Anxiety Being on the Paleo Diet

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 10, 2012 at 6:12 PM

I have been on the Paleo for 1 month and the 3rd day started having horrible anxiety. My face would tingle and almost feel like allergic reaction. Which is what i thought it was at first to coconut. Until I started feel the anxiety everyday on and off - down to a panic attack in the middle of the night. I have always been a healthy person. I'm a personal trainer & have eaten very heslthly I decided to go Paleo because my husband is gluten sensitive and our daughter has an autoimmune issue. The anxiety has been so bad along with weak legs I went and had an MRI which is clear. I wonder if this could be detox from simple carbs??? My body maybe couldn't handle all at once??? I've been to the my doctor and blood work is great. So I'm taking magnesium along with vitamin B's. Any suggestion???? Help, I feel great other then the anxiety but I cant keep feeling like this.



on October 26, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Dam straight Poopio


on October 25, 2012
at 11:47 PM

Let's start at the beginning. What exactly are you eating? How about a 2 day food diary? How is your eating *now* different from your previous eating? What is your caloric intake? What was it before? How much fluid and what sort are you taking in? Any *new* foods you are eating? You have stated your husband's a child's goals for eating this way. What are *yours?* Doesn't sound like you have a weight issue. Medical history? Current medications of any kind? *Ever* have significant anxiety or panic previous to this episode? Anxiety pattern? Free floating all day or in response to anything specif.



on October 25, 2012
at 08:02 PM

Hahhah, this place is great for jokes; not likely caused by diet, give me a break! Lower carb diets are notorious for causing anxiety, because of the increased output of catecholamines, some people have gone into full blown manic episodes when going lower carb. And there is no detox from simple carbs! They are not poison to be detoxed off, your body has used the carbs you have eaten for energy, and that's it.



on October 25, 2012
at 05:33 PM

This sort of anxiety tends to happen with lower fat diets, so I am doubtful your paleo diet is causing it. I have found liver seems to help counteract such feelings. An example of what you are eating may help us formulate better responses.

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5 Answers



on October 25, 2012
at 10:31 PM

when I first went low carb I actually had suicidal thoughts for a short while. increase your carb intake a bit and see what happens


on October 25, 2012
at 05:21 PM

I think it is very unlikely that this anxiety has anything to do with what you are eating.



on October 26, 2012
at 03:03 AM

Dam straight Poopio


on October 25, 2012
at 04:19 PM

Hi Nicole,

Thanks for sharing, it sounds like a hard place to be. I've been through anxiety myself.

Eventually I worked out, for me, it was a feedback loop. Somehow I became conscious of my heart beating (physical symptom) then I made myself anxious about it (psychological). Then the anxiety increased the physical symptoms and that increased my anxiety! A vicious cycle.

You can do this visualization technique to disrupt the pattern and reduce or break the anxiety cycle you get into. You should make sure to keep breathing slowly and deeply while you are doing it.

1. Whenever you feel the anxiety coming on: Stop and go though the following process.

2. Close your eyes and imagine a timeline in your mind's eye. Note 'where the future is' and note 'where the past is' and now draw a line between them.

3. While breathing deeply and slowly, float out above the future to 15 minutes after you have successfully calmed and relaxed yourself about the event which thought you were anxious.

4. Keep breathing deeply and slowly, now turn around and look from that moment in the future back to 'now' along the timeline.

5. Notice, where is the anxiety?

6a. Is it gone? Great.

6b. Or is it less? Great! Repeat the process from Step 3. Only this time make the picture of when you're calm and relaxed as real as you can. Turn up all those feelings, pictures and sounds. Then look back to now and notice what's changed. Do this as many times as you feel helps.

This is small modified version of the process I'd use when coaching. It's a great start although it's more effective if I were to walk you through it. Let me know how you go or if you need any help understanding the process.

If the anxiety is related to biochemistry this may help and you should still see your doctor about it.

All the best,



on October 25, 2012
at 09:58 PM

increase your carbs, reduce your stimulants (caffeine, nicotene, sugar). Watch the coconut oil, as it can increase heart rate, and contribute to anxiety.



on October 25, 2012
at 09:56 PM

Theres a number of possibilities that seem obvious to me.

Could be hypo or hyperthyroidism (which can be effected by fast radical diet changes). Could be a magnesium deficiency. Could be carb-flu but it doesnt usually last a month (and I never got it). Some of these are related in some way to low carb.

Id suggest normally changing your diet slower if your going low carb.

But now you are here, try some epsom balt salts in a bath. When you start paleo, you can lose water, and thus minerals, so have a look at what foods contain what minerals and try to get more (hints: dark leafies are good for magnesium/calcium, fruit like kiwis and bananas for potassium - also potato skins, table salt for sodium and various nuts have a mixture of ones, nuts are great for minerals. Coconut water, and mineral waters like evian are mineral rich too). If these strategies work, its mineral deficiency. Magnesium helps anxiety anyway.

Also, experiment with a potato, or sweet potato, or parsnip at a meal. See if that brings about any changes. Maybe your body isnt adapting as quickly to the lack of carbs (some people dont find low carb agrees with them. Personally I find low and medium carb not hugely different, but then epigenetics probably play a role in those that find it hard - I come from a family of dairy farmers and weve historically eaten milk and meat, liver, and meat and veg meals, not a huge load of bread or pasta)

You may also want to try and get a full thyroid panel from your GP. Going low carb too quickly can induce hypothyroidism in some. And going paleo can also vastly increase your nutrient intake, including iodine, which can not cause, but reveal, undiagnosed hyperthyroidism. Dairy, cranberries, coconut, eggs and fish & strawberries are all strong sources of iodine. Even meat and veg has some more in it than any bread type product does.

Thyroid problems have vague symptoms, so often its missed by doctors. Read up the symptoms of both online, and if they sound like you, insist on a full panel (not just tsh, but also free t3 and free t4).

Actually, I have hyperthryoid. And I get the weak legs. Balance/vertigo/legs etc can also be magnesium, and I think thats why people with hyper get that symptom.

In addition to all this, anxiety is kinda a hard habit to shake once you get it. Use whatever techniques work for you to stay calm when its going on.

Hope this helps.

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