I Could Really Use A Hand Everyone...please Let Me Know.

Hey everyone,


I'm an bulletproof lover, avid reader, and podcast listener.  I'm doing my best to solve this one (nutritionally, through breathing techniques, counseling, yoga, meditation, and other stress management techniques)  but need some help from the community...if anyone smarter than I can lend a hand, it'd be much appreciated.  I'll try to keep this short and sweet.


My girlfriend of the last 4 years is struggling hard.  Panic attacks are crippling her to the point that she spends hours each day curled up in a dark room crying her eyes out.  She's a brilliant woman, currently enrolled in a graduate program to become a Doctor of Physical Therapy, but it we can't get the panic to subside, she won't make it through Q1.  


I can provide more detailed info on symptoms and triggers if it would help, but like i said, i want to keep this short enough for everyone.  

What i'm hoping to accomplish with this post is to gain an understanding of what medical tests would be most important to move forward with.  What will be most beneficial in finding the imbalances in her body? What will help us find the deficiencies are creating the symptoms?  My thoughts:


IGG food sensitivity testing

Complete hormone panel

Complete neurotransmitter panel


Thyroid function is within normal range as is A1C and fasting glucose.  Should i put her on L-Theanine immediately to promote GABA production?  What would others recommend?  Do i need to consider neurofeedback as a primary therapy option, or have others seen this addressed with supplementation first?  


Seriously, any help would be appreciated.  This might actually save her life.  I've never witnessed anyone in this much distress before...i have to find some insight.  


Thanks to all for taking a look. 


  • Test for heavy metals. That's the first thing that comes to mind. Second, maybe halogen toxicity? I know you said her thyroid is good, but just in case, iodine is cheap enough to try. Please start SLOWLY and observe the reaction. A bad reaction and a whole lot of urination implies halogen toxicity.

    Magnesium and L-theanine are very safe and protective, start there (not a huge dose of magnesium, may cause depression). Maybe lithium orotate? Start at half a pill, 2.5 grams.

    The mental side can only be handled by you and her. I'm guessing she's open to massages from you? That can help a lot, if she accepts.

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Was it always like that? Does she take care of the standards or do you just try and she does not do anything? Nutrition, sleep exercise, sunlight? How is the relationship between you two? Do you have sex? Serious question.


    I know lots of people going crazy from bad nutrition and stress. Both in combination and they start seeing demons or just are angry all the time and think everyone in the world is evil... However it might be easier to think about how and when it all started....

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

    How much to eat:
    advanced | How to train: bulletproof training | HRV: HRV FOR TRAINING HRV BASICS What Affects HRV | Brain  & Memory dual n back training advanced training



  • Thanks for the quick shots back.  We're now working with a naturopath in our area and have some tests set up for tomorrow morning.  I'll ask her to add a test for heavy metals to the docket.  Thanks for that suggestion.  Could you explain a bit to me why lithium orotate would be something to explore?  I'm not questioning the suggestion....just unfamiliar with that material.  


    As for her symptoms, looking back, they began at a point in her schooling when she was under more stress than she was used to.  She started experiencing them roughly 3 years ago --- sparingly at first and now multiple times a day.  I should note --- a significant percentage of her family, immediate and extended, is clinically anxious as well, though they do not suffer from panic attacks.  


    Relationship is good.  We support each other, care for one another, share experiences, etc. though not intimate as of late.  The last two times we tried, she had attacks.  She's hyper-aware of her heart rate.  Any activity causing elevated hear rate --- sex, gym, even eating --- often triggers an attack.  She's afraid to do anything because of this association.  


    finally, i just want to respond to some of the other questions.  Nutrition is fairly good.  Mostly bulletproof.  Sleep is very poor.  Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  She wakes up panicked, gasping for air.  She comments daily that she feels like she's unable to breathe / regulate her breath.  "If i'm not thinking about it, i stop breathing" type of thing.  Exercise, like i mentioned above, stays light.  She is careful not to push herself too far for fear of triggering an attack.  And she gets a descent amount of Arizona sun.  Maybe not enough, but she does supplement 2500 iu of D3 daily as well.  


    Thanks everyone.  please keep it coming.

  • StevoStevo Upgrade in Progress
    Have you explored the psychological element?

    Does she meditate? Seen a psychologist? It is possible there is not a physical cause but a mental one.
  • Psychological is where we originally started.  I'm very much a "things will work out for the best" type of guy, so her "negativity" didn't sit well with me at first.  


    She's been to school counselors, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist. We've put effort into changing thought patterns, breaking bad habits and cycles, and she currently has a daily meditation and yoga practice.  Of course there's a psychological element to this issue, but i tend to believe the issue is more physiological at the moment.   

  • Any results from the testing? If not get her started on EEG neurofeedback ASAP, and if you can HEG as well. There are some basic protocols that don't really require an assessment and although this is not ideal it can calm the fear and panic attacks.

