3

votes

Raynaud's disease (cold, numb white toes and fingers) and paleo?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 02, 2011 at 3:01 PM

A friend of mine has been having these cold, numb and white fingers and toes. It appears to be Raynaud's 'disease'. Cold (especially when humid) is the major cause, maybe some stress...

Does anyone have any experience or paleo tips for her? She's generally very healthy (no known diseases and looks and feels good, not overweight) and has been eating paleo for 2 years. Her diet could be discribed as Mark Sisson Primal style, and is quite strict. She includes yoghurt and quite a lot starchy vegetables and decent amount of fruits.

She probably eats a bit too much dried fruits (with butter: more addictive than crack, it appears...). And nutella, a few spoons a day...

No supplements except vit D in winter and a few spoons of fish oil a week.

The wikipedia page talked about fish oil being potentially useful, so maybe we'll increase that. Any other tips or advice?

Thanks!

(ps: unfortunately, spring will be here (Belgium) very soon, so probably not the best time to self experiment.)

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 19, 2013
at 10:11 AM

Ditto for me, soon as you take out the wheat and other grains, it seems to go away. In fact, I've developed a super power - at least compared to SAD eaters - after going paleo for only a few months, I can go out in cold weather with just a shirt on to as low as 40'F where everyone is shivering in their jackets.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:12 PM

I'm hoping that keeping to a paleo diet, taking some supplements - like vit D, omega 3 etc, will keep the auto-immune aspect dampened and I wont get worse things. My mum who has lupus and raynauds developed small ariways disease, but it improved hugely with paleo. She is fine just turned 80.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 02, 2011
at 04:06 AM

Julianne, I've been doing research and it seems the secondary variety is the more risky one. I have Sjogren's and when you also have Raynaud's, well, then the possibility multiplies as far as comorbidities go. You wanna watch out for systemic scleroderma, as Raynaud's is supposed to be a HARBINGER for it down the road. Gee, these things just multiply like parasites.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 21, 2011
at 10:47 PM

I think mine is secondary - I have very mild lupus and hashimotos (thyroid)

B76f22ed4373946b3c8990b667562683

(783)

on July 21, 2011
at 10:47 AM

If the Raynaud's symptoms are only on one side of the body, there is a strong correlation to autoimmune diseases such as SLE and RA. A bilateral presentation, however, carries no such association that I know of.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on July 20, 2011
at 10:30 PM

I agree completely. I thought I had Raynaud's for years and even went to a specialist who did nothing for me whatsoever even though I was only 18 and had numbness in my toes and fingers. Talk about scary! Luckily I figured out on my own that magnesium would fix it and fix it it did! I never have it anymore. I feel so relieved as I was afraid that I was going to have neuropathy that would get worse and worse over time. No more fear about that anymore. Thank goodness for Magnesium!

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I found low carb paleo made it worse - after increasing my carbs and eating regularly it has improved, I also take magnesium and omega 3. However the auto-immune paleo has made a difference. Hard to decide what exactly helped - seems to be a combination of changes

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:19 PM

Just like to add - very low carb made it worse - I think that's why paleo can exacerbate it. By cutting alcohol and doing more exercise I increased my carbs and I feel better and my circulation is better. I have been also taking regular magnesium - interesting to see it made a difference for others. I could be a number of factors.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on July 13, 2011
at 12:35 AM

I have it as well. It did improve after 6 months or so....but it's still an issue. Be sure to take optimal amounts of magnesium. One of the main medical tx for Raynauds happens to be calcium channel blockers. Turns out magnesium is nature's calcium channel blocker. I no longer take fish oil but do try to eat about 16 oz of fish per week and am pretty strict about no linoleic acid from nuts/seeds and their oils and I eat less poultry/pork for the same reason. I do eat approx 7 yolks per week (with or without the white), seafood and meat/fat from ruminant animals.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on March 04, 2011
at 01:22 AM

wow that is a lot of natural calm! I just started taking it a month ago and I am up to 250 at bedtime without any stomach upset. Just this week I added 125 in the morning after workouts thinking it may help stop some muscle soreness with no ill effects. I was wondering if increasing the dosage would be beneficial so thanks for sharing.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:20 PM

