Coffee,Caffiene, & Panic Attacks

Discussion in 'Ask For Help or Advice' started by MSH, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. MSH

    MSH Member

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    Hello all! This is my first post. It was recommended to me to ask this question here so here I go...

    About 4 years ago I quit coffee and all caffeinated products due to them giving me heart palpitations and digestive problems. Well, the first time I quit I got the usual caffeine withdrawal symptoms along with all sorts of other crazy symptoms that I later learned were panic symptoms. After a few weeks I couldn't take it anymore and started back drinking coffee and felt much better as far aas panic goes. But, the other problems flared back up ( heart palms and digestive issues) so once again I quit caffeine, and this time the panic was far worse!

    I decided that I was going to have to endure through it and it took about two years before the panic attacks weren't a daily part of my life. During this time if I had even a small amount of caffeine I'd have some intense panic, even today four years later I still have to be very careful.

    My diet for about a year and a half before this was vegan with lots of juicing! I also was training twice a day in various combat sports with only an average of about 4-5 hours of nightly sleep. Somehow I was able to keep all that going until I quit the caffeine. It feels like a typical catch-22 situation.

    I have also developed in the last couple of years a multi-modular goiter. All my labs always look 'normal'. Sometimes my goiter gives me that choking feeling.

    I am wondering if the high activity lifestyle, not enough sleep, and that stupid vegan diet juice thing I did didn't screw up my thyroid and if the problems I had immediately after stopping the caffeine was because it was helping my thyroid? My docs would tell me that they thought that I was using the caffeine to self medicate but could not tell me how that was working. Still even today my energy and drive are shot! I'm a 44 year old male who just not four years ago was sparring 3-5 nights a week with guys half my age to now it hard to even walk a mile or two. In addition to this my cognitive abilities have taken a sharp decline. It is more difficult for me to learn and retain things. My libido has also taken a hit. My ability to handle stress has also greatly diminished.

    I'd be very curious to hear any thoughts on this and/or advice.

    Thanks for reading my post.

    -MSH
     
  2. torontomike

    torontomike Member

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    You remind me of me. What helped me is compromise. I needed the caffeine to kind of get me going but too much can have the undesirable side effects you speak of. A good solution is green tea. It has the caffeine to satisfy that fix, but only about 25 mg, which is about 6x less caffeine than coffee or even less than that, Starbucks has insane amounts of caffeine. You can even use 2 or 3 tea bags, I did that in the beginning. Let it steep for about 5-15 minutes, then squeeze the tea bags to get more caffeine out of them, but again, the max would be 25 mg per bag. And because Green Tea has L-Theanine, a natural calming component, you are alert but calm, plus it has lots of anti-oxidants. Even 3 tea bags is still a lot less caffeine than just 1 small coffee, and again, there's the L-Theanine. Then you can work your way down to 2 or 1 tea bag. I've stayed at 2 myself lol :)
     
  3. TubZy

    TubZy Member

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    Sounds like GABA deficiency. Have you tried niacinamide, progesterone, 5a-dhp, taurine or glycine?
     
  4. DaveFoster

    DaveFoster Member

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    Have you gotten any blood tests? Have you checked your temps and pulse?
     
  5. MSH

    MSH Member

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    I have tried all of those supplements except progesterone and 5a-dhp. Glycine sometimes helps me wind down at night.

    It has been a while since I've had any labs done. I was getting them done pretty regular when all of this first started happening and other than sub optimal D and T levels the docs thought everything was normal. One holistic doc said I was experiencing pregnenolone steal and high candida.

    Any thoughts on why the panic started suddenly by the cessation of caffeine? Also, even now if I have too much caffeine within about three days later after stopping I will have panic.

    Thanks
     
  6. MSH

    MSH Member

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    I forgot to add that my temp is usually low and my pulse used to be in the upper 40's to low 50's but I was in good shape then. Now my pulse stays in the high 60's to low 70's.

