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Question about Blood Flow and Fatigue

blood flow brain fatigue depression grogginess blood exercise

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#1 xeon

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 07:54 PM


I have noticed a common pattern recently pertaining to my depression/fatigue/etc. Usually, after eating I get very groggy and fatigued afterward and some people mentioned the possibility of having some type of allergy.

I have discovered that when I wake up in the morning (when my energy levels are highest), I can function totally well as long as I only drink water and consume no food. When I consume food though, I get really tired and lethargic. I have done some experimenting recently and I have discovered that I can increase my blood flow by exercising (biking, running) and I feel fine -- even better than normal. But, even immediately after exercising, if I drink a protein shake and nothing else... I have instant fatigue and it feels like all of my blood leaves my brain and face. And possibly my arms and legs also. I'm 5'1" 145 lbs so I'm pretty skinny if that matters at all.

Could this be caused by a shift in blood flow to aid digestion? More blood going to the stomach to process the protein shake or meal I just consumed, even though my blood should be flowing properly throughout my body just after exercising? You can physically see the color leave my face and dark circles come around my eyes as soon as I intake something substantial my stomach has to digest.

Does anyone know any more details about this particular phenomena? If so, how can I avoid it or increase overall blood flow? Do serotonergics like Bacopa or something like Ginkgo affect this at all?

#2 zorba990

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:00 PM

Spunds like low bp which could be from lots of things. Have you seen a health professional? Self or internet diagnosis is not always ideal.

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#3 xeon

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:10 PM

Spunds like low bp which could be from lots of things. Have you seen a health professional? Self or internet diagnosis is not always ideal.


Yes I've seen several doctors and got almost everything tested and they all say my health looks A-Okay. I'm not looking for a "diagnosis", but rather general information regarding this to see if there is anything useful for me to consider. I was told I had high BP on a particular doctor visit but it didn't last. You can usually see all the veins in my arms and even some in my legs if that is any indicator of blood flow.

#4 xeon

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:20 PM

Also, I have been a very heavy caffeine user until about a year ago when I stopped cold turkey and haven't had any since. I've read that caffeine can decrease cerebral blood flow by up to 30%, but I haven't recovered very much since I stopped last year. I wonder if there are any supplements that can increase blood flow or oxygen use in the brain, or increase brain metabolism (safely, of course).
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#5 BioFreak

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 11:29 AM

Doubtful that caffeine decreases blood flow in the brain. Sources? If any, it should increase blood flow since it lets capilaries relax (This is why coffee works for some to fall asleep, because of the increased blood flow, at least thats the theory). Not drinking coffee is a good choice, still, since it can lower catecholamines.

I had the same problem that I was really sleepy after eating, increasing catecholamines improved that also. A big meal still makes me somewhat tired, but not nearly as much as it used to. The question is why. Maybe without enough (nor)adrenaline the body can not make enough energy available for digestion, but digestion gets priority, so the energy is missing in the brain.

Visibility of veins is no indicator of BP. Checking BP is. :-D Ideally you would measure your bp regularly, not once by a doc(that alone can increase BP, if you are scared of what the MD may find) and then see whats up.
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#6 xeon

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 09:53 PM

Doubtful that caffeine decreases blood flow in the brain. Sources? If any, it should increase blood flow since it lets capilaries relax (This is why coffee works for some to fall asleep, because of the increased blood flow, at least thats the theory). Not drinking coffee is a good choice, still, since it can lower catecholamines.

I had the same problem that I was really sleepy after eating, increasing catecholamines improved that also. A big meal still makes me somewhat tired, but not nearly as much as it used to. The question is why. Maybe without enough (nor)adrenaline the body can not make enough energy available for digestion, but digestion gets priority, so the energy is missing in the brain.

Visibility of veins is no indicator of BP. Checking BP is. :-D Ideally you would measure your bp regularly, not once by a doc(that alone can increase BP, if you are scared of what the MD may find) and then see whats up.