  • Yeah, we did get some results.  Thanks for checking back.  Here's what was tested and then i'll give a little run down of where we stand:


    Blood samples taken roughly an hour after awaking.  And for those that understand the female cycle (not myself), she was in the Luteal phase (by design of the dr.) .  


    Progesterone:    18.2 ng/ml

    Estrodial:    216 pg/ml

    Testosterone, Total:    14ng/dl

    Cortisol:    20.3 ug/dl

    IgG    1253 mg/dl

    IgA    195 mg/dl

    IgM    143 ng/dl


    ANA Screen Negative


    Thoughts on the above?  It's not a lot of information to work with, but we can't seem to get the doc to move any faster and order additional labs.  At this point, we've had three visits and the only support we've received is a supplement called "cortisol manager" and advice to supplement 5-HTP prior to bedtime. Fortunately, the 5-HTP does seem to provide assistance in helping her sleep "harder'.  Though, she has much trouble in the initial sleep phases. Her breathing pattern at night time is consistent with central sleep apnea.  After 15 seconds of her body "forgetting" to breathe, she's jolted awake in a panic.  I've suggested she take B-12 and get her vitamin D levels checked based on a lecture by Dr. Gominak that i recently listened to.  


    We've made arrangements to visit a specialist Wednesday this week.  One of the physicians there is a neurofeedback practitioner.  What suggestions would you make as far as protocols to follow? 



  • Hello there.


    I am sorry to hear about your girl friend's situation, but it is great that she has someone that cares and is helping her beat this. It is great that you are looking into hormones and deficiencies!


    I am an anxiety sufferer myself. I don't know how much helpful information I can give, but I will share what I have found over the last few years with a Bulletproof lifestyle that has personally helped me. I am also a graduate student, so I understand that stress completely. Starting graduate school was a major trigger of anxiety for me, even though I had been following Bulletproof for over a year. 


    I always carry GABA around with me (a decision I made when I decided I wasn't going to take prescribed anti-anxiety medication anymore). I take it before any presentation/interview/conference. On a not so stressful I don't always take it, but if I feel a panic attack coming on or if I feel anxious at bed time, I will take it. I also limit my coffee intake and switch to tea after my BP coffee is done. This helps me to stay awake, focused and alert, but not extra anxious. I also take vitamin B1 (thiamine), which I learned from a BP podcast, to help with the caffeine. I was taking niacin which helps with anxiety, which was actually a recommendation from a homeopathic doctor family friend. There is a lot of research on the benefits of taking niacin with severe anxiety cases and you might even be able to find something on the blog or forum. I would also recommend acupuncture, which I feel helped me when my anxiety was getting really bad at the beginning of grad school. 


    I also do yoga, which is meditation/make my body feel good time. Yoga has really helped me be able to breath when I find myself in stressful situations and be able to calm my body down. I do meditate most mornings, but honestly with school, I sometimes trade meditation time to work on a "to do list" or listen to a pod cast for self-improvement. I feel that helps with getting into a "flow state" because I am accomplishing concrete things which helps with how daunting graduate school can feel. I also found that audio books are really helpful when I am commuting to school or getting ready for the day. I love many of Dave’s recommendations such as The Extraordinary Mind and The Urban Monk. I feel like they put great mindset and help boost my mood because I am not so critical of myself. Also, I do take nootropics for writing and long assignments (Anaracitam and Paracitam), which I feel help me focus and not freak out or get as overwhelmed. 


    And being on a good healthy-low-carb diet always helps me. I used the BP food sensitive app too to find the foods that raise my heart rate and now I avoid them. 


    I wish I could say that it goes away quickly and easily, but it takes time and patience. You find ways to internally deal and work through the pain and then it becomes less and less painful and easier to get through. Seeing a good therapist and doctor to manage hormones is key, so I think you are on the right track! 


    You also may want to look into hypnotherapy, which I have been considering lately. I hear on the podcast and I believe in The Extraordinary Mind that sometimes there are dramatic experience that we go through when we are born or before we can really remember that triggers our emotions and unconscious reasons for doing things.


    I hope something in here helps! Best of luck to you both!!

  • edited October 2016

    I suffer from stress induced anxiety and depression. Although not as severe as your girlfriend. I hope you guys figure things out soon <3 .

    These are the changes that helped me lead a better life:

    Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)

    taken daily. I take about 1gram (2.5% Withanolides, 0.1% Sitoindosides).

    Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi)

    Effects take about 10-12 weeks to show fully. Can increase thyroid levels. The plant is notorious for absorbing heavy metals, so only buy extracts and not raw powder form.

    No caffeine.

    At lest 2-3 times a week I would feel stress-induced nausea when driving to work. I cut on the caffeine and have been feeling better ever since. It could be the rest of the changes too, but I think cutting on my morning coffee helped me avoid this. Also, I am not talking about BP coffee. Never drank BP coffee, so cannot say.

