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Brain fog/fatigue after eating anything

by (10)
Updated about 14 hours ago
Created March 18, 2013 at 5:54 AM

Hello all. I have been on a Paleo/GAPS hybrid diet since December 2012. I felt pretty good at first, but a problem I developed recently is reacting to EVERY SINGLE FOOD that I eat. It's like I am allergic to everything. After eating a heavy food like chicken, beef, liver, etc. I am very sleepy and can't think straight, so foggy, etc. I need to lay in bed for a while after my meals. Lighter foods like nuts, seeds, and veggies aren't as bad but I still feel crappy after consuming them. Even the meat stock and bone broth that is essential on GAPS makes me feel crappy and tired.

And this is not "die off". I can take mega-doses of probiotics and feel nothing. I can eat tons of fermented sauerkraut and feel nothing. So it's not a detox reaction, it's inflammation and allergies, probably leaky gut and dysbiosis. I know I have dysbiosis because carbs come out completely undigested when I go to the bathroom. The problem is, there is no elimination diet for me. I just react to food in general. What should I do? Water fast? I tried that for 5 days once and couldn't bare it. I'm at a loss. Nothing is helping. No amounts of good bacteria are helping either, it seems. I am only 16 so I really need to figure this out and get on with my life. I appreciate any feedback.

Thank you.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, digestive enzymes do not help. I ordered Betaine HCL, and will see if that helps at all.

Medium avatar
60 · May 13, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Muliple Sclerosis, adrenial fatigue or lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia may be instrumental to brain fog.

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3979 · May 12, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Prednisone... how paleo...

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15 · May 12, 2014 at 8:30 AM

What are some of the neurological disorders?

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7275 · March 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Given your descriptions above and comments below, this sounds serious. You've mentioned that you've seen many doctors about it and they say you're fine and won't help you: but can you keep pushing on that front? Track your bowel movements for a month, keep a food diary with notes and symptoms, and then go back to your doctor. You'll see the patterns more clearly that way, and the doctor will have something more concrete to go on.

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7275 · March 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

From your descriptions above and in the comment below, this sounds serious, and you should go see a doctor.

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10 · March 18, 2013 at 6:40 AM

It's not just food particles, it's food coming out the same way I chewed it up. All fruit comes out completely undigested, all leafy greens, all nuts and seeds. I am not absorbing these things at all. Some of my other symptoms are tremor in hands, only having a BM every 4-5 days, gross slimy stools that burn (sorry) bloating with everything I eat, gas pains from fruit or sugar, general weakness, constant head pressure (probably from inflammation), poor circulation, constant heart palpitations. I have seen many doctors about this and they say that I'm fine and won't help me.

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309 · June 05, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Have you looked into histamine intolerance? I'm dealing with the exact same issue and it can really ruin your life. If I don't eat, I'm fine, just hungry. But if I eat anything protein within half an hour I feel brain dead and have heavy limbs. This goes on for about 2 to 3 hours, then slowly I would get up and start moving again. But I can still feel it for the rest of the day. Also my face shrinks after this happens, people would ask me if I'm ok, that I look so tired. I've researched a lot about this, and according to Chris Kresser it turns out not only could it be a reaction to high histame foods, but it could be also due to our imbalanced gut flora that would produce too much histamine in order for us to process it. Then it would reach the brain and we go foggy. That's why after 3 hours you'd feel a bit better, because that's when the body finally clears it out. But with a healthy gut flora this should be processed as you're eating and you shouldn't feel any fog coming on. By the way, not only should you watch out for high histamine food, but did you know that left over meats (any protein source) will have a high level of histamine in it due to the process of naturally present bacteria? I tested that for myself. I would kind of be ok after eating a fresh steak, but after eating the left over of it I would be knocked out brain dead for the next 3 hours, not able to do anything than laying on the couch feeling sorry for myself. I hope you get something out of this. Google for youself Histamine+Chris Kresser, you'll learn a lot. Anyway, it took me a few months to realize this could be it and tested it, but to do something about it is really hard. I mean, I can't always cook a fresh steak or chicken livers. And since I'm low fodmap, I can't just skip the meat and have a veggie meal instead. But good luck to you and keep us posted!

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78 · March 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

If you were to drink fruit juice (stay with me on this one) without anything else, would you also feel tired? I mean have you tried it, or could you try it?

At the moment any decent amount of protein is knocking me out which sounds a bit like you. Even having a fair amount of vegetables with it makes little difference. I can sleep for hours after a meal like that. It used to be just whey protein shakes that did that to me - they would have me out like a light in 20 minutes! It was a bit scary the couple of times. So I tried an experiment (which I don't recommend really) by eating 100 grams of jelly beans. No tiredness after them at all. I repeated the experiment the next day with 200 grams, still fine. I had a great weekend in the name of science!

