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Natural Cure for Insomnia

Last Modified on Jul 15, 2014



Approval Ratings
YEA (5)

[YEA]  09/22/2013: Wendy from Westport, Ct: "I have been suffering from insomnia which really kicked in this summer. I think it is perimenopausal or hormonally based insomnia. The one remedy that has worked beautifully for me has been magnesium. I take 1 teaspoon of magnesium powder (the kind that dissolves in water) just before going to sleep and having been sleeping through the night. What a miracle it has been! If I wake up and need to use the bathroom, getting back to sleep takes only minutes. I tried taking magnesium earlier in the day and it didn't have the same effect. Taking it just before going to sleep is the perfect time.

Before I took magnesium, I would wake up at the slightest sound and then be awake for 2-3 hours.

I started at 1/2 teaspoon of magnesium poweder in 1/2 glass of warm water and have slowly worked my way up to 1 teaspoon because of the loose stools effect. I did get a series of stomach aches and a few rounds of diarrhea when I started taking magnesium but now I can tolerate larger and larger doses. It did take a few weeks to go from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon."

09/24/2013: Tom from Fort Worth, Texas replies: "Wendy: Thank you for that great post on the use of magnesium and insomnia. I have insomnia problems that herbals haven't seemed to help. (Worry about work I think.) But I'll try the mag at night as you recommended."
09/25/2013: Toourlady from Hayward, Ca replies: "There several forms of Magnesium. One of the most absorbable would be Mg Glycinate capsules, it does not have the laxative side effect."
10/01/2013: Wendy from Westport, Ct replies: "Thanks Tourlady89, I will try Mag Glycinate. Would be nice not to experience side effects from Magnesium! I have also recently tried magnesium oil but waiting around for the oil to absorb into the skin for 20 minutes isn't much fun!"
04/10/2014: Tim from Chicago, Illinois replies: "Liquid forms of magnesium chloride or magnesium citrate are great, and there is also a pill form of Magnesium Glycinate that's also very effective. Magnesium definitely helps to cure insomnia, that's for sure! Best, too, if you take small doses throughout the day, not just at night when you want to go to sleep. Take it throughout the day so it can build up in your system. A lot of times people (and people in general) with insomnia are deficient in magnesium."
04/11/2014: Kt from Usa replies: "Compelled to provide this warning: according to a nutrition almanac, high levels of magnesium can cause skeletal paralysis, respiratory depression, coma and death. Magnesium is generally well tolerated but there are exceptions and when in doubt, a physician should be consulted. Sometimes less is better."
04/16/2014: Gabrielle from Los Angeles, Ca replies: "Magnesium Chloride, liquid form 2 teaspoons 3 X a day. Magnesium Glycinate (tablets), and liquid Magnesium Citrate all have been very effective for me in helping me relax and having a good, sound night's sleep."

[BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS]  05/20/2013: Carmela from Cambridge, Ma: "I have an issue at night where if I wake up to go to the bathroom, I can't get back to sleep for exactly two hours, no matter what. Yes, 2 hours. I have timed it! I finally found something that works: Magnesium citrate. If I take a teaspoon at night, I can get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and get back to sleep almost immediately. The side effect of powdered magnesium is intense gas and stomach pain, which I have had on several occasions. However, the gas passes about 30 minutes after taking the magnesium. There is probably a "best" time to take magnesium, but I haven't figured it out yet. Sometimes I get stomach pain and sometimes I don't.

I tried Epsom salt foot bath a few nights ago (1 cup of ES in hot water and soaked my feet for an hour) and it relaxed me somewhat, but I didn't get the same deep state of relaxation the internal magnesium provides. I will next try magnesium chloride oil foot baths and report back. Hope this helps someone."

[YEA]  10/24/2010: Maria De Suecia from London, United Kingdom: "Oh my god! I have suffered ruthless episodes of insomnia the last 6 years. This has destroyed my life. As a result I had to withdraw from my PhD program, for example. I simply would not be able to sleep at all, for months at a time. Finally a doctor put me on a very sedating antidepressant. It made me sleep but made me drowsy all day and I lost my short term memory. I got off that 2 years ago and have since had poor sleep but I have slept for a few hours. Anyway, 2 weeks ago I got a new episode. I would lay awake for hours and when I finally began to dose off my body would jerk and twitch so I would wake up again. And so it went on the entire night.