    Thanks
     
  7. flying_sloth77

    flying_sloth77 Member

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    Curious, but what does your diet look like now that you aren't vegan? You mentioned that a holistic doctor suggested high candida, so are you following one of the Candida diets that are low in sugar/fruit? That recommendation is pretty anti- Ray Peat, as all of his food related suggestions involve eating enough fructose or sucrose to give your body the glucose it needs, especially if you are hypothyroid. Also, since you were vegan, were you eating a lot of foods with goitrogens and if so, were you cooking them well enough to partially eliminate them? Goitrogens are known to suppress the thyroid, in addition to the thyroid suppressive effects of intensive exercise.

    Also, you mentioned a goiter, and your thyroid, but no specific diagnosis? If your doctor is just going off of your labs and says you are fine, what was he referring to? If he just looked at your TSH and maybe T4, that isn't enough, as you need to know T3, RT3, TPOab + TGab for starters. Doctor didn't think anything of my labs until I firmly requested that he run a full thyroid panel because of my clinical hypothyroid symptoms, and he was surprised to notice that my RT3 was high, and that I had TPOab antibodies in my results.
     
  8. MSH

    MSH Member

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    My diet has changed a little over the last two years, mostly different variations of a paleo type diet. I have had small improvements since then but way below what I had expected. I think I've had the best results thus far from the Jaminets PHD.

    I started the vegan diet about 51/2 years ago. I ate a lot of goitrogenic foods! I would also go often two weeks at a time doing nothing but juicing. I was doing this at a time when my activity level was very high and rest didn't match the activity level well enough for recovery ( this has been the case for 20+ years). Initially I felt great on this diet but after a few months I started feeling weaker and thought the solution was to double down on more veggies. It wasn't until I cut out caffeine cold turkey that my health really went to hell. Immediately I started having a panic attacks and lower energy levels along with massive brain fog just to name a few. I would have never quit the coffee if it weren't for the problems it was giving me.

    I never did a strict candida diet. I don't remember having the TPO-an+TGab tests. I have a non-toxic multinodular goiter. My doc didn't see any need to get a biopsy because the nodules were very small. The goiter has been so bad where it was difficult to swallow and at times it has felt like it has disappeared. I have wondered if a low does of iodine might help shrink it?

    Thanks for chiming in and offering some insight and advice.
     
  9. pboy

    pboy Member

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    ok so I didn't read the whole paragraph so if what I say isn't applying then I guess take it for what it is...caffeine can surrogate thyroid and keep metabolism up despite low thyroid as can other xanthines but it isn't quite the same as with thyroid, and there can be a sense over over excited nerves or a bit of that wirey feeling...potentially too much xanthines can sort of do that albeit different than with low thyroid anyways (even if thyroid adequate). if you have low nutrients or are too hypotonic with fluid caffeine or other xanthines or thyroid stimulating for that matter even can over excite the nerves. So basically have some but not excessive xanthines (caffeine) its better to support it with thyroid meaning have adequate and make sure fluid balance is appropriate and nutrients are there. Then a harder factor but important to mention is that the whole authority societal factor where if youre in a situation where you are basically pushed or stressed with time and burden its gonna basically add a nerves tension nearly regardless it can be managed but despite what you do...don't wanan say caffeine makes it worse cause if it supports metabolism, like thyroid nutrients and all that anything can help but my experience is when in such situation its very irritating to the gut kind of regardless or requires like a very strong effort to maintain self integrity despite. A key thing is keep honest to self for perspective and keep growing and you can maintain integrity and throw off or keep at bay other bad vibes...and eventually throw off. I don't understand how so many people can be pushy and harsh but it seems to be the case with a lot of people in society and especially those that are in manangement or higher positions. Grains might have damaged many peoples consciousness or basically made it to where like societal norms are based on a mentality that it seems like was based largely on a meat and grain diet....aka enslavement and acidicly harsh pressure. What happened to harmony, right brain, mentality...you can have that and its right and good but contending with society and oppressive situations and people if you have to be in those situations is like an atrocity
     
  10. Uselis

    Uselis Member

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    I am surprised fact that you was sparring 3-5 times a week with twice younger opponents (souds like hard sparring) overlooked. If combats you did involves head as a main target then you probably got hit multiple times. If that's the case you could of been concused (and accumulated bumps are as bad as Ko's). Concused brain might be the reason why your testosterone almost non existent. Symptoms you describe resonates well with what doctor Marc Gordon mentions treating war veterans, combat athletes and Nfl players with Trt replacement therapy. Might be worth listening couple podcasts with him on subject. I hope that's not the case with you and wish you heal soon. Just another perspective I thought was worth to consider. Goodluck!
     
