Alternatives to Prescription Sleeping Pills

By Laurel Sterling, RD57564237(1)

Sleep is such an important time for the body and mind to rest and repair from daily tasks. When we are able to sleep well, we wake up feeling refreshed and alert for our day-to-day activities. How well we sleep has a major influence on our overall quality of life. Sleep disorders have been linked to many chronic diseases such as: hypertension, heart disease, stroke, depression, diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, and more.

Many people end up turning to over-the-counter sedative medications, and yet others seek stronger prescription medications. It has been discovered that each year up to 12.5% of adults in the U.S. receive prescriptions for drugs to help them sleep. Most sleeping pills are technically “sedative hypnotics,” which is a class of drugs that are used to treat anxiety and stress also. All of these drugs are associated with significant risks, and most are highly addictive to the brain!

Daniel Kripke, MD, Professor of Psychiatry Emeritus at the University of California did work for over 30 years looking at the effects of people who take sleeping pills. He found that people who take sleeping pills die sooner than people who do not use sleeping pills. Deaths from heart disease, cancer, and stroke were all increased among sleeping pill users. These studies found that sleeping pills appeared to be unsafe in any amounts!

My suggestions to assist in a more restful sleep depend on the root cause of the sleep dilemma. If there is a lot of stress going on in your life, I may choose a supplement such as magnesium, GABA Calm, 5-HTP, or L-Theanine. You may also want to consider herbs such as valerian, lavender, chamomile, or homeopathic formulas like Calms Forte. If lack of sleep is due to hot flashes, high caffeine consumption, poor diet, or medication side effects, I would offer a variety of other recommendations.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s circumstances in life are different; therefore, we need to take that into consideration when offering suggestions. Occasionally, it is something as simple as magnesium that one needs to assist then in getting a good night’s sleep. It’s not the case for everyone, but as for me, it was a good place to start.

Easter Candy with Petroleum and Mercury?

By  Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
Wellness Educator

EasterCandyYes, unfortunately, it’s true. All those little “peeps,” colored eggs, and jelly beans are mostly high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors derived from petroleum!

With Easter just ahead of us, it’s time to think about what treats we are giving our kids.

Did you know that high-fructose corn syrup is processed with mercury?! High-fructose corn syrup has no nutritional value; it is very addictive and it is more than twice as sweet as regular sugar. When consumed, whether in the form of candy, baked goods, or soft drinks, it causes a huge spike in blood sugar, and if that sugar is not immediately used up by exercising (computer games and texting don’t count!), it is converted into fat and stored in the body…causing weight gain. It also causes insulin resistance, which leads to diabetes (currently an epidemic in America).

As for the artificial colors, some countries like the UK, actually require that companies label products containing certain dyes with a warning. FD&C Yellow #5 or #6 are typically found in the bright yellow peeps. This causes many allergic reactions and studies have shown it to cause hyperactivity in children. FD&C Red is also a trigger for many people.

Children, and even many adults, are not able to detoxify these chemicals readily. Studies have shown they contribute to hyperactivity. A combination of the high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and artificial flavors have many kids “off the wall.” Other possible reactions include itching, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.

So how can kids have a treat without all of these ingredients?

The first thing to do is to become a label reader. Look for natural colorings that come from pigments of fruits, vegetables, or spices. Also, look for real chocolate without hydrogenated fat and high-fructose corn syrup. Try to get them to eat dark chocolate (which is higher in nutrients) instead of the milk chocolate. Children are attracted to the brightly colored paper, so if they are wrapped in that, they may not realize the difference. They can actually have a treat that is high in antioxidants and they won’t even realize they’re eating something healthy! Natur-Tyme now carries healthier Easter candy options. We also carry organic jelly beans that are made with natural colors and organic cane sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup.

We can still allow our children to have an occasional treat, but if we are conscious of what is in it, we can make better choices for them. As their taste buds adjust, they will learn to make better choices for themselves as they grow up.

The Benefits of a High-Quality Fish Oil Supplement

By The Natur-Tyme Wellness Team148266535

Fish oil. It’s no longer the foul tasting oil of your youth. Not only do high-quality fish oils smell and taste good, they provide the nutrients, thus health, the body craves—literally!

The nutrients in question are the Omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Extensive research connects DHA and EPA deficiencies to heart disease; brain disorders, such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s; diabetes; stroke; depression; arthritis; allergies; circulation problems; skin disorders; and gout just to name a few. By simply adding high quality fish oil to your health regime, you can vastly improve the health of your eyes, skin, digestive and immune systems, joints, and especially your heart and brain.

Our highly processed Western diet has drastically changed America’s nutritional landscape. The use of vegetable oils in processed foods caused an enormous increase in Omega-6 fatty acid consumption, elevating the Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio from its ideal 2:1 to an estimated 20:1. In some cases, it’s even as high as 50:1. Omega-3s can reduce inflammation, while Omega-6s may increase inflammation. Omega-3s can prevent excessive blood clotting, while Omega-6s may promote clotting. Omega-3s can moderate immune system reactions, while Omega-6s may often make it over-react. So you can see how an imbalanced intake can create imbalance in the body, leading to disease.

A fish oil supplement can help create that needed balance. In regard to cardiovascular disease, the benefits of Omega-3s are so well understood and accepted that the American Heart Association published statements recommending increased fish intake and/or the use of fish oil supplements. One study even showed that the Omega-3s in fish oils cut your risk of sudden death from heart disease in half.

At least one epidemiologic study has shown that patients with Alzheimer’s disease have significantly lower levels of Omega-3s than healthy seniors. Researchers report that older people can reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s by increasing their intake of fish and fish oil (DHA).

Omega-3s from fish oil are also a great choice for optimal nutrition during pregnancy, not only for fetal development, but for the mother as well. DHA is the most abundant Omega-3 long-chain fatty acid in breast milk and studies show that breast-fed babies have IQ advantages over babies fed formula lacking DHA. Research also shows that by adding DHA to her diet, a new mother can significantly decrease the possibility and/or effects of postpartum depression.

OTHER BENEFITS INCLUDE

  • Protection against symptoms of hay fever, sinus infections, asthma, food allergies, and allergic skin conditions, such as hives and eczema
  • Inhibition of the production of the inflammatory compounds related to psoriasis and improvement of the health of skin, nails, and hair
  • Reduction in insulin resistance
  • Improvement of immune function (research links the intake of fish oil to a lowered risk of breast and prostate cancers)
  • Lowered risk of age-related macular degeneration—an eye condition which is the leading cause of severe visual loss in people over age 50
  • An anti-inflammatory effect on inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)

When selecting a supplement, choose a product that delivers a high concentration of DHA and EPA per serving. Finally, be sure to look for oils that are clean. Some brands that we recommend for their high-quality fish oils include: Nordic Naturals, Carlson Labs, and NutriNeeds.

 

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