Managing Anxiety Without Drugs - 3 Simple Ways | Chris Kresser
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3 Ways to Manage Anxiety Without Drugs

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This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for ChrisKresser.com.

You can learn more about Laura by checking out her popular blog or visiting her on Facebook.

“That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” – Chinese Proverb

Confession time: If I had to choose one personal health issue that I’d love to wipe out with a simple wave of my hand, I’d choose anxiety.

Everybody has some type of health concern that they deal with on a daily basis; it’s rare to find someone who feels completely, 100% healthy and free of any ailment. While many healthcare practitioners (including nutritionists) may give off the impression that they have all the answers to perfect health, the truth is that many of us struggle with our own issues, and some of the best health experts in the world became that way because of their struggle with a serious illness. For me, I’ve been on a quest to figure out how to manage my anxiety without resorting to pharmaceutical treatment.

Struggling with anxiety? Check out these tips by @AncestralizeMe to help you stay calm!

Anxiety disorders are one of the most common forms of mental illness in the United States, affecting approximately 18% of the adult population, costing us more than $42 billion a year in healthcare services. (1) And that’s just the people who have actually been diagnosed – in our hectic, stressed-out, achievement-driven society, many people deal with stress on a regular basis, even if they’re not actively seeking treatment for their condition.

While I’ve been tempted in the past to run to a doctor for a quick-fix anxiolytic medication (especially when I was a graduate student), deep down I’ve always known that this could never be the answer I was searching for. I didn’t want to use a treatment that could be hard to stop, or that could even be dangerous to my health.

After searching for effective non-pharmaceutical treatments to help manage my anxiety, I’ve found a few specific methods that, for me, have made a big difference in my day-to-day experience of anxiety.

From my personal experience, here are the three best ways to manage your anxiety without resorting to drug treatment.

1. Un-Restrict Your Diet

This recommendation is for all of you 99% Paleo dieters out there who are worried that even the most minor of slip ups will completely derail any progress you’ve made in changing your diet for the better.

While certain people will benefit from a strict Paleo diet that completely eliminates foods like grains, legumes or dairy, from my experience, the majority of people out there do not need to be quite so restrictive in order to maintain overall good health.

First, think about the amount of carbohydrates you’re eating. While some people believe that a very low carb diet is healthy for everyone, my own personal experience (and the experience of others) has shown me that low carb is not always the best choice, especially for those of us who struggle with anxiety.

If you’re on a very low carbohydrate diet (<100 g per day) and feeling anxiety on a regular basis, you may benefit from an increase in carbohydrates. I recommend starting at 20-30% of calories, and seeing how you feel at that level. You may even feel better on a higher carbohydrate diet, perhaps around 40-50% of calories (or more!).

Don’t let the low-carb dogma dictate how you eat – if you feel like crap on a low carb diet, that’s a relevant feeling and you should be prepared to experiment with a higher carbohydrate diet. And while eating enough protein and fat can be helpful with anxiety, some evidence suggests that too much protein can induce anxiety, so try not to go above 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight if you’re prone to anxiety or panic attacks.

Finally, consider the overall restrictiveness of your diet. Are you on a self-imposed autoimmune protocol despite having no autoimmune diagnosis or symptoms? Do you completely avoid all dairy even though you’ve never had a problem with it in the past? Do you avoid generally benign foods like white rice, properly prepared legumes, or natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup simply because they’re “not Paleo” or some armchair nutritionist on Paleohacks said that cavemen didn’t eat rice? In this case, consider the possibility that your overly restrictive diet may be doing more harm than good.

2. Try Quality Supplements

(Please check with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. These recommendations are intended as general advice only and should not replace medical advice from your primary care physician or other provider.) 

If you feel like you’ve already experimented with your diet to no avail, there are some excellent supplements that may be beneficial, including herbs and nutritive formulas. While there are hundreds of combinations that may be beneficial, there are a few more well-studied types that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Some of the herbs that are generally understood to help with anxiety are: California poppy, hops, verbena, chamomile, lemon balm, valerian, rhodiola, lavender, and passionflower. (2a, 2, 3, 4) These herbs are available as supplements, tinctures, and even tea blends for those looking to use evidence-based natural strategies for anxiety management.

Many supplements contain a mixture of these herbs, which can be helpful for those looking for a reduction in anxiety without the side effects that often come with pharmaceutical treatment. Personally, I like to use Integrative Therapeutics’ Lavela during the day and the Revitalizing Sleep Formula before bed; I find they help take the edge off and allow for a more restful sleep on days where anxiety is starting to get the best of me.

