Why does coffee and ACV make me anxious? (and more...)

Answered on May 24, 2016
Created May 23, 2016 at 2:48 PM

To make a long story short: I used to be able to tolerate coffee & ACV (apple cider vinegar) in unlimited amounts, until one day I suddenly got a panic attack, about 5 months ago. Since then I've been getting episodes of anxiety / depression / lethargy whenever I consume these fluids. I have no history of anxiety nor depression, my external social circumstances are completely fine, so it's definitely not in my head. And whenever i exclude coffee / acv from my diet, I feel completely normal. So, I'm suspecting that I've got some sort of nutritional / chemical imbalance, which both ACV and coffee aggravates. So whenever I consume the mentioned fluids I get the following symptoms:

- Mild anxiety and irritability

- Mild depression, feeling moody for no reason whatsoever

- Frequent muscle spasms / twitches

- Feeling like my blood pressure rises, as if I'm working out

- Chest tightness and a somewhat wobbely heartbeart at times

- Weakness when working out; sometimes I just burnout way earlier than usual

Again, I feel as if my bodily chemistry gets thrown off. I'm currently suspecting an electrolyte and/or B-complex imbalance, but adding foods rich in these nutrients haven't done too much for me, but it has lessened the reaction that I get to coffee and ACV.

So, I was wondering if you guys have any experience with this issue. Any ideas, suspicions, and anecdotes would be much appreciated! :)

Btw, I've been in and out of keto for a while - now I mostly low-carb (paleo) though, which has cleared my acne, eczema, asthma, allergies and much more. 

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on May 24, 2016
at 03:02 PM

It sounds like gerd/acid reflux. Gerd can cause vagus nerve irritation which causes the feelings of anxiety you describe and irregular heartbeat. It would also explain the flushing, chest tightness, and tiredness. Lots of info available if you google gerd + vagus nerve, side effects of gerd etc.  I have found most doctors dont tell people all the strange side effects of acid problems but there is lots of info online. If you are eating higher fat paleo the extra fat may be causing you trouble as well. You will find lots of info about ACV being the cure all for acid problems but it makes many people much worse. 

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on May 24, 2016
at 08:05 PM


Thank you so much your input. I've actually dealt with my heartburn a long time ago, but it seems you can still have GERD without actually feeling the "burn" that I used to feel. I've also been feeling like I had a mild ulcer, but I was never sure. The issue with GERD + vagus nerve that you mention lines up almost exactly with my symptoms (even stuff that I didn't mention), so you might be on to something.

For now I will focus on increasing my stomach acid / lowering stomach pH. I'll be utilizing some digestive enzymes + HCl I've had laying around for ages without using, and of course some natural digestive aids pre-meal such as lemon, ginger, cumin, etc. I'll let you know how I fare.

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