Leaky Gut? Depressed, brain fog, fatigue... Please Help...

Commented on April 04, 2016
Created December 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM

Ok, so I am a seventeen year old male and have been on a Paleo diet for one and a half years now(was lacto-paleo for the first year), but still seem to struggle with depression, chronic fatigue and brain fog (also acne)... I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis a few months before starting my paleo diet, and although my symptoms have improved quite a lot since starting the diet, I still have inflammation 'flare ups' now and then... My life is also overloaded with stress at the moment due to school priorities ect.. I have eliminated dairy about six months ago for I have noticed it worsened my inflammation in my joints and also cause some major brain fog. I also seem to have slight reactions to eggs, for after eating them I feel quite depressed, tired, moody and 'brain foggy'... I have read that it may be a leaky gut which is causing these problems. These symptoms have really put a damper on my life, and I feel as if I am not enjoying life as I should be doing at this stage and age in my life... I would appreciate any recommendations, suggestions and help :)...

Additional Post (2015/09/07)

I have been on the AIP diet now for about 7 months, and have experienced great improvements. Sadly, some of my symptomes still persist whislt others come and go whislt the time passes (e.g. depression, fatigue, brain fog, speech disturbances and insomnia). Note that these have been mostly under control during my AIP timephrame. Sadly, I still suffer from severe acne and slight gynecomastia.

Full list of symptomes (many of these are so to say under control on AIP):

Joint inflammation (Rheumatoid Arthritis), depression, chronic fatigue, energy fluctuations, food intolerances, gynecomastia, constipation, brain fog, lack of interest, persisting acne, speech disturbances, insomnia, asthma, anxiety and stress.

I went to my GP about 4 months ago and he conducted some blood tests. 

Blood test Results (relevant observations):

  1. VERY LOW total and free testosterone
  2. High SHBG
  3. Slightly low red blood count
  4. Low FSH
  5. Low LH

(Note that all of these readings do not fall within the average/normal range.)

My Urologist wants to do an MRI scan on me to have a look at my pituitary and brain, for he suspects that I might have a pituitary defect, so I'm still trying to gather up enough funds to pay for the procedure. Any other help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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7 Answers


on December 17, 2014
at 01:00 PM

Stress can be awful and cause all kinds of symptoms.  Try to get outside and go for a walk for 10-15 minutes at least once a day. Make sure you have some "me time" every day that doesn't involve screens.

There are a lot of things that could be causing your symptoms and one of them could be that you're still eating something that is bothering your system even though it's Paleo.  Some people have problems with dairy (which you've already eliminated), some nuts, nightshades (potatoes and peppers), cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli), shelfish, etc.  It can be tricky to pinpoint but if you suspect you might be sensitive to one of these things try eliminating it and see what happens.

For some people going low-carb is great, for others it leads to fatigue, brain fog, grouchiness, and poor energy. If you are restricting your carbs, try going higher carb for a week and see what happens.  Try to make them good carbs and don't fall off the wagon and eat a chocolate cake or something.

Finally, you are 17, growing, going through a lot of hormonal changes, and under a lot of stress.  About once a week or so make sure you eat a great meal that is fully satisfying and fun.  It doens't have to be a "cheat" but loosen up a little and eat something you really like that is really satisfying.  For example for me my "happy meal" is steak with french fries which I can get at a few local restaurants.  The french fries are not super Paleo but are borderline and ok every now and then.  When I'm feeling really run down, hungry, tired, and just don't want to deal with any food decisions I will have this plus a huge salad and go to sleep happy.


on December 16, 2014
at 09:20 AM

I can't overemphasize how important drinking daily bone broth was for healing my leaky gut. Hang in there, my brain fog took months to improve. Here's my recipe for a very gelatinous bone broth.

Dairy, even a little bit of grass-fed butter, brings on my joint pain, so I avoid absolutely ALL dairy.

With diagnosed RA, I would follow a strict AIP (autoimmune paleo) plan and avoid ALL nightshades.