There are some nutritional supplements that are helpful as well. L-Theanine, an amino acid largely found in tea, has been shown to be effective for its anxiolytic effects, including increased alpha brain wave activity and inhibiting cortical neuron excitation. (5) While you can get L-theanine from drinking tea, it’s far more potent in supplemental form, and if you’re dealing with regular anxiety, you may find that it helps keep you calm and focused during the day without causing drowsiness.

Magnesium is also important to supplement with, as most of us are unable to get adequate amounts of it in our daily diets to replace the losses caused by modern day stressors. And research has shown that magnesium deficiency can lead to anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation. (6)

If you prefer not to take magnesium supplements orally, you can also increase your magnesium levels by taking epsom salt baths or using a topical magnesium oil. Whatever your method, I strongly recommend finding a way to boost your magnesium levels if you’re struggling with chronic anxiety.

3. Cut down on Caffeine

I know, I know… cutting out caffeine sounds like a death sentence for many of us who either need the caffeine to get going in the morning, or just love the taste of a nice hot coffee as part of our morning ritual. I’ve tried to quit caffeine before, but haven’t been too successful, as I’m back in the habit of drinking a few cups of coffee every day.

The good news is that cutting down on caffeine doesn’t require total elimination of all caffeinated beverages. In fact, going cold turkey on caffeine can actually lead to an increase in mental distress and symptomatic anxiety. (7) Caffeine withdrawal is a legitimate condition, and one that I’ve experienced in the past when I went from excessively drinking multiple espressos daily (I was working as a barista while traveling in Australia) to a complete cessation of caffeine consumption. I felt awful, and it wasn’t just the emotional attachment to my coffee that was causing the problems; there are actual documented symptoms that come from a sudden removal of caffeine. (8)

So instead of going cold turkey on your morning cup of joe, try reducing the overall caffeine you consume on a regular basis by half. Maybe that means going from 6 cups of coffee per day to 3, or perhaps you switch out one or two cups of regular for decaf coffee or green tea instead. Caffeine is a well-established anxiogenic (i.e. anxiety producing) stimulant, and if you’re dealing with chronic anxiety, it’s worth at least moderating your caffeine intake and trying to reduce it over time. (9) You may find that you need less caffeine than you think to get going on a daily basis, and you may end up with more energy and less anxiety or feelings of panic if you don’t overload your nervous system with this potent stimulant.

As an aside (and this relates to step 1 above), one common practice that many Paleo gurus promote is the use of “Bulletproof Coffee” as an effective weight loss and intermittent fasting protocol.

While there are many people who experience great benefits from this method, I would caution anyone who deals with significant anxiety to reconsider their use of Bulletproof Coffee as a daily practice. The combination of caffeine, daily fasting, and carbohydrate avoidance is liable to exacerbate feelings of anxiety for those who are susceptible, especially women. (10)

If you do choose to continue with Bulletproof Coffee, try eating a real breakfast at least a few days a week, and use L-theanine to combat the anxiety-provoking effects of caffeine. (11) Like a low-carb approach, if Bulletproof Coffee makes you feel terrible, stop drinking it! (Don’t be a lemming!)

Time to Take Action!

Now that you’ve read my top three tips for managing your anxiety, I’d like to hear from you. Have you implemented any of these recommendations? Do you have any other ideas that would be helpful to other readers?

I’ll be covering more natural ways to manage anxiety in part two of this article series, but for now, I’d like you all to focus on these three and report back to me once you’ve given them a try!

Share your experience in the comments below!

143 Comments

Join the conversation

  1. I’ve suffered from anxiety my entire life. After losing weight and starting to eat healthier, I started to meditate daily. Meditation is the most powerful thing I do and has been the best antidote for anxiety, for me. I didn’t have any anxiety for years, until I switched to a paleo diet and my stress levels increased for other reasons.

    I’ve slowly learned much of what you say here through my own experience. I definitely get anxious when going too low carb… I need at least 150g per day. Higher amounts of protein cause me a little anxiety if I am not exercising that day. I use L-theanine regularly. I’ve supplemented with magnesium in the past but lately I’ve stopped due to strange side effects. I think I actually get enough in my diet and might take a little a few times a week.

    With caffeine, you can be a freak like me and measure out ground coffee before you brew it. Over long periods of doing this daily, I’ve found the perfect range of coffee that works best for me through measuring the amounts. If I go a little over that amount, I can start to notice more negative effects of overstimulation.

