3

votes

Could intermittent fasting and anxiety be related?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Has anyone experienced feelings of heightened anxiety or obsessive feeling while intermittwnt fasting? I really like it and my energy has gone up but I am waking up really early and feeling slightly panicky for the first half hour I'm awake. Is that related? Lately my schedule has been breaking the fast around 1pm, I eat a fairly plant based lunch with fruit veggies and maybe some shellfish and them a low carb nutrient dense dinner and stop eating completely at about 6pm. I seem to be hitting most of my RDA's and I supplement with fclo, dha, b complex, butter oil, k2, and magnesium. My vitamin D levels are usually consistently in the 50-70's depending on the time of year. Any guess?

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 13, 2012
at 11:08 AM

Yes, probably. I'm always trying to tweak things. Definitely won't stick with something if it isn't working well for me.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:40 PM

I tend to understand the anthropology related source material but the chemistry stuff is a bit over my head. Some day ill go back to school for this stuff. In the mean time I'm glad the community has so many interesting people with such a love for knowledge. I'm happy to pick everyone's brain.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:38 PM

You're welcome! I just noted one of your responses to one of my questions, and it seems we have a similar problem. I think that may make us a little more likely to feel anxious on IF than the average person who gives it a try.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:36 PM

@mM - it's cool. :) I recognize, and understand, your desire for the scientific basis to be presented. It's just not everyone's approach to every subject. For example, when someone asks me to explain to them what the Big Bang was, I really just want to say "ermergherd go read a book on m-theory!" But that's going to be a lot of detail and a lot of irrelevant facts that aren't related to their question, and there's a good chance a lot of it will be over their head. So, while there should be scientific evidence as backup, it doesn't mean that we have to trot out the whole thing each time.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:28 PM

Honey. I barely got through gen chemistry 101 and that was almost 10 years ago. What you're suggesting is that I open up a Biochemistry book and somehow analyze that information at a deep enough level to apply it to my dietary choices. Unfortunately, I'm at the mercy of how I feel and the opinions of people who seem to know what they are talking about. If you expect everyone to do research of that depth, why are you on a q&a website like this, unless your real intent is to be a troll?

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:27 PM

@ Ashley, no, no, just meant in general, I actually upvoted Luckies answer because it was good.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:25 PM

Luckie I meant, sorry about the typo.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:24 PM

It's this easy Lucky, fasting -> increased catecholamines -> anxiety. Biochemistry is science, not the food pyramid etc.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:24 PM

Did someone give me bad advice on this thread?

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:23 PM

It's like you are asking people with the same paradigm to give you answers which you can choose from so that it will fit into your own current concept of "healthy eating". It's like a health lottery, when you could just open a basic book on biochemistry, which doesn't have a bias, and actually have an answer based on reality.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:23 PM

I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, mM, regarding your intent, but I don't think just opening a book is going to give the kind of feedback that ARoz is looking for. The book may explain the mechanisms involved, but she can't ask the book about it's experiences, what kind of feeding windows worked for it, if shifting macronutrient ratios along with fasting solved the problems, etc. Also, the book is likely to be full of CW and even in the best of cases, a whole lot of information that isn't related to her question.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:21 PM

I didn't think to try the bullet proof coffee in the AM. I'm going to try that or just coconut and see how it works out. The other benefits I'm seeing are worth it to me to jeep trying for a little while longer. I wont torture myself though Thanks for the great links!

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:15 PM

I wasn't rude, or snotty, I really meant that you might want to get a basic biochemistry book, it's not good to rely on random people on the net (paleohacks, paleoblogs) who are basically religious with a diet when it comes to ones health.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:13 PM

I don't know anything about biochemistry which is why I like asking smart people on this website if they have any opinions. No need to be rude.

153c4e4a22734ded15bf4eb35b448e85

(762)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:11 PM

Fasting makes your body turn up the output of catecholamines, so of course fasting will make you feel more anxiety etc. Just open a biochemistry book.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:10 PM

Lunch is lots of fruit and greens in a smoothie and then maybe a starchy soup or a sweet potato with some sardines or mussels.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:02 PM

I don't eat low carb. I eat a low carb dinner. I eat lowish protein actually. Most days since I started this, my cron-I-meter has my carbs at about 40% of my calories.

Fa666905e4ed72858084dbcfed164daf

(649)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:45 PM

Yes, the panicky feeling is related to the fasting IMO. Your low carb intake plus fasting is a double whammy. Pick one stressor and go with that is my take. Don't try to do both I think.

