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Adrenaline Rush Brought On By Eating?


Radha
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i think this topic was brought up before, so sorry if i am just asking the same thing, but can just eating a small amount of food, no caffeine or sugar, or lots of carbs, can it bring on an adrenaline rush and all the symptoms similar to a panic attack? and can an adrenaline rush cause a squeezing headache? thanks for any input and experiences that you had with this,

Radha

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Certain foods can also trigger for me also. Also within a few minutes to a 1/2 hour I get tachy, and sometimes the shaky comes with it.

I get headaches at random times, but I can see how an adrenaline rush can do that, whether your b/p goes, down or just having the adrenaline circulating can cause different symptoms, and the offending food itself, just like msg or aspartame in some can cause headaches too.

So yes, I certainly think it can happen in some of us.

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thanks for your replies, and i never touch nutrasweet and it happens every time i eat, doesnt matter what food it is, and i also stay away from sugar and high carbs, this is just so miserable and makes eating so so impossible! do you take anything other than beta blockers and maybe xanax which i dont want to start since i already take so many other meds, thanks for any input

Radha

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Hi

I am sorry you are feeling so bad after eating but i totally know the feeling. I get like that almost everytime i eat also. I stay away from sugar, caffine you know all the "bad foods" but i still get the adrenaline rushes also. I get very tired after that. I told the doctor and they said to eat smaller meals which i tried with no success. I also suffer with the anxiety issue. I am currently trying to find a new doctor now since all of the ones i have tried have not helped yet. I hope you find some relief soon and if i hear of any new ideas for either of us i will keep you in mind.

Desiree :(

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I take a little beta, 12.5 and lexapro 2.5..I do increase the beta as needed.

I have found that once I cut out the sugar and carbs as well as I could, I did notice when I had certain things, it was a trigger. Exactly what the trigger is, like what ingredient, I don't know for sure. I get tachy after having canned soups and even soup from Panera Bread and most restaurants, I don't know if it is additives or what, but without fail, I get tachy. I find I wind up eating little or next to nothing just to avoid getting tachy, not good either but I don't want to be tachy.

Have you tried keeping a food diary? Think that is my next step., an elimination diet type, then gradually re-introduce things one at a time and see what I can come up with.

Have you had a glucose test/tested for sugars?

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Hi, Radha,

I just PM'd you about this same subject as I found an old post and wanted to know how you're doing. I do the same thing after eating. My docs at OSU said my stomach is spasming and put me on some anti-spasm medication. It worked, but then I was shaky for hours later. It was too uncomfortable to continue. Too bad the docs don't understand that I can't tolerate very many meds because of my POTS. I actually had an ER doctor tell me the other day that he didn't know whether my med reactions were true or if they were in my head. He also said he'd never known anyone with as many health problems as me. Oh, well. Welcome to the wonderful world of POTS and whatever else is going on with me.

If anyone has any suggestions for Radha, I'd be glad to hear them, too, as I react with terrible adrenaline problems after eating, too, and have for almost a year. I also go into diarrhea, as well.

Lindajoy

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though it's probably not what is going on with all who have problems after eating, one possibility is something called dumping syndrome. essentially it's a motility problem wherein the stomach empties too fast (as opposed to gastroparesis which is too slow). it's most discussed in the context of those who have had gastric bypass surgery but can happen on its own as well. it tends to happen more with certain types of foods but isn't limited to those either. and it can cause tachy, dizziness, GI discomfort, sweating, flushing, & other things as well. for some it might be something to look into.

hope this helps,

:( melissa

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Radha-

I get this too, especially if I eat a large amount of food. Snacking helps me a lot. I wish I had an answer for you (and for everyone else who has this) so we wouldn't have to suffer with it. I'm not sure if my problem is from my stomach emptying too slowly or too quickly, but it is quite uncomfortable. Had a heart rate of over 140 just from lunch today. I find sometimes that sipping cool water and laying down can somewhat short circuit the reaction.

Sara

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I don't know if this is a possible link or if I'm just waffling. When you eat the body diverts blood to the stomach and GI system to help with the actions of digesting and absorbing foods. I know that in some people that this causes blood to be diverted away from the rest of the circulation and increases dizziness / fainting after eating. In those people (I fit into this category) drinking a large glass of very cold water can divert blood back away from the stomach.

What I am wondering is if the stimulation of the GI system working is enough to cause either a tachycardia or stimulate the release of adrenaline.