    I agree on the Bulletproof Coffee method. After drinking only Bulletproof Coffee in the morning for months, the stress of fasting broke me. Even doing Bulletproof Coffee/fasting most days of the week and only eating breakfast a few days a week doesn’t quite work for me. My health started to decline. I fixed that by decreasing the Bulletproof Coffee recipe slightly and adding a decent breakfast with it in the morning. Now I feel absolutely fantastic.

    Now I use anxiety as a meter. When I have anxiety, I try to think of one of these things or control stress better. It is a clear sign of an imbalance somewhere. In this way, it is a useful tool.

  2. I have heard magnesium mentioned by several people. I love mineral water such as Gerolsteiner which is high in magnesium and it’s usually affordable depending on where you buy it (1.29 at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s).

    • Gerolsteiner water is amazing for me! From a little research on the internet the minerals in this water are very high compared to similar brands

  3. Very brave of you to mention that excess protein and lack of carbohydrates can be a contributor to anxiety on this site. I very much agree and have felt those effects myself. Ayurveda, the science of life from india, recommends healthy grain foods as satvic promoting clear awareness and calmness. Kudos Laura

  4. Hello,

    Lavela’s list of ingredients includes canola oil. Is there a similar supplement without canola oil?

    • Luzmin, I wouldn’t worry about the small amount of Canola Oil you might find in a supplement. You wouldn’t want to make it a dietary staple, but unless you are allergic/highly sensitive, the amount of canola in Lavela’s couldn’t possibly be enough to throw off the balance of Omega 3/6, nor be enough to produce significant inflammation.

      Just my two, completely non-professional layperson, cents! Cheers!

  5. Thanks for this article. I have found all these tips to be useful for me. Increasing magnesium, reducing caffeine and alcohol, and upping my carbs have been helpful. The only things I would add are getting adequate sleep, light to moderate exercise and plenty of prayer 🙂

  6. I’ve been following your blog for years now, and thought maybe it was time I contribute!

    Hands down the most effective way I’ve learned to handle anxiety-as well as depression, fatigue, ADD/ADHD, most physical and emotional pain, and a number of other complaints-is to reengage the parasympathetic nervous system through a process called Open Focus. Les Fehmi was one of the early pioneers of biofeedback/neurofeedback, and developed these exercises back in the 1970’s. His research papers on the work showed a 90% reduction in all stress related complaints for his study subjects.

    I’m generally pretty skeptical about anything that makes such promises on such a broad scope of complaints, but knowing the wide damaging reach stress plays in the body, I decided to be my own guinea pig and spend a week out in Princeton with Dr Fehmi getting certified in the technique, undergoing the process as a patient the whole way. I’ve I’m very hands on, and have tried meditation, supplementation (which I still wholeheartedly recommend to clients, but for other issues), caffeine and alcohol restriction, nearly a year of bi-weekly neurofeedback sessions….The results I encountered with Open Focus were nothing short of profoundly effective and beautifully efficient, and I’ve seen the same results repeated in my own clients. For the CK readers who are probably well up to date on adrenal fatigue and the HPA axis, my working theory is that by pulling you out of your fight/flight sympathetic ns state, the HPA axis is no longer unnecessarily/chronically stimulated, allowing for longer term healing of the steroid hormone balance (and thus the rest of the body) in addition to the more immediate benefits that comes with relaxation and expanded awareness. However, I have not yet been able to confirm this improvement with a saliva test, as most of my clients add in other work with me, which muddles the variables a bit!

    There are unfortunately only a handful of certified coaches for this work, but Dr Fehmi’s book (Open Focus) is available, and contains scripts and an audio CD of some of his basic exercises.

    • Adrianne and Chris.

      Glad you mentioned Dr. Fehmi. I believe his techniques especially for pain management are excellent. I would also like to mention “the healing power of the breath” by Richard Brown, MD and Patricia Gerbarg, MD. They focus on simple breathing techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, enhance concentration and to balance your emotions. The book also comes with an excellent CD for breath training.

      I belive the approach is easier to start with than the open focus approach of Dr. Fehme and can be learned by just about anyone. I have found it effective in reducing stress and my students appear to agree. My wife has also integrated some of the breathing techniques into her therapy practice with good results. Dr. Brown gives numerous workshops in the NY area as well as a week long teacher training course.

