Could there be a supplement that really cures sleep apnea? According to new research, a dietary supplement derived from tree bark shows promise for treating the disorder.
The cause of obstructive sleep apnea is scary. People who have sleep apnea briefly stop breathing while asleep due to the actual narrowing and closing of their airway passages. Around 5% of the US population is estimated to have it, and those who are obese are at a higher risk for the disorder. At this time, no form of drug or easily dispensed treatments exists for obstructive sleep apnea. Patients sometimes receive treatment via a machine that blows air into a patient’s airway through a face mask, though recent scientific advance for a sleep apnea supplement may change that.
A Natural Sleep Apnea Supplement
MIT researchers have recently discovered that the dietary supplement called Yohimbe reverses the causes of obstructive sleep apnea in an animal model.
Yohimbe, a chemical harvested from the bark of the African Yohimbe tree, has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and has recently gained popularity in the exercise world for fat burn. Yohimbe is not FDA-approved for any of these uses, however.
While the results of the study are promising for the sleep apnea supplement, clinical trials have not been completed, and anyone who suffers from anxiety, heart disease or has high blood pressure should be especially careful. Talk to your doctor about Yohimbe as a possible aid for sleep apnea.
More about Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a narrowing of the airway that cuts off breathing. People who are obese are at higher risk for the disorder. The closing of the airway usually happens during sleep, especially REM sleep, when most of the body’s muscles are relaxed, including the tongue.
If the tongue relaxes and falls back into an already narrow airway, it may cut off the flow of air.
An Alternative to CPAP Machines
The most effective treatment is a device known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers a stream of compressed air into the airway to prevent it from closing.
It works very well, but the problem is everybody hates it, and there is poor patient compliance. Most patients find the machine to be extremely awkward and cumbersome.
Because of this, many scientists have been trying to develop a natural supplement treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, which would be easier for patients to tolerate.
We suggest asking your healthcare provider about Yohimbe or any other natural sleep apnea supplements you are thinking of taking.
Read more details about the MIT study here.