Saturday, September 28, 2013

Elderberry Fights Flu and H1N1 - Research Studies

elderberry photo: Elderberry elderberry.jpg

                                      
It's that time of year when I start getting my herbal medicine kit ready for winter. One of my perennial favorites is elderberry (sambucol) for its cold and flu fighting properties.

Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to combat cough and respiratory infections and now its efficacy is affirmed by modern science.


Image credit

Studies suggest it is best to take elderberry with first onset of symptoms, as it shortens the severity and duration of colds and flu. Researchers believe this herb actually inactivates flu viruses and stimulates the immune system (1). There are few known side effects with short term use, which is considered less than five days. (2)

The National Institute of Health Office of Complimentary Medicine acknowledges elderberry's efficacy in studies, but would like more data before recommending this herb as a first line of defense in combating flu. I, however, was convinced by the data I saw and decided to try elderberry during last winter season. Take a look.

STUDIES

1995 Winter;1(4):361-9.
Inhibition of influenza virus strains in vitro and reduction of symptoms by an elderberry extract during an outbreak of influenza B Panama

Elderberry inhibited replication of various influenza virus types during an outbreak in Panama.
This was a placebo-controlled double blind study.
 
2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.
Randomized Study of Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B- Infections

Randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study during an influenza season in Norway. In the elderberry group symptoms were relieved an average of four days earlier and they required significantly less rescue medication than the control group.

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011; 11: 16.
Inhibitory activity of a standard elderberry liquid against clinically relevant human bacterial pathogens and human influenza A and B viruses

Found elderberry liquid extract treatment reduces spread of the virus in cell culture.

Anti-inBiosci Biotechnol Biochem, 76(9):1633-8, 2012
Influenza virus effects of elderberry juice and its fractions

Elderberry stimulated immune response and prevented viral infection in mice.

Altern Med Rev, 10(1):51-4, Mar 2005
Monograph, Sambucus nigra (elderberry)

2009 Jul;70(10):1255-61
Elderberry flavonoids bind to and prevent H1N1 infection in vitro

other Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):1-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2729.
A systematic review on the sambuci fructus effect and efficacy profiles.

A comprehensive review of available studies found that elderberry seems to be useful in viral influenza infections. However, the authors would like to see more research done before elderberry is recommended as standard treatment protocol for flu.

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My Experience:

I took elderberry with symptom onset and sometimes I ended up not getting sick at all. Two times I took it a few days into a cold and those illness were mild and short. I've never had the flu.

CAUTIONS:

Raw elderberries are toxic and should never be eaten. Only product made from elderberry syrup is safe for consumption. I only buy mine from high quality, reputable suppliers. My favorite brand is Gaia Herbs Organic Elderberry.




Who Should Not Take Elderberry

-People with autoimmune conditions should check with their doctor first, as elderberry can stimulate the immune system.
-Pregnant and nursing women

Resources:

1 Elderberry Fights Flu Symptoms - Web MD

Elderberry - The University of Maryland

European Elder - National Institute of Health

4 Flu Fighters: Natural Ways To Fight Flu This Winter - Fox News

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**This article is for research purposes and is not intended as medical advise.

****This is not a sponsored post. This blog is an amazon.com affiliate, however. One hundred percent of affiliate profits will be donated to Kiva, a not-for-profit micro-lending organization that makes no interest loans to low income entrepreneurs in the developing world. For more information see the Kiva Campaign banner to the top right of this page.

**This post is linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Tags: Elderberry for cold and flu, Elderberry research, herbs, herbal medicine


Friday, September 27, 2013

Why Antibacterial Soaps Are Risky and Pointless

germs photo: germs germs_zps7e1899d0.jpg
Image Credit

It's that time of year when we look to cold and flu prevention. For decades antibacterial soap has been our first line of defense against germs, but research suggests the risks of these products may outweigh any benefits.

HEALTH RISKS

Antibacterial soap contains triclosan, a chemical that alters thyroid and testosterone levels and reproductive hormones. Though research has been conducted mostly on a variety of animals that have similar hormone systems to us, the conclusions are damning. It has been linked to infertility and thyroid problems.

Studies

1. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Volume 73, Issue 24, 2010
Maternal Exposure To Triclosan Impairs Thyroid Homeostasis and Female Pubertal Developmental In Female Wistar Rat Offspring

"Data indicate that triclosan impairs thyroid homeostasis and reproductive toxicity in adult rats and produces fetal toxicity in offspring exposed in utero, during lactation, and after weaning."