Gotcha on the BP thing. What if I find a way to increase noradrenaline but not dopamine.. back when I took Adderall a long time ago, I would notice the "focus" part would wear off very quickly and I was left with all this nervous energy. Now I have neither, lol.

#7 BioFreak

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:18 PM

Why would you want to increase one without the other? Since you do not have focus, but had it while on adderall, dopaminergic action does give you something you need - the only problem was that it wore off. I guess the dopaminergic effect wore off quicker then the noradrenalinergic effect, leaving you without focus but too much energy. So basically increasing catecholamines in a significant, safe and continuous manner is what you want, then the effects will be there contiuously, too.

#8 xeon

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Posted 16 May 2013 - 10:49 PM

Why would you want to increase one without the other? Since you do not have focus, but had it while on adderall, dopaminergic action does give you something you need - the only problem was that it wore off. I guess the dopaminergic effect wore off quicker then the noradrenalinergic effect, leaving you without focus but too much energy. So basically increasing catecholamines in a significant, safe and continuous manner is what you want, then the effects will be there contiuously, too.


But I wonder if it's a matter of dopamine receptor downregulation, or if I actually need to increase the amount of dopamine in general.

#9 helluva nootro

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Posted 30 May 2013 - 11:23 PM

What is your current diet and sleep pattern as an average on a daily basis. Have you run any blood tests to check for iron deficiency and what not? Would be interested to see if you have made some progress.

#10 onigiri

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Posted 18 June 2013 - 07:54 PM

Doubtful that caffeine decreases blood flow in the brain. Sources? If any, it should increase blood flow since it lets capilaries relax (This is why coffee works for some to fall asleep, because of the increased blood flow, at least thats the theory).


What is this bs?
Coffee is well known vasoconstrictor and rises bp quite effectively.

Cacao lets capillaries relax (vasodilator), other well known are Vinpocetine and Ginko Biloba.
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#11 Alpha_Master

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 03:36 PM

What you're describing sounds like an excessive insulin response which would excessively lower your blood sugar levels and result in lack of energy. Have you tried eating many small meals throughout the day instead?
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#12 xeon

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Posted 19 June 2013 - 04:18 PM

What you're describing sounds like an excessive insulin response which would excessively lower your blood sugar levels and result in lack of energy. Have you tried eating many small meals throughout the day instead?


I have tried eating smaller meals and it does have a dramatic impact on how I feel. I get much less fatigue when I have smaller meals.

However, I just got my blood test results back from the doctor and apparently I have very low testosterone for my age (23). I now have an appointment with an endocrinologist. Could low testosterone affect my insulin/etc.? Because it definitely seems to be affecting that, along with lots of other things such as mood and physical strength.

#13 Alpha_Master

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 12:48 AM

Relationship between testosterone levels, insulin sensitivity, and mitochondrial function in men.

Pitteloud N, Mootha VK, Dwyer AA, Hardin M, Lee H, Eriksson KF, Tripathy D, Yialamas M, Groop L, Elahi D, Hayes FJ.

Source

Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
These data indicate that low serum testosterone levels are associated with an adverse metabolic profile and suggest a novel unifying mechanism for the previously independent observations that low testosterone levels and impaired mitochondrial function promote insulin resistance in men.

I'm not trying to dismiss the whole endocrinologist thing but there are many variables that can cause low testosterone including depression and bad eating / exercise habits. If it were me, I would go ahead and go to the gym and work out a different part of the body everyday. Then afterwards I would plan on improving my diet by eating a good amount of protein, carbs, vegies, and fats. It sounds more like a lifestyle issue to me, do you get out and stay active much? Not so much intense jogging but a good sprint and maybe a little yard work and sunshine might turn your life around. I believe the body has its own ability to self regulate and achieve optimal homeostasis but when you begin to lack essential nutrients, activity, and so forth, certain organ systems begin to deteriorate. When this happens, modern medicine is quick to throw in the latest pharmaceutical concoction to treat the symptom but not the cause.