In the beginning played around with varying amounts of Natural Calm at bedtime, then I added a dose mid-afternoon as well. Beware, that Mag Citrate can be a real belly blaster. But I think my body got used to it because it eventually stopped causing me problems. Now I take about 1,000 mg of magnesium - 250 after working out, 250 at dinner and 500 at bedtime. It works for me and I have to say the vasospasm relief was almost immediate. It's been over a year since I started playing with the mag for this and I haven't had a recurrence. (Makes grocery shopping a lot easier I tell ya.)

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 03, 2011
at 08:48 AM

Meredith, thanks for the suggestion!

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on March 02, 2011
at 11:06 PM

Meredith, would you share your dosage? I have this problem too.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on March 02, 2011
at 06:30 PM

Is there any IF involved? IF makes me have cold hand/feet so if it's Raynaud's she should probably stay away from that.

24fcc21452ebe39c032be6801d6bbadd

(9812)

on March 02, 2011
at 03:23 PM

I was diagnosed when I was 14 or so; hands and feet would get white and purple, numb toes. Mine seemed to improve a lot on its own over the years (I have read that it often gets better with age). The toes still get numb on occasion and my hands get really cold from just washing my hands or grabbing something out of the freezer, but no more crazy colors! I think the fish oil sounds like a good idea- maybe mine will get even better if I do the same...

1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on March 02, 2011
at 03:12 PM

I have this same problem despite being strict Paleo for over a year... that and dry skin on hands and feet. I'm curious to hear about any potential solutions.

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13 Answers

6
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on March 02, 2011
at 09:22 PM

Magnesium! I had Reynaud's like symptoms. Even the freezer aisle in summer would make my fingers, toes and (ahem) nipples numb. It"s a vasospasm event and MAGNESIUM is a miracle. I took tons of Natural Calm and I have to say that I am all better!

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on March 03, 2011
at 03:20 PM

In the beginning played around with varying amounts of Natural Calm at bedtime, then I added a dose mid-afternoon as well. Beware, that Mag Citrate can be a real belly blaster. But I think my body got used to it because it eventually stopped causing me problems. Now I take about 1,000 mg of magnesium - 250 after working out, 250 at dinner and 500 at bedtime. It works for me and I have to say the vasospasm relief was almost immediate. It's been over a year since I started playing with the mag for this and I haven't had a recurrence. (Makes grocery shopping a lot easier I tell ya.)

89e238284ccb95b439edcff9e123671e

(10299)

on March 03, 2011
at 08:48 AM

Meredith, thanks for the suggestion!

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on March 02, 2011
at 11:06 PM

Meredith, would you share your dosage? I have this problem too.

D67e7b481854b02110d5a5b21d6789b1

(4101)

on March 04, 2011
at 01:22 AM

wow that is a lot of natural calm! I just started taking it a month ago and I am up to 250 at bedtime without any stomach upset. Just this week I added 125 in the morning after workouts thinking it may help stop some muscle soreness with no ill effects. I was wondering if increasing the dosage would be beneficial so thanks for sharing.

16e617676c5ac710e5235e0b773edc0b

(2640)

on July 20, 2011
at 10:30 PM

I agree completely. I thought I had Raynaud's for years and even went to a specialist who did nothing for me whatsoever even though I was only 18 and had numbness in my toes and fingers. Talk about scary! Luckily I figured out on my own that magnesium would fix it and fix it it did! I never have it anymore. I feel so relieved as I was afraid that I was going to have neuropathy that would get worse and worse over time. No more fear about that anymore. Thank goodness for Magnesium!