  11. ShirtTieFitness

    ShirtTieFitness Member

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    Sounds like a metabolism that has deregulated due to insufficient energy intake, a high-stress lifestyle and thus unopposed stress hormones. The coffee is the final piece of the jigsaw; throwing you 'over the edge'. Your nervous system looks to have become Sympathetic Dominant. Suggest you overhaul your current lifestyle and diet:

    The coffee consumption is fueling that imbalance due to its ability to raise stress hormones, mainly adrenaline (Influence of coffee on the excretion of noradrenaline and adrenaline in urine. A pilot study for the comparison of two methodical models. - PubMed - NCBI)

    Wean off coffee slowly and, make sure to drink it with sugar and or butter/cream/coconut oil and around meal times. You may find it is best to come off Coffee completely or reduce it to one a day with the approach aforementioned.

    Suggest you back off the exercise, rest up and eat considerably more than you have been.

    Sleep, sleep, sleep. And then sleep some more.

    To avoid weight gain ramp up calorie intake slowly, daily, weekly increments. A good macro balance is P25, F25, C50%. You may find upping carbs dropping fat more beneficial and vice versa. Experiment.

    Eat frequently throughout the day, this should help reduce cortisol and stress hormones. Fruits are great here. Focus on foods that are easy to digest and that offer the most nutrition. Keeping fibre low and the minerals high is also recommended, along with low PUFA and Iron. For example, OJ may be an optimal food in your context.

    This may shock you but you have been probably dramatically under eating. The Minnesota Starvation experiment, which only lasted for a brief time, had conclusions such as the following:

    "Enough food must be supplied to allow tissues destroyed during starvation to be rebuilt … our experiments have shown that in an adult man no appreciable rehabilitation can take place on a diet of 2000 calories [actually 2000 kcal (8368 kJ)] a day. The proper level is more like 4000 [4000 kcal (16,736 kJ)] daily for some months. The character of the rehabilitation diet is important also, but unless calories are abundant, then extra proteins, vitamins and minerals are of little value (20)."

    Source:
    They Starved So That Others Be Better Fed: Remembering Ancel Keys and the Minnesota Experiment

    So key takeaways:
    - rest
    - eat
    - sleep.
     
  12. MSH

    MSH Member

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    The idea about coffee surrogating thyroid hormone is most interesting. This would make sense as to why my health nosedived ( panic attacks, low energy, brain fog, etc...) almost immediately after quitting coffee. I wonder how much the caffeine itself played a part in all of this? No doubt the craziness of the world around us and the stress it can create can be an issue! Thank you for your insight into all of this!

    Yes, and sometimes did more sparring than that along with my other training like strength and cardio work. While I have certainly taken some pops on the head over the years the vast majority of the sparring was of a grappling nature, what we'd call ' rolling'. But as I think back on it, ironically enough I took some of my hardest hits to the head grappling, e.g., our heads clashing together. I've only had a few confirmed concussions which I know is more than enough to cause issues. I want to thank you for bringing this to my attention and pointing me in a direction of further inquiry.


    STF, my gut level feeling tells me you are barking up the right tree here. But, when you say that the coffee was the final piece and threw me over the edge, are you saying that when I suddenly quit coffee? This is when the big problems for me started. Would this coincide with what pboy said about coffee surrogating thyroid hormone this keeping my metabolism up? I just want to make sure I understand you and we aren't talking past one another :) I quit coffee about 4 years ago. I have only recently been trying this stuff called BioCoffee, it is caffeine free. Once I quit caffeine I had daily panic attacks for 2 years. I now only have them occasionally and they are much milder than before.

    Backing off exercise has been very easy because I don't have any energy LOL. Plus, I am dealing with a nagging SI joint issue that won't seem to heal ( I'm wondering if your suggestion about upping calories will help here?) I have noticed that if I have a day when my energy is up and I feel like pushing it a little bit, that it feels like it would take me several days to get my energy levels back up.

