I'm currently a 20 y/o male, weighing in at 65kg; born and raised in London my whole life. Up until my teenage years around the age of 15/16, my life was bliss. I was, essentially, in perfect health. I was always happy; had no skin problems; always had a clear mind with excellent memory; had boundless energy all day and slept like a rock all night, only to wake up feeling refreshed every single day at 7:30 on the dot without fail. This was all while eating nothing but cereal, chocolates, crisps, sandwiches and so on, whilst drinking mostly fizzy drinks to see me through the day. I've been skinny my entire life and have had no weight problems whatsoever.
However, as I was growing up in my pre-teen years, I suffered quite a lot of ear infections and always came down with very heavy colds. I would just sleep all day, every day, until I felt well enough to return to school. I don't really see this as out of the ordinary though, as I always bounced back feeling 100% better.
During the time when I was 15/16, things started going downhill due to one thing; late nights. Usually I would stay up late on the computer or mobile phone with my friends, and I wouldn't turn in until 11pm-3am on most nights; even the school nights. Despite the absolute misery I suffered through the next morning, I clearly wasn't mature enough to realise how important sleep was for my wellbeing, and by the time I did it was too late.
I began to have extremely minor acne; this ONLY occurred when I was mucking about by skimping on my sleep patterns, so when my parents took me to our local GP to 'fix' my spots, I believed the doctor when they said that diet has nothing to do with acne. I only had problems with my health if my sleep was problematic, nothing else. Long story short, the GP (and other subsequent ones on various visits) just gave me a prescription of tetracycline and other variants of that particular antibiotic that were supposed to help clear my skin. At first, they did; but I still didn't sleep properly, and my skin only continued to get worse and I seemed to have developed a resistance to the medicine over time, as their effects diminished substantially.
Due to the lack of restful sleep, I had other problems. By far the most prominent was my 'brain fog'; that loss of clarity in your thinking that makes it next to impossible to be creative or think clearly whatsoever. It's really difficult to enjoymost things in life, because my concentration is so shot that I feel like nothing is truly registering in my mind. I've always been called a bright kid, and my grades definitely showed it. I was part of the gifted and talented group of students in both primary and secondary school, but my sleep tampering began to ruin that streak. I also had the expected symptoms of fatigue and general malaise that eventually developed into depression.
Eventually, my acne became cystic, and it was everywhere on my face. After severe social paranoia and reclusion, I was put on Accutane for 7 months (I can't remember what dosage it was; it varied as the course progressed, as well) and was forced to take half a year out of college, which completely ruined my A-level studies.
- Chronic fatigue
- Unrefreshing sleep regardless of how many hours I get (8-10 has always been optimal for me for my entire life and is what I tend to get most nights).
- Chronic brain fog; absolutely no relief ever since I stopped sleeping well.
- Strange, erratic energy patterns; ie. most days I feel more than capable enough to get a standard weight lifting session in with no crash afterwards and feel alert, but fatigued all day, whereas other days I want to do nothing but move from my chair to my bed to lie down. I never feel rested.
- Rarely, I have times where I'll stand up from sitting down in my chair and have times of dizziness and fuzzy vision; I've actually had these episodes so severely in the past to the point where I ended up collapsing into my wardrobe, drawers and straight down to the floor with absolutely no control of myself. It was like, one minute I got up to stand and stretch, then the next my head was slammed on the floor with serious pain all over my body from the amount of times I hit everything on the way down. Thankfully the severity and frequency of these events have vastly reduced to the point where I'm not concerned about them anymore.
- Very minor tension headaches every now and then with no obvious trigger; these used to be chronic and throbbing, but fortunately they're infrequent and barely noticeable now.
- Dry skin and dry lips, likely lasting side effects from Accutane; coconut oil works wonders for these as long as I keep my stress down as much as possible.
- Cold hands and feet; these are a relatively new symptom but they've been around for at least a year. Sometimes they warm back up by themselves but it's very random in terms of timing. This seems to alleviate substantially while I'm eating a meal and for a lengthy period afterwards, though.
- Depression, initially from state of health as well as during the accutane course. The depression and anxiety persists every day because I haven't been able to get a single night of sleep where I actually wake up feeling rested and awake.
