Why do we suffer from headaches when we transition from a high-processed carbohydrate diet to a high protein diet? Many weight loss surgery patients are asking this.
There are, actually, several reasons for headaches when abiding a high protein, low carb diet. More importantly, there are several little things we can do to relieve the headaches:
First, when we transition from a processed carbohydrate diet to one rich in protein as advised by most weight loss surgery (bariatric) doctors and dieticians we increase our intake of tryptophan. A short list of foods high in tryptophan includes cheese, meat, nuts, and soy. Ingestion of tryptophan releases serotonin in the brain, which is considered a vasoconstrictor: it tightens our blood vessels. In modest amounts this helps us feel good; but in greater 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 weight loss surgery eating rhythm: 2B/1B (2 Bites Protein/1 Bite Carbohydrate). Here are some smart food choices for your weight loss surgery diet::
Next, we absolutely must be certain to supplement our diet with essential vitamins and minerals, and in this list I personally include herbal supplements that centuries of human use have proved beneficial to our health and well-being. Please review the list of supplements:
Feverfew: 200-300 milligrams daily
Ginger: 1,500 milligrams taken in 3 (500-milligram) doses daily
Magnesium: 1,000 milligrams a day (WLS post-ops are known to be deficient of magnesium)
Calcium with Vitamin D: 1,000 milligrams daily
Vitamin B6: 50-100 milligrams daily
Vitamin B Complex as prescribed by your doctor, oral, sublingual or injected
If you wake in the morning with a headache I encourage you to have a serving of Emergen-C. I strongly believe Emergen-C is healthful to us because in a single dose you get 60mg magnesium, 200mg potassium; 60mg sodium; 50mg calcium carbonate; (your electrolytes); in addition to vitamin B6 and B12; vitamin C, niacin, thiamin, zinc, and few others. Our little gastric bypass and gastric-banded tummies can absorb this supplement rapidly and it is not difficult or painful to take. If you have not tried Emergen-C 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 nutrition.
If your headaches are chronic and you suspect more than the weight loss surgery high protein diet please keep a headache diary in an effort to identify the cause of the headaches. Dr. Alex Duarte suggestions tracking these things:
Diet – Diet and food allergy is the most prevalent cause of headache.
Hormones – Fluctuating hormone levels are known to cause frequent headache.
Weather – Changes in barometric pressure and other weather conditions can trigger headaches.
Stress – Frequent cause of headaches.
Change in Routine – Disruption of regular routine (such as change in diet) is known to cause headache.
Dental Problems or Endodontic surgery are known to cause headaches
Sensory Stimuli – sight, smell, and hearing can cause headaches.
Hypoglycemia causes headache.
Herbal remedies for headaches are, in my opinion, more effective and less disruptive than chemical OTC remedies. Try supplementing your diet with Feverfew, Ginger, Ginko Biloba, Chamomile, Capsaicin, and/or Valerian.