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3 Answers

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4
61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on November 11, 2012
at 08:55 PM

I get that feeling, too. I try to avoid fasting for that reason. It makes me feel nervous, jittery, gives me insomnia, and it kills my appetite (I have a very low appetite and more than enough energy as it is). I never purposely fast, but if I eat dinner around 6ish and then skip breakfast and don't eat anything until noonish the next day - it ends up pretty much like being a fast and I get to feeling a little crazy. So I always make sure to eat a little something in the morning, usually 200-500 calories with mostly fat and protein.

I don't think we're alone in this reaction to IF:
http://www.paleoforwomen.com/shattering-the-myth-of-fasting-for-women-a-review-of-female-specific-responses-to-fasting-in-the-literature/
http://www.bulletproofexec.com/a-bad-combination-for-women-intermittent-fasting-and-paleo/
http://www.marksdailyapple.com%2Fwomen-and-intermittent-fasting
http://eatstopeatinsider.com/intermittent-fasting-for-women

If you like IF otherwise, maybe you could try modifying it a little with a "breakfast snack". A little coconut oil, an egg yolk, liver, something small but super nutrient dense to possibly alleviate that discomfort. You may still get the benefits of the fasting without the jitters.

(I'm not against IF, for those staunch supporters out there. I just think it isn't right for everyone, it is right for women less of the time than it is right for men, and it's certainly not right for me.)

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d

(10490)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:38 PM

You're welcome! I just noted one of your responses to one of my questions, and it seems we have a similar problem. I think that may make us a little more likely to feel anxious on IF than the average person who gives it a try.

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 11, 2012
at 09:21 PM

I didn't think to try the bullet proof coffee in the AM. I'm going to try that or just coconut and see how it works out. The other benefits I'm seeing are worth it to me to jeep trying for a little while longer. I wont torture myself though Thanks for the great links!

1da74185531d6d4c7182fb9ee417f97f

(10904)

on November 13, 2012
at 11:08 AM

Yes, probably. I'm always trying to tweak things. Definitely won't stick with something if it isn't working well for me.

2
Afd03ae3dac61466cbabaaf06ebe7c3b

on November 12, 2012
at 04:17 AM

HI Ashley,

Years ago I was doing pretty good on an exercise plan/diet. I ended up wanting to speed things up a bit by trying a semi fast recommended by JOhn X, the guy who wrote Men are from Mars, Women from Venus. Anyway, I started to become really frazzled and very sensitive. With my stress through the roof. I worked in a stressfu environment on top. I had to leave one day and take a couple of days off. It took me many weeks to come back on my feet.

If you do live on a montain top with little stimulation then it's easier to tolerate. However, for me it was bad news...

One way to stabilize my brain at work is to use one table spoon of MCT oil in the morning. I don't have to snack anymore. On top of a light breakfast it carries me to noon easy.

Cheers,

Eric

0
0425dfe4b5f5a87181043a542f4d29f6

on November 19, 2012
at 06:33 AM

I'm actually in the process of finishing up an in depth article on anxiety and IF on my blog, I will also be filming a quick episode on my wellness program this coming week. A few quick notes on this subject while I'm here though:

-I have noticed that individuals that do too much too soon, and jump full-force into IF, rather than easing into it seem to experience anxiety

-What was your eatig schedule like before IF? Were you careless? Were you eating whatever and whenever? Were you have 6 meals a day? Whatever it was, if you are making a drastic change for the better, you may experience anxiety on IF

-Brad Pilon makes an interesting observation in his book about fasting, during which he suggests that our country has a sugar addiction (carbs), and we go through withdrawels that may cause anxiety after beginning IF

-Are you drinking black coffee? Any nicotine use? -- stimulants may exponentially increase your feelings of anxiety while fasting.

-Your mental alertness and primal senses naturally rise when your body is in a fasted state -- we're programmed this way (look up the term SRS) -- our focus and alertness goes up when we are fasting/hungry in order to help us hunt for food.

-These feelings of anxiety/stress seem to be higher for women vs men -- my belief is that this is due to the hormonal responses

---much more to come on my article. I must confirm some of references and a few details prior to putting the finishing touches on it, so that everyone can get the facts about this.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me!

Best Regards,

Dean Bocari

facebook.com/wellnesswithdean

DeansDailyDose.com

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