EXPLORING A NEW TREATMENT FOR SLEEP DISORDERS – DELTA SLEEP INDUCING PEPTIDE

March 11, 2020

Delta-sleep-inducing peptide, abbreviated DSIP, is a neuropeptide that is believed to be involved in sleep regulation due to its ability to induce slow-wave sleep.  DSIP enhances REM sleep. REM sleep is characterized by a rapid eye movement.  A number of essential physiologic functions are attributed to REM sleep. Functions include but are not limited to synchronization of biological functions, information processing, memory storage, and a variety of functions that are thought to have a role in equilibrium.Studies show that whenDSIP was given to patients with insomnia, it offered these patients better sleep and also a decrease in tension during the day and a greater tolerance to psychic stress. Patients using DSIP at night for sleep were shown to have improvements in their overall ability to cope with problems and emotions. One advantage of DSIP is that it induces sleep ‘naturally’.  Additionally, DSIP does not extend sleep beyond the normal duration nor does it impair the normal sleep architecture. These unique traits are unlike all of the synthetic hypnotic medications that tend to alter normal sleeping patterns dramatically. Studies show higher alertness and better performance while the people using DSIP are awake. DSIP has been discussed as a pharmacological intervention to fight fatigue and sleep loss in military interventions. And if DSIP could enhance military performance, could it not also enhance athletic achievement?

How does DSIP work? No one really knows. The notion of a sleep factor has never really been accepted. Sleep is made up of so many different stages and is influenced by so many factors – many of which are still unknown – that almost any biologically active compound may be related to some stage or other in sleep.

“The theory of the origin of sleep which has gained the widest credence is the one that attributes it to anemia of the brain… The idea behind this supposition has been that, as the day draws to an end, the circulatory mechanism becomes fatigued, the vasomotor center exhausted, the tone of the blood vessels deficient, and the energy of the heart diminished, and thus is the circulation to the cerebral arteries lessened.” NATURE, May 5th, 1898.

Exploring the Benefits of Low Dose Naltrexone in My Office

February 28, 2020

Low Dose Naltrexone’s capacity to modulate the immune system has wide potential applicability.

 

I have been aware of Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) for some time, and I have prescribed it to a handful of patients in past years.  I knew that it has been said to improve mood, help with weight loss and decrease chronic pain.  But I had never considered prescribing it to my patients with autoimmune disorders until about a year ago.  For the past year, I have been using this medication routinely in my patients that have autoimmune and other inflammatory disorders including but not limited to: multiple sclerosis (MS), myasthenia graves, Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriasis, fibromyalgia, ulcerative colitis (UC) and migraine headaches. LDN is a conventional pharmaceutical, is readily available, safe, inexpensive and has wide applicability and efficacy.

 

Naltrexone is an opiate antagonist. Originally Naltrexone 50 mg was prescribed to treat opioid addiction and alcoholism by blocking opioid receptors.  This opioid receptor blockade made opioid addicts and alcohol users unable to get high.  Unfortunately, patients did not like how Naltrexone made them feel and refused to take it.  LDN is completely different in concept and mechanism than its counterpart Naltrexone.  LDN is prescribed at doses between 0.5-4.5 mg which, at that low dose, briefly blocks the opioid receptors for a few hours. Subsequently a rebound effect occurs, with increased production of endorphins, resulting in an enhanced feeling of well being, as well as a reduction in pain and inflammation. Endorphins are naturally occurring substances that create a feeling of well being. They also play an important role in modulating the immune response, and in reducing pain and inflammation.

 

There are very few side effects of LDN. The most common side effect I have seen is vivid dreams.  When I say common — three out of my fifty plus patients using it have reported such dreams.  These dreams typically resolve after a few days, but recurs when the dose is increased. Other side effects that have been reported include headaches, GI symptoms and insomnia.  But side effects are typically mild and transient, if in fact, any are experienced at all.

 

Low Dose Naltrexone is contraindicated in patients who are taking pain medications and immune suppressive therapies. It must be obtained from a compounding pharmacy and generally costs less than one dollar a day. 

