Many people will notice heart palpitations during the early phases of keto adaptation. This can be attributed to Hypoglycemia, HPA axis dysfunction, and mineral imbalances.
During HPA axis dysregulation, cortisol can become abnormally high. If it remains high, the body will develop cortisol resistance. To compensate the body begins to secrete higher amounts of adrenaline which can then cause irregular heart rhythms.
Additionally, the loss of minerals that we are about to discuss, can lead to a reduction in blood volume and pressure that can cause the heart to pump faster or even irregularly.
Supporting The HPA Axis
Like I said already, during the initial adaptation phase of a ketogenic diet, there is potential for the HPA axis to become dysregulated. During this time, it would be advantageous to take precautions to support the HPA axis as best as you can.
These are my top strategies for HPA axis support during keto-adaptation:
- Blood Sugar Balancing Strategies: Follow the blood sugar regulation strategies outlined above. Hypoglycemia is one of the primary triggers of cortisol dysregulation so address this first!
- Magnesium Supplementation: This is outlined above but I want to touch on it again here. Magnesium is powerful support for the HPA axis. Magnesium L-threonate in particular is the only form proven to be able to cross the blood-brain barrier which means it can exert its effect on the hypothalamus and pituitary glands.
- Use Adaptogenic Herbs: Although this strategy is not absolutely necessary, using adaptogenic herbs can tremendously benefit the HPA axis and help build your resiliency to stress. By supporting the HPA axis and helping to regulate cortisol levels, adaptogens may prove very helpful in mitigating HPA axis related side effects.