    In the past I have been into intermittent fasting. Though I find it easy to skip meals I was having more and more issues every time I got back into it. I was motivated primarily for the supposed benefits of auotophagy. I was also spacing my meals out at least 5 hour apart and not eating anything for at least 4 hours before bed. For a while I was low carbing it too. Though I have been eating more potatoes and rice recently. From the advice you've given this all sounds like I was moving in the wrong direction except maybe the potatoes and rice?

    I have been eating a lot of sardines lately due to another paleo-guru's advice but I'm guessing that's not so good either due to the PUFAS ? I eat oysters daily as well. I will admit that some of the ideas that Peat has, especially the higher sugar intake seem to go against all I've ever thought was right about nutrition and so I never gave him a second thought. But, about a week ago I decided it's time to start challenging my assumptions in this area. So, I've been reading and listening a little along with trying a few things. I have been drinking more OJ this past week along with some milk. I have cut out my sardines. One night I did eat a bowl of ice cream before bed and had a great nights sleep, except for having a swollen throat when I got up due to the reflux. I usually have a very hard time falling asleep at night but that did the trick, if only I can get around the reflux issue! I must admit to having felt slightly better overall this week with just those few changes; less stressed ( my ability to handle stress the last few years has been almost non existent) , more energy, better thinking, I was more social ( developed social anxiety the last few years as well), to name a few things I've noticed this week.

    I'm still leary about what the long term effects will be of all this sugar consumption and frequent feedings but I understand this may all be due to my ignorance on the subject. Time to empty my cup of what I think I know and dig deeper in another direction I believe. I have been living out Einstiens definition of insanity, that is of doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result LOL!

    Thank you STF for you advice and insight! I would like to hear from you again if what I've written above gives you any more ideas about improving my health.

    -MSH
     
  13. flying_sloth77

    flying_sloth77 Member

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    @MSH ---Agree with what STF said. I have some additions... Hope this helps clarify....? I'm hypothyroid myself and have been experimenting for the past two weeks by following Peat's suggestions and it's definitely helping.

    Coffee + Stress:
    Definitely read what Ray Peat has to say about cortisol levels and things that effect production of your thyroid hormones (T4, T3, and Reverse T3). All of that exercise would definitely have had a suppressive effect on the T3 production, which would result in hypothyroid symptoms. Caffeine stimulates the secretion of cortisol, so in the short term if you are feeling this low, it's best to avoid coffee while boosting your intake of pro-thyroid things (such as sugar). Like STF suggests, if you are going to drink coffee, you need sugar with it, because (quoting R.Peat)

    "Excess cortisol makes nerve cells more sensitive to excitotoxicity, but the cells are protected if they are provided with an unusually large amount of glucose.The cells of the thymus gland are very sensitive to damage by stress or cortisol, but they too can be rescued by giving them enough extra glucose to compensate for the cortisol. " Ref

    Ray Peat is a huge proponent of coffee. In my opinion, with anxiety or panic attacks, it's worth trying other adaptogens instead of anything with caffeine for about 1-2 weeks, in combination with a Peat-y "pro-thyroid" diet. I have done this successfully by using 1 tsp of korean ginseng paste that I dilute in water with honey. I only have 1 tsp a day because that ***t is potent and also extremely expensive. If you need a cheaper solution, NOW foods also sells Ashwaganda pills which is an adaptogen. I cut out coffee for a couple weeks, but also increased my intake of sugar (natural fruits + table sugar). A few days ago I added back 1-2 cups of milky/sugary coffee with no ill effects.

    Sugar Intake:
    You asked STF about potatoes or rice. Ray Peat writes about the replacement of fruit juices or sugar with starch in the standard American diet because of industry pressures, and how that leads to weight gain. I don't think there's anything inherently bad about eating rice or potatoes as they are a decent source of glucose, but what you really need is enough fructose in your diet in order to avoid weight gain. I did keep track of how many starch-based calories I eat (I keep it under ~600) and then eat however much fruit/fruit juice I want, along with some pretty simple protein/dairy centered meals depending on how hungry I am. I kept a simple diary in a notebook, but didn't track any calories. It took two weeks, but I lost 4 lbs with almost no exercise, which is the absolute opposite effect that I expected. I was so surprised that I went back and counted my calories, and I was around ~1700 a day.



