21 Y/O w Dark Circles
So about a year ago I really developed bad dark circles and bloodshot eyes, I sneeze a little bit here and there - so obviously point to allergies. It started when I went gluten free and did low carb for a while but then it never went away. I think stress really triggered it as I was really stressed and although I have really made strides in my stress levels they are still there (although I will admit I still have a ways to go).
I am really athletic (ripped, strong, fast) with a 185lb build and I'd say 10% body fat (visible abs). I work very hard and sometimes am too much of a perfectionist. The only time they seem to go down is when I'm taking my enzymes (I take Trienza to help with any extra gluten/casein) and really only eating meats, veggie, and oats (I'm a high carber about ~300g per day sometimes more as I run a lot because I am required to for at least one more year). Things like nuts and low carb and eating anything in sight seem to aggravate the allergies. I also lose weight decently easily if I don't keep up with the calories intensely.
I also sleep from 10-6:30 most days and 11-8 or 9 on the weekends so it's not sleep that is the issue. Although I'll admit to depressions at times, some days it gets worse, others no so much (anyone with experience on depression and dark circles and beating it?).
I've read the Chris Kesser story about pizza and beer and about social isolation. I think I may be dealing with some of that because I don't go out sometimes in order to avoid your typical pizza and beer with the guys. I'm worried that if I go into that more or less I will just make the circles worse, however it is possible that the circles will get better with a worse diet and less stress? I just don't know how I can make my diet any better besides trying GAPS or SCD but I can't do that at University and I'm here for another 1.5 years at least.
I would really appreciate some helps fellow MDA readers. =)
I think it's simple. You exercise too much. Tested your pulse rate and temperature? Dial back on the exercising and you should see an improvement.
I stopped exercising for a period of about half a year and things just got worse. I don't think that is the problem. I can't dial down on the exercise because my tuition is covered by my athletic performance.
My pulse is usually 61-63 but I have high blood pressure somewhat - but my doctor thinks its stress mediated. Usually about 140/60 (he thinks so because only the top number is high which he says can be easily caused by anxiety). Could it just be that I'm not getting certain type of sleep because I am somewhat depressed and stressed?
Temperature was okay and so were thyroid tests (yes I did free T3 and T4 and the naturopath I saw said both were in optimal range, and my TSH was about 1.3ish).
Do you feel well rested after waking? And, yes, stress and depression can cause that reaction.
High blood pressure, how is your electrolyte balance, specifically because you're an athlete. Low salt intake?
Sometimes I am tired, but for the most part my energy levels are decent. Definitely not like they used to be, as I am sure that is related to the mental component.
Salt intake does not seem to factor into my blood pressure, low or high.
Considering how it started when I was eating almost no carbs, all organic meats, some berries, great fats, nuts, tons of veggies and greens - I am a little weary anymore that it is my diet.
I have enough energy to crank out a good workout in the gym and on the track. I bench 225lbs and can sprint a 52 second 400m so I think it may just be related to the depression. I'm definitely a Type A personality, 4.0 GPA, 'perfect diet', etc - but lots of people also see me as high strung out and would like to see me just relax a bit. I seem to stress over diet and relationships mainly. I think it mainly started with girl problems - which I think the Chris Kesser Pizza and Beer story relates to me.
I think you're just overworking yourself still. If you're going to be avidly exercising, you need to minimize the stress that occurs with it, which means enough rest during exercising and after. If you can't breathe comfortably through your nose during exercise, you're working too hard, and compromising your co2 levels. It sounds like, not only do you exercise frequently, but you work very hard at every aspect of your life. This perfectionist mentality could also be causing your depression.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Something that helped me when I was sprinting and bike riding, was high quality sugar and protein before exercise, sugar during exercise, and a b1 supplement before and after.
You're not following a Ray Peat diet, probably, but Cliff writes something interesting on exercising here:
Well, taking 6 months off exercise just made things worse. I sleep a ton and eat a ton. I'm not sure what else I can being to improve that rest after - except for decreasing stress which I'm not sure yet if that will include dietary changes.
I really can't change my exercise because I'm on a team and have certain responsibilities to perform. I've tried sugar before and after exercise also.
I appreciate the advice, and I think your right about the perfectionist attitude. I'm thinking maybe I just need to take a break and eat well most of the time when I can by myself and then enjoy whatever with my friends.
yeah, there is a balance. Don't let orthorexia get in the way of relaxing and spending time with friends, especially during the prime of your life. Plenty of time to worry about those things later in life.
Thanks for the advice. =) I'm really just hoping to hear some success stories more than anything and some reinforcement that this is what I should follow versus something else like dietary modifications or else wise.
I think the biggest sign would be the high top BP number despite being in great running and overall athletic shape, quit puzzling - but I guess also staring me in the face.
I don't know how true this is, but the traditional Chinese medicine view of dark circles is that they are related to the liver. Liver function is linked somehow to quality of sleep, and then anything that stresses the liver too much can cause them- lack of sleep, drinking, etc.
I'm not sure how that applies to you, but I thought I'd throw it out there.