1. Opioid painkillers linked to low testosterone levels

    Painkillers linked to sex problems

    One day, you're battling back pain. The next, it's everything from memory loss to physical weakness to erection problems and low testosterone levels.

    "Well, that's it," you might think to yourself. "I guess I'm just falling apart!"

    I can't tell you how often I've heard that from my own patients, especially first-timers who've come to me after getting nowhere with a mainstream doctor. And if you've ever felt that way yourself, I have some good news for you today: You're not falling apart.

    In fact, the problem may not even be you at all.

    It's your meds -- because the painkillers given for chronic conditions such as back pain can lead to a downward spiral of poor health, and new research shows how it can even ruin your sex life.

    Men who take opioid painkillers such as hydrocodone and oxycodone have a 50 percent higher risk of both low testosterone levels and bedroom problems, according to the study of 11,327 men with back pain.

    It doesn't take long before those risks kick in, either -- just three months of normal use. And for the highest doses (120 mg of morphine-equivalent drugs per day or more), those risks kick in almost immediately, according to the study in the journal Spine.

    But low testosterone levels and bedroom problems are risks you don't have to face yourself.

    In many cases, opioid painkillers aren't even necessary in the first place. I find that nondrug treatments such as acupuncture, natural anti-inflammatories, and cold laser can often bring real and lasting pain relief.

    (Prescription meds such as opioid painkillers kill more Americans than illegal drugs. Shocked? Click here to learn more.)

    And in the rare cases where opioid drugs are needed, they should be restricted to the lowest dose for the shortest period to prevent low testosterone-- a stopgap measure to manage severe pain while you and your doctor work on finding and correcting the cause of your pain.

    Of course, even if you take no painkillers at all, you could still find yourself battling low testosterone levels and everything that comes along with it -- including erection problems, memory loss, and general weakness.

    So if you're on one of these drugs and you feel like you're falling apart (or worse) don't worry, a holistic physician can put you back together with a natural testosterone replacement regimen. And if you're in the Southern California area, I can help -- because I happen to run one of the most complete hormone testing and treatment programs around.

    Contact my clinic at 855-DOC-MARK for more information or to make an appointment.

  2. Avoid the "new" aspirin

    Aspirin just isn't that sexy anymore.

    The one-time wonder drug -- Bayer even uses "wonderdrug.com" to promote its nonsensical aspirin myths -- has fallen on hard times as Americans turn to more powerful painkillers.

    Heck, if you can't get your hands on hydrocodone and oxycodone at this point, you're just not trying hard enough.

    Not that you should be taking those, either -- but I'll get to that in a moment.

    First, I want to tell you about Bayer's attempt to reclaim its share of the painkiller pie with a new version of aspirin being sold in a flashy purple package.

    It's called Bayer Advanced Aspirin, and it promises relief in half the time of the old stuff thanks to new "micro-particles" that enter the blood more quickly.

    Is it true? Who knows -- but it sounds like a gimmick more than anything else, like color-changing labels on beer cans that tell you when the brew is cold.

    Even the study Bayer conducted has the hokum-meter spinning like crazy: The company only tested its new aspirin on patients who had oral surgery -- specifically, a wisdom tooth extraction.

    In that study -- which wasn't published, by the way -- patients who took the old aspirin didn't get relief for 100 minutes, while those who got new and improved aspirin started to feel better within 16 minutes... and were enjoying significant relief in 49 minutes.

    But again, these are oral surgery patients recovering from a procedure that can leave you feeling like you've taken a Mike Tyson punch to the jaw -- not the typical customer suffering from arthritis or headaches trying to choose a painkiller from the dozens of choices on the shelf of the local Target.

    All they'll see is the new slogan, "Extra Strength Pain Relief. Twice As Fast" and assume it applies to all pain... when, in fact, it might not.

    But really, they don't need to be in that aisle in the first place -- because you can get real relief from pain without over-the-counter meds or even the powerful prescription drugs so many turn to these days.

    White willow bark, for example, is the original aspirin. It's so closely related that it shouldn't be used by anyone with aspirin sensitivities -- but it's a better choice for anyone seeking natural relief.

    And if your pain is being caused by inflammation, be sure to take a daily dose of fish oil -- one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatories.

    It's not new, or improved -- but it works just fine as is.

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