    "Starch and glucose efficiently stimulate insulin secretion, and that accelerates the disposition of glucose, activating its conversion to glycogen and fat, as well as its oxidation. Fructose inhibits the stimulation of insulin by glucose, so this means that eating ordinary sugar, sucrose (a disaccharide, consisting of glucose and fructose), in place of starch, will reduce the tendency to store fat.Eating “complex carbohydrates,” rather than sugars, is a reasonable way to promote obesity. Eating starch, by increasing insulin and lowering the blood sugar, stimulates the appetite, causing a person to eat more, so the effect on fat production becomes much larger than when equal amounts of sugar and starch are eaten. " Ref
    If we're looking for other ways to prevent weight gain, definitely try a good organic honey. Honey is mostly fructose, and will help inhibit the stimulation of insulin better than maple syrup.

    Also, I've seen a lot of articles demonizing fructose, as they lump in high fructose corn syrup along with fruit. One of the top hits on google, the Wheat Belly blog cites a lot of stuff about fructose being bad, however Ray Peat does address this. Personally, it seems weird to lump in fruit with something that is so highly processed. Obviously this doesn't work for everything, but I'm more apt to trust the effectiveness of something that just shows up on a tree vs something that is lab-made.

    "Much of the current concern about the dangers of fructose is focused on the cornstarch-derived high fructose corn syrup, HFCS. Many studies assume that its composition is nearly all fructose and glucose. However, Wahjudi, et al. (2010) analyzed samples of it before and after hydrolyzing it in acid, to break down other carbohydrates present in it. They found that the carbohydrate content was several times higher than the listed values. "The underestimation of carbohydrate content in beverages may be a contributing factor in the development of obesity in children," and it's especially interesting that so much of it is present in the form of starch-like materials." Ref

    (SIDE NOTE: In my past, I often did cleanses and spent a lot of time doing paleo/clean eating, but my suspicion is that those diets are not optimized for people who have current thyroid issues? Maybe it works for people who were eating a highly processed standard American diet (almost any clean diet would make you feel better though), but I was always very conscientious about eating healthfully and found that adopting Paleo principles didn't make a noticeable impact.)

    Food Things:
    If you are in a state where you are feeling this bad, I would definitely try eating a lot of the ripe tropical sweet fruits that Ray Peat suggests, taking coconut oil and dairy daily, gelatin (he talks about beef or lamb bone broth being very good), avoiding any PUFAs, corn, and soy, added thickeners in the short term. I myself was there about three weeks ago. I've noticed that Ray Peat recommends avoiding high fructose corn syrup (cane sugar is good), also any sort of thickeners like carageenan/guar gum, which means that I have yet to find a grocery-store frozen aisle pure ice cream that is just dairy, sugar and maybe eggs. I have not hunted extensively, so maybe consider making ice cream at home or perhaps Whole Foods will have one, albeit probably 10 bucks a pint lol.

    Goitrogens:
    I saw your comment about the goitrogens, which, if you were juicing veggies/fruits high in goitrogens, would have contributed to the suppression of your thyroid as well. People who are hypothyroid should either avoid eating those things raw, or ensure to cook them thoroughly which will reduce goitrogens.

    Fish:
    Ray Peat recommends avoiding fatty fish such as salmon. He has this whole theory about Omega-6 and Omega-3s and the impact of eating things that go rancid quickly as the fats oxidize. This is where his whole recommendation of coconut oil comes in, as it is very stable and does not oxidize and go rancid easily. Avocados aren't good either for the same reason.

    Fruits:
    Helpful thread Ray Peat Approved Safe Fruits

    General List of food:
    It's all quite Peat-y My Top 12 Metabolic Supportive Foods | Kate Deering Fitness & Nutrition

    I myself am trying to figure out what I need to be eating daily. At this stage, two weeks in, I'm still very happy drinking and eating all that fruit with a focus on oranges. I'm waiting for my body to tell me that I need something else, and also I have a blood test scheduled later in April, so if I'm actually giving myself Type II diabetes, I'll know soon. Overall, I'm trying to stick to his suggestions so at least I have a control, and then I can add other things in to see what happens. Hopefully you have some luck!
     
  14. MSH

    MSH Member

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    Thanks FS_77!!! I appreciate all the great info!

