    > exercise (biking, running) with no cramps or fatigue/
    >
    > I am now experiencing something like the opposite. If I 'fall off the
    > wagon' and start eating significant amounts of sugar and carbs for
    > several days (say, around the holidays), I start to cramp very badly,
    > especially in the legs, even under very light exertion (a trip *down* a
    > set of stairs can trigger it). Endurance exercise is damned near
    > impossible. I can't walk a mile without extreme pain.
    >
    > Does anyone else experience this? The simple solution is to stop
    > eating the crap. And when I do, the cramps disappear very quickly.
    > But my question is, what the hell is causing this? It seems something
    > about low-carbing has changed the way my body works, because I never
    > had this problem with sugar and carbs previous to adopting a low carb
    > way of life.
    >
    > I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while on
    > low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    > slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do). The
    > proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch fibers.
    > When on low carb, the now minority fast-twitchers lay dormant, and
    > don't do much of anything, because they have no glycogen, their fuel of
    > choice. When I give them enough fuel, they spring back to life. But
    > now, there just aren't enough of them, and they have become inefficient
    > through disuse, thus they fatigue very quickly, and send out pain
    > signals telling my brain to stop whatever it is I am doing. So
    > basically my theory is that by training while on low carb, my muscles
    > have become so efficient at burning fat and ketones, they've lost the
    > ability to effectively utilize glycogen.
    >
     
  3. Pat

    Pat Guest

    : I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while on
    : low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    : slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do). The
    : proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch fibers.

    Uh, no. This is genetically determined and once you have them, they're
    always there. I can run an 8 minute mile all day long, but I can't run a 6
    minute mile to kill myself! I am just long on endurance fibers and short on
    fast ones. Muscles do not "remodel" themselves. I wish they would, but
    really!

    Pat in TX
     
  4. SzaszFan

    SzaszFan Guest

    Pat wrote:
    > : I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while on
    > : low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    > : slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do). The
    > : proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch fibers.
    >
    > Uh, no. This is genetically determined and once you have them, they're
    > always there. I can run an 8 minute mile all day long, but I can't run a 6
    > minute mile to kill myself! I am just long on endurance fibers and short on
    > fast ones. Muscles do not "remodel" themselves. I wish they would, but
    > really!
    >
    > Pat in TX


    I've been more susceptible to leg cramps lately myself (particularly
    my calf muscles), but I assumed it was because I was training so hard
    (hill running).

    260/215/200
    04.27.05
     
  5. joshv

    joshv Guest

    No Joe, the problem very closely tracks my carb consumption. It comes
    within a day of the increased consumption (usually it has to be quite
    high, lots of desserts, cookies and candy) and leaves within a day of
    my return to low carb eating. I think it unlikely that this is related
    to a potassium deficiency. Besides, I consumes great quantities of
    'Light Salt' which is about 50% Potassium Chloride.

    Needless to say, with this sort of side effect, I am highly motivated
    not to overindulge at the holidays, but it does happen :)
     
  6. joshv

    joshv Guest

    Yes, the composition of your muscles does indeed change. I didn't just
    pick the word "remodel" out of a hat, it is a technical term:

    http://paperairplane.mit.edu/16.423J/Space/SBE/muscle/muscle_bckgrnd_ug.html

    " The body is constantly restructuring the musculature, within a time
    span of a week or two, and thus is very susceptible to environmental
    changes. If there is a sudden change in the use of a group of muscles
    (from exercise, for instance), the body quickly responds by structuring
    the muscle filaments to meet the new demands placed on it. This
    remodeling occurs not by changing the number of muscle fibers, but by
    changing their size and function."

    Or here:
    http://www.dukemagazine.duke.edu/dukemag/issues/050602/depgaz7.html

    "Williams and his colleagues have spent twenty years studying why
    muscle tissues remodel themselves when subjected to different forms of
    exercise. Skeletal muscle fibers consist of two types: "slow-twitch"
    muscle that can handle long-term, low-level loads, and "fast-twitch"
    muscle that responds to abrupt heavy loads. In remodeling, sudden heavy
    exercise such as weightlifting makes muscles larger, while sustained
    exercise such as long-distance running alters the fiber-type
    composition of muscle to increase resistance to fatigue and reduce the
    risk for diabetes or cardiovascular disease."


