Why Do Some People Get a Charley Horse? (Muscle Cramp)

young women calf pain on white backgroundBy Dr. Joseph Mercola, a physician trained in both traditional and natural medicine who provides up-to-date natural health information.
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This article is shared by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective calcium, magnesium and vitamin D based sleep aid Sleep Minerals II.
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A charley horse, or muscle cramp particularly in your calf muscles, is an incredibly common condition that results in your muscles becoming tight, stiff and extremely painful. If you’re an adult, there’s a good chance you’ve had one at some point (and likely multiple points) during your lifetime.

In case you’re a trivia buff and wondering why these muscle cramps are referred to as “charley horses” (a name that’s primarily used in North America), it’s said to be a tribute to Charley “Old Hoss” Radbourne, an 1880s-era baseball pitcher who often suffered from muscle cramps during games.

Another version states the term came from a lame work horse named Charley who limped around doing various jobs around the baseball park (also in the 1880s).

Whenever a baseball player would get injured or have a cramp in the lower legs, thus limping around like Charley the horse, teammates would call the player “Charley Horse.” Regardless of the name’s origin, the pain of a charley horse is unmistakable and can be excruciating.

What Causes a Charley Horse?

According to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, about 1 in every 3 adults is affected by muscle cramps in their lower limbs. In many cases, the pain is temporary and goes away on its own, but for some the cramps interfere with sleep, quality of life and daily activities.

In one study of more than 500 people aged 60 years and older, 31 percent reported being woken up by muscle cramps and 15 percent had cramps more than three times a month. Anyone can get a charley horse, but they’re most common in the following populations and scenarios:

  • During exercise
  • At nighttime, especially in the elderly
  • In pregnant women
  • In people with neurological disease
  • During kidney dialysis

It’s not clear what triggers a charley horse to occur, but it is thought the cramp may be related to a rapidly firing nerve (up to 150 electrical dischargers per second), which causes the muscle to tense up, as opposed to an issue with the muscle tissue itself.

Many medications are also associated with muscle cramps, including statin cholesterol-lowering drugs, ACE inhibitors (blood pressure drugs), certain asthma drugs, diuretics and more. In addition, the following factors may also increase your risk of a charley horse:

  • Poor blood circulation in your legs
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Dehydration
  • Mineral deficiencies, including magnesium, potassium or calcium

magnesium and menopauseIs Magnesium Deficiency Causing Your Charley Horses?

By some estimates, up to 80 percent of Americans are not getting enough magnesium and may be deficient. Other research shows only about 25 percent of U.S. adults are getting the recommended daily amount of 310 to 320 milligrams (mg) for women and 400 to 420 for men.

Magnesium is often thought of primarily as a mineral for your heart and bones, but this is misleading. Researchers have now detected 3,751 magnesium-binding sites on human proteins, indicating that its role in human health and disease may have been vastly underestimated.

Further, if you suffer from charley horses, low levels of magnesium could be to blame. Magnesium is necessary for activating muscles and nerves, and a key sign of ongoing magnesium deficiency can be muscle contractions and cramps like charley horses.

Magnesium deficiency may be particularly problematic for your muscles in the presence of an overabundance of calcium. Americans in general tend to have a higher calcium-to-magnesium ratio in their diet, averaging about 3.5-to-1.

If you have too much calcium and not enough magnesium, your muscles will tend to go into spasm. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, a medical and naturopathic doctor:

“What happens is the muscle and nerve function that magnesium is responsible for is diminished. If you don’t have enough magnesium, your muscles go into spasm.

Calcium causes muscle to contract. If you had a balance, the muscles would do their thing. They’d relax, contract and create their activity.”

This underscores the importance of eating a nutritious diet, which will naturally give you optimal amounts of the minerals and other nutrients your body needs.

Eating plenty of organic leafy green vegetables, nuts and seeds every day, and drinking fresh green vegetable juice will help keep your magnesium stores replenished. In addition, Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate that can absorb into your body through your skin.

