Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Here you can share your experiences with substances that are ingested, inhaled, or otherwise consumed for the purpose of relieving RLS/WED, other than prescription medications. For example, herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, diet, kratom, and marijuana (for now) should be discussed here. Tell others of successes, failures, side effects, and any known research on these substances. [Posts on these subjects created prior to 2009 are in the Physical Treatments forum.]

Important: Posts and information in this section are based on personal experiences and recommendations; they should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a healthcare provider.
pamhb
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 1:11 am
Location: Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:47 pm

Reporting in on my personal lab rat experiments:

1. It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that food triggers play a far larger role in my RLS than I had previously imagined. On the days that I restrict my food intake to foods which I am reasonably confident are "safe", I sleep better, I sleep longer, I am up fewer times, and I have minimal RLS breakthrough symptoms. While foods high in nitrates and nitrates might have the effect of better circulation and increased oxygen to peripheral tissues, they are not by themselves enough to compensate for the effects of eating a food trigger.

2. I found this comprehensive spreadsheet of potential migraine food triggers, which I've been using as a base for potential trigger foods: http://www.headaches.org/wp-content/upl ... dation.pdf

3. My food triggers are beginning to sort themselves into the following categories: dairy (including milk), food additives, fermented foods, chocolate, citrus fruits. Processed sugar, while not acting as a trigger, will give me a sufficient buzz if I eat it after about 4:00 pm then I have trouble falling and staying asleep. Honey is a definite trigger, so I am currently regarding all foods high in fructose (mainly in the fruit category) as being suspicious until I test them further. Caffeine is a tricky one for me. I find that an espresso first thing in the morning will actually calm any residual RLS I might have; I never have it in the afternoon or evening, which I believe is the more difficult time for food sensitivities.

4. While my food triggers don't perfectly align with the headache diet, it comes far closer than any of the other diets I have looked at.

5. I believe there is a temptation for those of us who are susceptible to food triggers to find a handful of safe foods and then stick with them, rather than subjecting ourselves to the testing process. I was reminded by a recent online article that an overly restrictive diet can lead to other health problems (a young boy was put on a very restrictive diet by his mother to improve his eczema, and started going blind because of lack of basic nutrients). We should always keep our doctors in the loop as to what we are doing, and seek appropriate advice about supplements when we have to eliminate entire categories of food.

Cheers!

pamhb
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 1:11 am
Location: Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Fri Oct 06, 2017 9:04 pm

I found a list of vascular headache treatments, which again shows a startling alignment with my own experience with RLS which is worsened by certain vasoconstrictors and improved by certain vasodilators: https://selfhacked.com/blog/natural-tre ... r_or_sauna.

badnights
Moderator
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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:20 pm
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby badnights » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:42 am

Wow Pam. Keep it up. This is interesting.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
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pamhb
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 1:11 am
Location: Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:15 pm

More research has led to other interesting connections. A lot of migraine triggers are related to higher levels of tyramine in the particle food. The precursor molecule to tyramine is tyrosine. Tyrosine is a building block in the production of dopamine (https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Tyrosine). As a food containing tyrosine ages, bacteria converts the tyrosine to tyramine. Tyramine acts to suppress the production of dopamine (https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Tyramine), which then leads to the release of other chemicals which result in vasoconstriction. So take a food like a banana -- an unripe banana contains lots of tyrosine (good for dopamine production and vasodilation), but as the banana ages and becomes spotted, the tyrosine is converted to tyramine (potentially decreasing dopamine production and causing vasoconstriction). There are also some foods which are naturally high in tyramine, such as MSG and all its derivatives.

Tyramine is also a dosage-dependent compound -- the more you ingest, the more likely you are to notice a reaction. So I might eat a small amount of a number of foods containing lower doses of tyramine, but the cumulative effect may then cause a reaction. I might be able to manage one glass of red wine but not two.

Tyramine is only part of the puzzle for me, since I also react to fresh dairy (such as 2% milk) and honey. It does, however, seem logical to me that I would want to reduce my tyramine load as much as possible by (1) eating food which is as fresh as possible, or frozen when as fresh as possible (2) discarding refrigerated leftovers after 48 hours (3) avoiding foods which are aged or fermented (4) avoiding food additives, particularly MSG and its derivatives. Most of that is just sensible eating anyway.

The lab rat continues on her journey....

badnights
Moderator
Posts: 4554
Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:20 pm
Location: Northwest Territories, Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby badnights » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:46 am

I don't know that avoiding fermented foods totally would be wise ... we need to keep a healthy population of bugs in our guts and the best way of doing this is to eat fermented foods, especially if our gut bacteria have been compromised by excessive antibiotic use and the bad bugs have taken over.
Beth - Wishing you all restful sleep tonight
WED/RLS AUGMENTATION:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=6532&p=61601#p61601
Discussion Board Moderator's posts don't reflect the RLS Foundation's opinion & are not medical advice

pamhb
Posts: 94
Joined: Tue May 01, 2007 1:11 am
Location: Canada

Re: Food Triggers and Vascular Dilation

Postby pamhb » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:29 pm

I'd agree that anyone experimenting with food triggers has to examine the consequences of the elimination of any entire food group, and to make necessary adjustments for the same. In my case, I have found that a good probiotic has been more helpful for my gut than the fermented foods I've been eating. Again, though, it emphasizes the importance of discussing wholesale food changes with a doctor or a nutritionist.

I am also somewhat hopeful that if I clean up my diet for a period of time, I'll be able to re-introduce foods which are lower on my spectrum of sensitivity.


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