Fish oil causing anxiety?

bjl218

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Hi all,

I have now had two separate occasions during which I've developed panic attacks. A year ago, I started having panic attacks that were near completely debilitating. They would last for a few hours (sometimes shorter) and then disappear. This happened almost every day for months. I originally thought they might be due to ramping up on B vitamins. Then they just completely disappeared.

This started happening again recently although the level of anxiety was not quite as bad as last year. Looking at my journal, the only commonality I've found is taking high-dose fish oil. This time around, I've been taking a high DHA fish oil--Nordic Naturals DHA Xtra. Last year, I was taking Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega which is high EPA. In both cases, I was taking fairly high doses.

I started the high DHA fish oil after reading a bit about the Nemechek protocol which uses high dose DHA fish oil to address inflammation.

Most references I've seen specifically tout fish oil's benefits for inflammation, anxiety, and depression. However, I've seen a few references for it having the opposite affect in some people. The theories on why this happens vary.

I can't say for sure that this flare up is due to the fish oil (there are other variables in my life), but it does seem like a smoking gun right now. Has anyone else had this reaction to fish oil or can offer an explanation as to why this might be happening? I had high hopes for fish oil and so it's really to bad if this is the actual cause of my panic attacks.

Thanks!
 

Crux

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Anything that increases the production of nitric oxide does me in. I'll have anxiety, pain in muscles, joints, neuropathy, and insomnia. Nitric oxide can be proinflammatory. It can also become peroxynitrite, even worse.

Fish oils , omega 3, and so many herbs and supplements increase nitric oxide production.

Nitric oxide is generally considered to be beneficial, but not for those who may be producing a lot already.

Here's a recent article about it :
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6303682/
 
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I take Nordic Naturals DHA Extra, too. I take just 1 instead of the suggested 2 because a full dose makes me feel great during the day, but gives me insomnia at night. One capsule instead of 2 helps my mood. I take it shortly after wakening and wouldn't take it any later in the day than that.

I think DHA can be stimulating, but maybe a lower dose would be worth trying. I tried the Ultimate Omega, and it gave me insomnia. I think that's partly because I can't tolerate supplements with EPA (insomnia, again).
 
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Last year, I was taking Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega which is high EPA. In both cases, I was taking fairly high doses.
@bjl218
Like you, I suddenly started having really extreme panic/anxiety attacks. They hit me from out of nowhere, and I had absolutely zero idea of what was causing them. Little by little, as I connected the dots, it became clear that something, or some things, I was taking were the culprits, and I just started eliminating things. It didn't take long before I'd eliminated pretty much everything except for a high quality multi.

I also started taking massive amounts of magnesium glycinate, which helped with the panic attacks and allowed me short intervals where I could actually think.

What I determined was that it wasn't necessarily the supplements themselves that were causing the reactions, but the gel caps (all the worst offenders were provided in soft gel caps) they were provided in.

So I gradually added back many of the supps, but in gel-less, liquid form. I also ordered Nordic Natl's fish oil in liquid form, but haven't had the courage to rotate it back in yet, so I don't know how much of the causative factor can be attributed to it, at least not for certain.

The panic/anxiety gradually eased off, and now I rarely get attacks unless I'm under extreme stress or bad sleep deprivation. But I still can't add in additional B-complex, or any of it's factors separately, or it'll propel me back down that dark miserable rabbit hole. Ditto fish oil, but as I said, haven't had the courage to test out the liquid form to confirm or reject my hypothesis.

Don't know if this helps you, but hoping it will.
 

bjl218

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Wow. That's impressive sleuthing @YippeeKi YOW !! . How ever did you determine that it was the gel caps and not necessarily the supplement itself? Any idea what's in gel caps that might cause this? In any case, I'm stopping the fish oil now and I might try the liquid at some point once I know I've "stabilized."

Are you staying away from all capsule forms of supplements? If so, what mag glycinate are you taking?

Thanks again for the reply!

@bjl218
Like you, I suddenly started having really extreme panic/anxiety attacks. They hit me from out of nowhere, and I had absolutely zero idea of what was causing them. Little by little, as I connected the dots, it became clear that something, or some things, I was taking were the culprits, and I just started eliminating things. It didn't take long before I'd eliminated pretty much everything except for a high quality multi.

I also started taking massive amounts of magnesium glycinate, which helped with the panic attacks and allowed me short intervals where I could actually think.

What I determined was that it wasn't necessarily the supplements themselves that were causing the reactions, but the gel caps (all the worst offenders were provided in soft gel caps) they were provided in.

So I gradually added back many of the supps, but in gel-less, liquid form. I also ordered Nordic Natl's fish oil in liquid form, but haven't had the courage to rotate it back in yet, so I don't know how much of the causative factor can be attributed to it, at least not for certain.