Soaking in a bath with Epsom salts is an excellent way to not only help prevent magnesium deficiency but also to soothe and relieve the pain of a charley horse.

potassiumLow Potassium Levels May Also Trigger a Charley Horse

Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte. (An electrolyte is a substance that produces an electrical conducting solution when dissolved in water. Electrolytes carry a charge and are essential for life. In our bodies, electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium).

Potassium is essential for your cells, tissues and organs to function properly. It plays a vital role in heart health, digestive and muscular function, bone health and more. One of the symptoms of low potassium levels is muscle cramps.

While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the U.S. — including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines and nuts — only 2 percent of U.S. adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 mg.

This is especially problematic because potassium is a nutrient that needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood. If you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium.

Others who are at particular risk of low potassium, or hypokalemia, are those with chronic malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, or those taking heart medicine (particularly loop diuretics). However, anyone who eats a poor diet — an excess of processed foods and not enough fresh, whole foods — is potentially at risk of inadequate potassium levels and related muscle cramps.

Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300 mg to 400 mg of potassium per cup. Some additional rich sources of potassium are:

  • Lima beans (955 mg/cup)
  • Winter squash (896 mg/cup)
  • Cooked spinach (839 mg/cup)
  • Avocado (500 mg per medium)

Foods rich in calciumToo Little Calcium May Trigger Muscle Cramps

While too much calcium in the absence of magnesium can be problematic for muscle cramps, so too can a calcium deficiency. Low blood levels of calcium (as well as magnesium) may increase the excitability of nerve endings and the muscles they stimulate.

This may be a trigger for muscle cramps, especially in the elderly and during pregnancy. If you’re deficient in vitamin D, meanwhile, your body may have inadequate calcium absorption, again predisposing you to muscle cramps.

It’s very important to maintain a proper balance of calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and also vitamin K2, as these four nutrients perform an intricate dance together, with one supporting the other. If you’re calcium deficient, your best bet is to increase consumption of foods high in calcium before opting for a supplement. This is because many high-calcium foods also contain naturally high amounts of vitamin K2; nature cleverly gives us these two nutrients in combination, so they work optimally.

Good sources of calcium include nuts, seeds and raw, organic, grass-fed dairy especially cheeses, and vegetables, although veggies aren’t high in vitamin K2. One exception is fermented vegetables where a starter culture specifically designed to produce ample amounts of vitamin K2 was used.

Homemade bone broth is another excellent source. Simply simmer leftover bones over low heat for an entire day to extract the calcium from the bones. You can use this broth for soups and stews or drink it straight.

What to Do If You Get a Charley Horse

A charley horse often occurs without notice, sometimes waking you up from sound sleep. If you’re lying down when the pain starts, stand up and put some weight on your foot. Walking around will help to increase blood circulation to your muscles and possibly help to soothe and relax the cramp.

charley horse stretch leg crampYou can also try a simple stretch. If the cramp is in your calf in the back of your lower leg, pull your toes and foot upward until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg. You can also do this sitting down with your legs outstretched. Put a towel around your feet and gently pull both ends toward you until you feel a stretch.

As mentioned, soaking in an Epsom salt bath may also help to relieve pain (and possibly help with prevention). Massaging the area and applying a heat pack, which will increase blood flow to the area, promoting healing and soothing pain, may also help.

Staying well-hydrated is also important for muscle cramp prevention. You’ll want to drink enough pure filtered water so that your urine is pale yellow in color. In addition, performing regular stretching exercises on your legs may help reduce your risk of a charley horse.
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Comment from Nutrition Breakthroughs: Interestingly, the same mineral deficiencies that can cause charley horses are the same ones that can cause sleeplessness and insomnia.  Studies show that calcium and magnesium are effective natural sleep aids.  Highly absorbable forms of these minerals are featured in the Sleep Minerals II softgels. For more information visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

Yogurt and Acidophilus: The Top 10 Major Health Benefits

Greetings to you,

There is an informative chart below with the top 10 health benefits of yogurt and acidophilus. These include improving digestion, reducing the risk of diabetes, assisting weight loss, reducing cholesterol and stimulating a stronger immune system.

One study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming yogurt or the beneficial bacteria from it, has promising health benefits for many conditions and increases immunity. Some of these include constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, stomach bacteria infections and allergies.

