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Health Protocols

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is an increasingly common but underdiagnosed disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep that can lead to the following serious health problems:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • cancer
  • gout
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • increased risk of dying from any cause

Fortunately, integrative interventions like N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and coenzyme Q10 can improve sleep quality and respiratory function in patients with sleep apnea.

Risk Factors for Developing Sleep Apnea

  • Overweight and obesity
  • Smoking
  • Allergies and asthma

Signs and Symptoms Associated with Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring
  • Pauses in breathing
  • Intermittent waking and insomnia

Conventional Medical Treatments

  • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)
  • Other oral appliances to help keep the upper airway open  
  • Surgery for when the obstruction is due to an anatomical problem, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids  

Novel and Emerging Therapies

  • Estrogen and progesterone for women
  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation
  • Renal denervation
  • Nasal continuous positive airway pressure and oral pressure therapy

Dietary and Lifestyle Changes

  • Obesity is the most important major modifiable risk factor associated with obstructive sleep apnea; therefore, weight loss is an important intervention.
  • Exercising 2.5‒4 hours per week may reduce severity and symptoms of sleep apnea even without weight loss.

Integrative Interventions

  • N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC): NAC has mucus-reducing properties that have been shown to cause significant improvements in measurements of apnea severity and sleep quality.
  • Vitamin C: Improves endothelial health of sleep apnea patients and reduces episodes of sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness along with vitamin E.
  • Vitamin E: Shown to reduce episodes of sleep apnea and daytime sleepiness along with vitamin C as well as improve respiratory function in combination with other antioxidants.
  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Improves respiratory function in combination with other antioxidants in patients with sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, and CoQ10 supplementation may confer a benefit in cardiovascular disease.
  • Selenium: Patients with lower red blood cell selenium levels were found to have more severe sleep apnea, as measured by the apnea-hypopnea index.