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I need a lot of help, 7 years of insomnia (I CANNOT SLEEP WITHOUT TAKING MANY DRUGS!) and constipation

by (134)
Updated about 23 hours ago
Created March 09, 2014 at 9:35 PM

I have dealt with issues of chronic insomnia and constipation for at least 7 years now. Without taking several drugs, I CANNOT SLEEP AT ALL!!! (Even after doing things like yoga, drinking tea, taking a hot bath, exercising, etc.) I have seen several doctors but have not gotten any help, every doctor is clueless. I am wondering who in the world has any clue what is going on with my body??? What do you think?

here are all of my symptoms:

  • A resonating heartbeat pulsation sensation 24/7 (I can hear this no matter what) which prevents sleep, contributes to a state of eternal restlessness and causes me to wake up and not fall back asleep after I take several supplements so as to initiate sleep (listed below.)
  • I am greatly fatigued and unable to concentrate during the day.
  • Really itchy ear canals. Earwax is produced excessively.
  • A consistent feeling of bloating
  • Very foul smelling flatulence
  • Itchy anal canal
  • Inconsistent bowel movements, often indicative of a certain degree of constipation (almost always rocky and chunky, almost never "ideal".)
  • Frequent thirst and urination (assuming this is a result of indigestion, which would stimulate thirst)
  • A general yellowing of the skin (I have had ultrasounds and blood-work that show I do NOT have jaundice or any gallbladder problems.)

Also, here is a description of a typical daily Paleo diet which I have been on since September 2012:

  1. For breakfast: 2-3 plantains fried in pure palm oil, half package of chicken hearts fried. Seasoned only with salt, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary and sage.
  2. I snack throughout the day on: blueberries, plantain chips (fried in palm oil and salted), grapes, etc.
  3. For dinner: Often just nothing or beef liver (conventional) or chicken drumsticks (conventional) and Brussels sprouts (conventional) cooked in organic olive oil or coconut oil, seasoned only with black pepper, turmeric, salt, marjoram, thyme, oregano, rosemary and sage
I supplement on these daily: Taurine (3g), Schiff Knock-Out (calcium, vitamin B6, melatonine, glycine, l-theanine, valerian extract, GABA), SAM-E (400mg), l-theanine (400mg) ginger root (2.2 grams 3-4 times a day), busPIRone (Buspar) 15 mg once a day, Theanine Serine (Relora, taurine, L-theanine, Holy Basil Leaf Extract, magnesium) and daily essential enzymes, 2-6 grams daily. I also eat probiotic saurkraut daily, and supplement on Vitamin D (10,000 IU) in the mornings.

Ultrasounds, allergy tests, stool sample tests, blood work, a sleep study have all ruled out these issues:

  • No potential vitamin or mineral deficiency
  • No Intolerances or allergies
  • TSH and liver tests came back NORMAL.
  • NO H. Pylori, Candida, intestinal parasites or other bacterial "invasion"
  • Negative for sleep apnea

Can you help me figure out what is wrong with my body??? Thank you!

Note: These symptoms began after I had took 3 months (x2 a day) of deoxycyline and minocycline for acne. This started with severe constipation and eventually grew to depression, insomnia and severe eczema. Symptoms greatly improved after starting the Paleo diet. Symptoms appear to greatly improve in the summer despite supplementing on 10,000 IU Vitamin D daily.

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4393 · March 17, 2014 at 1:42 AM

thx for responding +1

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17103 · March 16, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Vitamin D and Vitamin A compete for the same receptor. If you're high in one, you should have some of the other to avoid toxicity. You want D in the day time since that's when you get sunlight, so A would be best at night.

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55 · March 15, 2014 at 8:14 PM

bump...

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2944 · March 13, 2014 at 1:20 PM

Plus, there doesn't seem to be a lot of energy in the diet...

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529 · March 12, 2014 at 9:51 AM

A core principle of Paleo is eating a diet with great variety. It can help balance nutrients and toxins and make supplementation much less necessary.

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4393 · March 12, 2014 at 5:40 AM

or, if you can only do blood, do an AM & PM cortisol draw

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4393 · March 12, 2014 at 5:39 AM

Owen, do a 4 x saliva cortisol test to get a daily snapshot. Google for details

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134 · March 12, 2014 at 5:05 AM

That is typically how I eat everyday. What do you mean?

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134 · March 11, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Thank you, I agree with all that you have said, however I am having trouble removing these supplements from my diet. I desperately want to no longer be on supplements, however I have strong difficulty falling asleep without them, and I get sick quickly and become sad and irritable without vitamin D. How do you suggest I sleep without these? Yoga, etc has not helped me sleep on my own

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4393 · March 10, 2014 at 11:04 PM

...any reason for the taking the retinol at night...