    Pat wrote:
    > : I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while on
    > : low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    > : slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do). The
    > : proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch fibers.
    >
    > Uh, no. This is genetically determined and once you have them, they're
    > always there. I can run an 8 minute mile all day long, but I can't run a 6
    > minute mile to kill myself! I am just long on endurance fibers and short on
    > fast ones. Muscles do not "remodel" themselves. I wish they would, but
    > really!
    >
    > Pat in TX
     
  7. Pat

    Pat Guest

    : " The body is constantly restructuring the musculature, within a time
    : span of a week or two, and thus is very susceptible to environmental
    : changes. If there is a sudden change in the use of a group of muscles
    : (from exercise, for instance), the body quickly responds by structuring
    : the muscle filaments to meet the new demands placed on it. This
    : remodeling occurs not by changing the number of muscle fibers, but by
    : changing their size and function."


    I am hugely skeptical of this report. If it is so easy to change the muscle
    type, then why do we see certain body types winning the sprints and others
    winning the marathons? We never see a world class runner doing the 1500
    meters, say, and then deciding to become a marathoner and being successful.
    You don't see the Ethiopians winning the sprints, either. If it is so easy
    to change muscle type, then horses could be trained to be champions and all
    that blood-line breeding would be unnecessary. Some sly horse breeder would
    have figured all of this out years ago!

    Your theory that diet alone could switch muscle fibers from fast twitch to
    slow twitch, etc. falls in with this same theory. I think that if some
    muscle restructuring is being done, it is on a really small scale and
    nothing body-wide that would be a tremendous change. For example, if I swim
    the backstroke a lot, I feel the difference in my triceps immediately but
    not in my calf muscles. That is a muscle-specific workout and not an entire
    body change of musculature.

    Pat in TX
     
  8. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    joshv <[email protected]> wrote:
    :>I know that it is normal to experience some level of muscle cramping
    :> and or fatigue when transitioning to a low carb eating plan. I went
    :> through this, and it was relatively short term, a minor annoyance.
    :> The cramps disappeared, and I am able to undertake rather intense
    :> endurance exercise (biking, running) with no cramps or fatigue/
    :>
    :> I am now experiencing something like the opposite. If I 'fall off
    :> the wagon' and start eating significant amounts of sugar and carbs
    :> for several days (say, around the holidays), I start to cramp very
    :> badly, especially in the legs, even under very light exertion (a
    :> trip *down* a set of stairs can trigger it). Endurance exercise is
    :> damned near impossible. I can't walk a mile without extreme pain.
    :>
    :> Does anyone else experience this? The simple solution is to stop
    :> eating the crap. And when I do, the cramps disappear very quickly.
    :> But my question is, what the hell is causing this? It seems
    :> something about low-carbing has changed the way my body works,
    :> because I never had this problem with sugar and carbs previous to
    :> adopting a low carb way of life.
    :>
    :> I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while
    :> on low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    :> slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do).
    :> The proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch
    :> fibers. When on low carb, the now minority fast-twitchers lay
    :> dormant, and don't do much of anything, because they have no
    :> glycogen, their fuel of choice. When I give them enough fuel, they
    :> spring back to life. But now, there just aren't enough of them, and
    :> they have become inefficient through disuse, thus they fatigue very
    :> quickly, and send out pain signals telling my brain to stop whatever
    :> it is I am doing. So basically my theory is that by training while
    :> on low carb, my muscles have become so efficient at burning fat and
    :> ketones, they've lost the ability to effectively utilize glycogen.

    I doubt this is the cause, though I, for some reason, enjoyed reading of
    your theory. Switching the balance of fiber would take doing specific
    training either for endurance or lifting. I don't think simply eating LC
    would result in your fiber types shifting. Also, lots of body builders
    regular do carbup on weekends, etc. while LCing through the week. Their
    muscles can readily adapt to burning both fat and glycogen. Also, my
    personal experience bears this out.

