Monday, March 19, 2012

Is Sleep Really that Important?

“Sleep is the most important predictor of how long you will live, perhaps more important than whether you smoke, exercise, or have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels.”
Demet, W. & Vaughan, C.  The Promise of Sleep: A Pioneer in Sleep Medicine Explores the Vital Connection Between Health, Happiness, and a Good Night’s Sleep, 2000: Dell Publishing, N.Y.

Some tips for increasing restful sleep:
  1. Go to bed at a time that will allow you to wake up feeling rested.  It is best to keep a consistent wake/sleep cycle, even on the weekends.
  2. Create a sleep-friendly environment.  Keep you bedroom quiet, cool, dark and free from clutter and distractions.  
  3. Sleep in as dark an environment as possible.  Consider eyeshades or black-out shades for your windows.  Melatonin regulates the sleep/wake cycle and is secreted in darkness.
  4. Take an Epsom salts bath before bed.  Add 1 to 2 cups to a hot bath.  (Caution: Avoid Epsom salt baths if you have heart trouble or are diabetic.)
  5. Remove anything electrical from your bedroom. (e.g., TV, computer, electrical alarm clocks, phones, etc.)
  6. Avoid drinking too much liquid in the afternoon and evening.
  7. Journal before bed.  You can write down things you are grateful for, your dreams or worries, or just write about your day.
  8. Take 200-400 mg of magnesium to relax your nervous system and muscles.  Use magnesium citrate if you tend toward constipation and magnesium glycinate if you tend toward loose bowels.
  9. Soon after awaking, expose yourself to bright sunlight.  This will help to reset your internal clock allowing you to differentiate between night and day.
  10. Use caffeine wisely.  It you are needing it to help you stay awake during the day, it may end up preventing your from quality sleep at night. 
  11. Avoid relying on alcohol to fall sleep.  It may help you fall asleep, but it will interfere with the quality of your sleep.
  12. Try relaxation or breathing exercises, meditation or a guided imagery CD to help you fall asleep or to help you go back to sleep if you wake up in the night.
  13. Avoid energetic exercise after dinner.  It can be stimulating and can make it more difficult to fall asleep. 
  14. View sleep as an essential nutrient.  Make it a priority!

Wishing you blissful, restful sleep!


Hyman, Mark.  The Blood Sugar Solution. Little, Brown and Company:New York, 2012.

Clark, Linda.  Detox 360°:  An Integrative Detox System. Apex Energetics, Inc., 2010.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Can this Ingredient Sabotage your Success?

A 21-year cohort study in Finland evaluated 2,427 participants, ages 24 to 39, for any possible complications of untreated celiac disease.   Participants received a medical exam and each was asked an extensive list of questions.  Serology testing for Anti-tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (IgA-tTG) and IgA Endomysial Antibodies (IgA-EMA) detected silent celiac disease in 21 of the participants.  These serology tests are usually only positive when a person has classic celiac lesions: a combination of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and chronic inflammation of the intraepithelial lymphocytes and duodenum.  In other words, their guts have been significantly damaged.  A person with silent celiac disease often has no obvious symptoms.  They are usually diagnosed through serum screening programs. 
The participants were very similar to the other subjects in the study.  An unusual and previously unreported finding in this study linked silent celiac disease to a risk for underachievement.  The participants with silent celiac disease were found to be less successful in their educational and working lives compared to the control group.  Fewer completed college or university or worked in professional or managerial positions.  As a whole, they were less likely to be successful with an occupation or when compared at a socioeconomic level.  While evaluating the children and teenagers, the researchers discovered that they were more likely to have disruptive behavioral problems or suffer from depression.  The authors of the study believe that these findings added a new concern in the debate of population screening for celiac disease.   

Celiac disease is now believed to be the most common and neglected life-long, genetic disorder in both Europe and the United States.  The majority of cases are atypical and undiagnosed.  It is estimated that 40% to 50% of the general population has at least one of the genes that predisposes them to developing celiac disease. 

Could eliminating gluten from your diet optimize your potential?
Wishing you a happy, healthy day!

Dewar DH, Ciclitira PJ. Clinical features and diagnosis of celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2005 Apr;128(4 Suppl 1):S19-24.
Fasano A. Celiac disease--how to handle a clinical chameleon. N Engl J Med. 2003 Jun 19;348(25):2568-70.
Fasano A. Surprises from celiac disease. Sci Am. 2009 Aug;301(2):54-61.
Mearin, ML, Ivarsson A, Dickey W. Coeliac disease: is it time for mass screening? Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 Jun;19(3):441-52.
Pastore L, Campisi G, Compilato D, Lo Muzio L. Orally based diagnosis of celiac disease: current perspectives. J Dent Res. 2008 Dec;87(12);1100-7.
Ravikumara M, Tuthill DP, Jenkins HR. The changing clinical presentation of coeliac disease. Arch Dis Child. 2006 Dec;91(12):969-71. Epub 2006 Aug 3.
Verkasalo MA, Raitakari OT, Viikari J, Marniemi J, Savilahti E. Undiagnosed silent coeliac disease: a risk for underachievement? Scand J Gastroenterol. 2005 Dec;40(12):1407-12.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Is There A Connection Between Celiac Disease and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?

In 2004, researchers in Israel evaluated the neurological symptoms of 111 celiac patients. These doctors were some of the first to connect ADHD and celiac disease. Approximately 20% of the participants in this study had ADHD and other learning disabilities, with both genders similarly affected.1 
Two years later, the authors of an Italian study evaluated 132 celiac patients with clinically diagnosed ADHD. The participants, ranging in age from 3 to 57 years old, were evaluated before a gluten-free diet and again after adhering to a gluten-free diet for six months. All 132 participants or their parents noticed significant improvement in behavior.2 The authors of both studies concluded the importance of celiac testing for anyone with ADHD-like symptomatology. The researchers were convinced of a noteworthy link between undiagnosed or untreated celiac disease and mental and behavioral disorders.1,2
Both studies indicated that a gluten-free diet was a significant treatment option.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, gluten-free day!
1 Zelnik N, Pacht A, Obeid R, Lerner A. Range of neurologic disorders in patients with celiac disease. Pediatrics. 2004 Jun;113(6):1672-6.
2 Niederhofer H, Pittschieler K. A preliminary investigation of ADHD symptoms in persons with celiac disease. J Atten Disord. 2006 Nov;10(2):200-4.