Finally I googled "insomnia and twitching" and got thousands of hits saying "magnesium deficiency". One site in particular said "if you suffer from insomnia, body jerks and twitches, chest and back pain and cannot take deep breaths, then you should take magnesium. " So I read thousands of sites and found one particular brand of magnesium that seemed to help the best. I assume I cannot mention the brand here but it's a powder form and you must mix it with hot water. Given the severity of my insomnia I didn't think a mineral would ever do the trick, but what could I loose? So I ordered it as a last resort before going to the doctor to get sleeping pills. I am not kidding you, day 1 was better, day 2 even better and since day 3 I have slept like a rock for 8.5 hours straight. My chest and back pain are almost gone and I can breath properly.

I have read countless of anecdotes by people discussing insomnia and magnesium. It seems as if absorption is a big problem. Please don't give up if the first attempt doesn't work. Go to the health food store and ask for the brand that has the best absorption. If you do get a good intake of calcium you may be magnesium deficient and may do better on magnesium alone. Otherwise magnesium and calcium is recommended. Personally I take 800 mg/night. Google it! Given my severity of insomnia I am blown away that it all came down to a mineral. WOW!!!"

10/26/2010: Pam from Marlborough, Ct, Usa replies: "Hi, I have had trouble sleeping for quite a while, and also have the twitching problem so bad sometimes that I feel like I want to run around the block. It doesn't happen every night but, I would sure like to sleep like you are I am going to give it a try. Thanks Pam"
01/16/2011: Robert from Chicago, Il replies: "Magnesium that has the best absorption is magnesium citrate. Be sure to always check labels."
01/17/2011: Mike from Montreal, Quebec, Canada replies: "I have found this site for describing food with highest Magnesium content"
01/17/2011: Mike from Montreal, Quebec, Canada replies: "Maria, your post is exactly what this site is all about!!! I to have suffered from insomnia for many years and would have never guessed that it was magnesium related. That is why this site is so valuable for curing illnesses because it tends to promote the idea that "NATURAL PRODUCTS ARE THE BEST WAY TO CURE ALL MINOR ILLNESS THAT POTENTIALLY CAN LEAD TO IRREPARABLE SERIOUS ILLNESSES IN THE LONG RUN".

Thanks Earth Clinic since this is not the first illness I was able to treat just by reading from the experience of others. Perfect example how Prescription and Over The Counter Drugs once again has no place in the human body! You might Google to find out which food has the highest magnesium content and change your eating habit accordingly. Mike"

01/18/2011: Surulere from Bloomfield, Nj, Usa replies: "Maria, can you kindly email the name of the brand your are using to solve the insomnia issue. Surulere(at)gmail(dot)com"
01/18/2011: Zsaqwe from Brownsville, Texas, Usa replies: "Maria, what you describe is exactly how I had to live for 15 years. I hardly could cope with my two babies with that terrible insomnia. Please tell us what magnesium to take. There is many different magnesium. Which one? I found this info in the web.

So just what is the magnesium migraines connection? Researchers have been investigating the magnesium migraines connection because of magnesium's role in stabilizing blood vessels walls. Magnesium is also an important mineral when it comes to helping you get to sleep. Regular sleeping patterns are also very important to migraine sufferers. Magnesium also helps in protein synthesis, and keeps your bones strong and helps maintain normal nerve and muscle function. It was first suggested that a deficiency in magnesium could cause headaches over 70 years ago. It makes sense, because a lot of the things that cause the body to run short of magnesium also either trigger migraines or lower your resistance. For example alcohol, stress, and menstruation. Today we know that about half of the people who get migraines are also short of a certain type of magnesium (serum ionized). When faced with a migraine that won't respond to treatment, many headache specialists will give an injection of magnesium. You should be able to get benefits from long term (2-3 months or more) regular magnesium supplements.

