Narcolepsy treatment with natural supplements, herbs, vitamins, alternative
Feb 17 2016 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by intermittent, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. There are many natural supplements that induce alertness and it may worth a trial to see if any of them work for you, if your doctor approves.
Narcolepsy is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and irresistible sleep attacks that occur during the activities of daily living. Falling asleep in the middle of essential activities such as driving or crossing the street may lead to life-threatening situations.
Narcolepsy vitamin and supplements
Some of the natural supplements you can try for narcolepsy include Mind Power Rx mental enhancement formula, Eyesight Rx visual enhancer, carnitine, alpha lipoic acid, acetyl-l carnitine, DMAE, Passion Rx (if you also wish to enhance libido), SAM-e used for depression, and tyrosine amino acid.
PLoS One. 2013. Effects of oral L-carnitine administration in narcolepsy patients: a randomized, double-blind, cross-over and placebo-controlled trial. Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness, cataplexy, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep abnormalities. To assess the efficacy of oral L-carnitine for the treatment of narcolepsy, we performed a clinical trial administering L-carnitine (510 mg/day) to patients with the disease. The study design was a randomized, double-blind, cross-over and placebo-controlled trial. Thirty narcolepsy patients were enrolled in our study. Two patients were withdrawn and 28 patients were included in the statistical analysis (15 males and 13 females). L-carnitine treatment significantly improved the total time for dozing off during the daytime, calculated from the sleep logs, compared with that of placebo-treated periods. L-carnitine efficiently increased serum acylcarnitine levels, and reduced serum triglycerides concentration. Differences in the Japanese version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36) vitality and mental health subscales did not reach statistical significance between L-carnitine and placebo. This study suggests that oral L-carnitine can be effective in reducing excessive daytime sleepiness in narcolepsy patients.
Q. I take a power
mixed called integrative therapeutics end fatigue daily energy enfusion. I have
the list of ingredients below. I have anxiety, depression but most of time tired
and not really happy. I function not like i used to. I had my first panic attack
4 years ago and never been the same. I have sleep apnea and use a machine. I
take klonapin half of .5mg. for night time. I do take Nuvigil twice a week. it
makes me feel great, but cant take it everyday. Can you tell me is there
something safe that would act like Nuvigil.
A. Armodafinil is used to treat excessive sleepiness caused by narcolepsy or shift work sleep disorder. You could try some of the herbal and nutritional products mentioned above in consultation with your doctor since you are on medications.
Hello, I searched all your website and could not find anything on natural
treatment of narcolepsy. Is this because it is a much more rare condition than
insomnia? Can you give me a steer to some detailed info on narcolepsy.
I have not seen specific studies regarding narcolepsy and supplements, but many supplements cause alertness including Mind Power Rx, Eyesight Rx, ginseng, tongkat ali, SAM-e, etc.
If you suffer from narcolepsy, consider eating small meals throughout the day that include a good amount of protein, and eat minimal amounts of carbohydrates such as potatoes, pasta, and sugar during the day. A low-carbohydrate diet leads to modest improvements in daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy.
Three additional symptoms are typically associated with narcolepsy: cataplexy (short-lived intermittent muscle weakness), hypnogogic and hypnopompic hallucinations (hallucinations while falling asleep or waking), and sleep paralysis (paralysis while falling asleep or waking). Narcolepsy usually begins when a person is in their teens or early twenties.
Stimulants and antidepressants are used to treat narcolepsy and subsequent cataplexy. Although it has been linked with blood pressure management and depression, the genesis of narcolepsy is unknown. However, recent advances suggest the possibility of a cure.
Lancet Neurol. 2013. Pitolisant versus placebo or modafinil in patients with narcolepsy: a double-blind, randomised trial. We recorded 22 adverse events with pitolisant, 26 with modafinil, and ten with placebo. Six severe adverse events were treatment-related: one with pitolisant (abdominal discomfort) and five with modafinil (abdominal pain, abnormal behaviour, amphetamine-like withdrawal symptoms, lymphoadenopathy, and inner ear disorders). Pitolisant at doses up to 40 mg was efficacious on EDS compared with placebo and well tolerated compared with modafinil. If these findings are substantiated in further studies, pitolisant could offer a new treatment option for patients with narcolepsy.
Cause of narcolepsy
The cause of narcolepsy is not very clear. Genetic factors may be involved, and sever stress could also be a factor. Some claim that another cause could be a virus trigger.
Q. I have a
16-yr-old son with narcolepsy. I've read just a bit about supplementing with
high doses of tyrosine (one article said 100 mg per kg; I suppose daily. I
wonder if you have readers with or have experience with treating narcolepsy with
this particular amino acid. I'd be grateful for any info.
A. We have not had feedback regarding the use of tyrosine for narcolepsy, but the dosage appears to be very high and could lead to heart palpitations and anxiety. We suggest starting with 200 mg a day and basing future dosage on initial response. Have your doctor's approval first.
I tried 3 mg of Yohimbe bark for narcolepsy. It worked, but not as well as I would like, probably the dose should have been 4 mg. However 5 hours later my blood pressure was 174/101. I checked it twice. This is unacceptable. End of experiment. Pure Yohimbine HCl does not do anything for daytime sleepiness; however yohimbe bark does work. I have noticed before that yohimbe bark works. Conclusion: Something in yohimbe bark besides yohimbine is having the desired effect. Some separational chemistry is in order to find what that substance is and separate it from yohimbine. In the literature I note that some people get good results for narcolepsy with 4 to 6 mg of yohimbine. But not all narcolepsy is the same. When I was younger a neurologist put me on d-amphetamine. No matter how much of it I took, I could fall asleep on it. If the dose was high enough, all I got out of it was a headache. End of that route. I have not tried anything since until yohimbe. Also with age the narcolepsy moderated so it was no longer a major concern.
There is a vast amount of information regarding the etiology of narcolepsy. I recommend Stanford’s FAQ and Google hypocretin and orexin and narcolepsy. It isn’t that much of a mystery. Also, as the reason narcoleptics fall asleep is secondary to a lack of deep sleep at night, while potatoes may not be the best breakfast or lunch, they may be very helpful in inducing sleep and helping a person to sustain sleep longer at night.
Dr. any suggestions / recommendations on natural supplements for someone suffering from Idiopathic hypersomnia / Narcolepsy w/o Cataplexy/ After decades of struggle, finally officially diagnosed in 2005 and have gone through all the “medications”: Provigil, Nuvigil, Xyrem, Concerta, Adderall IR, Adderall XR, Wellbutrin, Lexapro, Effexor, Klonopin, Lunesta, Celexa, Ambien, etc. the only real relief for the Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS is my worst symptom) was Adderall XR, but after 6-7months, quickly built up a tolerance and when I took “off” days, the dark depression, exhaustion, and irritable mood started taking a toll on my wife and kids…. At times, became suicidal from the Adderall “Crash” – not taking anything now, so struggling to stay awake during the day and nocturnal sleep is terrible like always.