- Calorie intake averages 2500-3000kcal per day.
- Mainly revolves around beef; salmon; liver, once a week
- Vegetables are carrots, peas, spinach, cabbage, sweet potatoes
- Fat intake relies on animal fat and coconut oil; I use 1tbsp of coconut oil for each piece of meat as a general rule, for example: if I'm having 2 steaks in a meal, I'll add 2tbsp of oil to up my fat intake.
- Carbs come exclusively from white rice; white rice is a very new addition to my diet and I do feel that it helps a lot in upping my carb intake as well as my calories. Overall my diet hasn't been an issue.
- Vitamin D / 10,000iu per day for about 6 months, has now been reduced to 5000iu a day
- Omega 3 fish oil
- Iodine - 12.5mg/day
- Vitamin C - 2000mg/day
- Magnesium - 200mg/day
- Adrenal extract - Made me feel more energetic at first but very quickly faded
- Thyroid extract - No noticeable effects
- 30 minutes of walking minimum a day
- Weight lifting when energetic enough to, aim for 2-3 times a week at a respectable intensity.
- Sedentary for most days if I'm indoors, otherwise I prefer walking to public transport and such.
- Asleep by 9-11pm most nights
- Generally wake around 7-9am most days
- I've tried both sleeping until I naturally wake-up, as well as consistent sleep and wake times for a regular routine. Neither give relief.
- Only wake up once to go to the toilet most nights; am able to fall asleep again relatively easily.
- I wear orange glasses to filter out blue light to aid in Melatonin production. I fall asleep easier but still wake up feeling exhausted. I also use a sleep mask for the same reasons, but don't feel rested in the morning.
What I've considered, what I've tested, what I've found:
Adrenal fatigue / HPA dysfunction
By far, this is what my problems appear to stem from. I've read 'Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome' by Dr. Wilson, and the majority of the book and its symptoms list hits home. What disturbs me, however, is the fact that in strictly scientific terms, it doesn't exist. That said, it doesn't make sense to me that you can have either Addison's or Cushing's disease as either extremes on the hypo/hyperadrenia scale, but anything in between is somehow impossible, as if the adrenals can only function in 3 specific states yet anything in between is physically abnormal. The thyroid doesn't have this kind of black/white distinction, so why should the adrenals?
I'm following a typical adrenal recovery program which is very common sense in nature; I'd just love to know whether anyone here has personally gone through this and came out on top. I've heard a lot of people say that this kind of thing just takes time to bounce back from, and I have infinite patience for this kind of thing, but I'd love to be reassured that I'm on the right track. To be completely honest I've only been 100% serious about recovering in the past 3 months or so, as I've experimented so much in trying to chase down possible causes for my poor health that I didn't really focus on what I definitely need to do to at least feel somewhat better.
This definitely seemed plausible considering my symptoms of cold extremities and overall fatigue, yet a test from my GP regarding my thyroid levels came back perfectly normal. I've also heard that cold extremities could be caused by cortisol issues, which may lead back to a HPA dysfunction as described above.
I had an allergy test at a pharmacy; according to the results, I have no suspected allergies to pollen, dust mites or cats. It was limited in scope so I'm not sure whether I'm allergic to my dogs or perhaps another source, yet I haven't had any typical allergy symptoms before in my life. No matter where I go, my symptoms are present, so I doubt that my environment is a problem. I considered mold, but I have no symptoms nor signs of mold exposure in terms of what I've seen around the house (very little to no mold in my bedroom and my parents' bedroom, which are on the outer sides of the house where water can appear to 'leak in' and cause mold to grow). Any mold is scrubbed away immediately, and it's been there since I was born, so if it was a problem I'd imagine I would show some discomfort in terms of coughing, wheezing or otherwise, yet nothing of the sort has occurred at all.
The only reason I suspect my dogs as a potential culprit is because we bought them about 9 years ago, and I have read that it's possible to not have any acute symptoms at first but to build up chronic symptoms over a long time period. I don't sneeze, have itchy eyes, hives or any other typical allergy symptoms around my dogs nor if I'm away from them, so allergies in general seem highly unlikely, yet possible, as a cause.