...or is it more to do with taking it away from the D3

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5 · March 10, 2014 at 4:38 AM

You can get a blood test done to measure the amount of cortisol you have. You can also take Now Super Cortisol supplement.

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134 · March 10, 2014 at 3:40 AM

Thanks.

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134 · March 10, 2014 at 3:39 AM

Thanks Rachel! It does sound like me... would be interested in ruling it out. Have any suggestions besides licorice root? Any tests I can take as well? I have had a TSH test but that came back negative.

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4393 · March 10, 2014 at 3:04 AM

ok. as raydawg mentioned, make sure you balance with retinol (vitamin A). Paul Jaminet wrote about the intake ratio/balance somewhere, tho it may have been in his book (& not on the web site). & there is also Vit K to balance as well...

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134 · March 10, 2014 at 2:52 AM

I agree with you Daz, I have been trying to take less. The problem is that there is practically no sun where I live for 80% of the year and whenever I try to reduce or get off of it, I am miserable: after a few days I start to get sick and I get really sad. Vitamin D I suppose is my antidepressant and my immune system. From the symptom list, hypervitaminosis D does seem to describe my symptoms fairly well. But those are generic symptoms. As well, all blood-work that I had done last month (I have been on vit. D for a few years) came back normal.

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4393 · March 10, 2014 at 2:48 AM

hi @raydawg, any reason for the taking the retinol at night.

i would be interested to know more, if you have any more info, post it up...thx

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4393 · March 10, 2014 at 2:31 AM

10,000 IU D3 is quite a lot. have you had your blood level tested to make sure you are still within a good range.

if you think/know your blood level is high, here are a few links on Vit D toxicity symptoms, may be worth a check to see if anything gels,

vitamindcouncil-am-i-getting-too-much-vitamin-d

wiki/Hypervitaminosis_D

wiki/Hypercalcaemia (calcium blood test)

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5 · March 10, 2014 at 1:51 AM

also low cortisol causes inflammation which can lead to eczema

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134 · March 09, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Stool tests have been negative for parasites. I tend to eat nothing past 5 and go to bed at 9 (I am not that hungry.) I have had chronic insomnia prior to supplementing on taurine and l-theanine, but I will still nonetheless keep it on the DL. I already take Vitamin D in the morning only and often balance it with liver in the afternoon. I feel like I have done everything I can... and yet I still have all of these symptoms. Sigh :(

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134 · March 09, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Thanks for the reply. I get much PS in the morning chicken hearts I eat and I do get a good high quality amount of omega-3's in the wild shrimp and the high quality organic first cold pressed unrefined olive oil I consume regularly. I am NOT overweight or a diabetic (I have had blood tests done, my blood sugar is normal.

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2319 · September 22, 2014 at 11:45 AM

have you had your iodine levels tested?  My spouse has problems with anxiety and histamine and his level was very, very low. 

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17103 · March 16, 2014 at 7:02 PM

Not sure if this will help or not, but on http://www.mthfrheds.com/ it indicates that folate deficiency can cause insomnia.

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2944 · March 13, 2014 at 1:40 PM

It may be cliched and is often a go to thing for a lot of people as far as I can see, but what you say looks to be like it could be SIBO or fodmap intolerance... does your stool test rule out the former...? You are eating a lot of brussle spouts and kraut... Especially the sprouts would be good to eliminate for a period and see how the digestive issues go afterwards... Alongside some other things...

For me you don't seem ot be eating enough in general. You say you've tried exercising, yoga etc... Have you tried eating more...? Not your usual foods... s has been suggested perhaps it's a good idea to vary things up, not eat the same foods all the time... You may have sensitivity and be missing nutrients , despite the zealous supplementing...

You're using many spices frequently... Perhaps it might be worthwhile to eliminate them for a time... You could be sensitive... I know someone who has had major digestive and overall heatlh issues ain the past who after healing a lot with diet and lifestlyle change, has very negative symptomatic expeireince when having even a pinch of black pepper of paprika... There can be quite a lot of mould and alfatoxins on black pepper.. I think you should consider elminating these spices and change what appears to be your thinking with regard to diet... If you've been eating those foods for a while, I'd say completely change. And have a time eating a lower residue diet... Perhaps resistant starth and fermented foods, drinks like warer kefir could be helpful, although i'd be careful to watch symptoms as the fodmaps and insoluble fibre in say kraut could be an issue, or the yeasts, bacteria encouraging further proliferation if you have SIBO... But perhaps they could be helpful in crowding out anything down there..

