Restrictive nutrition/exercise causing slow mental functioning in teenagers?

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Offline Lamprey5

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Does not eating enough salts and/or not eating frequently enough cause slow mental functioning? For example, consider a teenager (18 yrs) who eats a diet low in salt (doesn't add salt to food, and eats little to no processed foods), no red meat, but eats vegetarian foods including fish and lots of fruits and vegetables and water (about 6L/day). Would a diet such as this cause a slowness in mental performance? Such as finding oneself having to re-read problems and sentences over again, and ask people to repeat themselves, and oftentimes be slow in communicating and thinking. This is not always the case as some days are better than others for me. I can generally perform to high levels in intellectual tasks (hopefully going to the University of Cambridge in 2012) but sometimes I am not as fast or sharp as some of my (brightest) peers at school.

My hypothesis for the causes of  these symptoms is either:
1. Electrolyte imbalance (too much water, not enough salt)
2. Iodine deficiency (no added salt to food)
3. Low iron in the bloodstream

Any ideas for why I'm having these symptoms?


Offline wolfekeeper

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Could be a deficiency of some kind.

I'm concerned at the high water intake; some vitamins are water soluble (notably b-vitamins) and could be being washed out and might be consistent with the symptoms.

6 litres is a lot of water!

Also protein, you don't mention pulses and nuts, low protein could cause similar symptoms, but is less likely.


Online Bored chemist

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Could be a simple lack of carbohydrates.
Talk to your doctor.
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Offline CliffordK

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I agree, if you have health and dietary concerns, you should discuss them with a physician.

You didn't mention.  Are you taking any medications?

The first thing you need to ascertain is what is normal in general, as well as what is normal for you.

You said that you are fairly smart.  Any changes in your grades?  Standardized test scores?  If you are concerned about language and reading.  How well have you scored with these subjects in the past?

How is your sleeping?  What time to you get to bed?  Wake up?  Major changes in interpersonal relationships?  New stressors?  It is High School, after all.

Personally, I think that caffeine causes much more harm than benefit for a person by essentially causing large swings in alertness.  How much tea?  Coffee?  Energy drinks?  Christmas break might be a good time to try to go decaffeinated. 


For a "healthy person", your kidneys should be able to regulate the salt in the body.  If you don't have a history of hypertension or kidney disease, then restricting the salt may not be beneficial.  However, generally your body can deal with quite a variety of intakes.

Do you take at least a multivitamin every day?  What are you taking for vitamins?

I probably should ask what your height and weight is.  You didn't mention Male of Female either.  Things like Iron Deficiency is much more common in women than men.

Anyway, start with a Doctor Appointment.  Get the "standard" tests such as urine sugar, perhaps typical blood electrolyte screening, then see where to go from there.
« Last Edit: 19/11/2011 05:07:01 by CliffordK »