  7. Hi Laura,

    Thanks for sharing your very personal experience. Anxiety and worry have been a lifelong struggle for me. When I started having panic attacks after taking a stressful job, I tried every supplement, and lifestyle intervention I could (yoga, therapy, group therapy). Magnesium worked wonders at first, then stopped helping after a few months. I eventually began a 10 year journey into medicines to try to get some relief. My life has changed a lot, as well as my diet, I still hold out hope that someday a solid supplement regimen can replace the pharmaceuticals. I will tell you, that despite not liking to take them, I am very grateful for the medications that have made the last 10 years liveable. There are some supplements in your article that I have not tried, I will have to give them a go. Thanks again for the quality work.

  8. I strongly believe that with all the chemicals in our food today, that food can definitely be a culprit of anxiety. Hormone imbalance can also be a cause. You just need to find out the right balance for you. Moderation is key as too much of anything is not good. Also, fatigue contributes to anxiety. Prayer works very well for me along with good suppliments and eating veggies and fruit. I have cut out gluten for the most part and I do feel much better as gluten for some people is an inflammatory. It takes time, but keep working at it and you’ll find out what is best for you.

    • Hey Phil,

      Good point with the hormonal imbalance. I have had anxiety since I was 15, I am now 24. I was on the pill age 16 – 23 and when I came off it my hormonal balance went out the window (I’m talking no period for months, hair loss and acne). My anxiety makes it worse as I am constantly in “fight or flight” mode but then my hormonal imbalance also gives me anxiety as I worry about that… so it’s really a vicious cycle!

      I’ve only been eating paleo for about 2 months now but I’m starting to see improvements each day… don’t know about giving up my morning coffee though! 🙁

  9. Great advice! I have personally struggled with daily anxiety for about a year now. The stress of a 40 hour work life and being a full time Dietetic student married with two children had really taken a toll on me. Last September I had a full blown panic attack and realized something had to be done. I do currently take .25 mg of a benzo when my anxiety gets really bad. I have refused to take anxiolytics or anti depressants during this time due to the negative effects. Some advice I can give that has greatly helped me is taking 500 mg curcumin 2x a day along with 500 mg of magnesium citrate. Deep breathing, positive affirmations and continuous prayer have been on top of the list as well. I have also recently incorporated drinking two cups of caffeine free Tulsi tea with Chamomile and Lavender which is a great calming drink in the evening time. Hope this helps and many blessings!

  10. I believe the role of caffeine on anxiety is far greater than any of the other factors described because it hugely changes sleep patterns and is usually used to survive on less sleep.
    It is not just the effects of the caffeine directly that causes the damage.
    Why drinking moderate amounts of coffee (3 instead of 6 cups) when it is extremely easy to gradually reduce caffeinated coffee and replace it with (swiss-water-based) decaf. I did this over the course of 10 days, exchanging 10% of caffeinated coffee with decaf until I was drinking only decaf. I had no withdrawal symptoms at all as long as I kept regular sleeping hours and avoided computer/TV exposure within 2 hours of bedtime. One could even do this more gradual over 20 days. I now have decaf several times a day with up to a 1/4 cup of heavy cream and it works great as a meal replacement in a pinch.

    • I completely agree about the caffeine! Depression and anxiety are new to me over the last year. I’m fortunate to have found an excellent naturopath and am on the path to healing my gut. But, I kept having bouts of not being able to take a deep breath, when I got rid of refined sugar that made an improvement. And then I gave up coffee and the few times I’ve had a small cup that feeling of not being able to breathe kept racing back. I just can’t help but think caffeine has an even bigger effect than we give it credit for.

    • I completely agree with the copper detox. Since I’ve been detoxing, I find I have periods of a week or so of a sense of calm that I’ve never had. Of course, when the body decides to let loose with another round of detox I can get a bit anxious again, but it’s always when I have obvious signs of detox. …and eventually I find that week or so of calm again when the body takes a break. The nice thing is that those weeks get longer each time and the space between them shorter. 🙂

    • I didn’t know about the hi copper levels – makes sense. Zinc and copper are like a teeter-totter – up-down; most folks are low in zinc so would be too high in copper … anxiety. {And there is I believe a strong Cu(copper)-caffeine link.

      Not so common a link may be in EMF exposure as WiFi and laptop exposure Regenerative Nutrition News, a British supplement company has some excellent info in a new article.
      Laura you may wish to introduce carbohydrates at a supper meal on a ketogenic diet for breakfast-lunch- @2pm>>>strenuous exercise >>> small amt protein … >>> then for supper the carbohydrate foods ,,, concept called carb backoading by John Kieffer.