The magnesium migraines link may make a big difference to many people. Certain types of magnesium are not well absorbed by the body. Too much magnesium, particularly the wrong kinds of magnesium, can cause diarrhea and simply make your mineral deficiency worse. Also, remember to take magnesium for at least 60-90 days to see if it makes a difference. If your body isn't absorbing magnesium well, try avoid these types of magnesium: Oxide, hydroxide, and chloride. Instead, look for magnesium types that end in "ate", particularly glycinate, but also gluconate, lactate and orotate.

Note: Very often two or more types of magnesium are combined, such as oxide and citrate. The best thing is to simply talk to your doctor and then try one kind and see how your body handles it. A note about calcium: Magnesium and calcium balance each other out in the body. If you have too much of one and not enough of another, it can cause problems. That's one reason why it's important not to take too much of one or the other. However, when taking magnesium for migraine don't buy a calcium/magnesium blend. If you're taking a calcium supplement, take it at another time of day. It can interfere with the benefits of the magnesium for migraine."

[YEA]  03/24/2011: Maria De Suecia from Stockholm/london, Sweden/uk replies: "Hi, I'm responding to those of you who had a question regarding which magnesium I was taking to treat insomnia. I posted this on 10/24/2010.

Insomnia DESTROYED my life, beginning 6 years ago. I had to drop out of one of the best PhD programs in the world in my field. Sleeping pills didn't even work. I was put on an antidepressant, just for the insomnia, that is normally given to Alzheimers patients in order to sedate and calm them down. It D*E*S*T*R*O*Y*E*D my life. And now look.

First let me sum up, 5 months on after my magnesium discovery, and I still sleep like a rock. But I've discovered an even better magnesium. Let me tell you the exact experience.

I initially began taking a regular pill form of "magnesium carbonate", and it clearly helped a lot but I would still wake up a few times with these awful hypnic jerks. I did this for a few days while I was waiting for my order of this magnesium powder that people rave about on various sites.

I can't reveal the brand name because I think it will be deleted by Earthclinic. I totally respect that since the non-commercial integrity of this site makes it so trustworthy. If I tell you the following, then you'll be able to track it down: this particular brand of magnesium is in "magnesium carbonate" form and was developed by a leading nutritional researcher named Peter Gillham. Now you can google that and find the name of the brand. I'll take a shot at revealing the name as I have found it so helpful and I hope that Earthclinic will post it to help people. It's called: Calm Natural.

I take the magnesium only, but they sell a calcium-magnesium blend as well.

So I got the order of this powder and I had done enough research to know that, unless you have an existing kidney or liver problem, it is pretty much impossible to overdose on magnesium. I was in a state of panic because I did not want this awful insomnia to keep wrecking my life, so the first night I took 1200 mg of this stuff. Fell alseep instantly. Not one hypnic jerk. Nothing. Slept! Slept! Slept! I took this dose every night without getting a loose stool (which is an indication that you take too much). Day 4 I woke up with loose stool. But I didn't flipping care, it's better than taking sleeping pills or not sleeping at all. But at this point I reduced the dose a bit, still slept like a baby.

I kept thinking that it must be too good to be true since sleeping pills had not even worked for my insomnia/hypnic jerks in the past. But oh no, I kept sleeping, adjusting the dose so that I would take just the amount that my stomach could handle - sometimes diarrhea and sometimes not. With time I needed less and less and after a few weeks I could even skip a few nights here and there.

Now to the other big discovery. I tried magnesium oil. EVEN BETTER! Some points on my experience with magnesium oil. 1) I am using a magnesium oil derived from the ancient Zechstein seabed (google it) - many brands of magnesium oil get their oil from this place. It's the gold standard source. 2) Magnsium oil is better since it does not go through your intestine you can apply as much as is needed without getting a loose stool. 3) I began using this in conjunction with drinking the magnesium powder, not risking insomnia. Bloody h***ll, this works wonders! 4) Initially I rubbed this stuff all over my body, 20 minutes before bedtime. One must be prepared that initially it feels as if you have been stung by a swarm of bees, but it gets better with time, believe me, like 4 weeks or so of applying it daily and it will no longer sting. I did this combo for 4 weeks, every single night. After 4 weeks my magnesium levels seemed to have been built up enough so I only needed to rub it on my belly before bedtime. 5) Yes, it's a bit oily, but again, I don't flipping care, I want to sleep after 6 years without sleeping.