I don't expect anyone here to read through all of that; I wouldn't be surprised if the vast majority just click off the page when they see how much to read. I hope I've made this as digestible as I possibly can to everyone, and I hope that I've struck a decent balance between the quantity of information and its conciseness. I don't expect any magic bullets and I know this isn't going to be easy, but I would absolutely appreciate it if all of you can at least make it easier.
asked byNacho (30)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on May 07, 2013
at 12:42 PM
Believe it or not I have a very similar past to you.i ate junk growing up, never had skin issues, started spending lots of time on the computer (playing runescape), developed skin issues, felt like, meh whatever. Then around the age of 20-21 I decided to do something about it. First I experimented with literally every diet there is then at 22 I decided that wasn't working for me and to start working out. I've been working out fr a year and it has helped me a ton. Sedentary behavior along with poor nutrition will fuck you up bad.
Plug your food into nutritiondata or some sort of food logging place and make sure you get all your Micros from whatever your new diet is. Especially make sure you're getting either an adequate or an excess amount of b12, zinc, potassium and calcium imparticularly. White rice if probably fine, white peeled potatoes are too and so are sweet potatoes. Cruciferous and leafy vegetables are your best friends. Don't shy away from fermented dairy unless you have a food allergy, I do better n low fat dairy, if full fat dairy upsets your gut, low fat is fine too.
The biggest most important think you can do though is to not be so sedentary. It's my opinion that bodies like ours tend to thrive in a sedentary environment, and by thrive, I mean they feel the best in. I used to be able to sleep for 11 hours and feel like I could sleep some more. Search through my questions and check out my hands down ultimate hack question.
Ultimately you Do want to build muscle, period. This will help with your nervous tensions. To do this you need to become muscularity insulin sensitive, to do that you have to work your muscles at a hire intensity. Sme people you should become familiar with in order of importance is probably, mike Chang of six pack shortcuts, Phil Campbell author of ready set go and creator of sprint 8, Doug mcguff author of body by science and Jack Lalanne, creator of the jumping jack and lat pull down bar.. Among other things.
on May 07, 2013
at 06:23 PM
I think people who have answered before me know WAY MORE than I ever will.
However, I will put my 2cents in and I really really hope you will read it.
I apologize, but your post was a bit too long for me so I only finished reading the first half.
Anyway, one thing that really helped me is the test to get the right diagnosis. Not all doctors are very thorough nowadays - they don't have time and frankly, most of them just don't care.
So you need to get a doc who is willing to put you through some very very thorough testing. I am sure it has something to do with your gut - I just don't know what it is.
I was lucky enough to find a good immunologist (prior diagnosis included celiac, gluten intolerance, gastritis, ibs, etc.) Two doctors told me to see a shrink - they said it was all in my head.
Well, here is the final diagnosis (and a correct one this time)
- chronic giardiasis
- dysbiosis including Golden Staph., E. Coli, C. Diff, etc. etc.
- low immunity
I also used to have SIBO, but took care of it. Now I believe that SIBO is caused by pathogenic bacteria/parasites. I think all SIBO patients need a comprehensive stool test.
Anyway, here is my solution for you.
Take a very very very comprehensive stool and blood test. I mean, you need tests that only a good doctor can prescribe - you would not even know half the things on that test. I actually had to take a blood special test that they give to AIDS and cancer patients (I have neither).
You need a great doctor who would know how to interpret the results. It is going to be hard, but it is doable. Do not self-medicate yourself, a good doctor (as I found out) knows more than you ever will. Unfortunately, a bad doctor can really mess up your life.
on May 07, 2013
at 12:38 PM
It seems that even with the white rice you may be pretty low carb. For a young guy who is your weight you should really try to put more emphasis on eating more vegetables, fruits and tubers. Many of the symptoms you mention I had as well when I was vlc.
When I first started paleo for some reason I thought paleo=vlc. Not the case! n=1 my chronic fatigue, dizziness epiosdes, cold hands/feet, brain fog, bad sleep patterns, erratic energy patterns, extreme sleepiness all 100% evaporated into nothingness right after I began upping my carb intake to at least 150-200g+ a day (more if you're working out/more active than usual).
