Each year, it is estimated between 15 and 30 percent of the population in developed countries are prescribed drugs known as benzodiazepines (Valium®, Xanax®, Ativan®, etc.) for anxiety and insomnia, even though research shows that adults over 65 who used benzodiazepines were 50 percent more likely to develop dementia over a 15-year period.1 There are times when a prescription drug may help restore balance to your body, but the risks in taking them are sometimes simply too great…
Safe and effective ways to address anxiety and sleep disorder include:
• Dramatically decrease your consumption of sugar (particularly fructose), grains, and processed foods. In addition to being high in sugar and grains, processed foods also contain a variety of additives that can affect your brain function and mental state. MSG and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame are especially harmful.
• Increase consumption of fermented foods such as fermented vegetables and kefir to promote healthy gut flora.
• Optimize your Vitamin D levels, ideally through regular sun exposure, or at least natural Vitamin D3 as this supports a positive mood and your mental health.
• Get plenty of Omega-3 fats. Research from Karolinska Institute, Sweden, presented in the Journal of Internal Medicine, indicates that Omega-3 fatty acids in dietary supplements can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and thus allow these essential acids to reach the brain. The Swedish researchers found that this can have significant implications as a possible treatment for Alzheimer’s.2 Omega-3 fatty acids provide many additional benefits according to Gómez-Pinilla, a member of UCLA’s Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center, who analyzed more than 160 studies about food’s affect on the brain. Improved learning capabilities and memory, along with helping to fight mental disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, and dementia are associated with intake of Omega-3 fatty acids.3
(1)Billioti de Gage, S, Bégaud, B, Bazin, F, et al. Benzodiazepine use and risk of dementia: prospective population based study. BMJ 2012;345:e6231.