So where am I now? I no longer drink the magnesium powder and fall alseep without a problem just by rubbing the magnesium oil on my belly. If I have a feeling that sleep is a bit more rocky I simply rub my entire body with the oil.

One point to be made here is that the magnesium has helped me with the hypnic jerks that prevented me from falling asleep. I would have these hypnic jerks, what felt like, one thousand times per night. They drove me crazy! Now they are GONE! GONE! GONE! 6 years of hell is gone!!! I don't know if magnesium helps with regular insomnia when you just lie awake starring, perhaps calcium in combination with magnesium is a better option then.

In treating my adrenal glands I began taking a high potency (OBSERVE, VERY IMPORTANT: HIGH POTENCY) vitamin B complex, which I noticed made me feel much much calmer in general. I still take that.

There are other minerals and vitamins that can cause insomnia. I read about that somewhere. I remember one of them being Folate."

05/24/2013: Bev from Fort Lauderdale, Fl replies: "Magnesium Oil is NOT oil -- but feels like it. I also hate the itchy feeling of this oil on my skin but I found that if I dilute it about 1/2 and 1/2 with water, there is no discomfort. I usually spray it on right after a shower -- in the shower. I don't apply it to my butt as I usually go and check my email (in the nude) while I'm waiting for it to dry.

Your skin will still feel a little "oily", but it will not stain your clothes."

[YEA]  07/10/2009: Anna from Dayton, OH: "I take two 200 or 250 mgs of magnesium every night to help me sleep. I have tried other products to help me sleep like phosphorus and melatonin. Phosporus is also very good but makes me too groggy when I wake up. Melatonin also makes me too groggy. I take Melatonin when I have had caffiene before bed and it knocks me out. I get the tablets and nibble the tiniest bit off of the edge and it works everytime but seems to be too strong for me and makes me tired during the day. For me magnesium is gentle and when I wake up I feel relaxed but not tired. We stayed overnight in New York City at my daughters boyfriends apt on a busy, noisy, avenue. I took my two magnesiums as usual but woke up in the middle of the night because of the terrible street noises. The next few nights I took 3 magnesiums (200 or 250mg's)and slept thru it all. At home I take two every night. Thank you so much for this website!! People helping People!! YaY people power!"

07/11/2009: R from Sarasota, FL, USA replies: "Can you please provide the form (citrate?) of magnesium you are taking? Thank you."

[YEA]  07/20/2006: Donna from Aspen, CO: "It makes me sleep great, just magnesium, without the calcium. My brother told me that magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant~ like valium!"

05/01/2009: Ankita from Toronto, Ontario replies: "Donna, Can you please tell me clearly how much magnesium You are taking (Day time and before bed time) I also have CFS and sleep problem.I recently started Amino acid chelated Calcium 360mg and Magnesium 180 mg at bed time and doesn't seem to be helping for my sleep."

Magnesium and Calcium

Approval Ratings
YEA (2)

[YEA]  08/29/2005: Karin from Arlington: "My sister has Fibro and was taking meds to sleep at night. I mentioned how well calcium makes a huge difference in how my husband and I sleep at night. She is hooked! She only takes her meds to sleep when she absolutley has too."

05/01/2009: Ankita from Toronto, Ontario replies: "Karin, Can you please tell me clearly how much calcium and magnesium your sister is taking (Day time and before bed time) I also have CFS and sleep problem. I recently started Amino acid chelated Calcium 360mg and Magnesium 180 mg at bed time and doesn't seem to be helping for my sleep."

[YEA]  SHERRI from RICHMOND, VA: "Take magnesium before bed time."

Magnesium Citrate

Approval Ratings
YEA (2)

[YEA]  07/14/2010: Stephanie from Chicago, Il: "For two years now, I've been taking 400mg of Magnesium Citrate every night before bed and I sleep like a baby! My boyfriend takes it too, completely relaxes you and makes it easier to fall and stay asleep. I read somewhere it is the most 'relaxing mineral' and people need higher amounts of it as we age as it becomes depleted with stress. Major side benefit--it also just happens to eliminate PMS symptoms, fyi. Oh, and migraines! Also, make sure you are drinking at least 4-6 glasses of water per day if you suffer from any ailments whatsoever as most people are chronically dehydrated and have no idea why their body is deteriorating with age. Aging is a process of dehydration!"

