DEAR DR. GOTT: About two years ago, I started having difficulty sleeping. I could barely get two hours of sleep each night.
My doctor put me on a mild anti-depressant medication and gave me some sleeping pills. I was afraid to continue the sleeping pills for fear of them becoming an uncontrollable habit.
Someone told me to take 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in 8 ounces of water just before going to bed. It really works. I go to sleep readily and sleep much longer. Now, my question to you is, does the vinegar have a negative effect on my body or body parts?
DEAR READER: I have never heard of apple vinegar as a treatment for insomnia. However, this doesn't mean that it isn't effective and, as I am sure you have discovered, it is safe, cheap and free of side effects -- my criteria for a successful alternative therapy. Continue with the vinegar treatment. I welcome letters from other readers who have tried it.
To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Sleep/Wake Disorders." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092-0167. Be sure to mention the title.
DEAR DR. GOTT: There are services available for people with low incomes, such as Senior Services, but not for the wealthy, who can afford to pay $20 to $30 an hour for home health care. What services are there for middle-income people? Even providing a social worker who could coordinate and find services that the middle class could afford would be a start. I would like to see this addressed in your column and also by our government officials.
DEAR READER: I cannot specifically answer your question because the payment for home health services varies from state to state. Most communities have a Visiting Nurse Association that can supply nursing care, free in-home volunteers, hospice treatment for palliative care, social service input and help with methods to reduce or waive the costs of prescription medications, among other services.
Check with your local VNA. You may be surprised at the extent these organizations can assist the needy. In many instances, the VNAs perform astonishing levels of home care because their staffs are composed of truly dedicated professionals. I cannot credit them enough, and I thank them heartily for serving every elderly patient that I have referred to them.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I have read on numerous occasions the benefits some people experience by drinking grape juice mixed with Certo. My question to you is, will taking Certo over an extended period of time affect other medical problems? For instance, will it affect people taking blood thinners or thickeners?
DEAR READER: To my knowledge, pectin (Certo), a harmless product used in the making of jams and jellies, will not cause (or adversely affect) a person's health and will not interfere with the action of anticoagulant drugs.
Doctor Gott is a practicing physician and the author of the new book "Dr. Gott's No Flour, No Sugar Diet," available at most chain and independent bookstores.