A study on yogurt was published in the journal called “Archives of Osteoporosis”. It reviewed the ability of yogurt to strengthen bones and found that milk and yogurt are the best dairy choices for increasing bone mineral density in the hip.

Yogurt is a boost to weight loss. A healthy supplement similar to the acidophilus used in yogurt was recently found in a Canadian study to help overweight women lose weight and keep it off.  It was discovered that the supplement made the intestinal wall stronger and more able to prevent inflammatory, obesity-causing substances from passing into the intestine and entering the bloodstream.

Yogurt is great for strengthening and boosting one’s immunity against infection and illness per studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  In particular, yogurt with the Lactobacillus bulgaricus form has been shown to reduce the frequency of colds in older adults after they ate it over a twelve-week period.

This news is shared with you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, a provider of natural health articles and effective natural remedies since 2001. Nutrition Breakthroughs makes the original calcium and magnesium based natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II, as well as Joints and More, the natural solution for joint relief, aches and pains, stronger hair and nails, and more energy.

Yogurt benefitsNutrition Breakthroughs.com

The Healthiest Fats for Good Skin, Hair, Nutrition and Sleep

Greetings to you,

There’s a helpful chart below that shows the healthiest fats for glowing skin and hair, as well as for good nutrition of the organs and hormones.  All hormones are formed with healthy fats, so eating more of these foods can nourish you in many ways.

Eating healthy fats with our meals can play a vital role in helping us sleep better and achieve overall greater health as these provide the basic building blocks for cholesterol production — a surprisingly healthy substance in our bodies.  The best fats to eat are nutrient rich foods like eggs, natural butter, salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.

For example, a healthy heart and long life are associated with eating walnuts.  They have been shown to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and also extend life spans in general. Walnuts contain the amino acid l-arginine, which offers protective benefits for the heart.

Walnuts can be a good sleep inducing food.  Eating a handful of walnuts before bedtime may be a good way to soothe sleeplessness and insomnia. Russel Reiter, Ph.D., a professor of cellular biology at the University of Texas says, “Relatively few foods have been examined for their melatonin content. Our studies demonstrate that walnuts contain melatonin and that it is absorbed when it is eaten.”

Avocados are a healthy, creamy, tasty food, whether they sit on top of a sandwich, an omelet or a salad — or become transformed into guacamole. The healthy fats in avocados balance hormones and this food features over twenty vitamins and minerals.

In summary, eating good healthy fats can enhance one’s health in many ways. This information is brought to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs, maker of the effective natural insomnia remedy Sleep Minerals II.

Nutrition Breakthroughs

University Researchers Find Link Between Insomnia and Hot Flashes

A team of researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California recently embarked upon a study to help determine the causes of insomnia among premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

The team conducted phone interviews with 982 women and gathered information about their sleep history, frequency of hot flashes, and overall health. They found that 51% of postmenopausal women suffer with hot flashes and that 79% of premenopausal women have them. Among the women with the most intense hot flashes (based on their severity and frequency), 81% of them experienced sleeplessness and insomnia.

The lead researcher said: “In this paper, we have observed without any doubt and in a significant way that hot flashes are associated with insomnia. This is the first observational study showing the link between insomnia and hot flashes while controlling for other factors that could account for insomnia in women.”

Night sweats and hot flashes can become a form of insomnia in which a woman can wake up sweating and be unable to sleep. Regarding mineral deficiency at the time of menopause, the pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis says in her book ‘Let’s Get Well’ that: “The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”

Calcium is directly related to our cycles of sleep. In one study published in the European Neurology Journal, researchers found that calcium levels in the body are higher during some of the deepest levels of sleep, such as the rapid eye movement (REM) phase. The study concluded that disturbances in sleep, especially the absence of REM deep sleep or disturbed REM sleep, are related to a calcium deficiency. Restoration to the normal course of sleep was achieved following the normalization of the blood calcium level.

Regarding the use of vitamin D as an insomnia remedy, Researchers at the East Texas Medical Center recently discovered that vitamin D helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.  They found a definite link between vitamin D deficiency and the current epidemic of sleep disorders.  During the research, the authors discovered the presence of high concentrations of vitamin D “receiving sites” or “receptors” in those areas of the brain that are related to the onset and maintenance of sleep.

One natural insomnia remedy gaining in popularity with women is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. Sleep Minerals II contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, heart health, restless legs syndrome and bone strength. The formula also includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy carrier oils. The mixture of oils and minerals makes it more quickly assimilated than tablets or capsules and provides a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Anita L. of New Caney, Texas says: “I was having hot flashes every 30 minutes to an hour through the night and was so miserable. After about two weeks of taking the Sleep Minerals, I noticed an incredible difference with my sleep. I have much less interruption from hot flashes, I’m sleeping much better, and I’m a lot more comfortable.”

The Stanford research study shows a definite link between hot flashes and insomnia and suggests that if a woman can address and remedy her hot flashes, she will also likely improve her insomnia.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II visit this page.

Research Shows Vitamin C and Minerals Cool Off Hot Flashes

vitamin c hot flashesSurprise: One natural remedy proven in a research study to relieve hot flashes may be unexpected to some, as it is such a well-known, widely used vitamin with many benefits.  It’s the famous vitamin C.

The study was called “Non-Hormonal Control of Vaso-Motor Flushing in Menopausal Patients”, published in the journal: “Chicago Medicine.”  Vasomotor refers to the nerves and muscles causing blood vessels to constrict (narrow) or dilate (open). Blood vessels dilate during hot flashes — this process is the body’s way to release the heat. Extensive research indicates that vitamin C strengthens blood vessel membranes, eases hot flashes and helps slow the overall aging process.

In the vitamin C study, A total of 94 patients were studied, all of who had reached menopause.  They were given 200 milligrams of vitamin C and 200 milligrams of bioflavonoids (the substance contained on the inside of orange peels) six times daily.  Therefore each subject received 1200 mg of both the bioflavonoids and vitamin C each day.  The results were that  67% of the subjects reported complete relief from hot flashes and 21% reported partial relief, giving this combination an overall 88% success rate.

Vitamin C is also proven to be a “Beauty Vitamin.”  In support of vitamin C as an anti wrinkle nutrient, a study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition announced the results of researchers from the United Kingdom. They discovered that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled skin appearance and skin dryness. Vitamin C majorly improved overall skin appearance in a study of 4,025 women aged 40 to 74.

Mineral deficiency can also be a factor in contributing to menopause symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats.  The pioneering nutritionist Adelle Davis writes of this in her book “Let’s Eat Right to Keep Fit”.

Davis says, “The amount of calcium in a woman’s blood parallels the activity of the ovaries. During the menopause, the lack of ovarian hormones can cause severe calcium deficiency symptoms to occur, including irritability, hot flashes, night sweats, leg cramps, and insomnia. These problems can be easily overcome if the intakes of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all generously increased and are well absorbed.”

Jobee Knight, a nutritional researcher and founder of Nutrition Breakthroughs in Glendale, CA., is someone who fought her own menopausal battle against sleeplessness and insomnia. She decided to put her background to use by searching out effective natural insomnia remedies for relaxation and deeper sleep.

The result was Sleep Minerals II, a natural insomnia remedy that contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, combined with vitamin D and zinc. The ingredients are formulated in a softgel with healthy oils, making them more quickly absorbable than tablets or capsules and providing a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Anita L. of New Caney, Texas says: “I was having hot flashes every 30 minutes to an hour through the night and was so miserable. After about two weeks of taking the Sleep Minerals, I noticed an incredible difference with my sleep. I have much less interruption from flashes, I’m sleeping much better and I’m a lot more comfortable.”

The minerals in Sleep Minerals II are also proven to be beneficial for strong bones, healthy muscles, menopause symptoms, teenage insomnia, and correction of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D deficiencies.

Vitamin C can be found in many delicious foods and is known to be beneficial for immunity, stomach health, maintaining blood vessels, strengthening bones and teeth, healing wounds, and supporting heart and eye health.  Vitamin C is a key player in the production of collagen, which is the most abundant protein in the body and is a component of muscle, joints, bone, skin, hair and nails.  High amounts of vitamin C is supplied by citrus fruits, many berries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green peppers, and in supplements.

For good health, smooth skin, hot flash relief, and a refreshing night of beauty sleep each night, keep your vitamin C levels high and take some absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium. For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit the natural sleep aid page.

A Medicine Cabinet of Healing Herbs and Spices in Your Kitchen

Greetings to you,

I’ve included an interesting and useful chart below containing healing herbs and spices – “A Medicine Cabinet in Your Kitchen.”

One good example is a healing herb that was the subject of a research study published in the journal “Circulation”.  Researchers found that a pain ointment containing the main ingredient in cayenne pepper was able to reduce damage to the heart during a heart attack.  An incredible 85 percent reduction in cardiac cell death was observed.

Cinnamon is more than a delicious seasoning.  Studies from the University of Toronto and Ball State University in Indiana have confirmed that consuming cinnamon can significantly reduce blood pressure as well as blood sugar levels by adding cinnamon to the morning cereal.

Ginger contains many healing properties.  For women with PMS, scientists at the University of Medical Sciences in Tehran, Iran compared ginger capsules with two different kinds of anti-inflammatory drugs. 150 women participated and they were divided into three groups.  At the end of the five-month study, ginger was shown to be as effective as the drugs with relieving pain and providing relief.

Sage is a delicious herb used in cooking, particularly with poultry and pasta sauces, and it has a long history of use for medicinal purposes. It’s been used by herbalists to treat sore throats, strengthen the nervous system and improve brain function.

The German Health Commission officially approved the use of sage for excessive sweating and one German study found sage to reduce excessive perspiration by 50%. Sage leaf is also a well-researched remedy for hot flashes and night sweats in menopause.

Regarding the use of minerals such as calcium and magnesium for good sleep and remedying insomnia, William Sears, M.D. writes that: “Calcium helps the brain use the amino acid tryptophan to manufacture the sleep-inducing substance melatonin. This explains why dairy products, which contain both tryptophan and calcium, are one of the top sleep-inducing foods.”

In magnesium deficiency, chronic insomnia is one of the main, central symptoms. Sleep is usually agitated with frequent nighttime awakenings. On the other hand, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep.

For more information on effective sleep remedies, see this page on calcium and magnesium for sleep on the Nutrition Breakthroughs blog.

To your good health,

Jobee Knight
Nutrition Breakthroughs

Magnesium as an Insomnia Remedy – Proven Research

Magnesium is an Effective Sleep Remedy

The magnificent mineral magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in our cells and is known to be effective for strengthening heart health, reducing diabetes, and treating migraines, insomnia and depression.  With increasing age, the risk factor for developing magnesium deficiency grows larger.

A National Institutes of Health fact sheet says that adults are at increased risk of magnesium deficiency due to a decreased ability to absorb the mineral.  And according to the Journal “Sleep”, nearly 50% of older adults are experiencing insomnia and having with difficulties with falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up early.

Several reports have come out regarding the role of magnesium deficiency in insomnia.  The journal “Magnesium Research” writes that magnesium deficiency contributes to sleep disorders and interrupts sleep by reducing melatonin levels in the body.  According to the Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota, a high magnesium diet has been found to be associated with deeper, less interrupted sleep. Good sources of magnesium in foods include fish, whole grains and green leafy vegetables.

The most recently released study on magnesium for sleep comes from the University of Medical Sciences in Iran.  Its subjects were 46 older adults, aged 60 to 75, who were experiencing insomnia.  However, it’s interesting to note the researchers recommend their results be extended as a helpful aid to all ages of the general population.

In the University study, the subjects were divided into two groups.  One group received placebos, while the other received magnesium oxide tablets twice a day (250 milligrams each) for eight weeks.  In the group that was given magnesium, the subjects experienced significant increases in sleep time and sleep efficiency, with less night time interruptions and fewer early morning awakenings.

From blood samples taken, the researchers found that magnesium significantly reduced cortisol levels in the body, which is a stress hormone that can keep people awake.  Magnesium also brought about a statistically important increase in melatonin, the hormone involved with sleep-wake cycles.

Their conclusion: Supplementation with magnesium improves subjective and objective measures of insomnia in elderly people and is a useful natural remedy to manage sleep disorders – not only in the elderly but as an effective sleep aid for people of all ages.

Regarding supplements containing magnesium that are taken as an insomnia remedy, the combination of minerals included and the presence of complementary vitamins (such as calcium and vitamin D) are vital. Formulas should contain a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to magnesium for the best utilization in the body. The original research on this recommended ratio appeared in 1935 in the Journal of Physiological Reviews.  In addition, softgels that mix the minerals with natural carrier oils allow them to be more fully absorbed than with tablets or capsules.

One formula that has these qualities and is gaining in popularity is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs.  Sleep Minerals II contains highly absorbable forms of calcium and magnesium, the best minerals for sleeplessness and insomnia, as well as for restless legs syndrome, bone strength, teenage insomnia and menopause insomnia.  The formula also includes vitamin D and zinc and is delivered in a softgel form with healthy rice bran oil, making it quickly absorbable and allowing it to provide a deeper, longer-lasting sleep.

Sadie D. from The Netherlands says: “I am ever so grateful that I discovered Sleep Minerals II after suffering with premenopause and now the real menopausal insomnia.  I felt like I was slowly losing my mind due to the continual lack of sleep.  I can’t express the relief of getting a good night’s sleep and being able to function properly.”

Richard P. of Parkville, Maryland says: “The Sleep Minerals are making quite a difference.  I was regularly waking at around 3:00 a.m. and after a few days use my sleep improved quite a lot.  I wake once a night to go to the bathroom, but the great thing is, I then fall back asleep and sleep several more hours. This has been a great improvement.”

Minerals have come to the forefront as some of the most effective natural remedies for insomnia.  For more information on Sleep Minerals II, visit this page.

Study on Puberty in Girls, Teen Insomnia, Calcium Deficiency

                                 
A study in the Journal of Pediatrics has found that the hormonal changes of puberty in girls can create a time of substantial risk for the development of insomnia.

The researcher’s data came from a random sample of 1,014 adolescents who were 13 to 16 years of age in the city of Detroit Michigan. The study was conducted with adolescents who had a history of insomnia, and who also reported they currently had insomnia.

In an exploratory analysis between insomnia and puberty development, the onset of menstruation (menses) was associated with an increased risk for insomnia that was three times greater. There was no difference in the risk for insomnia among girls before menses onset.

The researchers concluded that Insomnia seems to be common and chronic among adolescents. The study found that there is often a gender difference in risk for insomnia, and it seems to emerge in association with the onset of menses.

Teenagers are a special breed, having to face all the challenges of being in an in-between stage of life; not quite a child anymore and not yet an adult.  Along with an acceleration of social interests and activities, they also sustain accelerated physical growth and increased nutritional needs.

Given the consequences of sleep deprivation among teenagers, including blunted mental acuity, poorer school performance, and even poorer physical and emotional health, prevention and treatment may need to become “important priorities”, the study researchers say.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 90% of teen girls and 70% of teen boys are not getting enough calcium.  Their bones are growing the fastest during the teen years and they need more calcium than at any other time of life.  This calcium deficiency can translate into irritability, nervous tension, hyperactivity and insomnia.

Due to a deficiency of crucial minerals at the teenage time of life, calcium and magnesium supplements can be an effective sleep remedy.  One natural insomnia remedy that’s gaining in popularity for all ages is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs.   It contains potent forms of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, all combined with heart-healthy rice bran oil in a rapidly absorbed softgel formula.  Softgels that combine oils with the minerals are digested more thoroughly than tablets or capsules.

Wendy R. of Honolulu, Hawaii says: “My friends know that I’ve had chronic insomnia for a long time.  I was surprised — I received the Sleep Minerals II and began taking it and I actually slept.  In the past if I ever got a good nights sleep I’d say “I slept like a baby”, but that’s the wrong comparison. Those little guys get up every two hours, but I don’t anymore.”

With insomnia being common and chronic among teenagers, let’s help them get the nutrition and sleep that they need.

For more information on Sleep Minerals II visit this web page.

Related article:

Teenage Insomnia: Studies, Remedies and Tips

How Vitamin D Rich Foods May Help Remedy Insomnia

vitamin d foods for sleepDo you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep at night? If so, you are not alone. Every night, millions of people lie in bed hoping for a restful night’s sleep that does not come.

It is estimated that one in three people will develop acute insomnia every year, and about 10% of these individuals will struggle with insomnia for several months at a time.

Insomnia can wreak havoc on one’s ability to live a normal, productive life. In fact, lack of sleep can lead to mood changes, memory loss, and impaired judgement. In addition, unresolved or unmanaged sleep disorders can increase the risk of chronic pain, depression, and a compromised immune system.

There are a variety of sleep medications on the market to help manage insomnia. However, the side effects often lead to a new set of health complications. As a result, many people have begun searching for a safer, natural alternative to promote a healthier sleep cycle. Of the options on the market, vitamin D is proving to be a serious contender.

Vitamin D at a glance

Vitamin D has been making media headlines for over two decades. Originally believed to be important solely for bone health, research continues to uncover a wide range of additional health benefits of maintaining optimal levels.

Unfortunately, despite the thousands of studies that have showcased the body’s need for vitamin D, deficiency remains highly prevalent. This is due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to:

  • Indoor lifestyle
  • Sunblock use
  • Avoidance of mid-day sun exposure
  • Lack of supplement use
  • Imbalanced diet
  • Obesity

Often, people who are vitamin D deficient experience symptoms like fatigue, joint and muscle pain, frequent infections and insomnia.

How vitamin D status may impact sleep quality

Vitamin D is not just a vitamin, it’s a hormone. That means, after undergoing a couple of activation processes in the body, it binds to cells throughout the body to regulate a wide range of bodily functions.

Hormones are fat-soluble substances derived from cholesterol. They are produced by glands such as the thyroid, adrenals and pancreas, and then released into the bloodstream to reach target cells. These include cortisol made by the adrenals, testosterone, estrogen and yes, vitamin D.

So, how may vitamin D impact sleep? Vitamin D receiving points are located throughout regions of the brain that regulate our mood and sleep patterns. This has led researchers to theorize that vitamin D helps regulate the circadian rhythm, which is our body’s internal clock that instructs us when to sleep, eat, and rest.

  • Several studies have supported this theory by reporting a relationship between healthy vitamin D levels and improved sleep quality. In addition, a recent study found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with an 11-fold increased odds of resistance to sleep medication. This means that the people who didn’t respond to sleeping drugs had a lower level of vitamin D in their body.

Best sources of vitamin D

Thankfully, there are a variety of ways one can ensure they are receiving enough vitamin D to promote healthy sleep cycles.  This includes safe sun exposure (avoiding getting burned), supplementation, and eating a balanced diet.

Now more than ever, foods are being fortified with vitamin D in an effort to better support the body’s needs. However, people frequently ask, which form is better, vitamin D2 or D3?

Vitamin D2 is obtained through the diet and is produced by plants; whereas D3 is naturally produced when the skin is exposed to the sun and it can be consumed via animal sources in the diet.

Vitamin D3 is more bioavailable than D2, meaning this form is more efficiently utilized by our bodies. For this reason, experts recommend people ensure they are receiving ample amounts of vitamin D3 per day.

Top dietary sources of vitamin D

  1. Cod liver Oil is the most potent dietary source for vitamin D3. In just one tablespoon, you can receive 1,360 international units (IU) vitamin D3. In addition to vitamin D, cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
  2. Fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are the best dietary sources of vitamin D, with about 500 IU vitamin D3 content in just three ounces of cooked fish. Also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, these sources offer a heart-healthy option for those looking for a balanced dietary approach to maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.
  3. Plain greek yogurt is another healthy option to provide some of your daily vitamin D needs. Known for its probiotics, greek yogurt helps support a healthy intestinal tract. In addition, it is a great snack for people who struggle with hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) due to its high protein, low carbohydrate ratio. It also contains calcium, magnesium and about 80 IU vitamin D per 6 oz serving.
  4. Eggs offer another beneficial source of vitamin D3. They generally contain about 40 IU per yoke.
  5. Perhaps one of the most popular dietary sources of vitamin D is milk. It offers about 120 IU vitamin D3 per serving. Milk also provides a great source of calcium. For this reason, milk is an important dietary component to protecting bone health.