But to answer your question yes. Definitely. Low testosterone can cause that but I would elimate all the lifesytle factors and maybe let the endocrinologist do another blood lab before someone starts to prescribe medications to bandaid the underlying issue.

#14 xeon

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:07 AM

Relationship between testosterone levels, insulin sensitivity, and mitochondrial function in men.

Pitteloud N, Mootha VK, Dwyer AA, Hardin M, Lee H, Eriksson KF, Tripathy D, Yialamas M, Groop L, Elahi D, Hayes FJ.

Source

Reproductive Endocrine Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
These data indicate that low serum testosterone levels are associated with an adverse metabolic profile and suggest a novel unifying mechanism for the previously independent observations that low testosterone levels and impaired mitochondrial function promote insulin resistance in men.

I'm not trying to dismiss the whole endocrinologist thing but there are many variables that can cause low testosterone including depression and bad eating / exercise habits. If it were me, I would go ahead and go to the gym and work out a different part of the body everyday. Then afterwards I would plan on improving my diet by eating a good amount of protein, carbs, vegies, and fats. It sounds more like a lifestyle issue to me, do you get out and stay active much? Not so much intense jogging but a good sprint and maybe a little yard work and sunshine might turn your life around. I believe the body has its own ability to self regulate and achieve optimal homeostasis but when you begin to lack essential nutrients, activity, and so forth, certain organ systems begin to deteriorate. When this happens, modern medicine is quick to throw in the latest pharmaceutical concoction to treat the symptom but not the cause.

But to answer your question yes. Definitely. Low testosterone can cause that but I would elimate all the lifesytle factors and maybe let the endocrinologist do another blood lab before someone starts to prescribe medications to bandaid the underlying issue.


I totally appreciate this. The lifestyle issues make perfect since, but I do exercise and go to the gym as often as possible. I also run and bike quite often. I don't eat 100% healthy but I'm working on changing that. Sometimes I wonder if low testosterone is a result of some type of vitamin deficiency, but when I take multivitamins I get all sweaty and overly stressed out (feels like vitamins give me more energy to fuel my fight or flight response). Sometimes when I get a phone call from someone I dread talking to my heart will start pounding out of my chest even though I'm not really worried about it. And then the symptoms of low testosterone get dramatically worse after getting stressed over something small that I shouldn't even have a response to. I have tried CBT with my therapist and everything but it seems to be physical rather than psychological.

I've considered almost everything and can't seem to pinpoint what it is, because my lifestyle is as good as I can make it and most people think I have a good lifestyle considering how bad I feel all the time for whatever unknown reason(s). Could it simply be a vitamin or mineral deficiency? Or have I developed an overactive stress response that simply won't go away or I would have to permanently take beta-blockers to counteract? (I have Meteprolol but haven't even taken it once.) Could it all be caused by depression, or could the low testosterone have caused the depression? I just don't know what else to do in order to identify the true culprit. My doc said it was most likely due to low T because terrible fatigue, both mental and physical, occurred first then depression/anxiety set in later.

Hopefully the endocrinologist knows what he is doing when I see him the 18th of July. Would you advise taking a multivitamin while I wait? I have NOW Food's ADAM.
Thanks for the sources and response by the way :)

#15 Alpha_Master

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Posted 21 June 2013 - 01:31 AM

I can't say for sure but psychological and physiological states affect the other vice versa which is why it's hard to pinpoint many issues. If you think of cancer, you can assume that a bad diet and exposure to carcinogens lead up to the DNA damage but a constant state of fear, anxiety, and helplessness can cause an otherwise healthy immune system to become overly impaired thus bypassing their duty of surveilling mutated cells and enabling them to divide.

