Where to start, where to start. Probably with the current symptoms.
I am a 37 year old male, every day I have a moderate level of:
(a) "brain fog"
(b) A feeling of irritation, pressure around my eyes (feels as though my eye lids are swollen (though they don't look it), or pushing down - sometimes it feels a little like my eyes are being sucked into my head.
(c) Fatigue (mental and physical).
All of the above are with me when I wake up, and remain throughout the day, and are with me when I go to bed. How do I know this is not normal - I remember when these symptoms weren't there (about 5 years ago), and occasionally, for whatever reason I have a good day - and I feel so much better.
Things get more interesting when I eat. One of three things happen:
(a) Nothing. This is quite rare these days.
(b) The brain fog increases.
The increase can be a lot - during which I am almost incapable of clear thought whatsoever, or just a bit - where it is just more noticable than normal.
When the brain fog increases a lot, my eyes get really heavy, and close up somewhat, to the point where if I look in the mirror, I look as though I am doped up (I will stress now - I don't do drugs other than alcohol, and at best that was sociable beer drinking). This can last for anywhere between 1 - 4 hours, after which I revert back to the normal level of fog.
(c) I appear to have a rapid onset of hypoglycemic symptoms. Get very nervous, erratic, arms and hands feel funny as if they are empty, hands feel like they are wanting to shut (the muscles are contracting), I start getting desperate for food and my gut (stomach I guess) sometimes feels really really empty. This typically happens within 30-60 minutes after eating whatever it is. From what I understand about hypoglycemia - it is meant to kick in 3-4 hours after the meal.
I also suffer from sinus congestion, nasal polyps, upper back and neck pain (if relavent).
Thats the symptoms - the brain fog and the funny feeling around my eyes is really doing me in. When its bad, I am unable to concentrate, have any clear though whatsoever, and am very lethargic. Very difficult to do my job under those circumstances.
To be honest, after writing a food journal last year for about a month I found it terribly difficult to determine what brought the symptoms on more, and what brought the symptoms on less. After most meals I felt worse.
Although one key problem I face whenever I attempt to eat healthier (more vegies and remove the junk food) - I generally feel worse, I never feel as though I am getting enough calories, and my stomach feels empty not long (1 to 1.5 hrs) after eating. I walk to work and back each day (approx 4 km each way), and I believe a lack of calories just adds to the problem (suggestions for healthy snacks appreciated). Plus I typically only weigh 75KG or less. I have peaked at 85KG (after a 7 month beer binge whiklst working overseas), and last year when I was on one of my healthy stints I dropped to 62Kg and looked quite ill.
From when I was writing the food journal however, the following was clear:
Definate Brain Fog Promoting
Cake / biscuits
Tea / coffee
Flavoured noodles (or atleast noodles with the flavour sachet)
Grape Seed Extract (this affects me really badly now - I really feel drugged up if I use Grapefruit-Seed-Extract
Definate Hypo inducing foods
Most fruit (inparticular apples, bananas)
Tea / coffee
Herbal teas (especially peppermint - peppermint tea does me in, real fast)
Sugar drinks (orange, fizzy, coke etc)
Sweets (especially jelly style sweets)
Typically after I have the hypo symptoms, the brain fog kicks in, unless I get something to eat (although most of the time it kicks in anyway)
I am currently seeing a naturapth, she did some iridology on me, and came up with Adrenal, Pancreas and Lymph fatigue. She started me on a herbal mixture (which clearly contained some licourice (sp?) root, I could taste it). After 6 weeks of that and a modified diet (mostly just veg and meat, and some sort of low-sugar cereal) there was very little improvement. Now she has indicated leaky gut, and has put me on a product called RejuvenX. Almost 4 weeks on that and yet again I am
seeing little benefit (am I being too hasty ?). Funnily enough even the RejuvenX induces an increased level of brain fog, so I just take it once a day before I go to bed.
To be honest, I just feel better if I don't eat. We have 3 young kids, and a couple of times a year we will get stomach problems, diahrea etc. We had it about 2 months ago (after the kids had it) - I stop eating (as you do) and generally felt quite a bit better for it (except I felt generally weaker - but the mind definately cleared up somewhat).
I just found this place today, and thought I would check if anyone has felt the same symptoms, and can possibly shed some light.
I also just discovered recently about food intolerances
(the allergist I saw, see below, didn't even mention it), such as amines, salicylates, preservatives
etc. Not sure if they are playing a part or not - though the peppermint issue made me think possibly so. Are intolerances a symptom, or a cause ?
Now, I have a bit of a history, if anyone might find this useful I will go through it. Some of it may be irrelevant, and I apologise in advance if I bore anyone.
(Approx) 8 Years old. Diagnosed as hypoglycaemic (Fasting).
Didn't have reactions to food (from memory not reactive hypo), just had to make sure I ate regularly (took chocolate and crisps to school), else tended to pass out. From say 1980 the problem went away. From say 1992, I started seeing what I believe were reactive hypoglycemic symptoms.
Mercury fillings (approx 5) and a composite crown inserted.
Probably 5 or 6 fillings, first dentistry work in ages.
Started noticing some reactions to certain alcohol, inparticular Bacardi and Coke - chest / face got all red/purple blotchy. Stopped drinking spirits and started drinking only beer (was previously also drinking beer).
Large Mercury crown added.