[YEA]  07/08/2007: Jann from Ocean, NJ: "A natural pharmacist once told me that everyone over the age of 50 shoud be taking 500mg. of magnesium CITRATE (3 capsules)before bedtime,& "they will sleep like a baby"! So my husband & I both tried it & we get 8 hrs. sleep each night! It took a few days to kick in, so dont give up.After a few months, I cut back to 320 mg (2 capsules) & it still works. Its been over a year already! I just love, love, love, your website! Thank you!!!!!!"

05/09/2013: Trudyg from Anon replies: "What about those of us with ibs/d who can't take magnesium? It's so easy to say take 400 mg, but even 50 mg and I'm on the toilet all night. I use the magnesium oil but too much of that and I'm out with the D, too."
05/09/2013: Mama To Many from Middle, Tennessee, Usa replies: "I find chamomile tea or Sleepytime tea before bed to reallly help when I am having trouble sleeping. I have read about a number of people using 5-HTP for sleep help.

Blackstrap Molasses has magnesium in it and is a food instead of a supplement. It might work better than a supplement. 1 T. At bedtime. My son is trying this for bruxism and if my husband takes it before bed after a long day working outside (and sweating a lot) he won't get leg cramps. My point is, it doesn't take a ton to get results.

Valerian is another herb some people use to help with insomia.

Hope you get some good sleep soon."

05/09/2013: Trudyg from Anon replies: "I will try the blackstrap molasses--have some, just didn't think about it. The sleepy time tea is good, but it makes me go to the bathroom so much, I just can't drink anything or I'm up 10 times. Thanks."
05/10/2013: Mama To Many from Middle, Tennessee, Usa replies: "Sleepy time tea does make me have to get up at night, too. But, if it is effective, you could make a sleepytime tincture, which would require a lot less liquid. You may be able to get some pre-make sleep tincture or your could make your own. One of my sons had terrible insomnia for a year and we made a sleep tincture that helped him a lot. Ray Comfort's book, Overcoming Insomnia was also helpful and humorous.

Here is the recipe for sleep tincture: equal parts of catnip, chamomile, passionflower, oatstraw and lemon balm. 1/4 part hops. Fill a glass jar with this. Cover the dry herbs with vodka. Let stand 2 weeks. Strain off herbs. Take 1 teaspoon in a little water at bedtime. You could even do this with a box of sleepytime tea. just put all the bags from the box in a jar and cover with vodka. (You can use glycerine if you want it alcohol free, it just won't be quite as strong. ) Let sit for two weeks and then remove tea bags. Take 1 teaspoon in a little water at bedtime. If you want it in a hurry, use the crock pot method. Place a towel in a crock pot. Place jar (I use a canning har) on towel. Fill crock pot with warm water to an inch below the top of the jar. Set crock pot on Low. Slow cook the tincture for 3 days. (You will have to keep adding water. I do not put a lid on the crock pot as the water gets a little too hot this way. ) Strain out the herbs. 1 teaspoon at bedtime.

Hope you find a good solution, soon!"

05/10/2013: An from Anon replies: "Hi, Let me know how your son gets on as my daughter has this night time teeth grinding and it's a struggle to get her to take bvits and CLO regularly. Thanks"
05/16/2013: Joy from Battleground, Wash replies: "I was just reading in the addiction section in earth clinic and they gave the remedy for teeth grinding in there."
04/16/2014: Jo from Nm replies: "Mg glycinate is least likely to cause diarrhea. I adjust the amt I take. Need at least 800 mg for restless leg and charley horse. Sometimes need another 400. If I get bound up, I switch to mg citrate. My husband takes the citrate, at least 1200 mg because his meds cause extreme constipation. Took Clark's for many years, and am thinking of finding it again."

Marjoram Oil

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  02/23/2009: Suz from Sshkosh, WI/USA: "Insomnia: Alright, I know I will catch grief for this so let me disclaim right away! Do not take essential oils undiluted. Okay, now that you all know that I know... Marjoram oil. Marjoram oil: about eight drops in a capsule will do. Awesome for headaches too."