Try adding in more vegetables (wahetever you want really), sweet potatoes, yams, fruits (bananas, berries, apples etc etc). You're missing out on so many nutrients when you don't make sure to include lots veg and some fruit!
Eat the rainbow as they say (the veg/fruit rainbow...not the skittle one ;))
EDIT: Do you drink lots of coffee or caffeinated beverages? n=1 removing caffeine helped regulate my energy slumps in a MASSIVE way!
on May 07, 2013
at 10:45 AM
If you are still in and around London contact Darryl Edwards http://www.thefitnessexplorer.com/ who may be able to point you in the right direction.
It may be worth asking your GP if you can get your B12 levels tested.
I don't know much more than that, do let us know how you get on.
For networking sake, I'm based around the Docklands, London.
on May 07, 2013
at 11:09 AM
i'm a 26 year old male, also in the UK, who is about 85%-90% recovered from almost exactly the same things you describe. I am probably about 4-6 weeks away from very good health.
When i am fully recovered i am going to write a huge post for a forum that has helped me and i'll make sure to post it here too, i would do it now but it would take hours to compile!
Anyway, briefly, here's what i've done and how i place it in order of importance.
Buteyko - Buteyko is god as far as i'm concerned, it isn't easy but it is so so worth it. It's incredibly powerful but takes a lot of work. It's completely inline with the ideas of Ray Peat and others. Check out some of the testamonials for it to do with serious illnesses. Finally, buteyko isn't something that "works" for some and not for others. If you achieve a morning CP of 60 seconds you WILL be in a state of very good/super health.
Nutritional Balancing - You don't really need to do this if you are doing buteyko but it's still worth looking at just to understand what's going on with you. For instance i had copper toxicity which manifested in many weird and horrible ways, that has all gone now.
Earthing - This was pretty big for me too, it sounds wacky but it's so cheap and easy to do it's crazy to at least not give it a chance. I've only been doing this for the past month or so and feel so much better now (i did have a 3 week long cleansing/detox reaction though). Please be careful with this, earthing could set off a huge cleansing reaction as the immune system ramps up.
Diet - i don't think it's too important by itself but obviously it's much better to eat well than eat crap. I eat Perfect Health Diet. Might want to check out some stuff from 180degreehealth with regards to the cold hands and feet and other stuff like dry skin. Your metabolism sounds like it has slowed down completely (as mine did).
Allergies - I've found big relief from Apple cider vinegar, great stuff for allergies.
a few other things, cut down on the iodine unless you've been expressly told to take that much. I had problems with temporary hyperthyroidism because of taking that much and it was pretty unpleasant. Other things i've recently found helpful are inclined bed therapy and a portable infrared sauna (great for taking off the toxic load on the body).
Sounds like you are handling it well anyway but for the mental side of things i found mindfulness and Stoicism to be very helpful.
Anyway, I'm sorry to hear you are going through this but honestly you will get better! please look at as much buteyko info as you can. There's only really one site on the net that covers it comprehensively and from everything i've learned (from other buteyko sources too) the guy who runs it really knows his stuff. I won't link it here as i dont want to come off as spammy, you'll find it anyway, just google "normal breathing"
I definitely recommend getting a buteyko coach if you can for the early days as they can be pretty damn rough and it's tough to keep going without support. Eventually you'll just be able to handle everything by yourself.
good luck! :)
edit: just read this bit
"High amounts of 'nervous' energy; fast heart rate, restless sleep, unable to relax properly, if at all. This was largely caused and exacerbated by poor sleep habits and stimulant intake (caffeine, and theobromine from dark chocolate)"
Magnesium! you are only taking 200mg a day which is really not enough at all. I had all of those symptoms and was in a very bad way but high dose magnesium sorted them all out very quickly (about 48hrs). Please look at magnesium oil, i can't even begin to describe how much suffering that has spared me. You can get it on amazon as oil or you can buy the flakes yourself. The latter is much much cheaper. I now take about 2,000 mg per day and it's through the skin too so has much better absorption than the tablets. Basically magnesium tablets to magnesium oil are as TVs twenty years ago are to TVs now.