It might be worth trying both hot and cold foods, small or large portions, high and low fat meals, high and low carb meals, and noting if they seem to make any difference to your symptoms. Also try drinking cold water with the food to see if that helps.

I'm sure that different people will have different reactions but if you can work out what seems to trigger your symptoms you can work to avoid that combination of things.

Just my thoughts, I wonder if doctorguest has any information or advice on these issues?

Flop

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flop -

your explanation is one that i'm pretty certain has been offered & discussed on the forum before, i.e. blood pooling after eating provoking symptoms. i've heard it discussed/ talked about by autonomic docs as well so am pretty certain that it's an accepted phenomenon. i think that for some people think they have something different going on though which is why i mentioned dumping syndrome. for me - when i was able to eat - i didn't have problems to the degree that some are describing but definitely did better with smaller meals than larger, both b/c of motility issues but also with my BP/ overall symptoms.

:unsure: melissa

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Sunfish,

thanks, I was fairly sure about the blood pooling after eating part (I think I read about that in Dr Grubb's book or possibly on this forum!), what I was more "curious" about is whether either the presence of food in the stomach / the churning actions of the stomach / the change in blood flow to the stomach could actually trigger the release of an adrenaline surge?

Flop

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Hello,

When I first started developing POTS symptoms, this was always one of the weirdest. I would be in the middle of eating and suddenly I'd get this crazy tachy for no reason. I also sometimes get a crazy rush, like you described, if I bite into chocolate or any food that I savor for a few seconds. Definitely scary at first but now I expect it and it doesn't faze me as much. Just stay calm, take a breath between bites and it (should) subside. It does for me anyway.

Good Luck:)

Bri

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i cant thank all of you enough for taking the time to reply, i have tried small meals, no sugar, no caffeine, low carb, still doesnt matter same episode everytime, and so little food triggers it and so i am very skinny but always hungry because just cannot handle all the wide range of symptoms and also terrible headaches, i did look into dumping syndrome which sounds like a possiblity but there doesnt seem to be any fix for that. if any of you ever hear of any treatment or causes or any ideas at all, please let me know, and thanks lindajoy for your private post,

radha

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Yes, blood pooling after meals is a well-known phenomenon. The "adrenaline surge" may be a result of that. What is recommended is the obvious: eating small, frequent meals and avoiding heavy meals filled with carbohydrates. Additionally, taking a small dose of midodrine or mestinon about 30-45 min before meals may be beneficial. For those who can tolerate caffeine without increasing tachycardia, drinking a cup of coffee before a meal may also help. Just a reminder that in healthy people, heart rate may also increase after eating a meal, so it's not surprising that this effect would be exaggerated in POTS.

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I have to eat small meals, and avoid eating dinner after 5:00pm. I can never eat much at one time, so my meals are always small.

One thing that definately gets me is mashed potatos. I blow right up, and get pretty miserable. My heart rate always goes up too. I get pretty miserable after eating on many occasions.

Maxine :0)

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  • 14 years later...

I apologize about resurrecting an old thread like this but this is the first time I have found others discussing a problem I have been experiencing for the last year (and about which my GI doctor says is impossible).  I have issues with tachycardia after eating, most of the time low level...maybe 100-110 bp.  If I eat too much, I have had much worse, to the point I had an ambulance at my home twice when it spiked over 180bp.  I have an implanted heart monitor (for a minor stroke last year) and I have had my cardiologist look at all the data and they have said other than the tachy episodes, everything looks fine.  

That is when I started to do my own research.  Most of the time I can feel an episode come on, it happens an hour to two hours after eating and it feels like an adrenalin rush for the worst cases.  I can feel an energy in my chest that radiates out to my limbs and I know I have little time to lay down before my pulse spikes.  Laying down keeps the my pulse from spiking as high and helps manage the anxiety.  

I started believing it was food related because I pretty much always feel bloated during that time, as well as having a large amount of gas.  Once I realized this I started controlling my portions better (most of the episodes would happen on Sunday evenings when I would typically eat my largest meal of the week), and because of this have had far fewer attacks and those I have had were not as bad.

My cardiologist went ahead and proscribed me a low dose beta blocker and even though I sometimes feel a bit weird like I am starting to have an attack, I have not actually had one and my pulse hasn't been above 100 after eating since.  I have not been able to pinpoint exact foods or types of foods.  I have had issues with breads or breaded foods, but then at other times have not.  The same with spicy foods, other carbs, etc. 