The panic/anxiety gradually eased off, and now I rarely get attacks unless I'm under extreme stress or bad sleep deprivation. But I still can't add in additional B-complex, or any of it's factors separately, or it'll propel me back down that dark miserable rabbit hole. Ditto fish oil, but as I said, haven't had the courage to test out the liquid form to confirm or reject my hypothesis.

Don't know if this helps you, but hoping it will.
 
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Wow. That's impressive sleuthing @YippeeKi YOW !! .
Thank you for the compliment, @bjl218 ...... it was born out of desperation. I'd been to the ER twice (both visits were deeply miserable and frightening experiences) because I was certain I was having a heart attack and dying, and I just couldn't bear going thru that again. I'd also figured out that Drs weren't the answer, I'd have to work it out for myself.

How ever did you determine that it was the gel caps and not necessarily the supplement itself?
I applied to the UofGoogle, and had determined that I was probably dealing with severe glutamate excitotoxicity Then I brushed up on my knowledge of glutamates and found additional info about where they could appear. I was so reactive and sensitive to glutamates (that seems to go along with this illness, based on comments and threads on this site) that the gel cps, made of high-density gelatin and a few other things, were contributing bigly to the reactions I was getting.

I've determined that in some cases, like B Vits, it was the both the cap (gelatin) and the contents, which I still haven't had the courage to retry after the first 2 times. In the case of D-3, it was the gel cap only. Still haven't testd out lecithin, because of phosphotidylserine, which I think I'm definitely reactive to, but am going to give that a shot soonish. I miss lecithin, especially with an illness that targets thinking and brain-work so much.

It's all trial and error, and we're all different, so what I'm reactive to may not be what you're reactive to.

Any idea what's in gel caps that might cause this?
See above. The dense gelatin cap and glutamate. There are people who pooh-pooh this, but I've lived it and have absolutely zero doubts.

Are you staying away from all capsule forms of supplements? If so, what mag glycinate are you taking?
Almost all herbs and many supps come in vegetarian caps, which is code for "no gelatin, no glutamate". I use those in everything I take in cap form.

The mag glycinate is Solgars Chelated Magnesium, which is in tablet form, and the only mag I could find that came in 100 mg per tab doses. I would take 50 mgs every hour to reduce the panic, then slightly less to keep it at bay. There's no bowel issue with mag gly, or at least I havent encountered any and at my worst I was taking as much as 1500 to 2000 mgs a day.

Hit me a 'like' if this is helpful to you, or if you want me to come back fairly quickly to answer other questions. THe 'like' triggers an alert that notifies me, rather than me wandering back this way at some point in the future and realizing that you've been waiting 2 or 3 days for a response.
 

bjl218

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I should also mention some things that I forgot about in my original post. I suffer from the "sleep vibration" problem you may have seen mentioned elsewhere in this forum. I take 20mg amitryptilene and 300mg gabapentin to deal with that. Although these are considered to be very low doses, both of these drugs significantly alter my brain and CNS chemistry and I'm sure that many supplements can interact with those drugs in "interesting" ways.

I had also been taking a lot of curcumin for some muscle and joint pain and I learned not too long ago that curcumin is an MAO inhibitor. So I thought that some sort of serotonin syndrome might be behind all this. However, I stopped curcumin quite some time ago so I don't think that's the culprit. It's so frustrating that many of things that are supposed to be helpful for anxiety and depression can actually backfire.

I'd also figured out that Drs weren't the answer,
Tell me about it...

I've determined that in some cases, like B Vits, it was the both the cap (gelatin) and the contents,
Very interesting. When the first episodes of panic attacks hit, I had been taking B vitamins so I figured it was "startup" symptoms or general sensitivity to one or more B vitamins. I determined at that time that my B2 was low and got lots of useful information from the various B2 threads on this forum. But a few months ago, I started taking Quicksilver Ultra Vitamin which is a liquid liposomal multivitamin and had no problems at all with that.

The mag glycinate is Solgars Chelated Magnesium, which is in tablet form, and the only mag I could find that came in 100 mg per tab doses
I'm using Jigsaw MagPure (mag glycinate) which comes in 100mg capsules. I just checked and the capsules are vegan (phew!).

For me it seems that, strangely enough, one cup of coffee with 200mg L-theanine in the morning helps. I don't know why caffeine would actually help in this case, but I've now gotten used to these types of things being a mystery. I recently switched brands of L-Theanine to Jarrow Theanine 200 and just checked the label and it appears that the capsule is made from hydroxypropylmethylcellulose. That doesn't sound too appetizing, but it's not gelatin.
 
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I suffer from the "sleep vibration" problem you may have seen mentioned elsewhere in this forum.
Is that the maddening hum that sort of vibrates in all your bones?

It's so frustrating that many of things that are supposed to be helpful for anxiety and depression can actually backfire.
Church. It's just demoralizing some days.

I started taking Quicksilver Ultra Vitamin which is a liquid liposomal multivitamin and had no problems at all with that.
Thank you for the tip @bjl218 ...... may be able to work up the courage to give it a try.

