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.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): An Essential Supplement Especially for those on Statins

By the Natur-Tyme Wellness Team87717861_Small

A nutrient commonly depleted by medications is CoQ10. With Lipitor® being the leading selling prescription drug in the United States, one can see why. Lipitor® (Atorvastatin) along with Zocor® (Simvastatin), Mevacor® (Lovastatin), Pravachol® (Pravastatin), Lescol® (fluvastatin), Crestor® (rosuvastatin), and Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin), also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or statin drugs, decrease the production of cholesterol, but they also decrease this very important cofactor naturally produced by the body. Other medications have also been implicated in CoQ10 depletion.

CoQ10 is necessary for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which makes energy, is a cofactor necessary for cellular respiration, and an antioxidant.

Some of the consequences of CoQ10 depletion include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Periodontal disease
  • Weakened immunity
  • Loss of cognitive function (Alzheimers, Dementia, Parkinsons)

There are many animal and human studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this coenzyme. A double-blind, three-year trial involved administering 100 mg of CoQ10 daily to patients suffering from cardiomyopathy. Results showed a significant increase in ejection fraction (the amount of blood pumped through the heart), increased cardiac muscle strength, and fewer instances of shortness of breath by the 12-week mark. The effects lasted only as long as CoQ10 was being administered. There was 89% improvement in the 80 patients treated.

A direct correlation of CoQ10 deficiency with increased risk of periodontal disease has been established. Symptoms include swelling, bleeding, loose teeth, redness, pain, deep gingival pockets, and exudates.

Tissues involved with immune function require a significant amount of energy. CoQ10 has an “immune enhancing” effect on the human body according to a study that showed an increased immunoglobulin G in the serum of patients taking the nutritional supplement daily for 27 to 98 days. Improving immune function is necessary when treating AIDS, chronic infections (Candidiasis), and cancer. There are no adverse interactions between CoQ10 and any other drug or nutrient.

CoQ10 is typically dosed at 50-300 mg/day, although doses of over 3,000 mg daily have been proven safe and effective. It works very well in conjunction with vitamin E and L-carnitine.

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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