Swedish bitters and night sweats?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 28, 2012 at 6:50 PM

I've been taking around 1tsp of Swedish Bitters 2x/day ("gentle and stimulating, used historically for digestion") for two or three weeks, and recently I've been experiencing night sweats - I'll wake up sweaty, either still hot, or beginning to get cold from the sweat. The bitters seem to be the only likely candidate to cause the change. Does anyone have any insight into why they might be causing the sweats?

Some background: I'm a 29 year old male, have been gluten-free for 9 years, on and off SCD, have been various flavors of paleo for 2 years. I went GF/SCD to deal with digestive problems, but when I experimented with the Body Ecology Diet I found that I could drastically improve my acne when I cut out fruit, (and later nuts and chocolate). (Taking activated charcoal after eating these foods supresses the acne, which Paul Jaminet suggested was a sign that I'm still dealing with dysbiosis.) My current diet could be described as PHD (or GAPS+Safe starch) minus fruits, nuts, and chocolate.

I'm fine with dietary restrictions, but no one should have to live without fruits, nuts or chocolate, so I'm trying to improve my gut health back to a point where these foods no longer trigger acne. I've tried various things to improve my gut health, and I've found that the biggest effects were on my sleep. Eating VLC caused "black out sleep" which I asked about earlier, (Low blood pressure seemed the likely culprit there.) Regular bone broth gives me much more vivid dreams than I used to have (and, at the risk of TMI, some serious morning wood...). Bitters seem to be causing the night sweats.

I like taking the bitters, they seem to help my body figure out that the meal is over (otherwise my satiety signal doesn't kick in until 20-30 minutes after the meal, if at all, and I could eat basically forever) and I'd like to give them a shot for a few months to see the longer-term effects on my digestion, but I'd like to have some idea of what they might be doing to me now.

Any insight? Thanks



on February 29, 2012
at 02:36 AM

I'm getting an error trying to edit the post, so I'll try adding a comment instead: The reason I suspect the bitters are linked to the night sweats is because that is the only variable that seems to have changed. I could have a cold (or TB or cancer...) but I've only had night sweats a few times before, when on nyquil with a cold or something, and now I've had them for the past 5 nights at least. I eat a LOT of calories, if my digestion is improving there may well be more heat. Or if the dysbiosis situation has altered, perhaps it's causing fever symptoms?



on February 29, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Thanks! I'll provide a few more details above...

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2 Answers


on February 28, 2012
at 11:06 PM

I am not a doctor, I'm just offering opinions here. If you keep having night sweats, you should go to a good doctor (if you can find one). But I never did during any of the various times I experienced night sweats and they always cleared up on their own.

I think night sweats alarm people because they so frequently are cited as symptoms of a huge list of terrible diseases. I'm of the opinion they are relatively normal, if rare occurrences. I've certainly had episodes of them more than once in my life.

I am skeptical that it's the bitters causing the sweats. You claim it's a likely suspect but don't really offer much evidence why. Is it just because it's the one thing that's different in your life, and the sweats started right at the same time? You don't give a very clear timeline to connect the dots.

Your question reminded me of a strange reaction I believe I had a couple months into paleo: enhanced thermogenesis. I'd been doing pretty low-carb with lots of fat, and I think I kind of suddenly became more fat-adapted or something. Thermogenesis went through the roof. I also have hashi's and suspect improved thyroid function increased body temps. Sometimes the sweats would happen during the day, like right after a meal (like a hot flash). But sometimes I'd wake up with night sweats. I was burning a lot of calories, and producing a lot of heat. (And losing weight....). It went away after a week or so. It could have just been an infection/cold/virus too. Paleo people can still get sick, even though many like to claim they never do.

So I wonder if you could have either have a mild illness, or be experiencing increased thermogenesis? When you think about it, lying in bed with covers on, there isn't much airflow over the cooling surfaces of your body. If your brain is very active, you might be producing more heat there too. It seems easy to imagine building up enough surplus heat to require some extra perspiration to keep things cool--particularly if your metabolism is really chugging along better than average because of your healthful diet.

One more thing I'd consider: if you've done a good job addressing your gut dysbiosis, might you have a little furnace burning down there too? Guts seem pretty active at night. All that fermentation produces heat, and it's gotta go somewhere.

Good luck! Follow up with a doc if they don't clear up or get worse or new bad things happen, etc.



on February 29, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Thanks! I'll provide a few more details above...


on September 05, 2012
at 07:07 AM


Side-effects of Swedish Bitters have been reported so far are dehydration, allergy, rashes, cramps or indigestion. Thus, it should not be used without consulting the doctor





1: http:// www.kwintessential.co.uk/articles/sweden/Swedish-Bitters-Uses-Benefits-Side-Effects/4752

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