Weird muscle cramping



J

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 ****. 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.
 
J

Joe the Aroma

Guest
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 ****. 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.
>
 
P

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
 
S

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
 
J

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 :)
 
J

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
 
P

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
 
R

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 ****. 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.
 
J

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
 
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).
 
J

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.
 
R

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 ****. 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.
 
R

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 ****. 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
 
D

Doug Freyburger

Guest
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?
 
J

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 ****. There's plenty of LC alternatives around,
> you know.


Oh yeah, I know avoiding the **** 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.
 
J

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
 
J

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.
 
R

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 ****. There's plenty of LC
::: alternatives around, you know.
::
:: Oh yeah, I know avoiding the **** 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.
 
R

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!