on October 09, 2016
at 12:35 PM
Drink bone broth, eat lots of grass-fed ground beef and chicken, flaxseeds and leafy green vegetables, and avoid ALL grains, beans, legumes, and fruits. You'll recover in no time.
on September 06, 2016
at 11:21 AM
You may experience sleeping without turning the light off. It will decrease your melatonin hormone, disturb your biological clock. Symptoms like sleepiness, fatigue, and laziness can happen during the day because of sleep deprivation or sleeping with light exposure.
on May 26, 2016
at 07:15 AM
Here I can only help you with skincare. So if you are using coconut oil that is good, but try using tea tree oil cause it reduces chances of fungal skin infections that are sometimes common on dry skin.
on May 21, 2016
at 06:22 PM
Hi, after reading your post it seemed to me that someone is saying is tell me my story. So let me tell you in brief that i am having the same symptoms of chronic fatigue and it started when i entered college. Even i was a bright kid at school but my grades suffered during college because of brain fog and declining memory i could not remember much, even though i understood every bit of what i studied. I am 28 yrs old now and researching the cure of my problems over several years. Only recently i got a complete body checkup done along with blood and stool test. This was done because very recently i have been suffering from excessive fatigue and also there is work pressure at my job. I was surprised to know that i have a low vitamin b12 and severe vitamin D deficiency. Also i have GERD which was diagnosed 5 years back though i am able to manage my acidity problems through home remedies.
So only last month i started taking Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D doses and my condition has improved a bit. I feel there is till more i should be doing like exercising because sedentary lifestyle over years of corporate life has a lot to be blamed for. But due to excessive work load i am able to manage only morning walk for 30 min about 2-3 times a week.
While i am still struggling to find the cure of my problems for years i have narrowed down the list of reasons after several years of research to:
1) Vitamin and Mineral deficiency- Vitamin B12,Vitamin D ,Magnesium, Calcium
2) Desentry lifestyle
3 High pollution levels in my city
4) Sleep cycle disturbances
6) Parasites like Giardia which were detected in recent Stool test and my be others
7) Omega 3 deficiency
I am trying to these causes and hopefully i will recover. This is all that i know.
BTW i want that we can connect and together discuss over this and together find a solution through experimentation.
PS: I don't know your condition now since you posted this 3 years back and would be happy know your present state and if you have recovered from this problem.
on November 06, 2014
at 01:26 AM
Wow what an awesome thread. Incredible advice for all, not just those suffering from chronic fatigue or other related symptoms. Will review all the posts through a microscope to help discover the best practices I will definitely use for my self and my loved ones. Thanks again to all for the shared knowledge and continued good luck on your journeys.
on July 06, 2013
at 05:40 PM
I wanted to check in and see how you are doing. My symptoms are VERY similar to yours and have been trying to figure out what is going on for the past 3 years.
When I started Paleo last year, I also went through a period where I think I was malnoursihed-- I was over training and not eating nearly enough fats (I see this now but didn't then).
I went back to SAD for 5 months and felt ok at first (I think because I gained some necessary weight back after my period of overtraining and not enough cals) but then I kept gaining weight and had severe fatigue, anxiety, headaches, water retention, joint pain, depression. Being on Paleo again the past 2 weeks has helped this a lot, but I still have the fatigue, brain fog and bloating.
I am now following an adrenal fatigue protocol-- I have tried this before but didnt see results after a month so moved on to something else thinking its not what I had. But I know that it can take 6 months - year to really heal from this. I am doing a cortisol saliva test next week to have my levels checked.
I also am seeing an endocrinologist-- have you had other tests done besides your TSH? My TSH was normal but because my symptoms were so hypothyroid and I have 2 small nodules on my throid, so I was put on 50mcg of Synthroid for the next 6 weeks to see how I feel. (No difference as of yet)
Oh also, I feel you on the cruciferous veggies! My digestion/gas is terrible when I eat broccoli/cauliflower/brussel sprouts, but since taking them out, I have had no issues!
on May 07, 2013
at 08:38 PM
just wanted to put my two cents in for what VB has to say, and that also you may want to check out the website Cpnhelp.org.
