Ever heard of developing neurological symptoms on a vegan diet?
I am not expecting anyone to be a doctor, but I am curious if anyone has heard of what I have been experiencing and please don't get political over my dietary choices.
I have been mainly vegetarian most of my life and often that included months on end of strict plant based eating... but about 2 years ago I went strict vegan after a couple years of a more omnivorous lifestyle that included even small amounts of meat on occasion. I suppose my body can change over the years, as 1 month into it, I would feel weak and shaky, like I needed to eat, but I would eat and I wouldn't feel better. I would feel sick until I awoke the next day. This never happened to me in the past. This seemed to happen nearly daily for awhile, and I would get migraines and just generally felt unwell.
Now, I want to preface that I don't eat much vegan junk food, as I am a gardener and grow a lot of my own fruits and veggies- just an FYI, but I do avoid wheat and oats as they cause my body to hurt- I get bad inflammation in my back where I have had some disc issues in the past.
A few months into my strict vegan diet, I woke in the middle of the night several times thinking there was an earthquake or that my bed was vibrating, but it was actually me, shaking. This happened only occasionally, and I began taking a good quality sublingual B12 tablet- although, I had been taking a Bcomplex the entire time and drinking fortified plant milk everyday. My symptoms seemed to go away, except an occasional shake in my right hand that would only last a second and I felt depressed, often agitated and in general exhausted and weak. I was going through some emotional stress as well, but not sure if it was the emotional stress making it worse or if the physical symptoms were causing the emotional stress.
I would exercise- at the very least walk 2-5 miles a day, do yoga and sometimes run if I had the energy. I felt hungry all the time and never satiated and I couldn't lose 1 pound for the life of me.
I eventually quit taking the B12 tablet after a blood test showed really high B12- the doc said to ease up- I didn't think it was necessary, but figured I got enough in my fortified foods anyway. 3 weeks later, the shaky feeling hit me again and became much worse and day after day my symptoms increased- It was more internal as externally the shaking was subtle, but inside full body vibrations, weird electrical feelings in my chest, doctors and friends could feel them if they rested their hands on me for a minute- Cramps would occur in both feet at the same time, muscles would twitch in my thighs, calves, arms, eyes, and cheeks... I started seeing shadows out of the corners of my eyes... like insects. I know... I sound insane! I knew it was a hallucination, so I kept my cool- but it freaked me out. I rarely drink, but found that drinking even 1-2 drinks of alcohol would send my body into full vibration mode for hours- I kept trying to manage the anxiety these scary symptoms were causing, lots of yoga, meditation, low stress environment, etc.
I went to ERs, Docs and Neurologists, and did have a nerve and muscle test, but it didn't show anything. Blood tests didn't show much except slight potassium and vitamin D deficiency and mild anemia of a heredity source, not dietary. The docs won't run anymore tests- treated me like I was mentally ill. They even gave my some anti-depressant that sent my body shaking worse than ever... It's been stressful to say the least. I just had to remind myself that whatever was happening wasn't killing me although it was frightening.
Anyway, I started tracking my nutrition in cronometer, and maybe because I eat a low cal diet- not sure- I realized though that I was not getting many RDV of B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, protein etc. I actually broke down and ate non-vegan food at first, I was freaked out and willing to try anything- just a little bit of fish and some eggs. I literally dropped 8 pounds that week that I incorporated a small amount of animal products. However, I just can't eat that on a regular basis as my conscience gets the best of me. I have since been eating 98% plant based- occassionally a bite of meat or an egg, but very occasional- however, I have found some good hacks for me that have balanced my diet a lot better... I have realized it can be tricky to get drv with low calorie diet of 1200-1400 and a restriction of most grains- anyhow, I am happy to report, I am much better. I still can not drink alcohol without terrible vibration feeling and I have mild twitching and cramps and often a mild shaking or pulsating feeling throughout my body... but it actually is much better. And this happened since I changed my diet about 2 months ago using cronometer- I have also lost 13 pounds altogether and have strength and energy to work out everyday, which I have not had for years- so that is great! But, I am still perplexed at how these neurological problems surfaced, were they nutrition related... my doctors know nothing about nutrition- because I look healthy, they don't take me serious. It's been frustrating- thousands of dollars later and I am still wondering what just happened.
Have you ever heard of such a thing?