Mr. Raj is 40 years old, the delivery head of a Sleep Apnea and Nutritional DeficienciesSleep Apnea and Nutritional DeficiencieMNC and has a beautiful family. With loved and trusted people surrounding him, he should rest well at night. However, he doesn’t rest well on most nights. He snores loudly and at times even wakes up to take heavy gasps of breath. His wife has a hard time with his disturbed sleeping and his children constantly make fun of his day-time sleeping habit. His colleagues at the office constantly have to help him get through the day without forgetting his phone, wallet and other important things.

All the people who think know him well don’t actually know that he is suffering from sleep apnea. In fact majority of people who face this problem are unaware that they are suffering from Sleep Apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a condition where the person’s breathing is interrupted, as they sleep, for several seconds and multiple times at night. It causes the upper airway of the lungs to get blocked. This leads to an oxygen deficit in the body and can potentially pave the way to life threatening conditions of heart problems and cardiovascular diseases.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud persistent snoring- Do note that all snoring is not sleep apnea. In this condition, the person has to keep snoring loudly just to be able to breathe and open up their upper air pathway
  • Restless Sleep with witnessed pauses in breathing
  • Choking or gasping for air during sleep
  • Early morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime fatigue and sleeping
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Depression or Irritability

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Nutritional Deficiencies

The typical treatment for sleep apnea is often administered by a variety of nasal, oral or combined devices that assist in breathing called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or CPAP. Despite its effectiveness, many are not comfortable with it and neither does it address the actual problem.

However, nutrition is the most potent key to unlock the problem of Sleep Apnea. There are several studies that link nutritional deficiencies as the prime cause for this disorder. Here are some of them:

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is more than just a vitamin, it’s a hormone and an important neurotransmitter that resides in the brainstem nuclei that impact the stages of sleep. Besides this, studies also indicate that people who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea have low levels of Vitamin D.

Studies have found that lack of oxygen associated with sleep apnea stimulates inflammatory pathways. Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation in the body by suppressing inflammatory molecules. In addition to this, it also shown to improve muscle function of the airway thereby opening up the lungs and making it easier to breathe.


With sleep apnea it becomes difficult for the body to counteract oxidative stress and this in turn leads to excessive buildup of free radicals. The decrease in antioxidant levels such as Vitamin E, beta carotene and carotenoids lead to a condition called endothelial dysfunction in which the blood vessels do not relax or contract properly causing a poor oxygen supply.

Sleep Apnea patients responded well to N-Acetyl Cysteine supplements which is an important precursor to an antioxidant called Glutathione. You can also opt for natural food sources to boost antioxidant supply in your body.

3. Minerals

Trace minerals like copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese, and selenium are important group of nutrients that are essential for your body. They serve as critical cofactors for the major antioxidant enzymes. Also, they are important for repairing cellular damage caused by hypoxia or lack of oxygen in sleep apnea.

4. Omega 3 Fatty Acid

The omega 3 fatty acids called docosahexaenoic acid  or DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA is a major component of neural tissues and 50% of them contribute to the constitution of brain cells. A clinical trial conducted at St. Luke Hospital in Kansas City during 2007 has proven a positive link between low omega-3 fatty acids and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid can be a contributing factor to sleep disordered breathing, inflammation, autonomic dysfunction which are the major symptoms of Sleep Apnea. Since your body is unable to synthesize Omega-3 Fatty Acids on its own, it gives you reason enough to include it in your diet.

5. Other Vitamins

Vitamin C and Vitamin E are other vitamins that along with antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress in the body. It improves the endothelial function and blood vessel health that is very vital in the body, especially for Sleep Apnea patients.

Apart from this, Vitamin A is also very crucial. Several Sleep Apnea patients are shown to have a deficiency in Vitamin A or Retinol. Retinol acts against the growth of vascular smooth muscle or clogging of blood vessels, thereby improving oxygen supply.

Another Vitamin, Thiamine or B1 is known to affect the nervous system and even breathing. People suffering from Sleep Apnea showed good signs of improvement when they added more of these vitamins in their diet.

The right cure for Sleep Apnea can be complicated. But, the best thing you can do is to eat healthy and clean with the right balance of nutrients, especially your Vitamins and Minerals. It can help a great deal to reverse Sleep Apnea and also improve your overall well-being. Nutritional Deficiency should be one of the prime things you need to look at have a peaceful night’s sleep.


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