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  • I need help.

    Dramatic title, huh? Using the period at the end and whatnot :P I assure you that I'm being serious, though.


    I'll edit this post as necessary as I post more.

    RIGHT. 99% of my post history is all about how I've been sleeping poorly for the past 3-4 years (it takes longer for me to get to sleep (minor issue as once I'm asleep, that's it), my sleep quality has diminished and I wake up every single day feeling unrefreshed), which has resulted in a permanent brain fog, little to no energy, poor concentration / memory, severe cystic acne (which has been cleared up with Accutane) and depression. I went Primal back in 2010 and I'm more than happy to stick with it for the rest of my life, but as the title of this thread suggests, I need some insight and advice from the community here at MDA.

    Personal info

    I'm 18, living in London and currently unemployed. My only source of income is JSA (Jobseeker's Allowance) which is 53.45/week. I'm still living with my parents. I have two dogs and two cats who we've had for about 6 years now, if not slightly longer. One main problem is that most recommendations through books and forum goers in terms of doctors and tests are based in America, so it's difficult to find UK-based references to go on. I'd really appreciate anyone who can help in this regard!

    I am 5'10, weigh 60kg and am very lean. In terms of external stressors, I have absolutely none (aside from being unemployed, of course, but I'm not taking that too hard). All of my symptoms have originated from physiological sources; I can say that with certainty. My education went out of the window in 6th form because the fatigue overwhelmed me and my mental capabilities, despite being a very bright person all the way through to my GCSEs.

    If I fixed my sleep issues, I'm completely sure that I'll be in excellent health once again. I can't turn to the NHS for help, but I have no idea who to go for in terms of private cover...


    - Vitamin D (10,000iu/day)
    - Magnesium Citrate (400mg/night)
    - Zinc Gluconate (50mg/day)
    - 5-HTP (50mg/night)
    - L-Tyrosine (500mg/day)
    - Potassium Chloride Powder (730mg/day)
    - Butterbur extract (75mg/day)
    - Emu oil (to help fade my red marks / scars leftover from acne, as recommended by a member here)

    I'm expecting these to arrive very soon:

    - Melatonin
    - Vitamin C with Rose Hips (1000mg/capsule, Timed Release)


    - The Primal Blueprint
    - The Primal Blueprint Cookbook
    - Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals
    - The Mood Cure (Julia Ross)
    - Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome (James L. Wilson)

    Adrenal Fatigue

    I suspect that I may have adrenal fatigue, but I don't know where to go to get tested. However, I'm just going to run through why I think I have it and would like to ask what other AF sufferers have done to recover.

    The main reason for me thinking about AF is this (please bear in mind that I've been Primal for a year, so this isn't the low-carb flu); after about a week of being purely low-carb, I've been pretty miserable. My appetite seems to have increased a little, so I really need to work on getting more fat into my meals. Thing is, my mother made me a cup of tea (black) earlier with two sugars, and I immediately felt my mood brightening after drinking it. I'm not sure if it's the caffeine, sugar or a combination of both, but it's noticeable.

    I tend to keep my meals really simple because I feel so drained all the time. For example, today I had 5 portions of chicken (drumsticks and thighs, for example) each for both my breakfast and dinner (not that comfortable with lunch nowadays as I prefer to eat two larger meals each day instead) with 60% of the plate completely covered in mixed vegetables such as peas, carrots, brocolli and cauliflower. The only fat I use is the oil made by the chicken while it's cooking in the oven. There's a chance that I'm not eating enough, so I'm aiming to put my cookbooks to good use and get tons of variety going.


    I've been following Mark's recommendations and Primal Fitness e-book with good results; I'm not bulking up by any means, but I feel somewhat better after a few alternating wide / close push-ups (like I did today), for example.

    I walk a lot; around 3 hours a week minimum, I'd say. I need to integrate sprints, but the fact that I'm dragging so much diminishes my motivation somewhat..