1
1ccc0b0b7a756cd42466cef8f450d0cb

(1801)

on July 20, 2011
at 04:38 PM

Julianne of Paleo & Zone Nutrition Blog just posted on this. She reported a marked improvement of her Raynaud's after doing a 30-day autoimmune Paleo diet.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:19 PM

Just like to add - very low carb made it worse - I think that's why paleo can exacerbate it. By cutting alcohol and doing more exercise I increased my carbs and I feel better and my circulation is better. I have been also taking regular magnesium - interesting to see it made a difference for others. I could be a number of factors.

1
3e3b1b75cb414c5c3dbed53e3c42edfa

(220)

on July 20, 2011
at 03:03 PM

May be a thyroid issue?

1
0dc1d63c3d5975f5115f535c6a90c9dd

(2283)

on March 02, 2011
at 03:59 PM

A robb wolf podcast touched on this one time awhile back. His girlfriend or wife and her father had it clear up after going paleo

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on July 19, 2013
at 10:11 AM

Ditto for me, soon as you take out the wheat and other grains, it seems to go away. In fact, I've developed a super power - at least compared to SAD eaters - after going paleo for only a few months, I can go out in cold weather with just a shirt on to as low as 40'F where everyone is shivering in their jackets.

0
7f78e0856d5de0f72df584c27ffd328c

on July 30, 2013
at 05:55 PM

Magnesium was the answer for me also. I've had symptoms of Raynaud's for approximately a decade, and have tried all sorts of dietary changes hoping to find an answer. I stumbled on Paleo during that search, but it did not do the trick. Fish oil did nothing for me, but then I already ate Alaskan Salmon regularly. Messing with iodine and raw thyroid for possible thyroid issues just ended up scaring me straight... My mother had issues with it too, but so long ago, that all she can remember is when she stopped eating sugar (per Body, Mind & Sugar), it went away. For me the answer is Magnesium. As I think someone already mentioned here, one of the standard treatments prescribed is a "calcium channel blocker" aka magnesium. There is a delicate dance between calcium and magnesium, and much debate over optimal ratios. My hunch is that it will vary from person to person. I'm taking calcium supplementation with magnesium using dolomite - but that throws my ratio off and I get Raynaud's symptoms unless I supplement with additional magnesium. You'll have to experiment to find out what works for you. It's worth it! Oh, by the way, how I found the final answer for me after years of searching was 11 days in Dallas, TX drinking the VERY mineral rich water. I live in the wet part of the Pacific NW, where the water is soft, lots of rain, not so much aquifer contact with limestone. While I was in TX...Raynaud's symptoms be gone, within 3 days of arrival, and it stayed gone for a week after I got back home. Optimize your minerals!

0
F4ae81f342d8f66d784bf5e5c04dc00a

on July 18, 2013
at 10:19 PM

As a 27-y/o male with FROZEN extremities, I found a huge change after getting my blood tested for iron (specifically, ferritin) levels at the suggestion of my functional medicine doc. Turns out I was anaemic all along - taking a gentle-on-the-stomach iron supplement always warmed me up for hours on end. It's remarkable.

TL;DR - Eat red meat.

0
46220ce72153a0383cc4e8588f14cdc5

on November 08, 2012
at 05:11 AM

Hi, I developed Raynauds when i turned 40 and for two years would get it whenever I touched something cold such as the steering wheel in winter, or just generally on cold days (anything below 18 degrees). Then we switched to drinking raw milk as a family, and I haven't had it for a year, apart from once on one finger at a party outside (holding cold champagne glass!). I'm not paleo and only trying to be primal (probably I am a more 80% weston price/old fashioned and 20% the odd packet of crisps etc). The only difference to my diet was switching to raw milk.

0
F910318b9aa27b91bcf7881f39b9eabe

on September 09, 2011
at 01:42 PM

I'm not really sure i have Raynaud's disease but i sure as hell have cold hands and feet when no one else around me does.

Magnesium doesn't seem to work for me in that regard. One thing sure does work though, and that's Cayenne Pepper!