I don't know why caffeine would actually help in this case, but I've now gotten used to these types of things being a mystery
I've ben trying to add brewed decaf back in, because I miss coffee so much. But I'm still reactive to it. As son as I'm not, I'll give your mix a try, and thanks for the input.

hydroxypropylmethylcellulose
Yeah. Yummy. But it's just processed cellulose as far as I can tell, and so far, I've never had a reaction to it.
 
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JES

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@bjl218 You may want to try flaxseed oil. Fish oil at higher dosages increases anxiety for me as well even though it's supposed to be anti-inflammatory and inflammation is what I suspect drives my anxiety. Flaxseed oil, however, had completely the opposite effect for me, no hint of it increasing anxiety, at least on low to moderate dosages.
 
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As helpful as supplements can be for anxiety, there are also brainwave entrainment devices you can use at home. I benefit from the Alpha-Stim and the Vielight 810. I've never used it, but am also interested in the Sota Bio Tuner.

Far less expensive, but still effective, are recordings of brainwave-entrainment sounds/music. It can take some experimenting, but sounds that boost alpha and SMR are very relaxing. Some people benefit from the lowest frequencies of theta and delta, but they make me feel worse since my waking brainwave state is in those frequencies, anyway.

Not everyone benefits from transdermal magnesium, but I find baths with a combo of magnesium chloride flakes and Epsom salts very relaxing and pleasant.

Craniosacral therapy is profoundly relaxing for me, and it also lifts my mood and helps some with pain. It can be challenging to find a good practitioner, though.
 

bjl218

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Is that the maddening hum that sort of vibrates in all your bones?
For me, it's rarely in all of my bones. I mostly experience it in my "core" which is why one of my theories is that my hiatal hernia is involved by impinging on the vagus nerve. I experience this only during sleep and one of my other theories is that occurs during sleep phase transition perhaps when the autonomic nervous system takes over. So this may be a symptom of some sort of dysautonomia.
 
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I used to experience sleep vibrations, but mine were related to narcolepsy. My vibrations would start at the base of my spine and travel up along my spine up to my head. Then I would have what seemed to be out-of-body experiences, but were probably hallucinations from the narcolepsy. It was pretty trippy!

I was fortunate enough to recover from narcolepsy as my brain healed from the head injury that probably caused it. I mention it because sleep vibrations can be a narcolepsy symptom.
 

bjl218

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Thanks @perchance dreamer . Did you also have the "traditional" symptoms of narcolepsy? E.g., falling asleep during the day while doing certain activities? I don't have any of those symptoms. In the beginning, I saw a few sleep neurologists and only one had ever heard of the sleep vibration symptom. He said it was, "just anxiety." None of them ever mentioned narcolepsy.

I used to experience sleep vibrations, but mine were related to narcolepsy. My vibrations would start at the base of my spine and travel up along my spine up to my head. Then I would have what seemed to be out-of-body experiences, but were probably hallucinations from the narcolepsy. It was pretty trippy!

I was fortunate enough to recover from narcolepsy as my brain healed from the head injury that probably caused it. I mention it because sleep vibrations can be a narcolepsy symptom.
 
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Hi, @bjl218. My case was mild, but I did start falling asleep occasionally during the day and had to stop driving for awhile. In addition to sleep paralysis and hallucinations, I also had intense dreams as soon as I lay down and closed my eyes.

If you aren't showing any of the classic signs of narcolepsy, you probably don't need to worry about it. I hope you can find a doctor who can help you. It sounds a little dismissive for a doctor to tell you sleep vibrations are just anxiety.
 
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Some people benefit from the lowest frequencies of theta and delta, but they make me feel worse since my waking brainwave state is in those frequencies, anyway.
@perchance dreamer
I use an MP3 w/a tape of gentle music and theta and delta waves to improve sleep and block 'The Hum', which started driving me nuts in the mid 90's. It helps beyond words for the hum and also for sleep, so even if I can't fully drop off, I still get some benefit.

Not everyone benefits from transdermal magnesium, but I find baths with a combo of magnesium chloride flakes and Epsom salts very relaxing and pleasant.
I'm one of them, and like you, use Epsom Salts primarily, with a homemade EO mix of lavender, geranium and patchouli to unwind and relax.

Craniosacral therapy is profoundly relaxing for me, and it also lifts my mood and helps some with pain. It can be challenging to find a good practitioner, though.
Thanks for the input. And you're right, they're really, really hard to find, tho some chiros practice a form of it. But then a really good chiropractor is pretty hard to find too, and requires more trial and error than I can manage right now.
 
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Then I would have what seemed to be out-of-body experiences, but were probably hallucinations from the narcolepsy. It was pretty trippy!
@perchance dreamer
I had an old friend who was also narcoleptic at a time when Drs were utterly clueless, doped her up on amphetamines and other experiments. She described the same experiences you do, and she used them for her art, which was totally trippy and just great.

I've always admired her for being able to turn that unpleasant detriment to some advantage.