    This is the sole reason behind all of this trouble. A good night's sleep was extremely easy for me to have every single night up until I was 15 or so. I hardly had good sleep habits, either; I consistently used electronics right before falling asleep and I would always stay up to talk to my friends into the early hours of the morning. I would always feel like crap the day after, but a couple of early nights was all that was needed to feel 100% again with a clear mind, boundless energy and pure happiness.

    This slowly but surely diminished over the years, and I eventually found out that no matter how much sleep I get (9-10 hours every night) and how excellent my sleep habits are, I'm always waking up unrefreshed and feeling like I've been hit by a truck. I have a miserable existence and I need relief, but I think that I may have eventually burnt myself out from being such a typical teenager with the late nights / early mornings on school days.

    Nowadays, I'm always turning off the electronics an hour before bed (11pm at the very latest) and have a consistent sleep schedule, but it doesn't seem to help much no matter how rigorous I am. I take a while to fall asleep (no more than 30 minutes, I reckon), but more importantly I don't seem to sleep as deeply as usual. I have very few awakenings once I'm asleep -- it's just the groggy, unwell feeling that I awaken with that's been ruining me for all this time. I'm not going to give up on these habits though, because I know how important rest is regardless of how I feel.


    I've had an allergy test (using blood) before but it was hardly comprehensive (they only tested for common things such as grass pollen, dust mites and cats -- none of which I'm allergic to, thankfully). There are places around that offer 'Bio-Electronic Regulatory Medicine' allergy testing which sounds like nothing more than a scam to me.

    My sinuses have been blocked for a while, but this seems to be accompanied by my general feeling of being ill or having a weakened immune system from my acne medications (tetracycline and Accutane). I've taken probiotics to try and restore the balance, but I don't really have any digestive problems that I know of anyway, thankfully. I've tried using sprays such as Beconase as well as Butterbur extract, but they don't provide as much relief as I'd like.

    Accutane / acne

    I've been on quite a few courses of Tetracycline in the past for some very mild acne which pretty much every teenager had. It deserves a mention because antibiotics aren't that great when handed out like M&Ms by GPs.

    I had to take Accutane (60mg/day for 6-8 months; can't remember specifically how long) last year because I had an incredibly severe bout of cystic acne that Primal could never cure without good sleep. In my early teen years, I used to get pimples and sore spots whenever I lost sleep; an early night would always guarantee clear skin without fail.

    Once my sleep failed on me though, my acne went absolutely haywire with no end in sight, so I took this powerful drug to get rid of it. I wish I didn't need to, but I did. I'm better off for it because I can go outside without feeling shunned, and my self-esteem is still intact.


    I've considered my thyroid, but I understand that the adrenals should be fixed first and foremost if they're an issue. I'm not that worried about my thyroid because my temperature seems to be fine and my weight is stable (I know there are more symptoms, but these seem to be most predominant), but I thought I should throw this out there to show that I'm aware of it.

    Sleep apnea

    A couple of members on here have suggested sleep apnea, and whilst I consider it highly unlikely due to my weight and score on the Epsworth questionnaire, it's still a plausible possibility. My only niggle is that sleep apnea tests are ridiculously expensive for someone like me, with the cheapest being 300 for a home sleep study.


    I'm sorry for all of this text, but I want this post to be as comprehensive as possible to cover any gaps as to figuring out why I've been feeling so terrible for these past few years. I don't expect anyone to read all of this, which is why I sectioned things off into their own appropriate groups so anyone who has gone through these particular ailments can share their experiences.

    Thank you very much for your time. All the best!
    Last edited by KG; 10-12-2011, 02:31 PM.

  • #2
    Can you just sleep in the same room as someone? Seems like a cheap way to test for sleep apnea.


    • #3
      Might I suggest skewing more towards whole foods? They can be much more effective than supplements. Understood that you don't have the money for grass-fed sirloin or wild salmon, but the occasional tin of sardines, beef liver, and/or eggs with runny yolks would do you much more good than mere chicken and veg with supplements. Chicken and veg, incidentally, is also the optimal diet for rapid weight loss, and it sounds like you have the opposite problem. May I ask what oil you cooked it in?

      It sounds like you may be very short on dietary fat. Coconut and pork are good ways to remedy this.