2. Toxicological Sciences, Accepted October 15, 2008.
The Effects of Triclosan on Puberty and Thyroid Hormones in Male Wistar Rats

Talks about how triclosan has been found to alter hormones in a variety of species. Studied the effect triclosan on thyroid and puberty development in the Wistar Rat. Serum testosterone and T3 and T4 levels (thyroid hormones) were significantly decreased with triclosan exposure. Conclusion: triclosan significantly affects the thyroid of the Wistar Rat, but has no impact on early puberty.

3. List of studies on PubMed concerning triclosan and thyroid. Too many to put here.

WHY ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP IS POINTLESS

Research shows that washing hands with antibacterial soap is no more effective at removing germs than cleaning with plain soap and water.

Studies

2007 Sep 1;45 Suppl 2:S137-47.
Consumer Antibacterial Soaps: Effective or Just Risky?

This review of existing scientific literature found antibacterial soap no more effective at preventing illness and reducing bacterial levels on hands than plain soap and water. It suggests that bacteria may adapt to antibacterial soaps, becoming more difficult to combat with medication. Twenty-seven studies were reviewed.

2004 Mar 2;140(5):321-9
Effect of antibacterial home cleaning and hand washing products on disease symptoms: a randomized, double blind trial

Concludes that tested products did not reduce incidence of disease.




The American Medical Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility now caution against the use of anti-bacterial soaps. Why are these products still used in doctors offices and hospitals?

Products That Contain Triclosan

The Environmental Working Group has compiled an extensive list of products and brands that contain triclosan. You will be astounded at how many every day products contain it.

My Thoughts

Yet another example of corporations and government regulators exposing us to chemicals without adequate safety testing. We tend to assume if it is on the shelf that means it has been vetted. In many cases that simply does not happen. It is a policy of innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately this can mean decades of exposure before we fully understand how these chemicals have harmed us.

I use Dr. Bronner's Castille Soap in reused foaming soap dispensers. I fill it half with Dr. Bronner's and half with water. It foams quite a bit.  A safe alternative to the toxic stuff and cuts my soap cost in half. A little Pinterest trick.


References

2000 Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association - Use of Antimicrobals in Consumer Products

Antibacterial Soap May Not Work - BBC News

Plain Soap as Good as Antibacterial - Web MD

Does Antibacterial Soap Increase The Risk Of Infertility - MSN News

Popular Antibacterial Soap Draws FDA Scrutiny - ABC News

New Health Concerns Over Lipstick, Antibacterial Soap - Fox News Insider

Microbiologists Find Soap and Water Best For Washing Hands, Removing Germs - Science Daily

***This post is linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Tags: toxic chemicals in every day products, triclosan, antibacterial soap,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Terracycle: Funding Your Favorite Non-Profit Organization With Garbage

Once I dreamt I was on a spaceship with people who looked human but were not human. We eventually landed on a planet that looked like earth but was not earth. Its trees and grasses were purple and blue rather than our many shades of green. They took me inside a house that looked similar to what we have here except that there was no waste. Everything, even the garbage, fed into something else that helped run the home. The place was a highly efficient feedback loop.




Around that time I found Terracycle. My son attends a school for children with learning differences. Like any school we are always trying to raise money to cover costs, so I signed us up for this upcycling program.

terracycle photo:  terr-1.jpg
It works like this: Terracycle takes items not typically recyclable, like chips bags and energy bar wrappers, and turns them into things that do not get thrown away, like picnic tables and park benches. Your organization gets paid one or two cents per item depending on shipment size. It really adds up. And, it teaches the children important lessons about environmental stewardship. Some parents tell me how the program has changed the way their children see garbage. They will not allow anything to be thrown away at home now that can become something else.

So basically, this pile of thousands of potato chip bags,



 and these stacks of a gazillion energy bar wrappers and Capri Sun pouches
 







will become stuff like this,





or this,


 

or this.









 And when the backpack wears out it can be sent to Terracycle to be turned into something else.



















