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  • Anxiety and nutrition

    Ok, so for the past 2 days, I have been experiencing anxiety. These are not "panic attacks" (I know what those are, had them over a decade ago when I was an alcoholic/pot-smoker), but more of a low to mid-level anxiety that doesn't stop. Basically, tightness in the chest, and rapid heartbeat. This has been going on for about 48 hours. I have no sources of stress that I am aware of in my life right now. I'm off school for the summer, work only a couple hours a day at most, and generally have it very easy!

    I can't help but think that this is diet / nutrition related. I ate primally for a couple years before, and never had this issue. then slacked off for about a year, gained a little weight, etc. I have recently started eating primally again, about 2 weeks ago, and felt awesome. then, 2 days ago, anxiety.

    I have read that deficiencies in magnesium and/or various b vitamins can cause anxiety. I have looked at my food logs for the past few days, and they did look a little low in magnesium, so I ate a bunch of spinach, and took a magnesium supplement to no avail. I may be slightly low in b vitamins, but probably not. I eat lots of red meat and eggs. however, I plan to eat some liver or something today. I DO NOT consume caffeine, haven't for years.

    I have also recently started lifting weights again. doing some stressful exercises like squats and deadlifts. I do not overtrain with the weights. I lift 2 days a week, using compound movements. I also fly-fish and spends lots of time walking around in the mountains.

    If I am not nutritionally deficient in some area, I wonder if the recent lifestyle change has stressed my body / mind? or.... has the recent change caused some sort of hormonal / metabolic shift that could be causing this. I've also had a ridiculous amount of energy for the past week or so (due to primal eating) so I wonder if this excess energy has just manifested itself as anxiety...

    also interesting: my sleep has been very poor for the past couple of weeks. I've been getting 4-5 hours a night max, and do not feel as if I've suffered from it. This is due to having too much energy. Even at 2 or 3 in the morning, I don't feel tired at all. A couple of nights I have stayed up 'til 6 am! It's crazy, but my body just does NOT want to go to sleep, too much energy.

    anybody have any ideas or experience with any of this???

  • #2
    getting enough omega 3 and fat from good sources and not fat from storebought meat? just me but i notice if i overeat like market bought pork fat and chicken fat my anxiety problems etc act up. i have a mental illness though & anxiety/panic attacks based around food, so i have to pay close attention to making sure i get lots of omega 3 it REALLY REALLY does help, those studies aint lying!

    same with the sleep... dont eat 2 hours before bed, not b/c of weight gain but because of brain chemical release and stabilization. if you are in the middle of digesting and go to bed youll be up all night. i have the same problem. i am up ALL night some nights wide awake ready to GO GO GO

    also, it may just be the shift to fat burning too....hmmm
    Get on my Level
    http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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    • #3
      I suffered from GAD for about 5 years, and part of my recovery was eating better, and avoiding stuff like caffeine and tobacco, and getting enough sleep.

      Those habits really help, but what did the trick for me is that Anxiety is not a disease in the clasical term of the word is a behavioral condition, so after seeing a shrink who wanted to bomb me out of GAD with pills and more pills, I decided to take things on my own hands.

      And im totally free know because of it.

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      • #4
        I'd do a vitamin/mineral check just incase anyway...

        But low-carb generally up-regulates the catecholamines, which could be giving you energy... but Im not sure about keeping you up for that long... having any weird cravings?
        sigpic
        In Pursuit of Healthiness, Only to Achieve Happiness!: www.livingnotsurviving.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Primal Trevor View Post
          Basically, tightness in the chest, and rapid heartbeat.
          My way out of this was breathwork/meditation.
          I think a combination of bad posture and poor lifestlye turned me into a "lazy breather". I found spending a few minutes each day focusing on activating the core and lungs, breathing deeply and slowly, really balanced out my systems. No more racing heartbeat or shortness of breath, or the accompying panic feelings.
          Not sure if this applies to you, good luck
          sigpic

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          • #6
            Stopped briefly while on a roadtrip. Will try for a longer answer tonight. See my docs though for the things I take to successfully treat GAD an panic attacks. The best book on the nutritional tx of "mental" illness is Joan Matthrew-Larsons book _depression free naturally_. It's much more comprehensive than the title suggests.



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            • #7
              thanks all for your suggestions.

              MalPaz - you may be hitting on something. I have eaten a TON of grain-fed beef lately, and have had one can of sardines in the past few weeks, so my omega 3's probably are low. Also, I do tend to eat dinner late, at like 10pm. Although, I've done this for years and it never caused sleep problems before. I'm going to go to the grocery store in few hours and buy some grass-fed beef.

              FrankOcean - I had a similar experience. about 10 years ago, I had horrible panic attacks, lost my job, got put on paxil, the whole nine yards. One day, I got so tired of it and pissed off, I decided I wasn't going to take medication anymore. To my surprise, and almost instantly, I felt OK. and that was the end of it. It was weird, like I just took control of my mind back. Now, I know what caused those problems. It was a combination of heavy alcohol use and an extremely distressing family situation. The anxiety I'm experiencing now isn't anything as bad as the former was, but it's just puzzling, as there doesn't seem to be any cause for it.

              Something else: Yesterday I was up 2 lbs from the previous day. Then today, I'm down 4 lbs. So, there was apparently some mass water retention/release /fat loss that happened there.

              MeatMe - I have been making sure to breathe deeply. That was the only way I was able to go to sleep last night!

              I already feel a little bit better today. I think my metabolism is like a nuclear reactor right now. I have NO hunger.