Also, my (former) depression was made worse by eating low carb paleo (less than 75gms/day). In order for my brain to be happy, it needs at least 100-150gms of carbs a day, with some being from resistant starch of green bananas or cooked, then cooled: white rice or white potatoes.




on December 17, 2014
at 01:52 PM

For me the key to eliminating leaky gut and candida type symptoms was to eat a lot of garlic.  I eat a raw clove of garlic at least once a day for a few weeks. This can be a bit challenging even for garlic lovers but it did wonders for me.  Friends of ours had a kid who had chronic gut issues and he too was cured by increasing garlic intake.  You might give that a try.



on December 13, 2014
at 03:55 PM

Stress is indeed a big cause of leaky gut (as is a poor diet).  Leaky gut along with grains is a recipe for autoimmune diseases including some forms of arthritis.  Stay on a very clean, strict paleo diet.  Since eggs are giving you a reaction take them out for a few months, or just eat the yolks without the whites.


I'd also increase my carb intake, stick to things like sweet potato or yam.  Stress can be shut down with higher carbs.  If the stress is really bad, look into phosphatydil serine, but it's expensive and you'd need lots of it.


Get some L-Glutamine to help heal your leaky gut, and get plenty of bone broth.  These two things can resolve a leaky gut.


One easy way to self diagnose is with GABA.  If you've got a leaky gut, you've probably got a leaky brain as the same things that damage the villi also damage the blood-brain barrier.  Take a normal pill of GABA on an empty stomach.  If you feel very calm or sleepy within 30 minutes, you've got it.  GABA is a very large molecule unlike L-Glutamine, and can make it past the BBB.  If your BBB isn't leaky you won't feel it.


on April 04, 2016
at 04:19 PM

"Get some L-Glutamine to help heal your leaky gut, and get plenty of bone broth. These two things can resolve a leaky gut."

Maybe... but two additional things also to consider. Eating regular meals (but NOT constant supply) of fermented veggies and STAYING COMPLETELY AWAY from chemical preservatives. If you think about it, foods that have preservatives regularly going through your digestive tract, will SWEEP away your benefitial bacteria.

I have a jar of commercially made sauerkraut on my counter that I've had there for MONTHS. The lid is loose and the contents exposed to the air.... it still looks like new! That's the power of sodium benzoate to stop the fermentation dead in its tracks! And sodium benzoate is in every canned, jarred and EVEN refrigerated sauerkraut in my local grocery store.

You don't want that happening in your gut.


on March 06, 2015
at 10:39 AM

I'd highly highly recommend a daily meditation practise.

personally suffering with brain fog a lot I find this helps me massively.

itll also help with stress reduction and we all know how much is affected by stress.

try downloading the app HeadSpace on your phone and follow the guided meditations??


on March 06, 2015
at 04:44 AM

Honestly, I am going to be real with you. Maybe the Paleo-Diet is not right for you. Maybe some of the foods you are eating your body is not digesting right. What you need is something that will work for you. Not just today or tomorrow, but for a lifetime. I cannot tell you what the things you need are, but I am sure these people can. Look for a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist (F.D.N) in your area. Make sure you find one that specializes in Metabolic Typing. Have a great day man, I hope you start feeling better soon. I would post a link, but I don't have enough reputation points.





on December 31, 2014
at 09:39 PM

You are a prime candidate for the Autoimmune Protocol, OP. Age 17 is extremely young to have an autoimmune condition like RA, which points to you having a gut dysbiosis issue. To battle these I recommend you hop on the AIP and stay in the elimination phase until your symptoms are gone. At that point you will reintroduce foods very, very slowly. At your age you should have good success using this method. I also suggest supplementing with soil-based probiotics like Megaspore or Prescript Assist plus resistant starch and fermentable fibers. 

Doing this cleared my acne, joint pain, and many other issues. It seems tough, but it is totally worth it!

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