Thursday, December 9, 2010

Prednisone Insomnia

Prednisone is used as an immunosuppressant that acts on almost the entire immune system and is very useful in treating autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, poison ivy, dermatitis, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and Crohn’s disease. Side effects of prednisone include adrenal suppression which is the body’s inability to synthesize natural corticosteroids, resulting in a dependency on prednisone. When taking prednisone for over seven days it is recommended to reduce the dose gradually over a few days as stopping abruptly can cause life-threatening Addison’s disease in which the body can no longer produce adrenal steroid hormones. Using this drug over any period of days can cause prednisone insomnia, fatigue, abdominal pain, blurred vision, peptic ulcers, infections, osteoporosis, weight gain, stretch marks, swelling, nervousness, increased appetite and hyperactivity.

[caption id="attachment_680" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Prednisone Insomnia"][/caption]

Unfortunately, prednisone can also deplete calcium from your body by increasing its elimination, putting you at greater risk of bone fractures. Some studies have shown these drugs can also lower levels of key trace elements, including magnesium, selenium, zinc, copper, and potassium. You should take a supplement to offset the loss of these very important nutrients. Prednisone insomnia could be the result of magnesium depletion along with a calcium deficiency that occurs with these drugs. A lack calcium and magnesium will cause you to wake up after a few hours and not be able to fall back to sleep easy.

Calcium is directly related to our sleep cycles and researchers have found that calcium levels are higher during the deepest levels of sleep and during the REM sleep phase. The study concluded that a calcium deficiency interrupts REM sleep and will keep the individual in a lighter sleep phase while eliminating deep sleep. Calcium helps the brain use tryptophan to manufacture melatonin which controls our sleep/wake cycle. This is why a dairy product like milk that contains both calcium and tryptophan is one of the top sleep inducing foods. With a depleted source of magnesium, prednisone insomnia is one of its main symptoms as the individual usually has frequent nighttime awakenings. High magnesium and a low aluminum diet (see below) has found to be associated with deep, less interrupted sleep. It is important to note the balance ratio of calcium and magnesium is important to overall health and these two minerals should be taken together especially if someone is suffering from prednisone insomnia to get a good night’s sleep.

Tests are normally recommended to check the magnesium levels in the blood. These magnesium deficiency tests include blood ionized magnesium test, low dose magnesium load test and checking the 24 hour urine magnesium content. Calcium levels can be tested by blood or urine.

If you consider taking magnesium look for a form that allows you to start with a lower dose and slowly increase the amount as unabsorbed magnesium will cause a laxative effect. You will not see the results of this effect until a day later which is why you should slowly increase the dose. The RDA for magnesium is 400mg. If this amount helps alleviates your prednisone insomnia than you don’t need to take more than that. . Magnesium is often better absorbed when taken with food. You can also break up your daily recommended dose with each meal. You might also want to avoid taking magnesium with foods that are high in phytic acid, such as whole wheat, as this might bind to the magnesium.

Taking magnesium with calcium is often suggested, because the two minerals work together in building bones and inducing sleep. Another good reason for taking the calcium with magnesium is that calcium (especially calcium carbonate) can offset some of the laxative effect from the magnesium. Traditionally, the RDA ratio of calcium and magnesium is 2/1, however, magnesium is often poorly absorbed; so many doctors believe the ratio should be closer to 1/1.

Please note that not all forms of magnesium are the same. Magnesium oxide is one of the most common, but studies have shown it to be poorly absorbed, due to low solubility. Research has shown that other common forms, such as citrate or chloride are better absorbed. However, some people recommend chelated forms, believing that they are the best absorbed. Although in theory this might be true, surprisingly there are no published studies to back up this claim. Albion Chelated Calcium Magnesium (500mg/200mg) - 120 - Caplets are available online, at your local health food store and pharmacy.

The content in Prednisone Insomnia is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for your sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional. Tell your doctor before taking any supplement like calcium and magnesium for sleep as they may have an interaction with other medications or health issue.


Foods made with aluminized baking powder*, self-rising flour*, and salt. The following are some of these products:

Microwave popcorn
Salted snacks
Hot cocoa mixes
Coffee creamers
Pickles and relish
*Flour tortillas
*Pizza crust
*Baking mixes
*Corn bread
*Banana bread
*Carrot bread
*Dipping batter for fried foods

WARNING: Aluminumized baking powder is now being used in many foods that were formerly prepared without baking powder, such as pizza crust, raised doughnuts, pie crusts, cookies, waffles, prepared meats, cheeses, and other products that were once aluminum-free.


Do not confuse baking soda with baking powder. Soda is a pure product with no additives. Baking powder is a mixture of chemicals used as leavening in countless baking products. (Leavening is what makes a cake rise during the baking process.)

Many people believe that all breads are made with baking powder. This is not true. Most breads are made with yeast.

Don't panic. Numerous aluminum-free baked goods are available in ordinary grocery stores, as well as health food stores and restaurants. Simply read labels to be safe.


Many body lotions and cremes
Most cosmetics
Shampoos and conditioners
Suntan lotions
Lip Balm


Over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs containing aluminum are too numerous to list. Read labels and consult your doctor and pharmacist.

If your doctor has prescribed drugs or medications containing aluminum, ask for alternative (aluminum-free) medications. If there is a problem, refer your doctor to this website. Informational brochures are also available to remind your doctor about the dangers of medications that are made with aluminum.

Doctors are required to encourage patient involvement in their own care, including the decision-making process. Because of this, your doctor will most likely co-operate.


When prescription drugs are necessary, one's first line of defense in preventing food and drug poisoning is to curtail the number of toxins consumed on a daily basis.

They add up quickly. One breakfast waffle normally contains
one "dose" of aluminum. (A dose is considered the amount required to cause an obvious effect, such as a change in behavior.) One muffin eaten for lunch adds another dose; and a dinner biscuit adds another. The day's total of aluminum equals 3 doses. Remember, the more items eaten, the more aluminum is ingested.

When prescription drugs are consumed as well, the amount of toxicity in the brain can rise to injurous levels, especially when over-the-counter drugs are taken at the same time.
resource for products containing aluminum:
GLG America Logo

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