Final thoughts

If you struggle with insomnia and hope vitamin D may help improve your sleep quality, there are a couple important factors to keep in mind. First, consistency is key. Although time of day isn’t important when eating foods rich in vitamin D or taking an oral supplement, it is important that this is done on a regular basis.

Research suggests that taking a couple thousand international units (IU’s) of vitamin D per day between foods and supplements is ideal when addressing sleeplessness and insomnia.

One supplement that contains a good amount of vitamin D is Sleep Minerals II from Nutrition Breakthroughs. It also contains highly absorbable forms of calcium, magnesium, and zinc, which are all blended together with healthy oils to form an absorbable soft gel. Together, these vitamins and minerals work to help facilitate quality sleep.  Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause one to wake up in the middle of the night and be unable to fall back asleep.

One Sleep Minerals II user in Massachusetts says: “I had become dependent on sleeping drugs and couldn’t sleep without them. Now I take the Sleep Minerals before bed and can sleep through the whole night without drugs. I’m also able to easily fall back to sleep if I do have to get up.  Another benefit is this helps alleviate my chronic fatigue and aches and pains.”

Vitamin D is one of the master players in the game we all hope to win: Vibrant health, well-being and good sleep. Use it well in foods and supplements, as well as together with those minerals that are best-known for being relaxing insomnia remedies.

For more information, visit the Sleep Minerals II page.

5 Tips for a Healthy New Year from Nutrition Breakthroughs

new yearsNew Years Greetings to you!

Here are five tips for increasing your good health in the New Year:

1. Choose healthy foods: Increase salads, cooked vegetables and raw fruits.  Eat healthy, preferably organic proteins such as grass-fed meat, wild Alaskan salmon, and organic eggs..  Eat wholegrain versions of carbohydrates and drink lots of pure water in between meals.

2. Take a walk each day, or a couple of short walks.  This supports virtually every organ and system in your body to stay strong.  It also detoxifies impurities and ease aches and pains.

Walking is also proven to help good sleep and remedy insomnia.  Scientists suspect that walking helps to set our biological clock into a consistent sleep pattern.

Walking can also help increase “endorphins”, which are protein-like chemicals made in the brain that can have a relaxing effect, a pain-relieving effect, and also reduce stress and increase well-being.

Exercise such as walking may also be one of the most effective ways to reduce menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and heart symptoms, according to a study from the Annals (Journal) of Behavioral Medicine.

3. Take supplements:  Fish oil helps reduce inflammation and supports the eyes and brain; digestive enzymes increase absorption of foods and reduce gas; MSM remedies joint stiffness and arthritis, and Sleep Minerals II provides calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D in some highly usable forms to support good sleep.

4. Reduce stress.  Take breaks to do artistic or creative things that you enjoy.  When communicating with others, express things, and receive communications from people in a positive, upbeat way.

Support for stress can be found in certain vitamins.  The adrenal glands are known as the “stress glands”.  Vitamin B-5, also known as pantothenic acid, is used by the adrenal gland as a key component to manufacture its hormones.   A deficiency of
B-5 can result in impaired adrenal function and more physical and mental stress.

Regarding vitamin C, the highest amounts of vitamin C in the body are found in the adrenals and this vitamin is used to make all of the various adrenal hormones. When one is faced with stress, vitamin C is rapidly used up.

5. Look to the future.  We’ve all done some great things in this year just past.  Let’s
acknowledge our best achievements and take pride in them, and then turn our sights toward the year to come.  It’s a new canvas to paint our dreams on, so take out those brushes and create some masterpieces worthy of your signature!

Yours in good health,

Jobee Knight
Nutrition Breakthroughs
Maker of Sleep Minerals II and Provider of Natural Health Info
Toll-free U.S. (888) 861-0326
International (818) 913-4308