There are many items that can be collected, but we choose to focus on those not accepted by local recycling banks:

Salty snack bags (ie. potato chips, pretzels, etc.)
Children's drink pouches (Capri Sun, Honest Kids, etc.)
Energy bar wrappers and cereal bar wrappers
Cheese packaging (any, including singles)
Pens, markers, and Sharpies
Candy bar wrappers
Diaper packaging and baby wipes packaging (soft)

Special thanks to Unity of East Louisville, St. Matthews Area Community Ministries, and my family  in Kentucky and Georgia for collecting items for us. If your Louisville, Kentucky based family or organization would like to save items for the school please contact me at moonbeams_and_ecodreams at yahoo dot com.

We have been collecting for a while now. By Christmas the school should receive a check for around three hundred dollars.

As I was packing boxes of Terracycle for shipment one day it hit me - this is like in my dream. A feedback loop without waste, where one thing feeds into another. Hmmh.  How about that?

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Resources:

Terracycle

Terracycle products


Terracycle In The News:

Terracycle Wins Green Innovator Award - Philly.com

Terracycle on Good Morning America and Oprah

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This post is linked with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Tags: Eco Friendly Louisville, Green Living, Terracycle, Upcycling


Sunday, September 15, 2013

How I Beat Severe Insomnia (Part III): EcoTools Sleep Mask

lavender photo: lavender lavender8_zps5ad510c3.jpg

Image Credit

This is part three of my How I Beat Severe Insomnia series. Part one discussed how I reset my circadian rhythms with light box treatments in the morning and blue blocker glasses after seven p.m. This system retrains my brain to produce sleep hormones at night instead of during the day. Part two details how a custom made hypnotherapy MP3 helps me fall asleep at night or fall back asleep if I wake up and have difficulty drifting off again. And, part three focuses on how my overall sleep quality improved by wearing sleep mask.

Our brains require complete darkness to sleep optimally and research reveals that light pollution disrupts this process. In fact, ambient light floods into our bedroom windows from streetlights, passing cars, our neighbors' floodlights, and even the full moon, disrupting sleep patterns by making our brains think it is morning. Items alight inside the room, such as LED lights from alarm clocks and televisions, trigger this problem as well. Not good.

Some people are more sensitive to this than others. Unfortunately, I am one of them.

For decades I had severe sleep problems. Jolts of adrenaline repeatedly woke me out of nowhere. Then what felt like electrical disturbances coursed through my head. I wondered if I had apnea or seizures or both. I'd already experienced major sleep benefits by reducing my light exposure after 7:00 p.m. by wearing blue blocker glasses, so I decided to do something about this ambient light exposure during sleep too.

I purchased an EcoTools sleep mask at my local health food store for $3.99.



COMPANY VALUES AND ETHICS

EcoTools is actress Alicia Silverstone's eco-friendly, sustainable body care company.  I like the environmental vision of EcoTools and that they donate money to causes. The product is made in China, so I can't say where this business stands on ethical treatment of workers. Made in China doesn't always mean with exploited labor, though it can. It depends on the corporation. Alicia's social conscience concerning environmental causes and animal welfare is stellar, so I would hope she extends that kindness to human beings she employs. I took this one on faith.

REVIEW

The product is made of bamboo, so unlike satin masks this one can go in the washing machine. The elastic is sturdy and the eye pillow feels like soft terry cloth. It does not easily slide down the face during sleep like cheaply made sleep masks.

From the first night I used this mask the adrenaline rushes and abnormal electrical activity in my head during sleep ceased. I was stunned. Could subtle light exposure during sleep really trigger adrenaline rushes and haywire electrical activity in the brain? Then four days later I misplaced the mask and had to do without it for a few nights. Sure enough the problem returned with a vengeance. I bought a second mask and the activity stopped again, never to return. I now keep two EcoTools sleep masks on my night table in case one gets misplaced.

Dr. Terman's Take On Sleep Masks

My sleep guru, Dr. Terman of Columbia University Hospital's sleep clinic and author of Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock to Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep, does not recommend sleep masks or black out curtains. Though he acknowledges the deleterious effects of light pollution during sleep, in his book Dr. Terman expresses concern that these interventions will block exposure to the light of true dawn, which is crucial to circadian rhythm regulation. But I tend to instinctively whip this mask off my face at around 5:00 a.m. anyhow, so I still experience dawn's first light piercing through my blinds like everyone else. Sometimes I just have to go with what works even when it is not recommended by the experts.

