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Sleep Problems Hives and Gas

Dear Dr Rona:

My son, 16, seems to have a sleep disorder. He can sleep for 14 to 15 hours and still have trouble waking up. It doesn't help that he plays computer games late at night. Unfortunately, he also has the eating habits of a teenager -- pizza, hamburgers and pop whenever he can get them. Is there something that can be done? LR

Dear LR:

Although the late nights and erratic sleeping habits are probably not helping your son's sleeping problems, there are a number of biochemical imbalances that should be considered.

It sounds like your son is consuming far too many empty calorie foods, high in sugar, wheat, dairy, caffeine and an assortment of chemicals. These may not only be toxic to the liver, kidneys and digestive system, but also highly allergenic. Food and chemical allergies can cause a long list of brain and nervous system abnormalities, including drowsiness, dizziness, dopiness, poor school performance, irritability and narcolepsy. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)is a frequent result of constantly eating what can best be termed "junk foods." These "foods" often deplete essential body nutrients, especially trace minerals like zinc (look for white spots or horizontal ridges on the nails), chromium, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and many others.

Study after study demonstrates that sugar consumption is, directly or indirectly, associated with poor health. Sugar hinders the body's immune system and predisposes people to infections and allergies. The shape, activity and number of white blood cells are adversely affected by heavy sugar consumption. Sugar is the single most underrated cause of immune impairment.

Dear Dr Rona:

I'm wondering what may be causing me to break out in recurring hives. Any suggestions for natural approaches? BS

Dear BS:

Hives are usually caused by anxiety, allergies or infections with parasites. Blood transfusions can often cause hives with consequent itching. The usual medical treatment is prescription of over-the-counter antihistamines. Studies on vitamin C have shown that, in very high doses, it has properties very similar to antihistamines. The only side effect is loose bowel movements or diarrhea if the dose taken is too high for the given individual. The best way to take this supplement is in crystalline powder form mixed with juice. You can start by taking about a quarter teaspoon four times daily, or just to the level tolerated by your bowel. This is referred to as taking vitamin C "to bowel tolerance" and is described in all of Dr Linus Pauling's books. If vitamin C, even in low doses, irritates your stomach, use a buffered form like calcium ascorbate or sodium ascorbate.

Dear Dr Rona:

I am bothered by gas which is very severe at night. I have been to my doctor who sent me for X-rays and ultra-sounds which showed nothing wrong with my stomach. No matter what I eat I have to walk the floor at night belching. I hope you can help me. JS

Dear JS:

Gas attacks in otherwise healthy people are the result of a bowel flora imbalance. Incompletely digested protein due to insufficient stomach acid, weak pancreatic digestion, candida, allergies and an imbalance between friendly and potentially pathogenic bacteria may all have something to do with this.

You may need a number of things to re-establish balance, including a bowel detoxification program (juice fasting, psyllium seed husks and powder, flax seed oil, bentonite, and so on). Proper food combining or a candida control diet may also help resolve the bloating. It would certainly do no harm to first try following some simple food combining rules. Do not eat foods like meats, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, products in the same meal as starches like breads, potatoes, crackers, pasta and cereals. Always eat raw fruit alone, or about half an hour before a meal, to prevent maldigestion. Cooked fruit is okay to eat during or after a meal.

If your gas problems are severe, cut out fruits entirely for a few weeks and increase high protein foods. When symptoms improve, re-introduce one or two servings of cooked fruits daily. See what your body allows you to have with respect to fruits. If eliminating fruit makes no difference, stop all grains (breads, pastas, cereals, brans) for about two weeks and note any changes.

Things that may also be helpful to those suffering from gas and abdominal bloating include supplementing with betaine or glutamic acid hydrochloride, plant enzymes, bromelain, Swedish bitters, pancreatic digestive enzymes, lactobacillus acidophilus, activated charcoal tablets, peppermint oil capsules and aloe vera juice.

Dr Rona will personally reply to your letter when it is accompanied by a cheque for $20, payable to him, sent c/o alive Magazine 7436 Fraser Park Dr Burnaby BC V5J 5B9. Those with Internet access can visit Dr Rona at http://www.selene.com/healthlink/zpr/

Recommended Reading:

Childhood Illness and the Allergy Connection

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by Z. Rona 256pp (sc) $18.95

Canadian Health Reform Products Ltd.

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By Zoltan Rona

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