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See if you can figure this one out...

  1. OK, I know many brains are better than one, so let me give this a shot.

    Been dieting since 2009, perfectly healthy before delving into serious calorie restriction and alternate day fasting. Regained most of lost weight (guess being lean is not in the cards for me) but health issues persist. Here is the recent situation:

    -Stopped all dieting and started following a Peat protocol around Nov 2012, because of apparent hormonal issues: diffuse hair thinning, acne, very low energy, eye floaters, bad skin, etc.
    -Made numerous changes in my diet and supplementation (eating a lot more, trying Vitamin D, OJ, milk, low iodine, coffee...etc.)

    -3 weeks after that, had a really stressful event at college (a presentation I was totally unprepared for, my voice and hands were shaking, I was totally distressed)
    -Couple days after that while eating lunch, from nowhere out of the blue I start feeling my heart beat really hard, occasionally skipping beats
    -Tried reversing all dietary changes and drop all supplements, start taking magnesium and numerous other things to no avail
    -A few months after that start getting serious adrenaline attacks, rushes in chest, tension, heart still pounding all day and night long, noticed OJ made this worse
    _months and months on end of trying various supplements and food choices and getting barely anywhere
    -Maybe a 5-10% improvement in these symptoms overall but nearly 1.5 yrs later I am still fighting this

    These symptoms however are so complex that I am too stupid to figure out:
    • Normal heartbeat you can't see, feel or hear, I had it all my life... but now my heart contracts forcefully at ALL times, no matter what I'm doing, but some things make it way worse and if I stick to a certain routine it's sort of tolerable
    • The thing that provokes the most violent contractions and skipped beats is STRETCHING. All I need to do is lean back in my chair and stretch and boom my heart is trying to beat out of my chest for 15-20 seconds. Seriously this is crazy it beats harder when stretching than when I'm doing a physical activity like cycling, there is no way this can be normal.
    • During this time random muscles in my body will start twitching at a very fast rate, this always happens right after I stretch!
    • I sweat excessively for no reason even in short sleeves in a relatively cold room [TAURINE HELPS WITH THIS SOMEWHAT]
    • Doing activities that a normal-working heart would handle without a hitch, like standing up, slowly climbing a set of stairs, etc. make my heart beat crazy hard.
    • My pulse is almost NEVER high, it's 50-60 BPM, just HARD.
    • When the pounding is at the worst, I can hear it in my eardrums, and feel the pulse in my throat, and in my fingertips
    • Eating cheese in the evening worsens it, but if I eat it in the morning not much happens
    • Eating wheat products also seems to worsen it so I steer well clear of those
    • Ocassionally I feel my heart stop for a second, then some kind of rush or current passes through it, and it resumes beating with the next beat being harder than the others
    • My symptoms vary in intensity with time of day, I feel OK in the morning, usually worst in the afternoon, and late at night like 2-3 AM I feel the best, sometimes at this time my heartbeat comes so very close to normal I can almost not feel it work. Then the next morning it's the same rollercoaster all over again.

    I did all kinds of heart tests, ultrasound, ECG, 24-hr ECG, treadmill stress test... everything is pretty much normal... they do not see ANYTHING going on (even though my heartbeat was shaking the bed when they were hooking me up to all those machines).

    Considering all this stuff started happening around the same time I would say that in my malnourished state that stressful event at college acted like a trigger that caused some nervous damage, except it was not the conscious part of my brain that took the hit but rather the autonomic nervous system. It feels like I am in a state of overexcitation all the time, that is the best way to describe it.

    I have high cortisol and my TSH hovers from 5-7 but otherwise labs are fairly normal.

    I am taking Thiroyd now and while it is giving me more energy and I feel better overall, I am not seeing much improvement with these worst issues. I forgot to mention that I was unable to take more than ~12 mcg of T3 throughout the day without my symptoms worsening, until I started taking taurine. Now I can handle 1.5 pills of Thiroyd whereas before I could not.
  2. I guess I'll be the first brain to chime in with hopefully many more to follow! The good news is all of the medical testing on your heart was normal and let's face it, that's way better than them finding something wrong. I am so sorry to hear about your troubles though. I think you are definitely on to something when you say you feel in an overexcited state most of the time. We usually do know deep down what is wrong but we are so close to the situation it can be hard to step back and be objective. It is also hard to figure out on your own how to proceed sometimes when you are not feeling well. I have to hand it to you though because it does sound like you have been diligent in your efforts.
    If it were me I would eat as much as possible according to the basic dietary guidelines and substitute things that don't work well for you like O.J. for maybe grape or cherry juice just as an example. I think getting back to that basic approach will be very antistress. Forgive me if you are eating this way now but it wasn't clear to me from what you had written if you had stopped only temporarily or completely.
    You are obviously aware that ideally the TSH should be lower and since you are using a thyroid supplement hopefully this will improve.
    I'm sure that all of the wonderful antistress Peat measures like red light, bag breathing and adequate salt could only help. I'm not sure if you have chosen to use any of these measures in addition to your diet and maybe you use them all but I did want to bring them up just in case. The only other simple thing that I can think of that may help you some would be to look into the possibility of the over the counter antihistamine benadryl. Sometimes the antihistamines can help people when they have been stuck in a vicious stress cycle for quite a while. There is a lot of information on the forum you could review to help you make a decision. I know none of this is earth shattering news but maybe something here might help a little. Best of luck, I'm sure more people will have information to add!
  3. I had the heart bumping, and it's crazy. Went away when I changed my diet. I suspect it's an adrenalin issue because I could feel "anxiety" in my hands for the first two weeks of Ray Peat nutrition. Adrenaline is insidious (but they were the warmest hands ever).

    As for the irregularities they got better too, but stopped completely after I tried thyroid. That stuff irons you out like a blanket.
  4. RP has mentioned that he has never seen a comfortably healthy person with TSH above 2.
    High TSH can keep T4 and T3 in normal range, but TSH itself causes many hypothyroid like
    symptoms. RP mentioned that normal reference range are based on data from
    people with health issues, not healthy population. He mentioned how normal level of prolactin
    was raised from 12 to 30 in last several decades.