Other Post In This Series:

How I Beat Severe Insomnia With A Light Box and Blue-Blocker Glasses

How I Beat Severe Insomnia: Hypnosis


Resources:

Circadian rhythms are powerful, but people can change their sleep-wake cycles - The Washington Post

Prevent Light Pollution - Florida Atlantic University

Free app adjusts color on monitors to prevent disruption of sleep cycle - The Washington Post

Environ Health Perspect. 2009 January; 117(1): A20–A27.
Missing the Dark: Health Effects of Light Pollution

Eco-Tools

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This post is linked with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways. 

*This is not a sponsored post. This blog is an Amazon.com affiliate, though. All affiliate profits earned will be donated to Kiva, a not-for-profit micro-lending organization that makes no interest business loans to low income entrepreneurs in the developing world.
       
 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Some Essential Oils Inhibit MRSA, Influenza, & Strep - Scientific Studies

essential oils photo: Essential oils essential-oil.jpg

Photo Credit: Photobucket

My workplace strives to become Louisville's first green pre-school. Since this is right up my alley our director has invited me to do some of the legwork.

My first project was to register us with Terracycle, a non-profit organization that turns typically discarded packaging, like salty snack bags and energy bar wrappers, into stuff that does not get thrown away, like picnic tables and park benches. And, since preschools are perpetual germ factories now I'm researching the anti-microbial properties of essential oils (for diffusion). Next I will raise funds for a steam vacuum so the babies don't have to crawl on floors cleaned with harsh chemicals.

I've learned that some essential oils have actually been studied for their anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Here is a sample of the many studies available on Pub Med.



essential oils photo: Lemon_a lemons.jpg
Photobucket

STREP

2013;2013:269161
In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils against Streptococcus pyogenes.

This study used a disc infusion method to test the in vitro anti-bacterial aspects of eighteen different essential oils against streptococcus pyogenes, a bacteria that causes strep throat. Fourteen of the oils demonstrated anti-bacterial action against Streptococcus pyogenes. These include, among others: cinnamon, lemongrass, thyme, oregano, and winter savory. This study suggests that these oils might be helpful to patients suffering from bacterial throat infections.

2012 Jan 1;13(1):71-4.
Antimicrobial activity of commercially available essential oils against Streptococcus mutans.

This study tested the in vitro effectiveness of nine essential oils against Streptococcus mutans. Cinnamon oil was most effective against Streptococcus mutans followed by lemongrass oil, cedarwood oil, clove oil, and eucalyptus oil. Wintergreen oil, lime oil, peppermint oil and spearmint oil had no antibacterial effectiveness. The authors suggest the useful oils as a possible alternative to other antibacterial agents for treating oral infections.

 J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 47 (5): 565-573.                                    
Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact

The anti-bacterial effectiveness of fourteen essential oils in their vaporized states was examined against Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. All of the oils showed activity, but cinammon, lemongrass, and thyme (wild and red) were the most impressive, suppressing all of these and e coli too (except lemongrass), which was used as a control. They hyper-link above leads to the complete study.  

2012 Jun 28;12:81.l
Chemical composition of 8 eucalyptus species' essential oils and the evaluation of their antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities.
Studied the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral activities in eight eucalyptus species. E. bicostata had the best anti-viral activity. " E. odorata showed the strongest activity against S. aureus, H. influenzae, S. agalactiae, S. pyogenes, S. pneumoniae and against all the tested fungal strains."


2012;2012
Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils against Streptococcus mutans and their Antiproliferative Effects
"EO showed activity at low concentrations, and their selected active fractions were also effective against biofilm formed by S. mutans and human tumor cell lines." This abstract does not say which oils were tested.

2011 Nov-Dec;76(9):H226-30
Essential oil of Curcuma longa inhibits Streptococcus mutans biofilm formation.
Found turmeric oil inhibits carcinogenic properties of strep mutans.

2011 Nov 21;16(11):9651-64
Biological activity of carbazole alkaloids and essential oil of Murraya koenigii against antibiotic resistant microbes and cancer cell lines.
Found curry oil inhibits anti-biotic resistant strains of  Staphylococcus aureus (210P JTU), Psedomonas aeruginosa (ATCC 25619), Klebsiella pneumonia (SR1-TU), Escherchia coli (NI23 JTU) and Streptococcus pneumonia. Also found that the oil exhibits anti-tumor properties against certain cell lines.



flu photo: The Flu Flu.jpg

INFLUENZA

2012 Jan 31;139(2):668-71
Chemical compositions and anti-influenza activities of essential oils from Mosla dianthera.

Mosla Dianthera oil reduced lung titers in influenza infected mice. It also inhibited pneumonia, reduced levels of serum IFN-γ and IL-4, and enhanced antioxidant activity in the lung tissue of the infected mice.

