stress hormones

  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 secret ingredient in pork

    Chops, roast, ribs, sausage, bacon...

    I'm getting hungry just thinking about all the great ways to eat pork. But there's one form of pig that makes me lose my appetite every time -- and it's exactly what people eat the most of: pork from factory farms.

    Factory farmed animals are raised and slaughtered in filthy conditions, which is one reason for all the contaminated meat scares in recent years. And, of course, the only reason the animals themselves don't drop dead is because they're pumped full of antibiotics -- drugs that often end up in your meat.

    But there's one more reason to skip out on this stuff: Factory pork contains a drug so dangerous it's been killing pigs like crazy.

    Ractopamine hydrochloride is a beta agonist that mimics stress hormones. It leads to bigger pigs -- but it also leads to deader pigs: Some 218,000 have been killed by the drug in a little more than a decade.

    That number should be even higher, except plenty of pigs about to drop dead of ractopamine overdose -- including pigs so sick they can't even walk on their own -- are quickly slaughtered first.

    And then, they're shipped off to your local supermarket...despite the fact that low doses of the drug can remain in the meat.

    The feds aren't too concerned. They claim a little ractopamine hydrochloride never hurt anyone. But in reality, there's not a whole lot of data on what low-but-steady doses of the drug does to humans.

    The only human study submitted by the drug's maker involved just six people -- and one found his heart racing so bad he dropped out.

    Here's the only thing you need to know about this drug: It's banned around the world. It's even banned in China, which doesn't exactly have the best reputation when it comes to food safety.

    Last year, Chinese officials arrested a bunch of farmers caught giving the drug to their pigs.

    But here in the U.S., you can get your own dose of ractopamine tonight if Shake-n-Bake is on the menu, and you won't even know it.

    The answer here isn't to avoid pork. Pork is delicious. The answer is to go organic -- and while you're at it, go organic with your beef and chicken too.

  3. Massage beats pain meds

    In the mood for a massage? Go ahead -- treat yourself, especially if you're suffering from back pain. Not only will that massage help bring you the relief you've been looking for, but a new study finds that it's actually more effective than pain meds.

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