  11. Thank you for speaking so much sense. I do feel that there is so much prescriptive, restrictive dietary preaching going on. My children and I lived on a very restricted diet for 5 years trying to heal our guts. Not much healing took place, in fact my gut and health kept deteriorating. By that point I’d read and researched so much on how detrimental grains, legumes and fruit were to an injured gut that I couldn’t even bring myself to eat them. There has been a definite psychological impact from trying to arm myself with knowledge. I would say that reading all the negative talk about certain food groups created a sort of eating disorder within me. I completely lost touch with my own body and intuition trying to listen to the experts. I still find it hard not to associate those foods with creating ill health, although I feel and look so much better including them in my diet. And now that I eat oats again for breakfast I no longer suffer from the terrible insomnia I had. Pippa

    • I really appreciate your comment. I have a few autoimmune diseases and have always eaten a organic foods, low sugar, gluten and dairy free diet with low to moderate carbs diet. I decided to try the AIP a couple of months ago…I was never a big meat eater, but became one. I am sicker than I ever was for some reason. I do have leaky gut…was tested. I have been on an herb and supplement protocol and am avoiding all seeds, nuts etc…almonds used to be my standby. I am finding that I am hungry a lot, have a lot more joint pain, am fatigued and am having huge flares of all of the diseases. It is hard to let go of the idea that this particular diet will help and that it has helped so many others. There are nutritionists who only advocate the AIP for autoimmune disease. Maybe it is not for everyone though. It is nice to be given the permission to eat what works for us. I am going to have to find what works better for me…the AIP isn’t it.

      By the way, for everyone else…I take magnesium threonate, because it crosses the blood brain barrier and is very calming.

      • I am feeling the exact same way. I have been trying all sorts of diets and supplements and nothing seems to be helping. Now I am freaked about food in general, worried I am making the wrong choices.

        I just got a new doctor (after the last one completely told me that my thyroid was fine when the numbers showed it was way off) and she is much more the voice of reason. She is the first one to tell me about the thyroid/gluten connection and I have had diagnosed Hashimoto’s for 25 years!

        I have stopped the supplements with glandulars that I think were giving me problems and feel better already. Now I am trying to truly listen to my body instead of a doctor assuring me that more supplements will cure what ails me. It is a day at a time as I truly listen to what my body likes.

  12. I don’t really have anxiety anymore, but I certainly used to. One thing that used to give me anxiety was excessive alcohol intake. I’d wake up early in the morning with an overwhelming anxiety. Even now when I slip and drink a little too much wine in the evening, this will sometimes happen. I’m a lot more strict about my alcohol and caffeine intake now, and I rarely get anxiety anymore.

  13. Hi – I am working on anxiety issues from C-PTSD with diet, exercise, CBT, lifestyle, etc. I actually find Bulletproof Coffee helpful. Granted I make mine with Matcha. My stomach & digestive system does not tolerate protein, does not tolerate large meals, and if anything, I end up low on my daily calories because of it. I assume the stomach issues are from stress coupled with HPA dysregulation, it’s a huge bummer, but what can you do? I make BCP with matcha and some L-theanine, and find that my digestive system is much happier in the morning without having a glut of food sitting in my stomach, causing me discomfort. It helps alot with getting enough calories without the pain. At present I am trying higher carbs (mostly from fruit) later in the day event though I do OK on lower carbs. Due to the digestive and metabolic slowdown from stress, I am trying not to end up in the overweight category, too. It’s ALL a struggle, and an an incredible balancing act in the face of constant overwhelming stress.

  14. Anxiety is no fun, the stress we deal with everyday is way more than people used to, electronics like cells phone makes us feel like we are always connected and we never get time to give our brain a break.

    I never used to have anxiety, but with lots of life stressors over the years I have been hit with anxiety and its no fun. I have found some natural herbs and vitamins that have helped me big time.

    Rhodiola is my favorite 🙂
    Ashwagandha, magnesium and Tulsi tea. These for help products have help me big time.

    Thanks for writing this, helps people understand that there are natural things that can help 🙂

    • I take Rhodiola as well and love it! My teenage son had terrible anxiety and lithium orotate was the only thing that helped him. He took 10 mg once or twice a day. It was a lifesaver for him!

    • Acupuncture helps keep my mental hyperactivity under control which assists in sleep as well as anxiety. Also amino acids like gaba, homeopathy and St Johns Wort.