    Maybe you have developed some type of food intolerance or perhaps one that
    was present before is just more obvious now that you're LCing.
     
  9. Jude

    Jude Guest

    Roger Zoul wrote:
    > joshv <[email protected]> wrote:

    <snip>
    >
    > Maybe you have developed some type of food intolerance or perhaps one that
    > was present before is just more obvious now that you're LCing.


    Hmmmmm, seems to me the obverse may be true (though it's a subjective
    assumption)...more like you've *lost* a previously acquired tolerance
    for high carbs.

    Not that it makes much difference which it is <g>.


    --

    Judi [IslandGirl]
    LowCarb FoodExperts Canada
    www.LowCarbCanada.com
     
  10. This happens to me also.

    If I get cramps on low-carb, simply eating a bit of lite salt cures
    them. I presume this is because of potassium. I can avoid it simply
    enough by drinking my "hommade" gatorade... basically, I add lite salt
    to Crystal Light as a regular drink.

    But when off low-carb, lite salt doesn't help if I get leg cramps. I
    am most likely to get them when stretching in my sleep... and wake up
    in pain. Worse case, it took several *days* to loosen the muscle up
    completly.

    I have guessed that it's a matter of nuerons firing weirdly due to the
    presence of high blood sugar (I'm diabetic).
     
  11. joshv

    joshv Guest

    As I said, I do endurance exercise while LC'ing. I differ from a body
    builder in that I exercise exclusively while on LC. The bodybuilder
    cycles on a weekly basis. I cycle during holidays, and a few other
    times a year.

    Roger Zoul wrote:
    >
    > I doubt this is the cause, though I, for some reason, enjoyed reading of
    > your theory. Switching the balance of fiber would take doing specific
    > training either for endurance or lifting. I don't think simply eating LC
    > would result in your fiber types shifting. Also, lots of body builders
    > regular do carbup on weekends, etc. while LCing through the week. Their
    > muscles can readily adapt to burning both fat and glycogen. Also, my
    > personal experience bears this out.
    >
    > Maybe you have developed some type of food intolerance or perhaps one that
    > was present before is just more obvious now that you're LCing.
     
  12. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    joshv <[email protected]> wrote:
    :> As I said, I do endurance exercise while LC'ing. I differ from a
    :> body builder in that I exercise exclusively while on LC. The
    :> bodybuilder cycles on a weekly basis. I cycle during holidays, and
    :> a few other
    :> times a year.

    The more intense the exercise, the more likely you're using type 2 fibers,
    though.

    Also, don't assume your muscles have no glycogen...the body makes glycogen
    from protein. Hence, you have capacity to use slow-twitch fibers, even on
    LC. Generally, though, you won't be also to sustain activies that need
    those fibers for long.

    Going LC won't rob your body of muscle fibers it needs to do certain
    everyday activity that involves your muscles. Look elsewhere for your
    solution or just don't eat crap. There's plenty of LC alternatives around,
    you know.

    :>
    :> Roger Zoul wrote:
    :>>
    :>> I doubt this is the cause, though I, for some reason, enjoyed
    :>> reading of your theory. Switching the balance of fiber would take
    :>> doing specific training either for endurance or lifting. I don't
    :>> think simply eating LC would result in your fiber types shifting.
    :>> Also, lots of body builders regular do carbup on weekends, etc.
    :>> while LCing through the week. Their muscles can readily adapt to
    :>> burning both fat and glycogen. Also, my personal experience bears
    :>> this out.
    :>>
    :>> Maybe you have developed some type of food intolerance or perhaps
    :>> one that was present before is just more obvious now that you're
    :>> LCing.
     
  13. RRzVRR

    RRzVRR Guest

    Joe the Aroma wrote:

    > I thought it was a sign of potassium deficiency?


    It could be from a deficiency of any of the electrolytes:
    magnesium, potassium, calcium or sodium. But given that he says
    it happens when he switches to eating a greater amount of carbs
    and that he also does endurance activities, I would guess the
    cramps could be due to dehydration. After being LC and possibly
    having lower levels of glycogen storage, greater carb intake
    leads to greater glycogen storage, glycogen storage will take
    extra water (3-4g pre gram of glycogen stored) might cause
    dehydration cramping.

