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Muscle Milk + Crap Diet = Sleep Apnea?


Ok. This is the tale of why I think I might have been misdiagnosed with sleep apnea because of an ingredient in muscle milk, a shitty diet, bad sleep habits, and sheer stupidity on my part. Bear with me, especially if youre in the health/medical field as it is a little lengthy, but still kinda interesting. And though I am expecting some opinions and suggestions, I still plan on following up with my doc and fess up all the SNAFUS along the way.

So it all started last year after a routine yearly physical and the subsequent blood work which came back with waaaay too much blood iron levels and really high red blood cell count. Kinda high blood preassure too from my heart having to pump this syrupy blood through my body. My doctor immediately ordered a sleep study saying that sleep was the time iron was processed from the body, and wanted to see what I was up to in slumberland.

When the day sleep study #1 came around, It was the worst night of my life (sleep-wise.) God, I had like 30 wires stuck to my head ,face and legs, a tube stuck in my nose with a mic and thermometer to measure my breathing and a bunch of other equipment stuck to everything but my balls. Needless to say, I was nervous as all hell. It took me 2 hours and 45 minutes to fall asleep that night.

Usually I fall asleep in 2 minutes flat, even in a car on roadtrips (as a passenger, not driver! haha.) And ask my wife. I sleep through a train wreck without a peep. Not this night though. So in the end, I woke up, feeling shitty as hell, and the sleep tech had what was kinda good news.

He said my O2 levels stayed above 93% the whole time, and breathing was obstructed too few times per hour which was not enough to warrant prescribing a CPAP machine (continuous positive air preassure thingy that one wears nightly as a mask that forces air into your nose at all times.) "BUT" he said, and it was a big but, "doctors dont always agree with sleep techs and prescribe CPAPs anyway."

And prescribe the doctor did. So it was time for sleep study #2, this time with a CPAP mask on, and since this time, I knew the drill, and was thinking, "F$@K it, the doctors already prescribing me this thing anyway," I fell asleep normally like I would have any other night. So I woke up that morning feeling exactly like I always did when I got enough sleep. None of this magical extra energy, alert, focused stuff the doc promised.

It was after that whole ordeal, and some research that I started putting it all together. I was sitting at work mixin up my "Collegiate" cookies and cream flavored Muscle Milk, when a word on the tub caught my eye. Lactoferrin. "Increase oxygen delivery," it read. Hmmm. Interesting. Now, I'm no rocket scientist (Yet,) but I know "ferrin" is some sort of latin for Iron.

So I jump online and start doing my virtual scientist thing and learn as much of this molecule as I could. Turns out the little bugger is a superstar at grabbing Iron in your diet and shuttling it to one's blood stream. Now Im not blaming it all on my two daily servings of MM per day (35%RDA of iron each), no siree. I also had the crappiest diet in my life.

On top of that I would have a huge bowl (about 3 cups) of either corn flakes (50% RDA Iron per cup) or frosted mini wheats (a whopping 90% RDA iron for every 1/2 cup.) God knows how much more iron I had throughout the rest of the day. All Im saying is, I think I was seriously O.D'ing on iron for like 6 months, and when my blood was saturated with it, it would thicken up to protect me.

Yeah, as a Colorado resident, I already had slightly more red blood cells than someone at sea level, plus playing around at the 12k ft. ski resorts every weekend probably didnt help my poor heart either.

As for the few obstructions I had in my first sleep study, I think that was just some phlegm. Yeah, I seem to have a problem with that, to this day. Now every night I go to bed, I make sure to clear my throat. Heck Im hocking these big nasty loogies all day long, and even when im awake they can cause respiratory obstruction if I dont clear it. But yeah. Definetly gonna bring this up to the doc because something has to be done.

As for the justification for prescribing a $4000 CPAP machine, they said I was aroused from my sleep like 90 times per hour. What do you expect when you got wires coming out the wazoo? That, and I was stupid and was doing the notorious ephedrine/caffeine stack at the time, and lied on the form where they asked if I had stimulants that day (I slept fine all the other days on it).