Honestly my first thought when I started going through this was something like Graves disease but from my observations, and what I have read on here it is really sounding like a GI issue.  Any advice on talking to my GI doctor and getting him to understand that this is a real thing and not just my imagination? 

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Hi @CoryWI have had related issues as well you are not alone. not trying to diagnose what is going on but when do you take your beta-blocker? Food for me also does not go well carbs like bread or pasta will invite a strong beating heart.

I have done better with my drug regimens but this still rears it ugly self. I am still looking for an answer.  

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Oh one other thing I forgot to mention.  I have been considered prediabetic for years so I keep a glucose kit to check my levels.  I haven't tested it every time I have had this issue, but each time I did, it was somewhere between 140/160 which is my normal range a few hours after a meal.  I had initially thought I might have moved over into diabetes given the symptoms (rapid pulse, very dry mouth, etc) but moved on when I was getting the same readings that I am used to.

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What you’re experiencing is probably a glutamate rush after eating. 

Glutamate, an amino acid, is found in all protein-containing foods such as cheese, milk, mushrooms, meat, fish, and many vegetables. Glutamate is also produced by the human body and is vital for metabolism and brain function. 

Glutamate is your main excitatory neurotransmitter; GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is your main inhibitory neurotransmitter. Glutamate can act as both a beneficial neurotransmitter and a dangerous neurotoxin when it overactivates postsynaptic receptors causing glutamate-induced excitotoxic stress. 

There is a connection between these two neurotransmitters — glutamate is the precursor of GABA. An enzyme called glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) triggers the production of calming GABA from exciting glutamate. Conversely, GABA can turn back into glutamate as needed. 

The predominant precursor for GABA synthesis is glucose, which is metabolized to glutamate by the tricarboxylic acid cycle enzymes, although pyruvate and glutamine can also act as precursors. The enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), which is found almost exclusively in GABAergic neurons, catalyzes the conversion of glutamate to GABA requires a cofactor, pyridoxal phosphate, for activity. Because pyridoxal phosphate is derived from vitamin B6, a B6 deficiency can lead to diminished GABA synthesis. 

It is possible to develop an autoimmune reaction to the GAD enzyme leading to poor conversion into GABA. Gluten intolerance, celiac disease, Hashimoto’s disease, type 1 diabetes, cerebellar ataxia, refractory epilepsy, limbic and extralimbic encephalitis and other autoimmune diseases are linked to GAD autoimmunity. Since vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is an essential cofactor in this conversion process, lack of it results in diminished GABA synthesis and a buildup of glutamate. Degenerative diseases of the CNS, such as stiff-person syndrome, progressive cerebellar ataxia, and Rasmussen encephalitis, have been characterized by the presence of these autoantibodies (although lack of GAD autoantibiotics doesn’t rule out some of these diseases). 

Additionally, drugs and herbs, as well as our other neurotransmitters, can change the balance of glutamate and GABA. For example, activating the GABA receptors in the brain with sedative, anti-anxiety, depressant drugs or anti-seizure meds (tranquilizers, ambien, xanax, depakote, lithium, SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, etc.) tends to shift the balance toward GABA, decreasing brain activity and making you relaxed and sleepy. Alcohol also increases GABA activity. Stimulant drugs shift the balance toward glutamate, causing an energized, wakeful state. Caffeine increases glutamate activity and inhibits GABA release. 

Dysfunctions in GABA-glutamate metabolism are involved in anxiety and depression. GABA is also involved in the regulation of blood pressure and heart rate and plays a role in the perception of pain and anxiety.

I try to eat smaller, more frequent, varied nutritional meals (or drink smoothies), and regularly take probiotics that contain Lactobacillus and/or Bifidobacterium to help produce GABA. Once in awhile on bad eating days, I’ll take a balanced B-vitamin tab to ensure I have adequate B6. I also use herbal supplements (ashwagandha, passion flower, chamomile) that increase GABA, and slippery elm to increase overall digestive health. 

Exercise helps increase GABA and balance your GABA-glutamate system. Yoga is especially good for increasing GABA if you’re into that (I am not). Try taking a walk or do something else of low-to-moderate activity after eating and resting a bit, to remove and let dissipate the fizz of overstimulation and its assorted sensations while letting your body come into balance. And don’t fret. Eating is good and necessary. Bon Appetit! 

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