1. Testosterone levels in men can ease MS

    Hormonal help for men with MS

    Multiple sclerosis is misery on a grand scale, affecting everything from how you walk and move to how you think. But there's one weapon men can use to fight back -- a substance so natural, it's already in your body right now.

    It's your hormones.

    Specifically, the testosterone levels in men-- and new research on 100 men with this disease confirms that higher levels of "manly" hormones can lower your risk of some of the disease's worst symptoms.

    The most important one is disability. If you're fighting MS yourself, you probably know all too well how the disease can not only keep you from work, it can also keep you from doing all the things you love.

    But as the new study shows, higher testosterone levels in men could  mean a lower risk of overall disability.

    So far so good, and the benefits aren't just physical. They're also mental, high testosterone levels in men mean a lower risk of declines in cognitive function over two years.

    It's not just testosterone, and it's not just men. It's not even limited to MS -- because hormones often play a key role in all the major autoimmune diseases.

    But let's stick to MS today. Along with testosterone, the disease can be triggered or worsened by low levels of thyroid, IGF-1, estrogen, and the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA.

    In some cases, supplements can increase your levels of these hormones, but don't take this on as a "do-it-yourself" project. You need to work with a holistic doctor who can test your hormone levels and determine which ones you may need and the best ways to increase those levels.

    Also, while hormones are often a piece of the MS puzzle, they're often just that: a piece. In some cases, they play a major role. In others, they can play little to no role at all.

    Other suspects in MS include exposure to metals, other toxins as well as chronic infection, stress, and vitamin D deficiency. But I've found that some of the biggest triggers of autoimmune diseases in general and MS in particular are on your plate and in your lunchbox.

    They're food allergies, especially sensitivities to the chemicals and preservatives used in processed foods. Eliminate them and stick to a diet of natural whole foods, and your symptoms will likely ease.

    The same holistic doctor who can work with you on those hormone tests I mentioned earlier can also test you for food sensitivities and help develop a diet that will put your disease into remission and keep it there.

    I'm proud to say I've helped plenty of MS patients here in my clinic. If you're in Southern California, I can help you, too. Contact my office for an appointment.

  2. The ancient cure for stress and anxiety

    Beat stress, anxiety and more naturally

    Ashwagandha. The name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it?

    But it's a name worth learning to pronounce -- because ashwagandha is a time-tested remedy for stress and anxiety. And if centuries of real-world results aren't enough to impress you, just check out the latest cutting-edge science.

    In a gold-standard study, this ancient Indian remedy helped ease stress and anxiety by just about every possible measure.

    For starters, patients who took ashwagandha supplements for 60 days had 28 percent lower levels of cortisol, the so-called "stress hormone."

    In small amounts, cortisol can actually be helpful. But when you're battling chronic stress and anxiety, you end up overwhelmed by it -- and that's one of the reasons stress can leave you just plain worn out.

    But that didn't happen to the patients given the ashwagandha.

    They took no less than three separate psychological tests that measure stress, anxiety, and overall wellbeing. All three work the same way: The higher the score, the more stressed-out you are.

    And their scores fell on all three.

    In two of the tests -- the General Health Questionnaire-28 and the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale -- the volunteers who took the extract saw their scores plunge by a whopping 72 percent.

    And in a third test, the Perceived Stress Scale, their scores fell by an average of 44 percent, according to the study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine.

    With numbers like that, stress and anxiety doesn't stand a chance.

    But the benefits didn't end there. The volunteers who took the extract also enjoyed better sleep, increased productivity, more relaxation, and even an increase in elusive mental calmness.

    It's like an all-around get-well supplement, and that's still not all ashwagandha can do for you. It's a powerful adaptogen that can help fight fatigue, reduce inflammation, improve memory, and limit the damaging effects of aging.

    It can even help ease jet lag.

    There are so many benefits that it sounds a little hard to believe -- but in many cases, it all comes down to that stress hormone, cortisol. Many of these conditions and more are related to, or even caused by, the hormonal imbalances that strike when your levels of stress hormones shoot up.

    And in today's high-strung world, many people are practically drowning in cortisol.

    It's ironic, then, that the best answer for the stress of modern life is an ancient remedy that's been part of India's Ayurvedic tradition for centuries.

    If you're interested in taking an ashwagandha supplement yourself, don't just choose the first one you see. Check the label for its level of withanolides, the active ingredient found in the root.

    The extract in the newest study contained 5 percent withanolides. That's a good start -- but you can do better. The ashwagandha extracts I recommend are at least 8 percent withanolides.

    And along with taking this ancient remedy for stress and anxiety, I've got two other highly effective stress-beaters that are even older: time with family, and prayer.

    I know they're simple. I know they're basic. And I know in some quarters they're not exactly fashionable.

    But they work -- and you can often feel the effects of these stress-beaters immediately.

  3. Yoga can bring fibro relief

    Researchers say light stretching can do what a pharmacy full of drugs often cannot: Bring real relief to women suffering from fibromyalgia, the mystifying and often debilitating pain condition.

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