As far a multi-vitamin goes, I highly doubt it is necessary if you don't have any disorders that prevent you from assimilating what you need from your diet. Why you begin to sweat when you take them, hmm.. you could be sweating for many reasons but I am guessing it seems to be related to a hormonal issue.

And yes, depression <===> low testosterone vice versa.

You mentioned that you seem to be in a hypertensive state most of the time? I would try the beta-blocker and see what happens.

I used to show many of the symptoms you were describing. I attributed a lot of it to stress and anxiety due to a very traumatic car accident and personal relationships gone amuck plus being a bit of Ritalin and Adderall prescribed definitely made it worse. What eventually helped clear it up for me was the generic version of Intuniv : Guanfacine a long time medication used to treat hypertension that also increased prefrontal cortex efficiency. That and a very good diet and a positive mindset.

That being said, it definitely sounds like your sympathetic nervous system is causing you most of this stress. So try the beta-blocker for a little bit and let me know if it helps, I'm curious.
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#16 Furniture

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Posted 04 January 2020 - 06:44 PM

Doubtful that caffeine decreases blood flow in the brain. Sources? If any, it should increase blood flow since it lets capilaries relax (This is why coffee works for some to fall asleep, because of the increased blood flow, at least thats the theory). Not drinking coffee is a good choice, still, since it can lower catecholamines.

I had the same problem that I was really sleepy after eating, increasing catecholamines improved that also. A big meal still makes me somewhat tired, but not nearly as much as it used to. The question is why. Maybe without enough (nor)adrenaline the body can not make enough energy available for digestion, but digestion gets priority, so the energy is missing in the brain.

Visibility of veins is no indicator of BP. Checking BP is. biggrin.png Ideally you would measure your bp regularly, not once by a doc(that alone can increase BP, if you are scared of what the MD may find) and then see whats up.

 

you've got it backwards. Caffeine restricts blood vessels and decreases cerebral blood flow

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC2748160/

"Caffeine reduced CBF by an average of 27% across both caffeine states. In the abstained placebo condition, moderate and high users had similarly greater CBF than low users; but in the native placebo condition, the high users had a trend towards less CBF than the low and moderate users. Our results suggest a limited ability of the cerebrovascular adenosine system to compensate for high amounts of daily caffeine use."



#17 xeon

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 12:07 AM

you've got it backwards. Caffeine restricts blood vessels and decreases cerebral blood flow

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC2748160/

"Caffeine reduced CBF by an average of 27% across both caffeine states. In the abstained placebo condition, moderate and high users had similarly greater CBF than low users; but in the native placebo condition, the high users had a trend towards less CBF than the low and moderate users. Our results suggest a limited ability of the cerebrovascular adenosine system to compensate for high amounts of daily caffeine use."

 

Wow. Nice find. Thanks for posting this.

 

I stopped drinking caffeine a few years ago. I've noticed that I don't feel "extra stimulated" like I used to, but I can use my brain much better overall. My concentration is better. My memory is better. I can grasp complex concepts more easily (still not a genius though, sadly). It is important to take note that this took me ~5 years of zero caffeine consumption for these changes to occur. I actually feel no different at all, but I can do almost any task much easier than before.

 

I have no idea if this is due to better overall brain bloodflow which helped my brain rewire itself more easily. Perhaps that is what happened. There is also the possibility that I simply depended on caffeine as a crutch to get things done mentally without actually "doing it myself" so to speak. After stopping caffeine I was forced to do the mental heavy lifting the hard way, and I think it paid off in the long run. Again, the bloodflow changes may or may not have contributed. Really wish I had a way of proving or disproving whether or not the bloodflow change was actually what caused the changes or not.

 

Also yes, for me, the mental fatigue caused by caffeine withdrawal eventually went away (over a very long period of time) after I stopped consuming caffeine. And yes I was consuming large amounts daily.

 

Thanks again. And good luck to those who try to stop caffeine. You can do it and in my experience it helps in the long run. (I think.)