I think there will be a lot more to the picture than this and some of the suggestions made int eh thread already are good ones... Think about the whole picture and your lifestyle... There are things in your envrinoment and perhaps your psyche that have conitbued to you exper iencing things as you are now... Don't try so hard i'd say... Relex with the supplements - you sound dependent to some extent...? try the honey thing maybe, carbs......

If there is tl;dr version off this post, it would be :d itch the supplements and eat more.... Relax, stop trying so hard. You have it in you to be better/more well...

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175 · March 13, 2014 at 12:58 PM

@Owen

I have severe insomnia. Decided to give up pharma last summer and found nothing had changed. So I tried alternative stuff.

Here's what works for me, taken in stages before bedtime:

- glucose/fructose: 1/2 a banana.

- magnesium: high density solution of epsom salts in water - rub it in to chest, belly & ribs and leave for 20 mins.

- glucose/fructose: 1 tablespoon dark honey.

I also take a Relora pill, but I think the above steps are the effective bit, and I'd say the glucose/glycogen repletion is the crucial process. Overall I give it 80% for falling asleep, staying asleep, getting back to sleep, and waking up rested.

For research Google "sethroberts honey" and "epsom salt spray".

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4393 · March 13, 2014 at 1:08 AM

the mention of cortisol by @rachelliott reminded me of this article, How Adrenals Can Wreak Havoc.

at the same time i tested with constantly high cortisol back in early 2011 via 4 x saliva tests (in one day) & also later confirmed with an AM & PM cortisol blood test, i also did the 'pupil test' described in the above article and 'failed'...my pupils were unable to stay constricted for 30 seconds under the bright light from the side, they would dilate & then pulse, very weird to look at.

The pupil test is described under 'Test Two' in the article. All you need is a small bright torch, a mirror and a dark room. Give it a go, i'd be interested to know if you 'fail' it.

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55 · March 15, 2014 at 8:14 PM

bump...

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134 · March 12, 2014 at 5:06 AM

I cannot eat tomatoes, garlic or onion. I react with severe eczema if I do.

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529 · March 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Are you eating well? I know you didn't list every food item, but beyond the seasoning and oils, it seems like your typical day of eating is very limited.

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134 · March 12, 2014 at 5:05 AM

That is typically how I eat everyday. What do you mean?

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39841 · March 11, 2014 at 1:48 AM

You might try doing a supplement washout period. I find that supplements will creep into my routine and problems will slowly crop up and only resolve when I remove them. A big mistake is to play whack-a-mole with one supplement after another trying to correct the side effects of the last one.

Might also be worth it to enter your diet into something like fitday and see if there are any glaring shortfalls and correct them with different foods rather than supplements.

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320 · March 10, 2014 at 4:39 AM

I would like to suggest that you ditch all or almost all of the supplements you are taking. You have a collection of substances that you have no idea what they are doing to your physiology.

For instance, valerian, taurine, and Vitamin D can all have paradoxical effects like raised blood pressure, heart rate, and insomnia. Raydawg suggested fish oil, rhodiola, and phosphatidylserine, but these three can also stimulate the system for a percentage of folks.

I have been down this trail myself. Vitamin D was a major issue for me. I cannot take D supplements as they jack my system up with increased heart rate, insomnia, higher than my normal blood pressure, and a feeling of anxiety. I use a Sperti Vitamin D lamp and get my winter D from this UV lamp.

Also, you are taking a lot of Vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements can cause the thirst.

Phosphatidylserine, rhodiola, and valerian were okay and worked for a while and then they all caused a paradoxical effect of increasing insomnia. They were all like coffee. You can research online what I'm posting about here on all of these supplements.

It is impossible to figure out what's going on with you when you have all of these inputs, any number of which can be causing some or all or your insomnia.

That's where I would start. You need to isolate what's going on and the place to start is that raft of stuff you are ingesting.