Your symptoms sound a lot like what the people on this site have - chronic fatigue, feeling tired despite lots of sleep/not feeling rested, brain fog.
Another useful book may be Pot Belly Syndrome. Basically the idea is that there are lots of pathogens which we are exposed to, and some we have conquered mightily with antibiotics or vaccines. however there are other pathogens or viruses which can cause chronic conditions. For example, the implication of H. Pylori in ulcers or HPV in Cervical cancer are two examples of bacterial infections or viruses linked to an ultimate condition.
The idea is that Chronic Fatigue or fibromyalgia may also be caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection. The bacteria want to keep you alive so they have a host, but not outright kill you.
Treating these infections is complex and you may have to do many rounds of treatment which can vary, because according to the CPNhelp.org (which deals with conditions specifically arising from C. Pneumoniae, a quite common bacteria) you have to get the virus or bacteria or fungi in all stages to properly kill it.
Sometimes people will do a round of antibiotics or an anti-fungal and feel better, but they only wiped out the present, not incipient, or early forming stages of the virus or bacteria.
C. pneumoniae and other bacteria/pathogens are actually quite common and many people have them but not all people are equally affected by them.
I think this is quite fascinating and you can read stories of people on Cpnhelp.org as well as recommended doctors. People describe how they have been tired for years and similar to you, having some days with lots of energy and other days with little or being completely drained by activities that they used to do with no problems.
A good doctor should do testing for you and recommend a possible course of action if you do actually have chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.
The PerfectHealthdiet.com is where I learned about a lot of this and this book is "paleo" but with the idea that changing your diet can help fight these pathogens and chronic conditions or diseases. for example, eating 12 egg yolks per week for glutathione production, getting the right amount of omega-3 by eating 1 lb of salmon per week, as you can get too much omega-3, contrary to what fish oil hawkers will tell you. and how to get proper zinc-copper balance with liver, improving selenium status, and what nutrients tend to fall short on a paleo diet and how to deal with that, and the addition of fermented foods, and bone broth because having a leaky gut will cause many allergies.
Some of your symptoms definitely may stem from accutane if you are still on it - dry lips. The dandruff is generally a fungal infection and unfortunately likes saturated fat more than unsaturated. Also, you may be taking too much fish oil, and it may be of interest to you to read some posts from the Jaminets:
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/06/fish-not-fish-oil-capsules/ http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/05/dha-and-angiogenesis-the-bottom-line/ http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/04/omega-3s-angiogenesis-and-cancer-part-ii/
I will echo what the Jaminets say on their site:
Don't give up hope. never give up hope! you will feel better at some point.
Good luck with your research, as you are the most motivated person to find an answer to your problems. And keep in mind it's never just one thing but usually many things, however eating a diet for health (quite different than a paleo diet or primal diet actually, in my opinion) may vary considerably from what you are doing now.
on May 12, 2013
at 09:34 PM
Hey man, I have your problems, but probably much worse. I'm 24 years old, male, and have been dealing with immense day time fatigue and mental tiredness for almost 5 years. Over that time I have made amazing health discoveries, but am discouraged in thinking that I have brain damage. See this all started after using a friends Ritalin, and woke up the next morning and my personality was just gone. 3 weeks prior, I had tried EX, acid, cocaine all in one day, and it took a while to recover from that, but I didn't have any real bad problems until after the Ritalin. I never was addicted to anything and my friends and others always did these drugs way more than men, and they all have happy productive lives.
Anyway, the health discoveries are eating paleo, eating raw foods, including meat, quitting caffeine/alcohol, stop masturbating and masturbating to porn. This is the important one. I'm not sure if it's really optimal to quit all masturbating, but definitely to porn because it wears you out. For the past 8 months I've been trying this, and in many ways, going on a 2 week streak without an orgasm transfers that sexual energy into regular energy. However, I've been having a problem of laziness created by not releasing. If you visit reddit.com and look up Nofap, you will see there are thousands and thousands of people trying this and their results are remarkable.