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Coconut Oil, MCT oil and adrenalin, cortisol....

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  • Coconut Oil, MCT oil and adrenalin, cortisol....

    Been having trouble with heart pounding/palpitations/shortness of breath upon exertion, gets worse when I'm working out on a treadmill, or climbing stairs. It started about 2 weeks into my PB diet. I'm out of shape, previously sedentary. Doc is working with me to determine whether I have cardio issues or not. (He's in favor of low carb/high fat diets.) I'm also experiencing insomnia, and a little bit of anxiety, something that isn't normal for me. Someone on another forum said it might be from excess adrenalin due to eating low carbs. Someone else said it might be from caffeine. (I drink about 2 cups of coffee with cream per day.) But I've never had a problem with caffeine before.

    Lately I've increased my coconut oil consumption. I have about 3T per day - mostly in my cooking. Today I had a protein shake with 1 tablespoon of MCT oil. About 30 minutes later, I walked maybe 1/8 of a mile carrying some packages, and I got completely out of breath, heart racing, etc. When I got into the house, it felt as if I'd ran a couple of miles.

    Could my symptoms be from the MCT/Coconut oil? Has anyone else had similar symptoms?
    Last edited by Suzan; 04-02-2010, 01:13 PM.

  • #2
    Some people experience a heightened feeling of alertness and increased non-shivering thermogenesis, but changes in heart rate are more unusual. If you have a disregulated thyroid, the stimulatory effects of coconut oil can cause an increase in heart rate (and may cause your other symptoms as well, I don't know).
    Give me liberty. Exploration of other options will be vigorously discouraged.

    Wondering something sciencey? Ask me in my Ask a Biochemist Thread


    • #3
      I have had these issues to a lesser degree in the past. I really think that it is your body reacting to the lack of carbs. After a long enough time of using carbs as your primary fuel source, your body then freaks out when it doesn't have it. Give it some time and try increasing your calorie intake a bit to get past this initial work in period. It worked for me.


      • #4
        if i eat close to bed time and sleeping, like even 4 hours before, i sweat ALL night, i am up and alert ALL night, and i have shortness of breath.

        i prolly do have a weirdo thyorid from anorexia and unbalanced hormones etc... curious about the MCT connection... hoping eating lots of cocnut oil and the such IS a good thing?
        Get on my Level


        • #5
          I can't speak to the heart issues, but here is my .02 on the anxiety/insomnia. Eating carbs causes the release of serotonin in the brain, which is calming. When you cut way back on carbs, the body gets a chance to build more of these neurotransmitters but the actual release of them is somewhat decreased (I'm paraphrasing what I've read plus my own experience with low-carbing). What helps me make the transition to low-carb eating is that I use a couple of supplements. I use L-glutamine (amino acid) between meals if I feel low-blood-sugary, and I use 5-HTP (precursor to L-troptophan which is a precursor to serotonin) if I feel cranky or anxious. I know it's not "Primal" to use these things but they really help me. Note: some people find that taking 5-HTP close to bed time can be stimulating rather than relaxing. I don't usually take anything at bed time but if I feel tense/anxious, I might take an L-tryptophan capsule which does not have the stimulating effect for me.

          By the way, I noticed my heart working harder after walking up a hill, when I was 2 weeks into PB. I was not sure what to think about it but I decided to take it easy and cut back on exercise for a while until my body is more used to the low carb intake.
          I'm a quitter...but I'm back now.


          • #6
            I can tell you that during my first 2 weeks of eating primal I was getting some fairly strong panic attacks, which might be related to what @Canarygirl is talking about. I was overcome with some totally unrealistic fear that I was starving... yeah, sounds crazy even to type it now. I just chalked it up to my body reacting to the lack of carbs (brain trying to trick me into eating them? I don't know). Probably just before the 2 week mark they stopped completely.

            Before going primal I had insomnia and would get heart palpitations ALL the time, but I haven't had any in the last month and I'm sleeping like a baby.


            • #7
              Suzan, I am also experiencing these same issues sometimes. It seems almost intermitent, but I think its partly due to low-carb flu. It can last awhile. Think about it this way. We didn't get this way overnight, so the transition may not happen overnight either. You spend 40-50 years on a carb-binge (CW life), it makes sense that it might take awhile to get used to low-carb. Try taking some Valerian capsules for the insomnia. That helps me a lot. Keep us updated on how you feel. I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling weird sometimes.
              Carpe Diem!


              • #8
                Thanks, I will. I'm supposed to go for a cardio stress test soon.

                I'm not used to feeling anxious. I usually take Melatonin for sleep, but I think I'll go back to Valerian for a while. And I'll cut back on coffee, too.