 

A lot of patients who come to see me have symptoms caused by a leaky gut, a leaky brain and inflammation. The risk of a trial of LDN is low and the potential benefit high. Over the past 9-12 months, I have prescribed it to a number of patients. My patient’s results have been promising. One woman with a severe case of prurigo nodularis (a skin disease of unknown etiology that causes hard, itchy nodules to form on the skin) began to have fewer lesions and less intense symptoms a short time after starting LDN.  Also, another patient with myasthenia gravis (a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles, which are responsible for breathing and moving parts of the body, including the arms and legs) began to have noticeably improved symptoms a short time after starting the LDN.  Other patients I treat have seen improvements in fibromyalgia, psoriasis, and chronic pain.  Several of my autoimmune thyroid patients have been able to decrease doses of medication or obtained better control when previously we had struggled to control their condition. Another patient with terrible premenstrual syndrome with severe cycle-related depression and irritability has not experienced these mood symptoms during her last two cycles since she started using LDN.  Accounts of the astounding results go on and on among my patients who have started using it.

 

Not surprisingly, the efficacy of LDN seems to be increased by eating an autoimmune-type diet. It is particularly important to avoid gluten and casein, as they interact with the opioid receptors.  Consequently, these food-types tend to cause mosts inflammatory or autoimmune conditions to flare.  

 

Some of the medical conditions that LDN has been prescribed for:

  • ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Anti-aging
  • Autism
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Thyroid Disorders (Hashimoto’s and Graves’ Disease)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Lupus
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Ulcerative colitis

Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)

January 30, 2020

Persistent genital arousal disorder, or PGAD, is a condition in which a person feels repeatedly sexually aroused without provocation. The person’s arousal is NOT linked to sexual desire. Additionally, most people with PGAD experience spontaneous orgasms that do not resolve arousal. PGAD can lead to ongoing physical pain, stress, and psychological difficulties due to an inability to carry out everyday tasks. The condition can affect people of all ages. Women are more commonly affected than men. PGAD is an extremely rare and embarrassing condition. The medical community has not clinically confirmed the incidence of PGAD because as many people with the condition feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek medical help.

 

Unfortunately, symptoms of PGAD can vary widely, making it more difficult to diagnose and treat.  The primary symptom is a series of ongoing and uncomfortable sensations in and around the genital tissues, including the clitoris, labia, vagina, perineum, and anus. Some people have the ‘feeling’ of an intense bladder infection — although no infection is present. Many people have other, milder bladder symptoms, like urinating frequently or urgency to urinate. Some people also have trouble defecating. Some report having orgasms every 10 seconds. Because there is no normal pattern of symptoms, it is difficult to put definite parameters around the symptoms other than saying the arousal is unwanted and distressing.  The sensations are known as dysesthesias. They can include:

 

  • Wetness
  • Itching
  • Pressure
  • Burning
  • Pounding
  • Pins and needles

 

These symptoms can lead the person with PGAD to feel consistently like they are about to experience orgasm, or the person may experience waves of spontaneous orgasms. However, as previously mentioned, these symptoms happen in the absence of sexual desire. Climaxing may temporarily alleviate symptoms, but they may return suddenly within a few hours. Episodes of intense arousal may occur several times a day for weeks, months, or even years.  Because of this, the condition can lead to psychological symptoms due to the persistent discomfort and impact on day-to-day living. These may include:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Distress
  • Frustration
  • Guilt
  • Insomnia

 

People with chronic, or incurable, persistent genital arousal disorder may eventually lose their notion of sexual pleasure, because the orgasm becomes associated with relief from pain rather than an enjoyable experience. In fact, people with this disorder often avoided sex, because it can make the condition worse. A growing body of research suggests that PGAD is often missed or misdiagnosed. Though vastly more common in women, the condition is considered a version of priapism, where men have persistent and sometimes painful, sustained erections. The psychological consequences can be significant: depression and anxiety being the most common.  In addition, many people experience shame and misunderstanding of what is happening to them.

 