    Gut health.

    This is soo important. You are made up to 10 trillion cells. But you are host to 100 trillion other micro-organisms. You need to keep the other 100 trillion in check, so that the 10 trillion cells of your body can function properly. Bulk of these bacterias live in your gut.

    Your gut is not just about digesting food. It produces vital enzymes that cure depression, fight gene mutation (and hence avoid cancer), keep toxins from entering the body and much more.

    I helped my dad get off his psoriasis medication just by improving his gut health.

    How to fix the gut

    1. Avoid foods that cause inflammation (like refined sugar). arachidonic acid especially to be avoided.

    2. Fructo-oligosaccharides is what your gut biome thrives on. This is your gut bacterias favorite

    3. Water soluble fibres. We all know why these are important. A good source is flax seed. But eating flax seeds raw is not advised. You can easily powder them in a mixer and take half-tabelspoon everyday at night with water. Works as a mild laxative too. Silky smooth shit the next morning. Flax seeds "gel-up" in contact of water, so I just gulp the powder down like medication rather than chewing it.

    4. Take sodium butyrate. If the gut is healthy, there is really no need. Sodium butyrate is produced mostly in the colon through fermentation. but if your gut health is not good, you might decide to supplement it in the short-

    5. If you suspect the gut health to be weak, increasing pro-biotic intake is a relatively safe way to handle things. I personally take bacteria culture capsules every

    6. Anti-Biotics can fuck up your gut flora. See if there was any heavy anti-biotic consumption when her problems aggravated.


    1. Hours of research & first-hand experience in helping my dad manage Psoriasis. (an auto-immune disease, for him stress was the trigger).

    2. Bacopa Monnieri: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18611150

    3. Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26306935

    4. Withania Somnifera alleviates nociception (the sensory nervous system's response to certain harmful or potentially harmful stimuli): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26397759

    5. Gut–brain axis: how the microbiome influences anxiety and depression: http://www.cell.com/trends/neurosciences/abstract/S0166-2236(13)00008-8

    6. Melancholic microbes: a link between gut microbiota and depression: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nmo.12198/full

    7. Sodium butyrate functions as an antidepressant and improves cognition with enhanced neurotrophic expression in models of maternal deprivation and chronic mild stress : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25233278

    8. Effects of sodium butyrate in animal models of mania and depression: implications as a new mood stabilizer: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23994816

    TL;DR: Bacopa & Withania are relatively low risk fixes you should look into, these can be used even on healthy individuals. The gut health has a lot to do with the brain chemistry, don't ignore this.

    EDIT: Found out Markdown is supported, hence improved formatting and fixed some typos.

  • Hey Ya'll

    We've been keeping busy. Thank you all for contributing to the thread...solid suggestions and it's gone a bit to boost her spirits, especially hearing others' successes.

    Lately, she's unable to eat anything.

    Most recent test results show she's dealing with a nasty case of SIBO. Hydrogen gas production peaked at 76 ppm at 100 min after she drank the laculose solution. No Methane produces. Finally, a documented/tested place to start! We've gone low FODMAP the last couple days, but to no avail. Anyone have any experience with a SIBO/Candida combo? My gut says we need to look at that combo (see what i did there?).

    Aside from that result, and others that we expected (low Catecholamines, high cortisol, etc.), everything else we tested looked ok --- thyroid is functioning well and CRP is .35 mg/L.

    Given anxiety seems to likely be a symptom, not

  • Test came back. High IGG response to Candida Albicans and "Yeast, Brewers". So now we have confirmed SIBO diagnosis, and it looks like we have a candida overgrowth issue as well, what direction would you suggest? I'll of course check other threads related to Candida and Sibo, but if anyone has experience or knows where / who we should look to for support, it would be much appreciated.

  • DManDMan Master of Arts ✭✭✭

    Check out John Brisson - Fix Your Gut Book

    May you be well, may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be loved.

    How much to eat:
    advanced | How to train: bulletproof training | HRV: HRV FOR TRAINING HRV BASICS What Affects HRV | Brain  & Memory dual n back training advanced training



  • I've been dealing with my own anxiety and depression for a while. Definitely a physiological/hormonal side to it. Need to stay on the straight and narrow with my diet and stress management and that helps.

    What really gets me out of the "hole" quickly and effectively though is tDCS. A little current through the brain, bringing energy to the left frontal lobe gets me functional when I need it. I've started to use it regularly and it helps speed up the other brain training I'm doing (Qeeg guided neurofeedback) and I can do it myself while I'm getting ready for work which helps. I use F3 (anode) to mid-shoulder/upper back area (cathode), but have experimented with F3/F4, and FP01/F4 too.

    I use the Mind Alive Cesta for CES and tDCS. Both are quick and effective. There are other options out there now that are pretty affordable.

    Good luck!

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