Volume 18 • Number 1 • January 2017


Most people have or have had insomnia at point in their lives. It can be a source of frustration and fatigue. Unfortunately, most resort to some kind of drug to address the problem, even when they may have discovered that they only treat the symptoms, not the roots of insomnia. In previous newsletters we have addressed three factors that inflame the brain so that it cannot relax, or fall asleep at the proper times. The most important is the Brain-Gut connection. If you have any gut problems at all, think of the inflammation generated therein ends up affecting the brain. Most gut problems are due to poor diets, antibiotics, and chemicals like acid-blocking drugs.

Gut problems also affect the other two factors we have addressed herein: Adrenal (inability to fall asleep,) and Liver (inability to stay asleep or early awakening) problems. Changing one’s diet and optimizing Gut, Adrenal and Liver function with supplements will take care of insomnia in most people. This is why two table spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar with one of raw honey in hot water can help you sleep better. If not, ponder the implications of the two articles highlighted below. Hugo Rodier, MD

Smartphone screen time tied to lower quality sleep.

Reuters (11/9, Doyle) reports smartphone screen time is tied to lower quality sleep, according to a study published in the PLoS ONE. Researchers used a mobile app to calculate how much time spent looking at smartphone screens and found that an increase in screen time was correlated with lower quality sleep.

CNN (11/9, Scutti) reports researchers found that screen time “near bedtime” was more closely correlated with lower quality sleep. Gregory Marcus, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, the study’s lead author, said, “When we looked at smartphone use around the time when participants reported they went to bed, more smartphone use around that time in particular was associated with a longer time to fall asleep and worse sleep quality during the night.”

Fighting Depression by Staying Awake.[1]

Insomnia is a common symptom of major depression, and yet sleep deprivation can be part of the solution for a patient seeking quick relief.

A mouthful of warnings about your gut

Dental cavities in the young and periodontal disease of the gums in the old are reflections of poor gut flora. They are the tip of the iceberg signaling that our immune-detox system is not optimal, which may lead to more serious problems in the future, even heart problems. Not surprisingly, changing one’s diet (more veggies fiber, less refined sugars) will improve those common oral problems and lower the risk of a heart attack.

Dietary Fiber Intake Is Inversely Associated with Periodontal Disease among US Adults
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2530

Severe Periodontitis Is Associated with Insulin Resistance in Non-abdominal Obese Adults
JCEM 2016 101(11), pp. 4251–4259

While you change your diet you may try Xilitol, a “naturally found in low concentrations in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, and can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, as well as fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse. However, industrial production starts from xylan (a hemicellulose) extracted from hardwoods] or corncobs.[2] It comes in many preparations, such as chewing gum, toothpaste and mouth rinses to combat cavities and periodontal disease.[3] It is used as a sweetener in many products, including soda pop. It has been shown to reduce insulin resistance.[4]

Exposure to sunlight may reduce risk of myopia

“The New York Times (12/1, Bakalar, Subscription Publication) reports exposure to sunlight may reduce the risk of developing myopia, according to a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology. Researchers found that seniors “with the highest UVB exposure, especially in the teenage and young adult years, had about a 30 percent lower risk for myopia than those with the lowest exposure.”

USA Today (12/1, Rice) reports the researchers found that exposure to UVB “between the ages of 14 and 29 years was associated with a significant decrease in the chance of developing nearsightedness as an adult.” The article points out that a previous study found that the number of Americans with myopia between the ages of 12 and 54 increased from 25 percent to 41.6 percent from the early 1970s to the early 2000s.”

Racquet sports most effective at reducing risk of death from heart disease or stroke

Reuters (11/29, Kelland) reports on a study published in the British Journal and Sports Medicine, based on “data from 11 annual health surveys for England and Scotland carried out between 1994 and 2008, covering 80,306 adults with an average age of 52,” found that “swimming, racquet sports and aerobics are associated with the best odds of staving off death, and in particular of reducing the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.” It found that the risk of death was reduced the most by racquet sports (47 percent), swimming (28 percent), aerobics (27 percent), and cycling (15 percent), while racquet sports reduced the risk of death from heart disease and stroke by 56 percent, compared to 41 percent for swimming, and 36 percent for aerobics.

TIME (11/29, Park) reports one reason why swimming and racquet sports showed a greater reduction in risk is that they “inherently require a pretty intense level of exercise.”

Healthy lifestyle may reduce heart risks regardless of genetics (google “epigenetics.”)

“The New York Times (11/13, A19, Kolata, Subscription Publication) reports that research suggests that “genetics” may not be “destiny when it comes to heart disease.” Investigators looked at data on approximately 55,000 people. The researchers found that “by living right – by not smoking, by exercising moderately and by eating a healthy diet heavy in fruits, vegetables and grains – people can tamp down even the worst genetic risk.” The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association.”

Amino Acid Update

Arginine Metabolism Revisited
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2579S-2586S

Safety and Effectiveness of Arginine in Adults
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2587S-2593S

Parenteral or Enteral Arginine Supplementation Safety and Efficacy
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2594S-2600S

Arginine Arms T Cells to Thrive and Survive
J Cell Met Volume 24, Issue 5, p647–648, 8 November 2016

A Perspective on the Safety of Supplemental Tryptophan Based on Its Metabolic Fates
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2601S-2608S

Tryptophan Intake in the US Adult Population Is Not Related to Liver or Kidney Function but Is Associated with Depression and Sleep Outcomes
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2609S-2615S

Leucine and Mammalian Target of Rapamycin–Dependent Activation of Muscle Protein Synthesis in Aging
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2616S-2624S

Efficacy and Safety of Leucine Supplementation in the Elderly
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2625S-2629S

Safety and Tolerability of Leucine Supplementation in Elderly Men
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2630S-2634S

The Safety and Regulatory Process for Amino Acids in Europe and the United States
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2635S-2642S

The Importance of Quality Specifications in Safety Assessments of Amino Acids: The Cases of l-Tryptophan and l-Citrulline
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2643S-2651S

Proposals for Upper Limits of Safe Intake for Arginine and Tryptophan in Young Adults and an Upper Limit of Safe Intake for Leucine in the Elderly
J. Nutr. 2016 146: 2652S-2654S 30 grams for Arginine, 500 mg for tryptophan

  1. Journal Scientific American, Nov 1 2016.
  2. Wikipedia
  3. “Xylitol Inhibits Inflammatory Cytokine Expression Induced by Lipopolysaccharide from Porphyromonas gingivalis,” J. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2005 Nov; 12(11): 1285–1291.
    “The effect of xylitol on dental caries and oral flora,” J. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 2014; 6: 89–94.
  4. “Xylitol prevents NEFA-induced insulin resistance in rats,” J. Diabetologia. 2012 Jun; 55(6): 1808–1812.
Hugo Rodier, MD is an integrative physician based in Draper, Utah who specializes in healing chronic disease at the cellular level by blending proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, & allopathic practices when necessary.

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Information on this blog is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this blog for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult your health care practitioner with any questions or concerns you may have.