      As for adrenal exhaustion, I had that as well. The cure for me was to eat bovine adrenal glands. I had one of those a week for a few months and my adrenal exhaustion symptoms vanished, never to return. Those can be hard to find, but are worth looking for. If no luck finding those, you can try for abundant whole food sources of Vitamin C, Vitamins B, and cholesterol.

      It sounds like you're very thoughtful and dedicated. I wish you the best of luck!


      • #4
        Doesn't hurt to get your thyroid checked, just to see where you are. My first thought reading this post is that if the only fat you use is the oil made by the chicken while it's cooking in the oven, you aren't getting enough. A low-fat, low-carb diet will make you tired.

        You can find some invaluable tips on conquering Adrenal Fatigue here: Read Uncephalized's (Try to say that one out loud) questionairre.

        Dr. Wilson's book kind of reads like an infomercial for his products. I recommend reading it with a grain of salt. I used the Standard Process protocol for adrenal fatigue, but I like the idea of just eating the bovine adrenal glands. Whole foods are always superior to supplements. Always.


        • #5
          Incidentally, here's my source for adrenals:

          Bison Adrenal

          Shipping cost to the UK would probably be ridiculous, although you could buy frozen in bulk. And doesn't the parsley make it look dignified! (It tastes like concentrated cow.)


          • #6
            Originally posted by Yvonne PHX View Post
            Read Uncephalized's (Try to say that one out loud) questionairre.
            LOL. Sounds kind of like "uncivilized", if that helps. But yes, it is a tongue twister in the possessive. I hadn't noticed before.
            Last edited by Uncephalized; 10-11-2011, 04:59 PM.
            Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

            My Primal Journal


            • #7
              Have you considered going to a chiropractor? I've had similar issues with sleep over the past year or so. I could sleep 9-10 hours straight during the night, but I would still wake up feeling exhausted. I'd have to fight to stay awake at work all day until I could go home and take a nap. I was also having pretty consistent minor headaches, which is what made me decide to go to a chiropractor. Lucky for me, my naturopath is also a chiropractor.

              Anyway, I found out that my Atlas (C-1) was misaligned. After a couple adjustments, the sleep issues cleared up and the headaches became less noticeable. I still go in for occasional adjustments when the headaches flair up, but at least I'm not feeling like a zombie anymore from lack of sleep.

              Melatonin might help. I had a bottle sitting around that I used to fight jet lag on a recent trip. I decided to try it one night during a period when I wasn't sleeping well. I woke up the next day feeling amazing (or at least normal). 3mg seemed to do the trick, but I'm not sure how safe it is to take it on a consistent basis.

              I know it can be extremely frustrating to be doing everything right, but still be feeling horrible. I hope you figure it out.


              • #8
                Sleep apnea is not weight dependent, skinny people can have it as well. I would suggest you try to ensure you do not have sleep stoppages in any way that you can now. That would be to use a strip across your nose to ensure your nostrils are open, and possibly a retainer to hold your jaw forward. I have an oral appliance that was fitted and is adjustable but also pretty pricey-I think you could get things like football mouth guards meant for this purpose that you can heat and shape to your teeth.

                Years ago before I had sleep apnea I went through a period after having my children where my body had forgotten how to get into REM sleep, with symptoms very similar to yours. The doctor prescribed an incredibly small dose of an anti-depressant to help and after about 6 months on it I was able to go off and be on my merry way.

                good luck, I know it is a miserable state to be in.
                "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain."

                My journal:

                My "Program": doing my version of a 4:3 - 3 day fast diet with real food every day, with a little twist of anti-inflammatory mixed in.


                • #9
                  I don't know about adrenal stuff. I know that when you don't get good sleep, you're miserable, and you've been sacrificing for years. Ok, so kudos to you for hanging in there. I suspect the tea reaction was the caffeine which is a stimulant and vaso-dialator and had maybe a little to do with the sugar.