#18 Furniture

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:03 PM

A similar thing happened to me. I initially used coffee as a motivation booster and nootropic. It seemed to work well when I used it intermittently. My memory seemed sharper and I was procrastinating less. But the more I depended on it, the worse my motivation and cognitive abilities got. For example, reading novels or learning a programming language, which require a calm type of focus, became exceedingly difficult. My mind would zoom through the information without taking time to absorb each concept. Now that I'm off caffeine, I can recall the events of a novel I've read better and my motivation is steadier throughout the day. The way I look at it, caffeine works like a button that speeds you up, but you are left without control of the pacing. And also, by not relying on the impetus of your own mind, parts of your brain are not exercised and waste away, though not in a literal sense. Although, this study might suggest otherwise:

 

Caffeine alters proliferation of neuronal precursors in the adult hippocampus

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC2743873/

"Extended, 7-day caffeine administration, alters the proliferation of adult hippocampal precursors in the mouse in a dose dependent manner; moderate to high doses (20–30mg/kg/day) of caffeine depress proliferation while supraphysiological doses (60mg/kg/day) increase proliferation of neuronal precursors. Acute, 1-day administration had no affect on proliferation. Caffeine administration does not affect the expression of early or late markers of neuronal differentiation, or rates of long-term survival. However, neurons induced in response to supraphysiological levels of caffeine have a lower survival rate than control cells; increased proliferation does not yield an increase in long-term neurogenesis. These results demonstrate that physiologically relevant doses of caffeine can significantly depress adult hippocampal neurogenesis."

 

Scary stuff!


Edited by Furniture, 16 January 2020 - 08:21 PM.

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#19 Furniture

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 08:14 PM

That is not to say, however, that caffeine isn't "healthy" and isn't good for cognition. There are a number of studies showing a lower risk of alzheimer's, parkinson's, dementia and even certain cancers in coffee drinkers. And I think some people just function better with regular coffee consumption. Maybe we will see in the future that a reduction in hippocampal neurogenesis & cerebral blood flow from caffeine is dependent on an individual, possibly genetic, basis.

 

For me though, I perform best without it. Only seldom do I use coffee if I'm exhausted and I need to meet a project deadline or I need  to perk up during a hangover.


Edited by Furniture, 16 January 2020 - 08:17 PM.


#20 xeon

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 10:58 PM

That is not to say, however, that caffeine isn't "healthy" and isn't good for cognition. There are a number of studies showing a lower risk of alzheimer's, parkinson's, dementia and even certain cancers in coffee drinkers. And I think some people just function better with regular coffee consumption. Maybe we will see in the future that a reduction in hippocampal neurogenesis & cerebral blood flow from caffeine is dependent on an individual, possibly genetic, basis.

 

For me though, I perform best without it. Only seldom do I use coffee if I'm exhausted and I need to meet a project deadline or I need  to perk up during a hangover.

 

Thanks for posting your experiences with caffeine. They sound almost identical to mine. I don't consume any caffeine whatsoever (unless I eat some chocolate, probably minimal amounts of caffeine). But if I were going to, it would be in the same fashion as you mentioned: to meet a deadline or perk up in a one-time situation. Daily caffeine use definitely dampens me mentally in the long run.

 

I wonder what it is exactly about caffeine that lowers risk of alzheimer's and parkinson's. I would be very interesting in finding that out.



#21 Furniture

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Posted 16 January 2020 - 11:17 PM

Yes. That a compound that reduces blood flow to the brain & prevents the creation of new neurons is also protective against age-related cognitive decline is quite the paradox.



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#22 xeon

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Posted 17 January 2020 - 07:32 PM

Yes. That a compound that reduces blood flow to the brain & prevents the creation of new neurons is also protective against age-related cognitive decline is quite the paradox.

 

It is odd indeed. The mechanisms for each are probably entirely different I would presume. I'm interested in finding out more about this.







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