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              • #8
                I used to live in the Pacific Northwest. It's the capital of depression related to weather. That's when I started having insane anxiety attacks, and was so depressed I needed some stupid anti depressant. In reality, I think I needed Vitamin D. I never felt I had something to be depressed about. For the most part, I would consider myself quite lucky. So, I MIGHT consider Vit. D as part of the solution.

                Also, you're not sleeping well, but you don't think that's impacting you. I might suggest that it is. You're not really well rested. And perhaps your body is anxious over that. I'm a recovering sleep deprived mom. At the height of sleep deprivation, I would wake (usually by the scream of a child) with incredible anxiety. Heart rates as if I was running. I would often get the urge to vomit. Of course when you're constantly startled out of your sleep, (can we say CORTISOL?).

                Maybe try some meditation. Anything to get into a deeper, longer sleep.

                Hope you figure it out, and you're feeling better soon!

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                • #9
                  thanks twinmama. you may be right. I generally don't sleep alot, but the past little while, it's been horrible. Add to that the new stresses of deadlifts, squats, etc, and my body should definitely be needing lots of rest and sleep. definite low omega 3 intake, possible low b-vitamins....

                  I'm glad I posted this. you guys have brought some things to my attention that I didn't consider before.

                  keep it coming....

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                  • #10
                    It's usually about fat. Try some salmon oil (omega 3) capsules.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by twinmama View Post
                      I used to live in the Pacific Northwest. It's the capital of depression related to weather. That's when I started having insane anxiety attacks, and was so depressed I needed some stupid anti depressant. In reality, I think I needed Vitamin D. I never felt I had something to be depressed about. For the most part, I would consider myself quite lucky. So, I MIGHT consider Vit. D as part of the solution.
                      absolutely!

                      Also, you're not sleeping well, but you don't think that's impacting you.
                      it almost certainly is.

                      Magnesium, zinc, b vites, inositol, taurine, tryptophan and Ω3 EFA' (and other things) can all be very helpful. It just depends on what you need.

                      I take alot to maintain mood stability and keep anxiety at bay, but not as much as I used to. FE, I rarely need the amino acids anymore but I keep them on hand just in case.

                      I definitely need the zinc and p5p daily. The fish oil. The magnesium. Looooots of magnesium. My jigsaw activated b complex.

                      K



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                      • #12
                        +1 for ciliakat!
                        Get on my Level
                        http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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                        • #13
                          +2. Especially the magnesium. But especially the vitamin d and everything else. I was a dolt and was getting about (est) 300mg of magnesium per day with low vitamin d intake for a good while and when I upped it to about 600mg and started making a point to take vitamin d and get sunlight it was like freaking shangri-la for a little while.
                          Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

                          Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Primal Trevor View Post
                            FrankOcean - I had a similar experience. about 10 years ago, I had horrible panic attacks, lost my job, got put on paxil, the whole nine yards. One day, I got so tired of it and pissed off, I decided I wasn't going to take medication anymore. To my surprise, and almost instantly, I felt OK. and that was the end of it. It was weird, like I just took control of my mind back. Now, I know what caused those problems. It was a combination of heavy alcohol use and an extremely distressing family situation. The anxiety I'm experiencing now isn't anything as bad as the former was, but it's just puzzling, as there doesn't seem to be any cause for it.

                            I don't think any of these answers will work for you because I believe it is withdrawal related and not diet related.

                            How long were you on Paxil? You cold turkeyed a very powerful, powerful drug. I must advise everyone now, do not ever do that. You are likely experiencing protracted withdrawal and yes withdrawal from paxil can take years if you have been on it awhile and especially if you cold turkeyed. The effects of withdrawal don't start in quickly because it is still circulating in you for awhile after discontinuation and your brain was rewired by it, but when the withdrawal and healing of the brain starts up it won't stop for years, especially if you withdraw wrong and especially if you had deep rooted problems that caused your need to medicate. You may have had an easy withdrawal, some do but there are countless horror stories from people who have cold turkeyed. You likely are going through waves of withdrawal and this is absolutely normal for those in their withdrawal. Tightness and anxiety that cannot be explained or controlled is a definite sign.

                            Realistically the safest way to get off it is to taper off of it for up to a year reducing the dose by a small amount every 2-4 weeks or so. Yes, it is that powerful. Do not trust doctors on this one, a 1 or 2 month taper is not safe.

                            If you withdrew years ago, I doubt you want to go back on it and do a slow taper. You may have to ride this out, unfortunately.

                            Please, go to paxilprogress.org, they will help you there. You are probably experiencing prolonged SSRI discontinuation syndrome. Hope this helps.
                            Last edited by BlazeKING; 06-28-2010, 01:48 AM.

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                            • #15
                              blazeking, I appreciate your helpfulness, but I only took paxil for about 3 weeks in the year 2001, so withdrawal is not applicable. Although, I do know someone who had a horrible withdrawal after taking it for many years. Prior to the Paxil, I had first went to a walk-in clinic. I originally thought maybe I was having heart problems. The doc informed me that I actually just had anxiety and gave me a prescription for Ativan. I did not know that Ativan is essentially the same as xanax. The ativan worked, and I took it a few times a day for a couple weeks. I definitely had some withdrawal when that bottle ran out. in fact, I pretty much flipped my wig! But again, that was 9 years ago.

                              For the past 3 nights, I have gotten a little better sleep, around 6-7 hours a night, and have felt much better. I still feel a tiny bit of chest tightness, but it's not so bad.

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