2011 Jan;89(1):83-8
Activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil on Influenza virus A/PR/8: study on the mechanism of action.

Found tea tree oil effective at inhibiting influenza H1N1 in MDCK cells within the first two hours of exposure to the virus. This suggests that exposure to the oil inhibits an early step replication process of the virus. Exposure to the oil during later stages of infection had no effect.

2010 Nov 15;10:69
Protective essential oil attenuates influenza virus infection: an in vitro study in MDCK cells.

Found that the commercially available essential oil blend On Guard suppressed influenza virus PR8 in MDCK cells in a dose dependent manner. Abstract goes into exactly how and why.

2009 Dec;49(6):806-8
In vitro antiviral activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) essential oil.

Tea tree oil shows antiviral activity against influenza A/PR/8 virus subtype H1N1.

hospital photo: hospital hospital.png

MRSA (STAPH)



2009 Apr;48(4):387-92.
***Vapour-phase activities of essential oils against antibiotic sensitive and resistant bacteria including MRSA***
Diffused a mix of geranium and Lemongrass called BioScent in a ST Pro Machine. The oils were tested against antibiotic resistant and antibiotic sensitive strains like MRSA. They not only inhibited the growth of these bacteria, but reduced surface and airborne levels. However, results varied depending on method (89% & 39%). The authors conclude that BioScent may be useful as an air disinfectant.

2005 Mar;10(3):123-6
Is tea tree oil effective at eradicating MRSA colonization? A review.

This is a review of other studies on the topic. It concludes that tea tree would not be useful against MRSA.

2009 Oct;37(7):392-7.
The battle against multi-resistant strains: Renaissance of antimicrobial essential oils as a promising force to fight hospital-acquired infections.
Eucalyptus, Tea tree, Thyme white, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Cinnamon, Grapefruit,Clove Bud, Sandalwood, Peppermint, Kunzea and Sage oil were tested against staph. Thyme white, Lemon, Lemongrass and Cinnamon oil were most effective, but the other oils also demonstrated efficacy. The authors conclude that essential oils represent inexpensive and effective topical treatments for resistant MRSA and candida strains.


2012 Nov;113(5):1217-27.
The anti-biofilm activity of lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) and grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) essential oils against five strains of Staphylococcus aureus
Used disc diffusion method. Tested lemongrass, grapefruit, bergamot and lime against staph. Found  lemongrass had the most antimicrobial and anti-biofilm activity.

2012 May;112(5):1020-33.
Antimicrobial effect and mode of action of terpeneless cold-pressed Valencia orange essential oil on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

2011 Dec;17(6):399-402.
Antibacterial activities of essential oils from eight Greek aromatic plants against clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus.

The abstract does not say which oils were tested, only that they were from Greece. It does say that the oils tested showed not efficacy against staph.

2009 Nov;75(21):6850-5.
Effect of cinnamon oil on icaA expression and biofilm formation by Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Found cinnamon oil is an effective antimicrobial agent against staph biofilms on surfaces.

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Questions

I'm not sure how to apply these results in the real world. Most of these studies were conducted in vitro, but would those results hold up outside a test tube?  The few studies that diffused oils into the air suggest that they might. But they used industrial style diffusers. Can I get decent results with inexpensive ones bought online for twenty bucks a piece? Hard to say.

I do know that a growing number of hospitals and nursing homes are diffusing essential oils for various purposes to positive effect, so why not schools?
 

Hospitals Using Alternative Medicine to Ease Kids' Pain - NBC Washington

Essential Oils 'Combat Super Bug' - BBC News

Vanderbilt Hospital ER Diffuses Essential Oils - Fox News

We are not looking to treat the children for anything, though. We just want to kill big bad germs in the air and on surfaces, like we currently do with Lysol spray or Clorox Wipes. And, if this happens to obliterate the dirty diaper stink too, well hey, that's just an added bonus.

Cautions:


Though essential oils are generally recognized as safe, not all oils are good for all people and some oils have more cautions than others. For instance, Rosemary is contraindicated for pregnancy and epilepsy, but the citrus oils have few cautions. Therefore, I wasn't the least bit surprised when the above Fox News clip said Vanderbilt Hospital ER uses a citrus blend. That would be the safest choice for the greatest number of people. I want to choose the safest oils for my work setting as well.

