By Philip Chua - Cebu Daily News
8:09 am | Monday, October 10th, 2011
IN TODAY’S world of seemingly unending stress, people are searching for a shortcut to relaxation, serenity and peace of mind. While some find these in their own home, with attitude and behavioral modification, others who could do it take mini-vacation a day or two a week. Some who are able to “get off” from the dizzying carousel of life, escape to their hideaway as their circumstance allows. Most, however, just grin and bear it and wait for their next planned R & R.
But there are others who are impatient and in a hurry to get a quick “fix” of instant relaxation and calm, or even sleep, and take pills or beverages which are marketed as serenity sips, relaxation drinks, calming brew, besides tranquilizers and sleeping pills.
The question, as always, is: Are these instant “remedies” safe?
There are dozens of cocktails on the market in bottles and cans, looking like regular soft drinks with a different drug in each fot them. Some of these calming beverages on the market are: Unwind (with melatonin), Dream Water (with 5-HTP), MiniChill (with L-thianine), Mary Jane’s Relaxing Soda (with Kava), Relax Zen (with Valerian Root), Slow Cow, Relaxing Soda, Malava Kava, etc.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps control the natural sleep-wake cycle, and is highest in the blood before bedtime. It is a myth that this substance is effective for the management of insomnia. There is no medical evidence melatonin will induce sleep or make it last longer, like sleeping medications. It may help in dealing with jet lag.
It is prudent to consult a physician before taking any of these beverages or pills because some of the ingredients may interfere with other medications, and some of them may be outright toxic and dangerous in themselves.
Some of the potential side effects of melatonin include headaches, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, confusion, abnormal heart rhythm, abdominal aches, sleep walking and nightmares. This drug also interacts with anticoagulants (blood-thinners), medications for diabetes, birth control pills and immunosuppressant drugs.
Articles from the Mayo Clinic and medical centers warn against taking melatonin for more than two months, and stated that melatonin made from artificial ingredients is safer than one made from animals, which can be contaminated with viruses and other toxic agents. To this date, even the best and safe dose of melatonin is not known.
Kava is the other ingredient in some “relaxing/calming drink.” This substance is from a root found on South Pacific Islands, where it has been used as medicine and in rituals for centuries.
Kava produces a calming effect, which, on electro-encephalograph, appears as brain wave changes that are similar to those found among patients on diazepam (Valium). Kava is also able to act as a pain killer, cause muscle relaxation, and prevent seizures.
This substance should never be used with alcohol, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety drugs, or medications for depression, or other psychotropic drugs.
This drug, in itself, in any form, should not be used by persons who are driving a vehicle or any machinery since it is a sedative which reduces alertness and dexterity.
Kava can cause liver failure even in healthy people as reported by studies from Germany and Switzerland. Deaths have been reported among people who developed liver failure due to kava. The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating this issue, while Britain has already banned kava. Other countries are advising consumers to stay away from kava until it is proven to be safe. Less severe side effects are nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, puffiness or swelling in the face, and scaly rash.
5-HTP is likewise known as oxitriptan (INN) and is a naturally occurring amino acid. This substance is available over-the-counter in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom as a dietary supplement and used as appetite suppressant, sleep aid, as an anti-depressant, and as a treatment for fibromyalgia and Friedreich;s ataxia. In Europe 5-HTP is used for major depression. Some question the lack of quality studies to show it is really effective for depression.
This substance appears in insignificant amount in food. It is usually derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia.
5-HTP is peripherally metabolized into serotonin, which, in animal studies have shown to increase the risk for the heart valve disease. 5-HTP increases the level of plasma rennin activity, resulting in hypertension (high blood pressure). Other possible side-effects are nausea, vomiting, scleroderma-like illness when taken with carbidopa, a drug for Parkinson’s disease.
“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” Buddha[/color][/i]
Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum