Diet & Nutrition

Diet, what we eat and drink, can significantly impact how our bodies function and respond.

Specific dietary requirements differ based on each person and should be tailored to your unique needs and in light of your complete medical picture. Your medical provider or dietician can help provide you with more detailed nutritional instructions.

Untitled design (91)

The following dietary recommendations for those with dysautonomia are generalizations:

Smaller, More Frequent Meals

It is recommended that individuals do not eat large meals loaded with fat and carbohydrates. ¹ ²  ³ After eating, blood is diverted to the stomach for digestion. When large meals are eaten, it can worsen symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when standing up. Smaller, more frequent meals are usually better tolerated. ¹⁰

Untitled design (92)
Untitled design (93)

Alcohol and Caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can be dehydrating substances. Consumption of either of these in large quantities can lead to dehydration. It is recommended to avoid or limit alcohol consumption. ¹¹ ¹² For some individuals, caffeinated drinks can help them feel better, while others report that it makes them feel more jittery and can increase their heart rate.

Gluten-Free Diet

Some have reported that being on a gluten-free diet has helped their symptoms of autonomic dysfunction. However, there is currently no research indicating that this applies to everyone with autonomic dysfunction. A 2016 study of 100 POTS patients found an overall higher incidence of Celiac disease than within the general population. ¹³ A 2020 study found that while on a gluten-free diet, all 16 participants reported a reduction in their dysautonomia symptoms including orthostatic intolerance and gastrointestinal symptoms. ¹⁴ While some individuals might have a gluten sensitivity or allergy necessitating a gluten-free diet, this does not hold true for all individuals with dysautonomia. After discussing with your provider, you can try eliminating gluten from your diet to determine if it impacts your symptoms.

Untitled design (94)
Nutrition Tips - DSN

Reviewed by Medical Content Experts, 2021

Scroll to Top