SLEEP (OR LACK OF) AND AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

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Sleep-FB

The inability to achieve a refreshing night’s sleep is often one of the chief complaints of someone with an autoimmune disease. No matter how fatigued you become, it just seems as if your body has lost its ability to drift off into a peaceful and restorative nights rest.

Sound refreshing sleep depends on your body’s ability to digest proteins and release essential amino acids. One of the major regulators of the sleep-wake cycle is the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan.
Tryptophan>Serotonin>Melatonin

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Symptoms of low melatonin include:

• Insomnia
• Difficulty getting to sleep
• Difficulty falling back to sleep when awakened during the night
• Light sleeper/easy waking during the night
• Early morning awakening
• Un-refreshing sleep

In a previous study posted we showed that lupus patients lack all of the essential amino acids, including tryptophan. A lack of tryptophan would then lead to low melatonin.

In the following study the researchers found that patients with lupus had significantly lower levels of melatonin in comparison to healthy women.

Decreased daily melatonin levels in women with systemic lupus erythematosus- A short report
Dobromir Tanev2, Georgi Kirilov1

“SLE patient showed significantly lower daily melatonin levels in comparison to healthy controls…”

 

Multiple sclerosis patients also lack the essential amino acid tryptophan. The lack of tryptophan would then lead to a lack of melatonin. Researchers in the following study found that patients with multiple sclerosis had “significantly” decreased levels of melatonin (6-SMT).

Melatonin dysregulation, sleep disturbances and fatigue in multiple sclerosis.
Melamud, L., D. Golan, R. Luboshitzky, I. Lavi, A. Miller. 2012. J Neurol Sci. 2012 Mar 15;314(1-2):37-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2011.11.003. Epub 2011 Dec 1.

“Sleep disruption and fatigue are common in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Melatonin is one of the major regulators of sleep-wake cycle…MS patients demonstrated significantly decreased levels of 6-SMT… Sleep Efficiency was significantly lower in the MS group compared to controls.

 

Research has found that patients with fibromyalgia also lack the enzymes necessary to digest proteins (protease). Therefore, fibromyalgia patients also lack essential amino acids. For instance, in the following study published in the Journal of Rheumatology the researchers found that patients with fibromyalgia lacked the essential amino acids tryptophan and histidine.

Plasma tryptophan and other amino acids in primary fibromyalgia: a controlled study.
Yunus M.B., J.W. Dailey, J.C. Aldag, A.T. Masi, P.C. Jobe. 1992. J Rheumatol Jan;19(1):90-4.

”…Transport ratio of tryptophan was found to be significantly decreased in PF compared with the control group…Plasma tryptophan level was lower in PF…than in healthy controls… Additionally, plasma histidine…levels were found to be significantly…lower in patients with PF than in controls.”

 

The lack of tryptophan will then lead to a lack of melatonin in patients with fibromyalgia. In the following study the researchers found that fibromyalgia patients had a 31% lower nocturnal melatonin (MT) secretion than healthy subjects.

Fibromyalgia—a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.
Wikner, J., U. Hirsch, L. Wetterberg, S. Röjdmark. 1998. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 49(2):179-83.

“The FMS patients had a 31% lower MT secretion than healthy subjects during the hours of darkness.”

 

Research has discovered that patients with rheumatoid arthritis also have difficulty falling asleep and wake frequently once they do get to sleep.

APSS: Insomnia Hits Women with RA

 

The essential amino acid tryptophan is also lacking in rheumatoid arthritis patients, as the following study confirms.

Rheumatol Rehabil. 1978 Nov;17(4):227-232.
Metabolic abnormalities of tryptophan and nicotinic acid in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
Labadarios D, McKenzie DY, Dickerson JW, Parke DV.

“…The mean plasma total tryptophan concentration of 13 long-standing rheumatoid arthritis patients was found to be lower than that of seven nonrheumatoid control subjects, but the plasma nicotinic acid concentration was unchanged…”

 

And finally, following is a link to information on the association research has recently made to diabetes and low melatonin.

Study Suggests Link Between Hormone Melatonin and Type 2 Diabetes

 

Take Home Message:

The essential amino acid tryptophan is lacking in patients with autoimmune disease. Tryptophan is needed to produce the hormone melatonin. Melatonin is one of the major regulators of the sleep-wake cycle. The lack of melatonin in patients with autoimmune disease would explain the inability of autoimmune disease patients to achieve sound refreshing sleep.

 

 

 

 

APSS: Insomnia Hits Women with RA

www.medpagetoday.com

SEATTLE — Seven women in 10 who have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had difficulty falling asleep and woke frequently once they did get to sleep, researchers said here.

 

3 thoughts on “SLEEP (OR LACK OF) AND AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE

  1. I take melatonin to sleep but it doesnt end up helping until THE NEXT DAY and I will sleep all day long 🙁 Which is why I dont take it anymore. i really need some sleep but not in the middle of the day! Do I need to take something else along with melatonin?

    1. Hi Lee Ann,

      Actually, we don’t recommend supplements of any kind for patients with autoimmune disease. We explain in our book that the nutrients that are lacking in autoimmune disease patients are lacking due to an inability to properly metabolize the nutrients. Taking nutrients into your body that aren’t being properly metabolized will contribute to the disease process.

      Here is a quote on melatonin from the link below.
      “In spite of melatonin’s antioxidant properties, it has demonstrated a tendency to stimulate inflammation in patients with certain autoimmune disorders. A study published in the October 2007 issue of “British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology” demonstrated that rheumatoid arthritis actually worsened in study subjects who took melatonin.”

      Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/435769-why-cant-i-take-melatonin-because-i-have-an-autoimmune-disease/#ixzz2n0RooKeh

      The lack of melatonin in patients with autoimmune disease is due to an inability to properly digest proteins. Patients with autoimmune disease lack the enzymes that digest proteins. If you focus on healing your GI tract and restoring these enzymes through diet, your body will then be able to produce adequate amounts of melatonin, without the risk of harmful side effects. The entire last section our book is devoted to restoring these enzymes through diet.

      Also, we are posting additional research on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/autoimmunethecauseandthecure if you would like to check it out.

      Take Care,
      Kristin

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