Had a rear tooth removed, and a large mercury crown was used as a temporary solution. I was to return the next year (when I could claim another crown) and get it replaced (with a composite). Didn't happen (went to work overseas).
Some bizarre incident. Had what I believed to be a hypoglycaemic crash. After a big night boozing, passed out on the way home. Next day felt extreme low blood Sugar
for a period of about 1/2 hour (hands and neck extremely tingly, hands contracted shut - there was no Sugar
there ! - I was really scared) until I got some food into me.
After this joined a Hypo group on the net, and started reading up.
Visit to GP after started experiencing a strange feeling above my eyes / in my head upon eating junk food. Generally went away pretty quick. This increased over the next year or so to the point where I permanently felt 'Brain Fog' and had occasional moments of extreme brain fog.
I would very rarely have a *good* day, where I felt perfectly normal, but when I did, it confirmed that what I was feeling the rest of the time, was not *normal*.
Tests (via GP), IGE, CHOL, TRIG, GLUC, LFT, FBE, PEI. Nothing of significance.
Analysis by Diabetes / Endocrinology specialist (recommended by GP).
He ran some simple glucose / insulin tests, didn't even do a GTT/ITT though !). Nothing of significance, his final word was to look at "Pshychological" problems. He indicated I should talk to GP about anti-depressents.
After reading up on Chronic-Fatigue-Syndrome
and Low Level Mercury poisoning (mentioned by someone on a hypoglycemia group on the net), chased up and had a hair analysis done. High levels of copper and nickel, and medium to low levels of everything else. Practitioner indicated Leaky Gut.
Tests via GP, CU, CPLS, CHOL, TRIG, GLUC, LFT, PEI. Nothing of significance.
Initial quote to get mercury removed (blimey ..).
Mercury fillings removed and replaced by composites.
The mercury crown was removed and not replaced. A non-mercury crown was removed and not replaced. All mercury fillings removed and replaced with composites. Undertook a phase of DMSA (1 of 2 - asked to check the levels after the first).
Sinus Scan (via GP).
Nasal inflamation and polyps detected.
Naturapath to check remaining mercury level.
As part of the Mercury removal process, went to see a naturapath (the dentist recommended) to be tested for mercury levels. At this stage I was feeling no better for having the mercury fillings removed. And the permanent mild/medium and occasional extreme brain fog where still there. Not quite sure what you call the technique she was using, but she
pressed a little metal rod onto one of my fingers to measure stuff).
Her findings were that the mercury level was fine, but that I had numerous bugs / yeast issues in my gut, and hence she started me on numerous supplements. These included:
Grapefruit seed extract
Some were pills, some were drops for under the tongue. Note I had no probs taking the Grape Seed Extract at this time. She also indicated I should cut out all foods containg yeast, and all soft cheeses. I however committed to what I thought was a strict anti-candida diet (except I still consumed dairy). For 2 months I basically had rolled oats and yoghurt (breakfast), beef lamb or chicken with lettuce and cheese for lunch and dinner.
I also got 2 x B12 injections from her - made no difference.
At the end of 2 months I felt almost normal again, however as it was around xmas, I quickly lapsed straight into a bad diet and plenty of alcohol. Not quite sure when but the brain fog soon came back. From memory there were improvements with my sinus aswell.
Numerous vists to Ent. Head and Neck Surgeon. Typically resulting in being told I had a sinus infection, and I was prescribed Antibiotics
and Nasonex Steroid spray. Each time I went on the Antibiotics
, I got constipated and started bleeding from the back passage.
Another visit to GP. He told me to get some exercise (thanks for coming).
Decided to undertake an anti-candida diet again. Visted a health store looking for caprylic acid - told no longer legally for sale in this country.
She enquired if I had been tested (blood - didn't know it was possible). She Gave me some "Yeast Stat" and Kyolic Garlic. Also based on the web information, took L-Glutamine and psyllium fibre.
Had real trouble managing Sugar
cravings / blood sugar levels and hence generally didn't stick to the diet too well. Generally felt much worse for being on the diet aswell (something seemed to be ticking me off - greater fatigue than normally experienced (from subsequent attempts to use it I believe it was the L-GLUTAMINE)).
Gave up after 1 month.
Vist to Ent. Head and Neck Surgeon. Last visit in 05, he recommended getting allergy tested.
Allergy tests take place. See results page.
Several grasses and dust mites - no allergies to food (which is odd as it appears to be food causing the problems).
He suggested I could undertake 3 years of injections, to try and desensatise the body of the currently detected allergens. Decided not to follow this path.
Decided to try a detox diet (15 day).
Stuck to it rigidly for the 15 days but found it extremely difficult as didn't eat any bread (generally seems to add to the brain fog), so I was eating just rolled oats, fibre, fruit and vegetables (and some small amounts of fish).
* Blood sugar levels / sugar cravings felt like they were all over the place (all the fruit ?), I was always hungry and my stomach felt empty most of the time..
* Definately wasn't getting enough calories.
* Sinus passages were the best in a long, long time (10 years ?) !
* No problem waking in the morning, woke at 6:30 feeling fresh.
Started taking Grape Seed Extract again. Whilst on it (for 1.5 weeks) had extreme brain fog every day, it was really doing me in. I really felt as though I had been doped up.
This is the year. Stopped drinking fullstop.
Went and saw the current naturapth (she is more conveniently located now - the other one is quite out of the way).