June 2019 ExtraCare Newsletter

June 2019 ExtraCare Newsletter

June 2019
ExtraCare Newsletter

Will the gloom ever lift? I am longing to see the sun. My hope is that the solstice parade this weekend launches us into summer sunshine warmth. And, if my article on sleep makes you nod off, you can recover with my recent discovery, kombucha.

Sleep Part 2

A few months ago, I wrote an article titled Insomnia. I outlined the scope of the problem, touched on a few sleep hygiene points and briefly discussed medication therapy. I promised to write more, so, here goes.

Good, quality sleep has been shown to be important in every aspect of our health. Numerous studies have been published on the subject of sleep and health, I have chosen to touch on a few highlights….

The first report documenting the relationship between sleep duration and mortality risk was published more than 50 years ago. This first study, an analysis of data from the American Cancer Society’s first Cancer Prevention Study of more than one million US adults, found that increased mortality risk was associated with both short (6 hours or less) and long (9 hours or more) sleep duration. Since that time, many other studies have been published that support this finding.

Many studies have found associations between sleep duration and obesity with the most profound association in the younger age population.

Several studies have documented a relationship between insufficient sleep and diabetes risk. These studies are supported by laboratory findings that show that physiologic sleep loss is associated with diabetes risk factors, including insulin resistance and increased consumption of unhealthy foods. Physiologic studies also show that sleep loss can influence metabolism through changes in metabolic hormones, adipocyte function, and pancreatic beta-cell function.

Insufficient sleep is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Many studies have found that short sleep duration is associated with hypertension. A meta-analysis of prospective studies published in 2013 indicated that habitual short-sleep duration is associated with a 20% increased likelihood of hypertension, relative to normal sleep duration.  Other studies have supported this association, showing increased 24-hour blood pressure in short sleepers. Other studies have also shown short sleep to be associated with hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis risk. Regarding cardiovascular endpoints, there is some evidence that habitual short sleep increases likelihood of cardiovascular events but studies have not shown short sleep to be associated with increased cardiovascular mortality.

Many studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with poor mental health. Sleep disruptions are a common feature of many mental health disorders. Patients with mood disorders and anxiety disorders frequently experience short sleep duration. Sleep duration has also been identified as a suicide risk factor. In the general population, overall mental health has been identified as the leading predictor of self-reported insufficient sleep.
The recent position statement from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society makes the following recommendations…
Adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.
Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, and increased risk of death. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is also associated with impaired immune function, increased pain, impaired performance, increased errors, and greater risk of accidents.
Sleeping more than 9 hours per night on a regular basis may be appropriate for young adults, individuals recovering from sleep debt, and individuals with illnesses. For others, it is uncertain whether sleeping more than 9 hours per night is associated with health risk.
So there you have it. Sleep is important. For tips on how to get a better nights sleep, look back at my newsletter published in March 2019.

I promise more to come on the subject in future newsletters


I was in Oregon over spring break visiting colleges with my son when we stopped by a roadside food truck stand in Bend and I had the most delicious home brewed kombucha.

Prior to this, I thought I didn’t like the stuff but now I can’t get enough.

The process of preparing kombucha can vary but generally involves a double fermentation process wherein a SCOBY (a pancake-shaped symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is placed in a sweetened tea mixture and left to ferment at room temperature for 1-3 weeks, and then bottled for 1-2 weeks to contain released CO2 and encourage carbonation. From there, bottled kombucha is placed in a refrigerated environment to slow down the carbonation and fermentation processes.

In 2010 commercial kombucha was pulled from the shelves because of higher than acceptable alcohol levels in some bottles. It has now returned with a vengeance and new brands are jumping into the market regularly.

Because kombucha is a fermented food it should provide the health benefits of other fermented foods such as improved gut health, right?

Well, in theory this is true, but it turns out this is probably not the case.

In doing my research I learned that kombucha does contain high amounts of B vitamins and has been shown to decrease blood sugar levels in animal models. But because of the propensity for cross contamination with bacteria and fungi, non-pasteurized kombucha can be unsafe for immunocompromised patients. And, because of the high caffeine content it can actually exacerbate diarrhea and abdominal discomfort in patients. Also, alcoholics should avoid drinking kombucha because, if not prepared or stored properly, kombucha can contain up to 3% alcohol.

Animal and laboratory studies have shown benefits including decreased blood sugar, longevity, liver protection, anti-tumor effects, immune system stimulation, anti-oxidant effects and weight loss. However, there is NO evidence that these effects translate to humans.

So, there you have it.

I’m still going to drink it because it gives me energy (probably the caffeine effect) and I like the taste. I am, however, going to be much more careful when choosing my products and will probably avoid the homebrew 🙁
September 6, 2019 Uncategorized
Jeneva Escalera
About Jeneva Escalera