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Heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and more

Discussion in 'Health' started by robinmk4l, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. robinmk4l

    robinmk4l New Member

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    Lifestyle/Diet:
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    Hello! I am a male, 22 years old and have been eating vegan for nearly 3 months. When I went vegan i immediatly started to feel a lot better, happier, healthier and so on, but for these last two weeks or so I have been getting some very worrying symptoms and I wonder if they could be related to my diet. I have started getting a lot of heart palpitations and anxiety almost 24/7 leading to extreme insomnia. I also feel alot of muscle tension and fasciulations especially in my legs, and i am starting to feel very depressed and unhappy because of this. These are all symptoms ive experienced before in my life even as a carnivore, theyve just gotten alot worse now.

    I went to the doctor to check this up and told them about my vegan diet and they took a bunch of blood tests. Zinc, magnesium, d-vitamin, b12, was all fine, only iron was a bit low. They say everything is fine and that the symptoms im experiencing is probably due to anxiety/stress.

    I have been eating very strictly and these are basically all the foods i have been eating daily: lentils, sweet potato, white rice, tofu, broccoli, quinoa, oats, berrys, banana, cashew nuts, almond butter, watermelon, pineapple. Supplements: vitamin b12 and D-vitamin.

    Now my question is, can I be 100% sure that these tests are accurate and that its not my diet thats causing these problems after all? I really dont want to go back to eating meat, but these symptoms im experiencing are so intense that I almost cant believe that its just mental issues and stress. It sounds to me very similar to vitamin b12 defiency and I know about pernicious anemia but the blood test shows that i am not deficient in vitamin b12 so it cant be the case, right?

    Extremely grateful for your thoughts and help!!
     
  2. Veganite
    Lurking

    Veganite Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum, robinmk4l.

    It sounds to me like iron or calorie deficiency could possibly be the culprit here, but I'm not a doctor or even remotely qualified to give this sort of advice. So you're getting an opinion here. However, your symptoms seem to fit. A common problem with newer vegans is simply falling short on your daily calorie intake. It really depends on how calorie dense the foods are that you eat, and how much of them you eat. That too can cause symptoms similar to what you're experiencing.

    I'd definitely recommend going back to the doctor if things don't get better soon.

    The symptoms of moderate to severe iron deficiency anemia include:
    • general fatigue
    • weakness
    • pale skin
    • shortness of breath
    • dizziness
    • strange cravings to eat items that aren’t food, such as dirt, ice, or clay
    • a tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
    • tongue swelling or soreness
    • cold hands and feet
    • fast or irregular heartbeat
    • brittle nails
    • headaches
    The symptoms of calorie deficiency include:
    • Low Energy Levels
    • Hair Loss
    • Constant Hunger
    • Sleep issues and/or insomnia
    • Irritability
    • Feeling cold all the time
    • Constipation
    • Anxiety
    Unless they mixed up your blood test with someone else's, it should be accurate. I get my blood work done every 6 months.


    *
     
  3. amberfunk

    amberfunk Active Member

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    If you're sure that you are not having any undue stress in your life then I would have to say it's your iron intake. I've been having quite the issues with getting enough iron as well. I've increased the amount of beans that I eat, I eat some kind of fruit with my food, orange juice or take a vitamin c supplement to help absorb the iron in my foods. I also take a iron supplement around my period since that's when I feel the worse.

    A b12 deficiency wouldn't happen possibly for years and if you're taking a supplement and your blood work was fine on it that's not going to be the cause. I would add green leafy veggies to your diet for more iron such as kale, chard, bok choy, mustard greens, turnip greens and collard greens. Spinach is a good source of iron but it contains oxalic acid which will bind to iron causing it not to be absorbed. Cooking it helps but other greens are better for iron.
     
  4. Ieei

    Ieei Member

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    Lifestyle/Diet:
    Vegan, Vegan Newbie
    Did you quit doing something different, observing that you did not have the need anymore?

    I can recommend progressing on the path; try eco, fairtrade. Ravv foods might be a point to try out later, not that the immediate transitioning is bad its more about the "missing" and "being used to" of the foods.

    Or focus on less vvasting of emballage, something I do though struggle vvith myself as of recently.
     
  5. Kellyr

    Kellyr Member

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    Glad you got in to see your doctor. I agree that if you keep having symptoms to head back in.

    Everyone touched on iron deficiency, so I hope you take a look at that.

    Calorie consumption is also important - making sure you're getting enough.

    A final thought I might add is exercise. I went through a lot of unpleasant insomnia and fatigue in the last year or so - at that time I was still lacto-ovo vegetarian, but half-way through that time period I transitioned to vegan. During all of that time, I'd been working on cleaning up my eating. I tracked my calories so I knew I was getting plenty of healthy food, but the insomnia kept popping up over and over.

    I finally put two and two together one day when I was watching a random YouTuber talk about her experience with going vegan and experiencing insomnia, as well. What it came down to for her was that she was eating so many high-energy healthy foods that it was keeping her up. She had to increase her exercise. Vegan diets for the most part are really high in carbs, after all, and carbs = energy.

    I decided to test that theory out for myself. I also had blood tests to make sure my vitamins and iron levels were ok, and they were. The doctor suggested I increase my cardio, so that's what I did. Of course naturally the increased level of activity helped burn off that energy I was putting in and naturally I started sleeping better. I now have way less issues with insomnia than I did in the past (thank goodness!).

    So that might be another thing to consider - if you don't get much exercise currently, you may want to consider increasing your level of activity.

    Increased physical activity could also help with your anxiety. However, if you have a lot of mental and emotional stress going on in your life, exercise won't cure it. You'll be better off seeking support with those issues through counseling, support groups, and having a circle of good, trustworthy friends and family.
     
  6. robinmk4l

    robinmk4l New Member

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    Thank you all your replies! I started taking iron supplement today and calcium aswell (which they never tested for some reason) and I think im starting to feel a bit better, the heart palpitations are starting to ease up so i got my fingers crossed :)
    Also I was so anxious and worried because i started to think maybe i had to start eating meat again, but it seems pretty clear to me now that i can still be vegan :)
     
  7. Ieei

    Ieei Member

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    Lifestyle/Diet:
    Vegan, Vegan Newbie
    I vvould also have started eating meat again, sustainably progressing tovvards a better situation and actually overcoming such; if anything be extremely ethical about hovv.
    To late for me on this point though; I think I'll die quite fast if I do. Luckily.

    One can be indirectly vegan to a far greater extent than most are vegan; though the direct does matter massively. I do not knovv hovv to describe this, I think at times indirect can matter more and this is kind of a little bit of an issuous thought. Vvould be neat vvith help vvith lifting this one.
     

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