I mix 1/4 tsp in warm water and drink it before each meal and it keeps me warm and gives me an amazing energy boost for a while.

Although i read some pretty good things about it, including the hability it has to stop heart attacks, heal stomach ulcers and improve organ function, including digestion, i'm not sure if it is THAT healthy, considering it's a nightshade.

0
8c5533ffe71bd4262fedc7e898ead1ba

on July 21, 2011
at 01:04 PM

Thanks for the Magnesium tip. Of course, I'm taking 1,000mg now anyway to ensure "regularity", but I'll pay attention and see if it helps with my Raynaud's. The best solution I have found is to move closer to the equator. Honestly, I think I would die in Belgium! Wet cold is absolutely the worst.

0
B76f22ed4373946b3c8990b667562683

on July 21, 2011
at 10:52 AM

Magnesium is great, so I second all of those who have given this advice. Other considerations are fish oil (hopefully from fish, not pills!) and Ginkgo Biloba, which is phenomenal at getting blood into the extremities! GB is great for opening up all of the smallest arterioles and capillaries, which is why it is so often recommended for memory—it increases the oxygen profusion of the brain. By the same token, it is great for Raynaud's in that it increases the oxygen getting to those tissues in the extremities, which seems to be the problem with the disease. Hope that helps!

0
967229edcc94a66580110324524feb49

(688)

on July 21, 2011
at 05:46 AM

I've been dealing with Raynauds for the last 4 years. It's pretty horrible, at times I can easily get cold enough that my feet turn pale then purple! Gah! I've noticed a decrease in the frequency after giving up caffeine and exercising more. I think it's because the caffeine would make me anxious = more stress ( which is said to play a role in Raynauds).

I'll have to try the magnesium now!

0
3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

on July 21, 2011
at 04:12 AM

What's the chance that Raynaud's might be linked to lupus (SLE) or multiple sclerosis (MS)? I seem to be encountering this in people who are suffering from SLE and other connective tissue-related autoimmune diseases (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogren's).

Anyone?

B76f22ed4373946b3c8990b667562683

(783)

on July 21, 2011
at 10:47 AM

If the Raynaud's symptoms are only on one side of the body, there is a strong correlation to autoimmune diseases such as SLE and RA. A bilateral presentation, however, carries no such association that I know of.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 21, 2011
at 10:47 PM

I think mine is secondary - I have very mild lupus and hashimotos (thyroid)

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5147)

on October 02, 2011
at 04:06 AM

Julianne, I've been doing research and it seems the secondary variety is the more risky one. I have Sjogren's and when you also have Raynaud's, well, then the possibility multiplies as far as comorbidities go. You wanna watch out for systemic scleroderma, as Raynaud's is supposed to be a HARBINGER for it down the road. Gee, these things just multiply like parasites.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on April 03, 2012
at 11:12 PM

I'm hoping that keeping to a paleo diet, taking some supplements - like vit D, omega 3 etc, will keep the auto-immune aspect dampened and I wont get worse things. My mum who has lupus and raynauds developed small ariways disease, but it improved hugely with paleo. She is fine just turned 80.

0
535fafe8afe6923870905c707c4f4454

on July 12, 2011
at 12:24 PM

I have actually aquired Raynaud's after going paleo- quite sad about it. I correlate its development with when I started taking cold showers seriously (I dont want to give up!) but it could be the diet (only months apart). Its interesting though that I have so clearly developed it with these two lifestyle changes and perhaps I could get a reversal of the symptoms by reverting these changes again. My real fear is I've done some permanent damage through cold showers, but this doesnt make sense to me!

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e

(2361)

on July 20, 2011
at 09:21 PM

I found low carb paleo made it worse - after increasing my carbs and eating regularly it has improved, I also take magnesium and omega 3. However the auto-immune paleo has made a difference. Hard to decide what exactly helped - seems to be a combination of changes

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