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134 · March 11, 2014 at 12:06 AM

Thank you, I agree with all that you have said, however I am having trouble removing these supplements from my diet. I desperately want to no longer be on supplements, however I have strong difficulty falling asleep without them, and I get sick quickly and become sad and irritable without vitamin D. How do you suggest I sleep without these? Yoga, etc has not helped me sleep on my own

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198 · March 10, 2014 at 4:18 AM

I'd add the fermented foods as Raydawg suggests along with the resistant starches, like potato starch, etc. Check out the Resistant Starch thread on MDA or http://coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/

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5 · March 10, 2014 at 1:49 AM

It sounds like you have low cortisol from HPA fatigue. Low cortisol can cause upset digestion, inflammation, fatigue, and thirst and frequent urination (b/c of salt and therefore water leaving body). Your body keeps producing more cortisol at night to make up for the lack of it. Because of this, you can't sleep. There are many things you can do to help with adrenal fatigue. I actually just ordered some licorice root to help myself for this very problem. (beware I haven't taken it yet so this is purely what I've read off the internet)

Licorice is supposed to prevent the liver from breaking down cortisol, this way it lasts longer and your body doesn't need to produce as much of it. This will give your HPA axis a break. However, licorice will raise blood pressure so it is not for everybody (keep in mind low cortisol can lower blood pressure so this isn't necessarily a bad thing). You're supposed to take it three times a day.

You can also have a doctor prescribe hydrocortisone. Protein and exercise increase cortisol. Personally, I don't think exercise is the answer - after exercise I feel great and then an hour later (when my cortisol insanely crashes) I feel like I need to sleep for 12 hours.

Good luck on your sleep though!

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5 · March 10, 2014 at 4:38 AM

You can get a blood test done to measure the amount of cortisol you have. You can also take Now Super Cortisol supplement.

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134 · March 10, 2014 at 3:39 AM

Thanks Rachel! It does sound like me... would be interested in ruling it out. Have any suggestions besides licorice root? Any tests I can take as well? I have had a TSH test but that came back negative.

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5 · March 10, 2014 at 1:51 AM

also low cortisol causes inflammation which can lead to eczema

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134 · March 09, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Could it be the plantains and Brussels sprouts of my daily diet?? I have heard that when cooked these can contribute to constipation. Should I switch to only raw fruits and vegetables???

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17103 · March 09, 2014 at 10:02 PM

I'd ease off on the taurine and theanine. Taurine is in red bull and other energy drinks for a reason - it raises your energy levels. Theanine is a bit calming, but it is still tea's version of a caffeine analogue, and might interfere with sleep.

These might not help you, but it might be worth a try.

If you take vitamin D, be sure you take it in the morning and not at night, and balance it out with the retinol version (not beta carroteen!) at night.

Avoid oils like coconut oil, or even fish oil at night. Maybe try some carbs at night. Maybe a roasted sweet potato an hour before bed.

Frequent thirst/urination might be a sign of diabetes, you checked that out? It won't necessarily interfere with sleep, but might help to get a cheap $20 glucometer with maybe 10 strips and test yourself by testing several times a) before eating anything when you wake up, b) after a high sugar meal 15, 30, 45, 1h, 2hrs after. You should see low levels for a, then a big spike and a drop for b. Your glucose level should drop after the big spike and might go even lower than at a) if everything's fine.

That itchiness might be parasite related. Get that checked out. I've heard, but not verified that "drinking ocean water" can get rid of intestinal worms since they're not used to high salt. Don't use ocean water, but rather a cup of salty water and see what happens. If you see wiggling in the toilet bowl that did the trick.

Try some home made fermented foods too... kraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, dill pickles, etc. or maybe some SBO (soil based organisms) prebiotics.

If you're experiencing high stress, and certainly prolonged insomina counts, you might try Dr. Sara Gottfried's suggestion to destress:

  • Fish Oil (Omega-3): 1,000 – 4,000 mg/day
  • Phosphatidylserine (PS): 400-800 mg/day
  • Rhodiola: 200 mg once/twice per day

B120d28d9620626012de121b6075ce51
134 · March 09, 2014 at 10:18 PM

Thanks for the reply. I get much PS in the morning chicken hearts I eat and I do get a good high quality amount of omega-3's in the wild shrimp and the high quality organic first cold pressed unrefined olive oil I consume regularly. I am NOT overweight or a diabetic (I have had blood tests done, my blood sugar is normal.

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4393 · March 10, 2014 at 2:48 AM

hi @raydawg, any reason for the taking the retinol at night.

i would be interested to know more, if you have any more info, post it up...thx

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4393 · March 10, 2014 at 11:04 PM

...any reason for the taking the retinol at night...

...or is it more to do with taking it away from the D3

B120d28d9620626012de121b6075ce51
134 · March 09, 2014 at 10:19 PM

Stool tests have been negative for parasites. I tend to eat nothing past 5 and go to bed at 9 (I am not that hungry.) I have had chronic insomnia prior to supplementing on taurine and l-theanine, but I will still nonetheless keep it on the DL. I already take Vitamin D in the morning only and often balance it with liver in the afternoon. I feel like I have done everything I can... and yet I still have all of these symptoms. Sigh :(

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