I didnt do EC in sleep study #2. Yup. I regreted that when I got the bill for the sleep study. Stupidest waste of money Ive ever done.

So it may sound like Im in denial, or something, but I truly believe this was all a botched diagnosis. Regardless, I made changes to my diet as soon as I realized what I was doing. Kicked the MM and the boxed cereals, quit the EC, and have dropped from 260 (weight I was then) to 240 today, and just started an aggresive diet to drop even more, as obesity is linked to sleep apnea.

I hope my blood work values improve, and by the time my follow-up comes March 14, I'll be alot leaner, and if the doc asks for it, I will put myself through another expensive-ass sleep study, clean this time, to see where my sleep health really stands.






im soooooo confused.


Ok. Where did I lose you? I guess I did assume people knew what I was talking about. Ma' bad.


Are you saying that the Muscle Milk cause you to have too much iron in your body, therefore you had problems sleeping and high blood pressure?

What you do about the iron problem?


Not so much that you 'lost me' as much as that you wrote a shit ton of information.

I bet you could bring it more to the point.

I just read a bit of what you wrote; it sounds interesting...but in the end; listen to your doctor and lay off muscle milk. It tastes great but is way too expensive for what it is.

Good luck!



Yep, yep. I think the lactoferrin helped me absorb too much iron (Which I was already eating alot of), which thickened up my blood. that on paper looked like I
wasnt breathing right at night so the doc thought thats why my blood got too thick.

The only thing I could do to get iron levels and red cell count back down was to donate blood, which they threw away anyway because it was too iron rich.

But yea. I quit eating shitty, kicked the muscle milk, and pending the results to the changes I made, I will listen to my doc.


Muscle milk was the biggest waste of money ever. So expensive and so useless, I'm still pissed to this day that I spent all my money cutting lawns on that shit in my early days, grrrrr.


Since I both work in a sleep lab, and have undergone multiple sleep studies, I may as well add my two cents here.

Yes, the configuration for a sleep study (the wires, tubes, belts, etc.) can be a bit disorienting and in some cases uncomfortable. Some patients handle it better than others.

Without knowing the specifics of your case, the doctor(s) may have been right in the clinical diagnosis of OSA. When the doctor says you were awakened 90 times per hour, what they're often referring to is something called the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) which is a calculation of the number of respiratory events you suffered divided by your total sleep time.

There are multiple factors which can cause sleep apnea. It's worth taking into account
one's anatomy (e.g. airway size, mandible placement, etc), and one's overall health.

Needless to say, your theory about MM contributing to sleep problems is an interesting one--although it may be a bit of a stretch (sorry).


Cool! Thanks for chiming in sleepy, I was hoping someone in the field would read this... Yeah my sleep-tech said I did not really have an excessive amount of respiratory events per hour of sleep. I think I just woke up a lot cause I was on the Ephedrine/Caffeine stack.

And I don't think the MM contributed to any sleep problems, I slept fine and woke up feeling great when I was responsible and went to bed on time. I think it just made me exhibit some symptoms of sleep apnea (thickening of the blood, high iron levels, high BP from thickened blood.)

Haha, and I see alot of guys complaining about the price of muscle Milk... LOL Have you guys seen the price of Metabolic Drive (I just bought a bunch)?!!! Granted I think it's alot better than MM. But yeah, some of these proteins can get pretty pricey!!!


For what it's worth, there's actually a few different measurements/calculations that are used to determine how much time one is awake during the course of a sleep study. Ultimately, the total time that an individual is awake is calculated and then there are calculations/measurements that are used as references (e.g. sleep efficiency).

Many of your arousals were probably non-respiratory related (liely b/c of the EC), but ultimately it's up to the physician reviewing the study to make such determinations.

Glad to have been of some help