Dizziness could be related to inadequate water intake, but more often is due to low sodium (salt) and/or potassium. Of course, it’s always possible that another condition is causing the problem, not weight loss.
Sodium helps regulate the body’s fluid balance. Sodium is present in the foods we eat, usually in adequate amounts to meet ordinary demands. Sodium levels may become depleted, however, when excessive body fluid is lost during times of profuse sweating, diarrhea and vomiting.
Normal sodium intake is usually enough to maintain an adequate amount of liquid in our blood vessels, and thus to maintain a normal blood pressure. The total amount of liquid within the blood vessels decreases, however, when people are on a low-carbohydrate weight loss program. As a result, blood pressure can drop, especially when a person stands suddenly from a seated or horizontal position, causing weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. This is called orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure resulting from a change in position).
Low sodium levels can cause symptoms that are similar to potassium deficiency: dizziness, fatigue, lack of energy, muscle weakness and/or muscle cramps. To prevent this, particularly if you are already taking potassium, we encourage participants to add regular table salt to their food and/or drink one cup of bouillon twice a day during Weight Loss. The resulting restoration of normal blood volume sometimes results in a temporary “water weight” increase, but any such gain is soon reversed as weight loss proceeds.
It’s prudent to monitor your blood pressure during the program, especially if you experience any of the symptoms described.
In addition to their multi-vitamin and mineral tablets, Lindora clinic patients take a prescription-strength potassium supplement during Weight Loss to maintain normal potassium levels – potassium chloride 750 mg. (10 mEq.). Potassium is also available over-the-counter in lower doses. Many people who are doing the Lean for Life program without medical supervision tell us they take an over-the-counter potassium gluconate supplement during Weight Loss 1 to prevent symptoms. Most report they feel best when taking a 99 mg. tablet three times a day with meals. Participants who are especially active tend to need more than three tablets a day, as needed. Table salt and salt substitutes also contain potassium.
If you are being treated for a chronic disease or high blood pressure, or are taking potassium-sparing diuretics you should not take extra potassium supplements without first consulting your physician or health-care professional.