                  I also suspect if the only oil you are getting is what cooks off the chicken, you need to be eating way more fats. When I brown up the lean burger I have, I always add bone marrow or extra fat in some form. The beef I get is from a friend's local beef, a dairywoman, and her beef is pretty lean naturally, so I always supplement with fat. When I boil the bones for the dogs, I always take the marrow.

                  confession: I will eat the marrow right out of the bones, some times. It's so good.

                  For the last several years, I have suffered with some sleep deprivation for a number of reasons that I can figure: 1) I was slightly anemic. I had been vegetarian for a long time and just wasn't getting enough protein and iron. 2) I was overweight. I am not down to where I need to be, but I am steadily dropping 3) I suffered from allergies all the time and I snored. I still know when I snore because I wake up tired.

                  I woke up three times last night - we're moving in 2 weeks and I keep going through the lists in my head. BUT I woke up today and I still feel better than I ever did a couple of months ago. Yes, I am tired, but I'm not exhausted, like I used to be.

                  I suspect as I lose more weight, I will feel even better.

                  God Bless.
                  The eyes of all hope in thee, O Lord: and thou givest them meat in due season.
                  Psalms 144:15

                  Annie Sires

                  Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.
                  Pope John Paul II


                  • #10
                    Check out the Dr. Kruse/Leptin Reset thread on the nutrition forum... I'm midway through the reset now and sleep is one of the major things I'm trying to get in line. It seems that many have had success with the leptin reset protocol, so it might be worth looking into for you!


                    • #11
                      I saw the part about sleep apnea before I read the part about allergies, and I was about to ask if you had sinus problems. I can offer you anecdotal info, for what it's worth. Coming from a long line of sleep apnea family members, weight really doesn't have anything to do with it in 100% of cases. There are those who are born with a smaller throat area that causes sleep apnea regardless of what the scale says. Sinus issues would only compound the problem. So yes, you could have it, but in order to get treated for it, even if you snore, you will probably have to have a sleep test to prove it. Can you get this done by the NHS?

                      I went for years without a CPAP machine and when I finally tested with one...I was AMAZED at how much better I felt. It's as if colors were brighter, even whites where whiter! I actually got to feel refreshed upon waking. My situation was that I would fall asleep within a few minutes and stay awake all night, but I was not hitting the REM stage because of the apnea. I'd quit breathing as soon as my body got into the super-relaxed stage and then be pulled back out of the phase.

                      And speaking of sinus issues, how's the tension in your neck and shoulders?


                      • #12

                        All of your symptoms confirm you are Leptin Resistant, please see this Introduction to Leptin:

                        Then study the links here:

                        Leptin Resistance shuts down your thyroid !



                        • #13
                          The sinus blockage is a huge red flag for me- sinus infections can cause all kinds of nasty side effects. My wife's friend's husband apparently had some fairly advanced cancer go away completely when his sinus infection was cleaned out. I'm not sure I believe it, but they were about ready to give up on that particular organ for him (colon, perhaps? I don't remember, I guess) but as soon as the sinuses were clean he became healthy.

                          For what it's worth, a CPAP machine is pretty expensive (starting at US$400 for a cheap one) , but you may be able to rent one from a hospital or medical supply company. This will give you a chance to try it out and see if it helps. If it does, then you should get the sleep study so you can get a CPAP (or just skip the sleep study and get the CPAP anyways). If it doesn't work, then maybe there is something else going on.


                          • #14
                            You have to be careful with a CPAP machine though - settings and all. Each person requires a different setting in terms of how much air and pressure, and there are also machines called bi-paps that are more complex than the CPAP. It's a serious trial-and-error of guessing without adequate testing. Too much pressure or not enough and a person will feel no change or even worse.


                            • #15
                              Two things that have helped me turn around my sleep habits.

                              1. Sleeping grounded. I know some people probably think this is B.S., but my naturopath (who is pro paleo/primal) has advised me to do this, and it has helped me sleep so much better. See this website: Earthing - Connect to the Earth and feel!

                              2. Taking a supplement to help manage cortisol levels. I use this one: Integrative Therapeutics Cortisol Manager, 90-Count: Health & Personal Care

                              After implementing the two things above about 2 months ago, I have to say I have been consistently sleeping very well.