    >
    > "joshv" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >
    >>I know that it is normal to experience some level of muscle cramping
    >>and or fatigue when transitioning to a low carb eating plan. I went
    >>through this, and it was relatively short term, a minor annoyance. The
    >>cramps disappeared, and I am able to undertake rather intense endurance
    >>exercise (biking, running) with no cramps or fatigue/
    >>
    >>I am now experiencing something like the opposite. If I 'fall off the
    >>wagon' and start eating significant amounts of sugar and carbs for
    >>several days (say, around the holidays), I start to cramp very badly,
    >>especially in the legs, even under very light exertion (a trip *down* a
    >>set of stairs can trigger it). Endurance exercise is damned near
    >>impossible. I can't walk a mile without extreme pain.
    >>
    >>Does anyone else experience this? The simple solution is to stop
    >>eating the crap. And when I do, the cramps disappear very quickly.
    >>But my question is, what the hell is causing this? It seems something
    >>about low-carbing has changed the way my body works, because I never
    >>had this problem with sugar and carbs previous to adopting a low carb
    >>way of life.
    >>
    >>I have one theory that perhaps because I do endurance exercise while on
    >>low carb, my muscles have 'remodeled' to now be almost entirely
    >>slow-twitch (slow twitch fibers don't need carbs, fast twitch do). The
    >>proportion of slow-twitch has increased, replacing fast-twitch fibers.
    >>When on low carb, the now minority fast-twitchers lay dormant, and
    >>don't do much of anything, because they have no glycogen, their fuel of
    >>choice. When I give them enough fuel, they spring back to life. But
    >>now, there just aren't enough of them, and they have become inefficient
    >>through disuse, thus they fatigue very quickly, and send out pain
    >>signals telling my brain to stop whatever it is I am doing. So
    >>basically my theory is that by training while on low carb, my muscles
    >>have become so efficient at burning fat and ketones, they've lost the
    >>ability to effectively utilize glycogen.
    >>

    >
    >
    >


    --
    Rudy - Remove the Z from my address to respond.

    "It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees!"
    -Emiliano Zapata

    Check out the a.s.d.l-c FAQ at:
    http://www.grossweb.com/asdlc/faq.htm
     
  14. "Joe the Aroma" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >I thought it was a sign of potassium deficiency?
    >
    >


    in my case it was.....................taking two potassium 99mg pills
    daily seems to do the trick!
     
  15. Joe the Aroma wrote:
    >
    > I thought it was a sign of potassium deficiency?


    I wonder about the ratio more than the amount. Josh reports
    using plenty of lite salt so he doesn't lack potassium. But
    maybe the carbier food is also high in sodium and that
    extra sodium is causing an imbalance? Kidneys are
    evolved to eject vast amounts of sodium (so much so I
    believe that human ancestors spent a million years on the
    shoreline eating salty sea food) but how fast can they
    adjust an imbalance?
     
  16. joshv

    joshv Guest

    Roger Zoul wrote:
    >
    > Going LC won't rob your body of muscle fibers it needs to do certain
    > everyday activity that involves your muscles. Look elsewhere for your
    > solution or just don't eat crap. There's plenty of LC alternatives around,
    > you know.


    Oh yeah, I know avoiding the crap is the best plan, and damn, these
    cramps are one hell of an incentive. But I worry that there may be
    something else wrong here, or that low-carbing has permanently altered
    by metabolism in some irreversible (or slow to reverse) way.
     
  17. joshv

    joshv Guest

    I am sure genetics plays a role - and at the top we are talking
    fractions of a percentage points difference in performance between the
    best and the also-rans.

    Whose to say you couldn't restructure your musculator to that of a
    sprinters? But to be competitive you'd also have to have the mechanics
    and body structure of a sprinter as well - that's genetic.


