Does anyone know if a paleo diet/lifestyle can help with sleep apnea?
Archaea hit in on the head. Having done EEG studies on many many people who have come in for sleep apnea, 95% were obese with other poor health factors.
There is a CNS component to sleep apnea and a physical structure component as well. Paleo/Primal diets "reorganize' your neurotransmitter supplies since you are not poisoning your body with HFCS, aspartame and other harmful agents that leech on your CNS messengers.
The physical structure component is simply when you do not have enough strength/musucle tone in the soft tissue before, in, and after your wind pipe. Lack of muscle tone, means stenosis, means no air coming through. A quick google search suggests that there are singing exercises that help people develop this pathway of muscles. And, if one is overweight, one could easily see that dropping body weight would take compression away from in/around the larynx area.
The other physical factors are when there are upper respiratory infections, congestion, and other inflammation type situations that are caused by a host of SAD infiltrates.
So, absolutely, Paleo/Primal should help with Sleep Apnea.
Good question. I don't know for sure and have never heard any testimonials, but on a purely theoretical basis I'm guessing there's a chance it could improve somewhat. Excess body fat is often an important factor in sleep apnea, and paleo can certainly help reduce that (overweight people with sleep apnea tend to improve once they lose weight). If there is an inflammatory component as well, such as inflammation in the mouth or throat tissue restricting air flow (just speculating), that should be reduced by paleo too. I'm just thinking aloud here, not really sure...
I would imagine that losing weight in any capacity would help with sleep apnea. I certainly know people this was this case for. On the other hand I know one Paleo eater in excellent shape that has the worst sleep apnea I have ever seen! The doctors have told him it is due to a genetic defect. I don't know what the truth behind this is but it seems likely there are many factors that could contribute to sleep apnea. I imagine being healthy is the first step to getting over this condition.
For those of you who are otherwise healthy and not overweight I recommend the book "Close Your Mouth." by Patrick McKeown. I also recommend it if your are not healthy and also overweight.
I just stumbled on this lecture on sleep and vitamin D3 that I posted in this thread: http://paleohacks.com/questions/119398/stasha-gominak-on-sleep-and-vitamin-d3#axzz1uiTaSf00
Anecdotally me, and many of my VLC diabetic buddies have found that our snoring spontaneously improves on a ketogenic diet. On 90g of carbs I snore like a pig (and am ashamed to fall asleep on an aeroplane), on <30g and sleep like a (very quiet) kitten.
I have no idea why this might be, other than maybe a sudden decrease in inflammation.