My current meal of choice - because I'm in Thailand - is Pad Thai which is basically rice noodles and a small amount of chicken and I'm doing much better on it. I think I have insulin resistance, and protein is causing my blood sugar to drop after a eating. I'm still trying to figure that out as the doctors have told me how healthy I am... Argh.

Other things that might help to know are whether you walk (a lot) regularly, or do other kinds of exercise. Did you change your diet to lose weight or for other reasons? How was life before things got worse? Are you on any medication at all (especially antacids or acid blockers)?

Hopefully with some more clues there can be more answers.

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0 · September 30, 2014 at 3:13 AM

I am the same way and have been for three years now.  It all started with a stroke-like episode which no doctor can diagnose properly (it wasn't a stroke, but no one knows what it was and I have continual symtpoms still three years later.  I have been brain dead, have panic attacks and many more symptoms.  Then I became histamine intolerant and had to go to the ER three times.  My symptoms from this were if I ate a carbohydrate, my lips and tongue would start to tingle and then it would spread to my entire body and then I had a heavy chest feeling and trouble breathing.  If I ate protein, I would get the dead head (right side only) just like you.  It seems that I react to every food with a variety of incapacitating symptoms.  I have had to leave my job.  I've been very ill.  I've also have constant migraines, and sometimes tachycardia, vertigo and many, many more mysterious ailments.  The latest is peripheral neuropathy, with this weird semi-paralysis and muscle weakness.  It's so exhausting, BUT, after going to many, many doctors, I went to a digestive Integrative MD who has diagnosed me with SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth) which is probably fueling the histamine intolerance.  Also, she has no doubt that I have Leaky Gut and that bacteria is leaking from my intestines into the rest of my body and my brain.  She said I am one of the worst cases she has ever seen and that it can be causing all these mysterious ailments.  We're going to start an herbal remedy and if that doesn't kill the bacteria, I'll need to go on antibiotics.  I became very skinny (lost 60 pounds) and now I seem to have muscle wasting.  I'm also low in Vitamin D, but taking it gives me migraines.  I have studied this and it may be that I'm low in magnesium.  However, when I take magnesium, I get aching joints which means that I may be low in calcium.  It's an on-going cycle.  Plus, the peripheral neuropathy can be attributed to a potassium deficiency or low B-12 or the SIBO itself or many other reasons.  Anyway, I'd like to stay in touch with you and see what helps.  Maybe we can correspond personally???  Stay positive because I hope that I have finally found a doctor that can help me.  There is still hope!  This all started when I started menopause so I really think it has something to do with hormones.  Even though you're very young, you could have a hormonal imbalance that is pushing this along.  As for me, I tried hormonal therapy that give me horrible migraines, so I'm hopeful as my hormones settle down, my situation will get better along with the SIBO treatment.  Please get tested for SIBO and hormonal balance.  All my best to you!

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0 · September 30, 2014 at 3:32 AM

Oh, I forgot to mention--going gluten-free really helped me.  It didn't solve the problem completely, but it did help A LOT.  Please try this to see if it helps.  I've considered experiementing and going completely grain free to see if that helps even more. 

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127 · August 12, 2014 at 11:20 PM

Self-diagnosing can be very dangerous. You are probably in tune with your body and you think you know what's going on, but this might not be brain fog from inflammation. If this happens after you eat anything, there might be a blood sugar problem. The amino acids in muscle meat (and any large amount of protein, for that matter) can cause an insulin surge. I personally need to balance meat with carbs or I feel like shit. I eat a steak on it's own I feel faint. I have also read that high-fat-low-carb can worsen insulin resistance.

I find it very unlikely that your immune system is reacting to everything you eat. Perhaps GAPS isn't working for you anymore? When I was very low carb I thought I was becoming sensitive to everything I was eating, but it turns out it had more to do with malnourishment. I was eating a lot of fat and protein and often felt light-headed and weak mainly because my body needed more calories. I felt a lot better after reintroducing starches. I am not an expert on this at all, but I thought I'd share some of my experiences in case you found any of them helpful. Hope you figure out what's going on and feel better.

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0 · August 12, 2014 at 8:03 PM

I had to comment on this because the same thing happened to me. I was following a mostly Paleo diet for several months having at least 50% vegetables and fruits, about 2-4 ounces of organic meat per day. Sometimes I had raw dairy or grains like rice or oatmeal.

About 6 months in I started having persistent brain fog after lunch. This was very frustrating as I had previously been full of energy. I started eating a mostly vegetarian diet to detox the liver which means I had a salad for lunch and I stopped having nuts for snack. I underate during the day to really detox the liver and ate a fuller meal at night which might include fish but generally I just stopped having meat. I had a bit more grains than I did before. After 2-3 days of this my energy returned and I felt so light.