    Pat wrote:
    > : " The body is constantly restructuring the musculature, within a time
    > : span of a week or two, and thus is very susceptible to environmental
    > : changes. If there is a sudden change in the use of a group of muscles
    > : (from exercise, for instance), the body quickly responds by structuring
    > : the muscle filaments to meet the new demands placed on it. This
    > : remodeling occurs not by changing the number of muscle fibers, but by
    > : changing their size and function."
    >
    >
    > I am hugely skeptical of this report. If it is so easy to change the muscle
    > type, then why do we see certain body types winning the sprints and others
    > winning the marathons? We never see a world class runner doing the 1500
    > meters, say, and then deciding to become a marathoner and being successful.
    > You don't see the Ethiopians winning the sprints, either. If it is so easy
    > to change muscle type, then horses could be trained to be champions and all
    > that blood-line breeding would be unnecessary. Some sly horse breeder would
    > have figured all of this out years ago!
    >
    > Your theory that diet alone could switch muscle fibers from fast twitch to
    > slow twitch, etc. falls in with this same theory. I think that if some
    > muscle restructuring is being done, it is on a really small scale and
    > nothing body-wide that would be a tremendous change. For example, if I swim
    > the backstroke a lot, I feel the difference in my triceps immediately but
    > not in my calf muscles. That is a muscle-specific workout and not an entire
    > body change of musculature.
    >
    > Pat in TX
     
  18. joshv

    joshv Guest

    RRzVRR wrote:
    > It could be from a deficiency of any of the electrolytes:
    > magnesium, potassium, calcium or sodium. But given that he says
    > it happens when he switches to eating a greater amount of carbs
    > and that he also does endurance activities, I would guess the
    > cramps could be due to dehydration. After being LC and possibly
    > having lower levels of glycogen storage, greater carb intake
    > leads to greater glycogen storage, glycogen storage will take
    > extra water (3-4g pre gram of glycogen stored) might cause
    > dehydration cramping.
    >


    I really doubt this, as I have no other signs of dehydration. I'd
    expect my pee to be orange (it isn't, it's nice and clear). I'd expect
    to feel a lack of energy (I don't). I'd expect my lips to get dry and
    cracked (they don't). Perhaps there is something more local happening
    at the muscle level though.
     
  19. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    joshv wrote:
    :: Roger Zoul wrote:
    :::
    ::: Going LC won't rob your body of muscle fibers it needs to do certain
    ::: everyday activity that involves your muscles. Look elsewhere for
    ::: your solution or just don't eat crap. There's plenty of LC
    ::: alternatives around, you know.
    ::
    :: Oh yeah, I know avoiding the crap is the best plan, and damn, these
    :: cramps are one hell of an incentive. But I worry that there may be
    :: something else wrong here, or that low-carbing has permanently
    :: altered by metabolism in some irreversible (or slow to reverse) way.

    I worry that something else is wrong; it could be dehydration as Rudy
    mentioned, cause eating carbs does replete glycogen. I'd had muscles get
    really get pumped hard when working out after eating carbs.
    Based on your description of the pain, I'd suggest you see a doctor, but
    don't mention eating LC, cause that will likely get you some nonsense
    solution/reason.
     
  20. Roger Zoul

    Roger Zoul Guest

    joshv wrote:
    :: RRzVRR wrote:
    ::: It could be from a deficiency of any of the electrolytes:
    ::: magnesium, potassium, calcium or sodium. But given that he says
    ::: it happens when he switches to eating a greater amount of carbs
    ::: and that he also does endurance activities, I would guess the
    ::: cramps could be due to dehydration. After being LC and possibly
    ::: having lower levels of glycogen storage, greater carb intake
    ::: leads to greater glycogen storage, glycogen storage will take
    ::: extra water (3-4g pre gram of glycogen stored) might cause
    ::: dehydration cramping.
    :::
    ::
    :: I really doubt this, as I have no other signs of dehydration. I'd
    :: expect my pee to be orange (it isn't, it's nice and clear). I'd
    :: expect to feel a lack of energy (I don't). I'd expect my lips to
    :: get dry and cracked (they don't). Perhaps there is something more
    :: local happening at the muscle level though.

    Just based on the color of your pee, I'd agree with you. See a doc!
     
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