It is strep and influenza we see most in daycares. It looks like cinnamon and lemongrass are the most effective at inhibiting strep, followed by eucalyptus, thyme, and oregano. Tea tree appears to be the super star against influenza. So, let's take a look at the safety profiles of these oils.

Cinnamon: The manual "Essential Oils Safety", by Robert Tisserland lists several health conditions that should avoid exposure, so that rules out routine diffusion. We could still probably use it in the steam vacuum, though.

Lemongrass: Tisserland says to avoid in children. That's out. Bummer.

Eucalyptus, thyme, and oregano: The only cautions these three carry that could concern children is as a possible skin and mucous membrane irritant (Tisserland), but they would never come in direct contact with the oils.

Tea Tree: No major concerns beyond the usual skin irritation with direct contact (Tisserland).

AND THE WINNERS ARE.....

Eucalyptus and Tea Tree on account of their positive safety profiles and pleasant aromas.

I hope you didn't get too lost among all that research. I know I did.

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Related Posts:

Can Vetiver Help ADHD & Autism?

Rosemary Essential Oil Improves Memory: Emerging Scientific Evidence

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This post is linked to Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.

Tags: Essential Oils and flu, Aromatherapy and flu, strep, and MRSA, studies





Sunday, September 1, 2013

Why Melatonin Supplements Don't Always Work & What Researchers Are Doing About It

insomnia photo: Insomnia insomnia.gif


Melatonin is one of the most popular supplements on the market today. It is commonly used to combat insomnia, but does it work?

Well.....yes and no.

Some pop a melatonin and it's lights out until morning. Others take it to little benefit - instead of waking up rested they feel groggy and anxious (me!).

How can this be?

In his book, "Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock to Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep", Michael Terman of Columbia University Medical Center casts light on the melatonin debate. He says standard melatonin pills are dosed to amounts way higher than the pineal gland would ever squirt out naturally. This dumps too much of the hormone into the system, which does not always clear the bloodstream by morning, hence the grogginess. Perhaps those who wake up feeling rested after taking high dose melatonin metabolize that hormone more quickly than the rest of us?

Should melatonin supplements be avoided altogether, then?

Not necessarily.

Apparently with melatonin less is more. Dr. Alfred Lewy, of Oregon Health & Science University, found that micro-doses of melatonin (0.1 milligram), taken six hours before sleep shifts the circadian clock sooner, prompting earlier sleep times. Problem is there are presently no 0.1 milligram tablets available for clinical use. And, breaking higher dose tablets into bits won't do since the micro-dose variety used in recent studies are controlled release.  But don't despair my sleep deprived friends; Dr. Terman has your backs. His lab is working on an over-the-counter, time released, micro-dose melatonin supplement. They've found their product-in-development releases the same amount of the hormone into the bloodstream as would be found in healthy adults. Plus, testing reveals it washes out by morning.

I can't wait to try this product. I have Delayed Phase Sleep Disorder and have improved my sleep by about 85% using a light box and blue blocker glasses. However, I'm always looking to knock out that last fifteen percent. On his website Dr. Terman has an email alert sign up page for when this micro-dose, controlled release melatonin becomes available (here). You better believe I'm on it!

Studies:

Lewy, AJ
 


2006 Aug;36(6):741-52.
An open-label study of controlled-release melatonin in treatment of sleep disorders in children with autism

Resources:

Is Melatonin Sabotaging Your Sleep? - Dr. Oz

Melatonin: Not a Magic Bullet for Sleep - Dr. Oz

Debate Aside; Melatonin Can Reset the Body Clock - NY Times




My Related Posts:

How I Beat Severe Insomnia a With Light Box and Blue Blocker Glasses

How I Beat Severe Insomnia (Part II): Hypnosis


Disclaimers:

**This is not a sponsored post. I do not know either researcher mentioned in this post. This blog is an amazon.com affiliate, however. All affiliate profits will be donated to Kiva, a not-for-profit micro-lending organization that makes no-interest business loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world.

***This post reflects my interest in sleep related issues and is not intended as medical advice.

----------------

This post is linked with Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.




Tags: Chronotherapy, Insomnia, micro-dose controlled release Melatonin


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