How Safe Are Over-the-Counter Decongestants?

With the raging allergies we get in L.A., many people turn to decongestants to help them breathe better. These drugs will often cause drowsiness during the day, but that can seem like a desirable side effect at night. And many doctors will recommend the same decongestants for mild cases of insomnia.

The most common ingredient is Diphenhydramine, commonly known as Benadryl.  This is probably one of the standbys in many medicine cabinets, for any kind of congestion or allergic response, including sleep issues.

But is it safe? Past studies have raised concern, and described mild cognitive impairment and delirium as side effects. But a new study from the University of Washington determined that people who chronically take Benadryl-containing medications have an increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Over seven years, 23% of the subjects developed Alzheimer’s, although none had it at the beginning of the study. The risk was 77% higher in the subjects who took Benadryl-type medications, known as anticholinergic drugs. The findings were part of the ACT or Adult Changes in Thought study, which looked at cognitive changes over the long-term.

This is a lesson that ALL medications have back doors, and may produce side effect with serious long-term consequences. We don’t always know all the risks for years after the drug has been on the market. Your safest policy is to always seek the natural treatments that support and safeguard your health, relieving symptoms because there is genuine improvement, and not a masking effect.

There are safer alternatives that do not put you at risk for Alzheimer’s or Dementia. Many of our patients have gotten relief taking Allerplex for decongestant purposes. It also seems to help other types of inflammation that lead to insomnia. 

Many people do not realize that their sleep problems are stemming from congestion. It is not always obvious that sinuses are blocked, if the condition is chronic and has built up over time. Taking Allerplex, Sinu Pro sinus probiotic, or Albizia herbal supplement, can relieve congestion and make for a more restful night.

Let us help you minimize your risks and maximize your health with the right natural medicine. Email me if you have questions or call the office to order. 818-562-1400.

The safest sleep is the most restful sleep, in the long run.





How To Know if You Have a Food Intolerance

You can probably recognize an actual food allergy.  Classic symptoms would be hives or difficulty breathing.

But food intolerances are harder to spot. They may not appear immediately and you may mistake the symptoms for a variety of other issues.

More and more people have food intolerances these days, even kids. As our food supply is more chemical, and the “natural foods” have more pesticides and are genetically modified, the human body is faced with trying to break down and metabolize an entire new type of ingestibles.

You can’t really call some of this “food” anymore, since lab-created chemicals or chemical/food hybrids won’t actually support human life.  These pseudo-foods will kill slowly, and they won’t support healthy physiology and function of organs and glands, so the quality of life suffers. This is why many obese people are actually starving at a cellular level.

The benefits of addressing food intolerances include:

1) Easier weight loss   2) better, deeper sleep   3) reduction of cravings  4) less PMS 5) mood stability  6) less bloating  7) improved immunity.

Even if you don’t suspect that a food you are eating is bothering you, check out this list. You may be surprised.

A short list of symptoms that could point to food intolerance includes stomach pain, reflux, ear infections, frequent illnesses, red cheeks, eczema, joint pain, frequent diarrhea/constipation, asthma, temper tantrums, fuzzy thinking, fatigue, headaches, failure to thrive, excessive gas, and sleep disturbances.

On one hand, eliminating foods that your body can’t handle will help. On the other hand, improving digestion, from stomach to gut, is also vital. Food intolerances are an indication of “leaky gut” which means that the gut wall is compromised and toxins or undigested foods are able to pass through to the blood. Normally the body is very protective of what goes into the blood, and anything that slips by the protective mechanism is going to trigger an immune response, and may lead to chronic inflammation-one of the main risks for heart disease.

Probiotics and digestive enzymes can be used by most people to support healthy digestion and replace the protective gut “bugs” that guard the intestinal walls. Fermented and cultured foods also help. We now know that food is not just a matter of putting gas in your tank. It is also a means of maintaining a strong fortress against disease.

So, if you have some puzzling symptoms, consider that something you are eating may be causing you digestive distress and compromising your immune system. It is far more likely that you are suffering from inflammation than a serious disease. But chronic inflammation from a gut and stomach that are not working correctly leaves you susceptible to disease. So, catch it early. You will feel so much better for it.