    If you don't mind sharing the results of trying this diet as reflected by your blood tests next month I'd be great to get an update from you.

    I do have concerns myself about this way of eating leading to diabetes or cancer or something else horrible. I know this may be because this goes against all I thought was true about healthy nutrition and I am just ignorant of research that proves other wise.

    My wife brought up something last night that I hadn't really thought about. She reminded me that when I was at my most active level in my training that I ate a lot of calories, and a lot of those caleries were fruit and dairy! It was upon reading a lot of literature on what was supposed to be the 'healthiest' way to eat that I started changing up how I always used to eat. Heck, maybe I had it pretty close to right before?

    Thanks again for all the great info!
     
  15. DaveFoster

    DaveFoster Member

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    FS_77 has some good points. I find I need a ridiculous amount of sugar for my nerves to function properly, but I'm very productive if I get this high intake, so I think of it like a high genetic/epigenetic benchmark (a high-risk, high-reward gamble.)

    It's safer to consume caffeine in a 1:1 to 1:2 ratio of caffeine (mg) to sucrose (g). For example, to completely mitigate the stress from 200 mg caffeine, you need between 200 g to 400 g of sugar. You find this ratio in many sodas, although some have a 2:1 ratio caffeine (mg) to sucrose (g). It sounds like a lot because it is, but this has been my anecdotal experience.

    It's better to consume coffee (caffeine) in small small increments throughout the day (with plenty of fuel and no exercise stress) than in bolus doses, and you probably are consuming too much caffeine with both inadequate glucose and too much psychological stress, which is contributing to the cortisol increase. Try meditation, l-theanine, or anti-serotonin drugs with lots of sucrose.
     
  16. REOSIRENS

    REOSIRENS Member

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    Beta-alanine fix this my friend(panic attack)... And check potassium magnesium thiamine levels... They are depleted by coffee
     
  17. MSH

    MSH Member

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    Thanks Dave! It occurred to me after reading your post that back before I changed my diet and quit caffeine that I used to consume a lot of sugar, sugar in my coffee, sugar in my tea, Dr. Pepper, and lots of ice cream! So, maybe it wasn't only quitting the coffee and caffeine that caused me all my problems, but also the sudden drop of all that sugar? It's hard for me to believe that I was healthier eating all that sugar, but the hard evidence is that I was, at least from a stress and performance measurement. But, is this healthy fas far as longevity is concerned? I would like to understand this better.

    Thanks!
     
  18. MSH

    MSH Member

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    Hey REOSIRENS! Thanks for the heads up on Beta-alanine. I will need to look more into this.

    I don't have panic attacks much anymore and when I do they are much milder and shorter than before. I haven't drank regular coffee now for about 4 1/2 years. I recently have been trying a coffee product called Bio-Coffee that is decaffinated. It was so strange to me that my panic attacks didn't start until after I quit caffeine.

    I do however still have higher overall anxiety than I did before quitting caffeine. The panic attacks were severe and daily for the first two years after stopping caffeine. My system has adapted a lot and I wonder if adding back in caffeine and sugar is a good thing at this point given how well ( though not perfectly) my body has adapted over the last few years without it? Would it be healthier in the long run to continue to eschew sugar and caffeine and allow my body to continue to learn how to run on other fuels or do I need to start introducing sugar and caffeine slowly back into my system? Will my lingering anxiety and low energy, brain fog, etc..., improve without adding the sugar and caffeine back in?

    Thanks.

    -MSH
     
  19. DaveFoster

    DaveFoster Member

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    Sugar is probably the least likely thing to promote premature aging. Excess inflammatory protein, starch, iron, and a high PUFA intake will precipitate rapid aging.

    Personally, I need about half a cup of coffee depending on the day. My need increases in the winter, but try drinking less coffee; the amount should not stress your body.
     
  20. MSH

    MSH Member

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    I never would have thought of sugar as being health promoting, not in a million years! But, I am definitely open to all I thought I knew about nutrition being wrong. Time to do my n=1 with this material.

    I hate to give up things like my salmon, sardines, and avocados, luckily it doesn't look like I have to give up my oysters .

    What are few examples of the worst starches I should avoid? What should I replace these calories with?

    Thanks!
     
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