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Melatonin Remedy for Insomnia

Melatonin supplements, taken as directed, are a popular natural remedy for sleeplessness. Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in the human body, helping to regulate the circadian (and thus sleep) rhythms.

09/16/2011: Brad from Shreveport, Louisiana: "2 things come right to my mind- Sleep Assure and Sleepy time tea. I have tried both and they both work well. Also, never take benadryl or anti- depressents before bed.. both can act as stimulates. I had a stroke in 20005 at 28 y/o. so anything I say or propose, is something I have already tried or experimented with."

[YEA]  06/28/2009: Jeremiah from San Diego, California: "I have found that Melatonin is extremely beneficial in helping me get to bed. This is on top of the Seroquel that I already take, which is dosed at 100mg. I usually start off with 3 mgs. of Melatonin, and if that doesn't help, I take another 3 mgs. (because the supplement that I take only comes in 3 mg. tablets).

The usual recommended dose of Melatonin to start with is 5 mgs., and then take it from there. This is a extremely effective supplement, and I would recommend it first before anything else."

[NAY]  01/24/2009: Melinda from Tucson, Arizona: "NAY- I have tried Melatonin and I did not find it to be a good alternative for insomnia. Firstly I am on a antidepressant-Lexapro, and I feel like Melatonin really makes my depression worse, and it's effectiveness was inconstant, one time I felt real drowsy and slept good, another time only slept a few hours then woke up again. My boyfriend's Mom also tried it and said it did not work for her either."

[WARNING!]  10/11/2009: Bob from Ohrid, Macedonia replies: "Cow brain is a major source of melatonin. Buyer beware!"
10/13/2010: Sherri from Hobart, Tasmania Australia replies: "To Bob I have never heard of cow brain, can u plz explain what it is :)"
[YEA]  07/26/2011: Sharon from Wesley Chapel, Fl replies: "l have taken melatonin for years for insomnia that came on during menopause. The first time l took it l took a large dose (5 tabs of 5 mg each). It took 3 days before l got a full nights sleep but it worked mostly. I was able to cut back to 10 mg a night after 3 days. The only times it didn't work were because l had drunk some kind of caffeinated beverage after 6 pm at night."
[SIDE EFFECTS]  05/02/2013: Trudyg from Waynesboro, Va replies: "I was on all sorts of pharmaceuticals to control chronic migraine for years, finally got off everything. Melatonin is a definite trigger for me--0.5mg and I'm vomiting, need drugs for migraine, can't see--if you have migraines, be careful."

[YEA]  02/29/2008: Cathy from Richmond Hill, Canada: "Insomnia: My kids have a hard time sleeping at night. I've struggled for about 10 years trying to put my ADHD girl to bed at night. The older she became, the worse it was, telling me to "get lost" when I came in the room at 11:00 p.m. She would just continue on the computer and ignore me. It was very depressing. I had to sleep so I would just go and leave her alone. Her dad didn't help much. Rescue remedy! melatonin! I bought the chewable kind and used to give it to her when I was totally exasperated at 10 or 11 p.m. Now I give it to her at 8 or 8:30 p.m. and now she jumps into bed by 9 or 9:30 p.m. What a miracle! Why did it take me so long to figure that one out? She was sleep deprived for many years!"

[YEA]  10/20/2005: Stephanie from NC: "Melatonin is WONDERFUL! My daughter (11 yrs.) has always had terrible problems going to sleep...until I started her on Melatonin. She takes 1 pill (300 mcg.) about 1-1/2 hrs. before bed and has had no trouble falling asleep since the first time she took Melatonin. Also have a 22 yr. old nephew who has had sleep problems for a few years. He takes a larger dose before bedtime - has been falling asleep at bedtime with no problems since his first dose. What a God-send!!!"

04/27/2011: Marion from Dublin, Ireland replies: "WARNING. Marion from Dublin, Ireland. I went to my local health shop to buy Melatonin and was told it was banned as there is some scientific research which suggests that it may cause thyroid cancer! Whether this is true or not I don't know but just to warn you to be careful and perhaps do your own research, just in case."

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DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.


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