  15. I’ve actually added in magnesium and minerals (I take ReMag and ReLyte) and also increased my carbs to over 100g as well as adding back in things I eliminated like rice, potatoes, quinoa, etc. I also increased overall calories (actually using the calculator and subtracting off several hundred as I’ve seen you mention previously – was happy to see you recommend that). I am SOOO much better. Not only that, I’m actually finally able to lose weight for the first time in ages! I initially lost some on paleo, then it came to a screeching halt and I started gaining it back. I think my thyroid is much happier with this approach! So is my mental health!

  16. Excellent advice, Laura! I have struggled with sub-clinical levels of anxiety on and off since childhood. When I first embarked on the low-carb paleo (+dairy) approach 6 years ago, not only did my physical health improve, but my brain fog and reactive hypoglycemia went away, and my simmering anxiety greatly reduced as well. When I add too many carbs back into my diet (in the form of safe starches, mostly) or eat too many nuts, I find the bloating AND anxiety return lock-in-step. I suspect there is a strong connection between gut inflammation and anxiety. I know Chris has discussed the gut-brain axis many times before, both here and in his excellent podcast.

    What I find incredible is how varied are the approaches that work across individuals. In my case, restricting carbs and other gut irritants helps me physically and mentally. For many others (perhaps a majority?), it seems that limiting carbs too much actually induces anxiety. Individual variation is important, and I’m glad the folks in the paleosphere, and realm of Ancestral Health are not only recognizing this, but embracing it.

    • Aaron,

      Thank you so much for your comments on Brain Fog. How bad was yours? I am in the midst of a 6 week bout with it -from taking antibiotics after a rountine surgery. I have had this before and it went away after a lot of self care. Any tips are much appreciated.

      Best!

      • Hi ChicPammy,

        I’ve been plagued with brain fog all of my life, until going low-carb paleo 6 years ago. I also think I suffered from what used to be called petite mal seizures, though it’s never been officially diagnosed. I definitely remember having frequent (every few days), very brief (30s or so) bouts of “absence” where I’d kind of daze off and be sort of present mentally, but not really. I was always aware of them when they happened, but I couldn’t exert any control over the state and “snap” myself out of it, no matter how hard I struggled mentally to do so. I just had to ride the episode out, knowing it would pass in a moment. I don’t get these anymore, either, and I have a strong suspicion they are related. I think that’s why the low-carb paleo approach works well for me. In fact, a paper was just published showing a case report of a child who responded very well on a keto paleo diet as a treatment for preventing his petite mal seizures (which, now that I opened up the PDF, I see are currently called Childhood Absence Epilepsy). (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40120-013-0013-2).

        As I said, I suspect a common cause may underlie the various cognitive/mental effects such as brain fog, absence epilepsy, and anxiety/mood disorders. But, the triggers might be different for different folks. For me, it is anything that irritates and inflames the gut, such as too many nuts, oats, gluten, and even carbs (even safe starches and resistant starch). I do tolerate a small amount of carbohydrate, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, white rice, and honey, but I’ve gotta keep the daily amount below 50g or so, otherwise, I start getting the gut symptoms (bloating, gas, cramps), and brain effects (fog, anxiety).

        You’ve got to find the things that trigger these effects in you.

        Best of luck!
        Aaron

        • Hi Aaron,

          Cyrex is a lab that can test for ” leaky gut “, and cross reactive foods. Array2 will test test your gut, and Array4 will test cross reactive foods to gluten. Also have you had your adrenals tested? Sometimes it pays to take the guesswork out and have some good labs done. You can call Cyrex and they can also give names of practitioners in your area. If one has leaky gut the symptoms will continue and grow worse until gut is healed.
          I responded to you because leaky gut wasn’t mentioned. All the best.

          • Hi Darlene,

            Thanks for the advice. No, I haven’t had those tests, but have thought about doing so. Being a crazy academic with two young kids, it’s easy to keep putting it off. 🙂

        • Wow; thanks for taking the time to share your story and research. It sounds like you have been through so much and continue look for new ways to keep your body and mind strong. This e-mail makes me feel hopeful. Bless you!

      • Hello – Brain fog is a symptom of Candida. You may need to supplement with anti-fungals like caprylic acid or oil of oregano or garlic or Pau D’Arco inner bark plus pre- & pro-biotics. I have been through this several times and it is maddening to live with. Sending you healing thoughts –