Over-the-counter sleep aids linked to dementia

It’s been a staple of your medicine cabinet for years. Benadryl promises that taking just two pills every six hours means you’ll be ready when the pollen season starts.

However, it turns out that Benadryl has been doing a lot more than clearing out your sinuses. University of Washington researchers just wrapped up a frightening study that followed 3,500 elderly patients for seven years, keeping track of people who took anticholinergic drugs.

Anticholinergic drugs are no stranger to controversy. These drugs contain diphenhydramine like Benadryl and the sleep aid Sominex, as well as drugs to treat everything from incontinence to depression.

Turns out that patients who took these drugs every day for at least three years saw their risk of dementia shoot through the roof. And it didn’t take very high doses to make their brains unravel.

Just 4 mg a day of Benadryl is enough to increase your risk of dementia — of course, if you follow the dosing instructions, you could be taking 60 to 70 times that amount.

The researchers say that they can’t PROVE these medications cause dementia. However, we’ve known for 40 years that people with Alzheimer’s disease have a massive shortage of acetylcholine, a key neurotransmitter.

Anticholinergic drugs prevent acetylcholine from doing its job. So, the link between anticholinergic drugs and Alzheimer’s is rather obvious. It’s also no secret that diphenhydramine has been linked to memory lapses, confusion and even potentially deadly falls.

Researchers are claiming that the damage from anticholinergic drugs can’t be reversed once you stop taking the pills — but that’s no reason to keep making it worse. Drugs like Benadryl aren’t exactly essential medicine — nobody NEEDS to take them and you can stop taking them today. Replace them with natural allergy fighters like butterbur.

You won’t just be protecting your brain — you’ll be giving yourself peace of mind.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Jonathan V. Wright
Editor
Nutrition & Healing

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Sources:

Over-the-counter sleep aids linked to dementia, medicalnewstoday.com

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