After that I started having a lot less meat and I started having my heavy, fatty meal with meat for breakfast and then a very light lunch and a medium-light dinner. I also have a snack in the afternoon of berries with cottage cheese or something similar that is small-ish.

I am also Type 0 blood which is a type many people believe can handle lots of meat. I just found that there was too much fat in my diet and I felt lighter with much more vegetables. I'm still finding the right balance but I think generally I need a diet of about 60-70% vegetables, 5-10% meat and the rest is fats.

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60 · May 12, 2014 at 7:41 AM

These are some of the causes of brain fog, which may help you to exactly understand your trigger.

1. Stress

2. Neurological Disorder: Certain neurological disorders have brain fog as side effects of the condition.

When women go through menopause, they sometimes experience brain fog due to fluctuating hormones

3. Menopause

This is incase of women go through menopause. Brain Fog is one the effects which is seen due to fluctuating hormones. Menopause is the cessation of a woman's reproductive ability, the opposite of menarche

4. Nutritional Deficiencies

Also when level of soft tissue calcium increases in the body.

5. Lack of Sleep:

When sleep is regularly interrupted or when one suffers from a sleep disorder, they are more likely to experience brain fog.

6. Brain fog is also considered as one of the triggers from Postpartum depression.

Medium avatar
60 · May 13, 2014 at 7:03 AM

Muliple Sclerosis, adrenial fatigue or lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia may be instrumental to brain fog.

E24390f6d880f9144cdf7ab13220a84a
15 · May 12, 2014 at 8:30 AM

What are some of the neurological disorders?

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15 · May 12, 2014 at 1:55 AM

How many grams of carbs are you eating per day?

How many total calories are you eating?

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0 · May 11, 2014 at 3:27 PM

That you means you are getting inflammation from food. This inflammation is directed at your hypothalamus.

Why you get tired even with enough sleep

http://selfhacked.com/2014/04/13/people-get-tired-even-enough-sleep/

Brain fog treatment and causes

http://selfhacked.com/2013/06/15/the-cause-of-brain-fog/

These two posts of mine should answer all of your mysteries

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0 · January 31, 2014 at 2:30 AM

I'm on day 19 of paleo diet and I'm so tired and foggy. Getting a little concerned it may be something else?

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0 · June 15, 2013 at 12:32 AM

Eosinophilic gastroenteritis does this exact thing. There are times when I had no GI symptoms just the severe exhaustion and brain fog after eating...almost anything. Tests: CBC with differential (to check peripheral Eosinophil count), endoscopy to check guy for eos (but this test is completely ineffective if eos have degranulated)...mayo clinic in Scottsdale did a case study (on me).

Have you had food allergy testing (also only intermittently reliable).

Ask doc to give you 20mg of prednisone and see if it happens after you eat.

Good luck! Laurie

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3979 · May 12, 2014 at 4:40 PM

Prednisone... how paleo...

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3150 · March 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

You seem to have tried everything related to food, so will try to explore other possible causes that may have something to do. Are you a coffee drinker? If caffeine sensitive, that could bring brain fog and weird feelings, also it is acidic so it may irritate the gyt. Also, tremor in hands may point to some thyroid function, just guessing but have you paid attention to your iodine intake? That may help regarding this.

As for the gut problems that are the most troublesome, how have your stress levels been recently? Stress can have a pretty hard impact on the digestive system. You say you have been on paleo/GAPS so I take for granted that you left aside all grains, legumes, soy, sugars etc. That seems to be key with the issues you have been experimenting (I've had some similar problems not digesting food and this worked very nicely with me) and maybe you haven't have recovered yet, from December 2012 it's not that long ago.

If you didn't, you may want to have a look into Dr. Jack Kruse website, he is pretty obsessed with gut health so you may find some insight there. http://www.jackkruse.com/

Good luck!

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78422 · March 18, 2013 at 6:24 AM

Relax.

Brain-fog/fatigue is a common symptom to thousands of diseases and disorders.

I am still at a loss to provide some sort of "diagnosis" as having undigested food particles in your stool is not to be of concern. Some fibrous substances simply cannot be broken down by the digestive tract, particularly high-fiber vegetable matter.

If you could provide some of your other symptoms, this could allow us to accurately provide some sort of ideal means to seek treatment.

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10 · March 18, 2013 at 6:40 AM

It's not just food particles, it's food coming out the same way I chewed it up. All fruit comes out completely undigested, all leafy greens, all nuts and seeds. I am not absorbing these things at all. Some of my other symptoms are tremor in hands, only having a BM every 4-5 days, gross slimy stools that burn (sorry) bloating with everything I eat, gas pains from fruit or sugar, general weakness, constant head pressure (probably from inflammation), poor circulation, constant heart palpitations. I have seen many doctors about this and they say that I'm fine and won't help me.

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