2

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What are the various causes of nausea?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 30, 2010 at 1:15 AM

Well I'll start with the autobiography, but I also want this to be a general question if it can be.

Occasional nausea is about the only negative I've experienced since switching to paleo a year and three months ago. I think it's mostly from overeating, as simple as that; I have a fear of not getting enough food, so I always err on the side of eating more, and that means risking the occasional reaction of nausea. (I never gain weight, just by the way.) There's usually a delay of about 4 to 6 hours before I feel the nausea. But then when I feel it I just don't want to eat at all and thinking of food is mildly unpleasant. It usually passes after about an hour and then I pretty quickly get hungry again. One thing that often helps it pass more quickly is drinking a bitter liqueur, such as Campari or Fernet Branca, or some bitters, such as Angostura, with a little bit of seltzer. Based on my self-observation, I'd say that other than just excess food intake (fat in particular, of course), the only other culprit I've been able to come up with is bacon or pork fat. As I've mentioned before on paleohacks, I loved pork when I switched over from semi-vegetarian, but then after a few months I stopped liking it. So I cut back. But the grease that comes from cooking bacon is just about the ickiest thing I can think of when I'm experiencing nausea, so maybe it's the case that excess fat is bad, but excess PUFA (or o-6 PUFA) is even worse. And I should also mention: the fact that bitters help might seem to suggest that I'm not "good enough" at digesting fat -- but I've been at this for a long time. The nausea only happens once every week or so.

(Quick notes on my diet: paleo, 95% strict, plus butter. Tried doing only goat butter for several weeks, didn't make too much of a difference. Don't have problems with nightshades, but have never done a rigorous test. Went gluten-free for a month; adding back occasional bites of friends' foods didn't make a significant difference.)

I was looking around at what some other causes might be and the funny thing is that if you look at the symptoms of vitamin surpluses, nausea is in the list of pretty much all of them. (And in fact the whole list of symptoms is close to the same too: all these medical sites just list the same fifteen things: tiredness, headaches, dry skin, etc.) Could it be a vitamin thing? Too much iron? Too much vitamin A? I don't overdo it with liver, I don't overdo it with cod liver oil.

I guess I'm curious to hear what anyone might have to say for my particular case, but it could also be a good general question, because it seems like we ask a lot about whether too much fat can lead to nausea, but I haven't seen as much about other causes. Does anyone out there know some hidden causes of nausea?

Bd271299b2d4d9b2e3da9c252fef058c

(2854)

on May 07, 2011
at 03:51 PM

I've recently begun eating a higher-fat diet, and I relate to every point you make. If I get the majority of my fat from coconut or pork, I'm puking in the middle of the night- no matter what time I ate it! How strange...

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on December 01, 2010
at 04:13 AM

I agree with Eva about the connection between nausea and sleep. When my sleep varies too much - like with inconsistent bed times and inconsistent waking times - I tend to be come very nauseated at 5 or 6 in the afternoon.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 30, 2010
at 05:46 AM

Thanks Eva. Interesting that you also got the nausea long after a meal instead of immediately after. I've never had any of those other reactions you describe. Or maybe I wouldn't call them "nausea." Although sometimes I feel something similar to what I described above after a really hard workout; I always understood it as my body's way of telling me: "don't eat *anything* right now." An hour or so later I get hungry, and I'm good to go. But I'm never hungry *immediately* post-workout.

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4 Answers

3
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on April 03, 2012
at 04:22 PM

Hi Paul. I would like to address you central question about sleuthing out some Paleo food sources that could be causing you nausea. I am in fact nauseous as I type this and I am 83% certain it is due to overconsumption of gelatin/collagen in the form of lamb shanks cooked down in demiglace.

My symptoms are nausea, a feeling of having the food sit in my stomach overnight, and water retention in my face, hands and feet. In retrospect I realize that I have had these very same symptoms when taking in too much gelatinous stock, pot roast or brisket and when I get carried away and eat all those crunchy cartiledge pieces on the ends of chicken bones.

Collagen is a very complex peptide and I am guessing that it's just plain tough for the human body to break it down well. As for gelatin, it takes a certain amount of an enzyme called gelatinase some of which is made by certain gut flora. Perhaps we have fewer of these gelatin digesting bacteria than we need in order to properly digest these things?

2
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on November 30, 2010
at 04:49 AM

In the first few months of paleo, I would get a bit of nausea once in a while. It was short lived and I never did figure it out, but it was usually long after a meal, never close to it. I had guessed it was blood sugar issues or some kind of insulin adaptation thing. But it went away so I never figured it out. I have no issues consuming large amounts of fat, although usually I will eat a certain amount and feel satiated and then save the rest or give it to the dog.

I actually get nausea fairly easily. The most common reason is fatigue from pushing too hard for long days at a time. Or sometimes, if I just really overdo it when weightlifting, I can experience a shock/nausea reaction for which I need to lay down for a bit to recover (like maybe 15 minutes). I solved this by splitting up my weight lifting routine into more days and less lifts per day. I can also get shocky from severe pain or the site of a lot of blood coming out of me (like that time I almost cut my finger off). When I was in college and very sleep deprived, I would often feel mild nausea in the morning as I walked around the campus half asleep. So for me, nausea is usually a sign of shock or overexertion or both.

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on November 30, 2010
at 05:46 AM

Thanks Eva. Interesting that you also got the nausea long after a meal instead of immediately after. I've never had any of those other reactions you describe. Or maybe I wouldn't call them "nausea." Although sometimes I feel something similar to what I described above after a really hard workout; I always understood it as my body's way of telling me: "don't eat *anything* right now." An hour or so later I get hungry, and I'm good to go. But I'm never hungry *immediately* post-workout.

E46d4f7e35e46ee4e8211ab4bc852023

(1510)

on December 01, 2010
at 04:13 AM

I agree with Eva about the connection between nausea and sleep. When my sleep varies too much - like with inconsistent bed times and inconsistent waking times - I tend to be come very nauseated at 5 or 6 in the afternoon.

0
0266737ea1782946902fd3f8e60fa0b9

(2504)

on February 13, 2012
at 11:27 PM

I definitely get nausea A LOT. Not sure why, experimenting with FODMAPS elimination. Haven't tried nightshades yet, but will check that out. I'd swear it's related to meat and dairy fats. I do fine with avo and coconut fat, but too much dairy or fatty meat makes me want to hurl. I do my best when I slightly undereat. IFing also seems to help me build up a genuine hunger, and helps whatever didn't agree with me to leave the body.

0
Bfa1c9eacfc94a1b62f3a39b574480c6

(3700)

on February 13, 2012
at 11:09 PM

Everytime I get nauseated...I can usually pinpoint it to some gut dysfunction going on. Usually something I ate. Gut health is super linked to nausea, from my experience.

I also get nauseated from airplanes and boats, that's mechanical, and not gut related.

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