PGAD affects the nerves and can lead to chronic pain and discomfort.  Sexual stimulation, masturbation, anxiety, and stress can trigger PGAD. Some people find that urinating can result in such severe arousal as to be painful. The person with PGAD cannot usually identify the triggers to avoid them, and the causes of the ongoing condition are largely unknown. In some women, stress causes the onset of the disorder. Once the stress is alleviated, the condition tends to calm. Because of this, some think that PGAD may be a psychologic disorder. However, this is not the case in every presentation of PGAD. Research has implied a link between PGAD and the veins, hormone fluctuations or depletion, nervous system issues, and chemical changes after using some types of medication. Some studies suggest that PGAD can be caused by various conditions affecting the nerves that carry sensation from the genitals. One common cause is due to growths on the nerve roots near the bottom of the spine — Tarlov cysts.  Tarlov cysts are sacs filled with spinal fluid that appear on the sacral nerve root. Sacral nerves at the bottom of the spine receive electrical signals from the brain, and they relay these instructions to the bladder, colon, and genitals.  It is thought that pressure on the nerve roots cause disorder. Surgical removal of these growths, however, does not always relieve symptoms, suggesting that this is not the only etiology. Other conditions that damage lower spinal nerves, herniated disks for example, can also cause PGAD.  Other studies have also investigated whether PGAD is caused by changes in hormones or medications.  A few studies have suggested that certain antidepressants either starting a new prescription or abruptly stopping one, has led to this condition. Other research suggests that PGAD can be caused by skin infections, irritation in the genital area, or thinning of the skin due to reduced estrogen levels after menopause. Epileptic seizures and scar tissue from a trauma that puts pressure on the spinal nerves or stretches them can also be a cause. However, in many cases, the cause is unknown, which adds to the difficulty in diagnosing and treating the disorder.

 

It was not possible until recent years to formally diagnose PGAD.  Medical literature has only recently classed PGAD as a distinct syndrome. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM-IV) did not recognize PGAD as a diagnosable medical condition until recently. It was added to DSM-V.   There are currently 5 criteria for an accurate diagnosis of PGAD.

 

The 5 criteria are:

  • Involuntary genital and clitoral arousal that continues for an extended period of hours, days, or months
  • No cause for the persistent genital arousal can be identified
  • The genital arousal is not associated with feelings of sexual desire
  • The persistent sensations of genital arousal feel intrusive and unwanted
  • After one or more orgasms, the physical genital arousal does not go away

 

The above criteria are considered to be the only valid criteria established to date for a PGAD diagnosis.

 

The treatment of PGAD usually centers on managing symptoms, due to the often-unclear causes of the condition. Many people don’t mention it to their medical provider due to embarrassment.  Often many opt to suffer in silence. If more people were aware of this condition, the emotional consequences would certainly be diminished.  Self-harm is a major problem among people with PGAD. Surgery may treat the problem, if the cause is a Tarlov cyst, but because the cysts are seen as having no symptoms, insurance usually declines payment. To ease symptoms, many people just try to avoid triggers.  Other treatments to consider include: nerve blocks, sex therapy, steroids, and anesthetics.

Arousal and Sexual Desire

November 30, 2019

Positive sexual anticipation a powerful aphrodisiac. Negative sexual anticipation is also powerful and can be debilitating.  Sexual desire can make or break good sex – and a good relationship. The number one reason couples in the United States stop having sex is a lack of sexual desire.

 

Sexual desire is, simply, the thoughts you have toward your sexual experience — good, bad or otherwise. 

 

The biggest speed bump many women face, especially in midlife, is the myth that if you are not walking around turned on and wanting sex, then you have “low sexual libido” and you are sexually broken.  For these women, their ‘erotic potential’ can be significant once they figure out their own key to turning themselves on.  In order to understand how to do this, it is important to be able to make the distinction between ‘spontaneous’ and ‘responsive’ arousal. It was previously assumed that sexual response is linear.  However, that is far from the truth.  Earlier theories describe low sexual desire as a lack of ‘sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity.’ These theories place sexual desire first, as if it was the motivating factor for an individual to achieve satisfaction. In this model, desire emerges ‘spontaneously.’ Although this is not the most common pattern of sexual desire, there are definitely some people who experience desire that way — desire first, then arousal. On the contrary, many people (especially women) experience desire as responsive.  This means that desire emerges in response to, rather than in anticipation of, erotic stimulation — arousal first, then desire. Both desire styles are normal and healthy.

 

Unfortunately, most women skip the arousal phase (and, as a result, skip desire) in their rush to get to sexual intercourse and orgasm. Because of this, many women who have ‘responsive desire, rather than ‘spontaneous’ desire, mistakenly assume that they have ‘low desire’.  Furthermore, they become trained to think that their ability to enjoy sex with their partner is meaningless if they don’t also feel a persistent urge for it.  In short, they have been taught that they are broken, because their desire isn’t what it is ‘supposed’ to be. These women don’t need medical treatment, instead they require a thoughtful exploration of what creates desire between them and their partners. This is likely to include confidence in their bodies, feeling accepted, and explicitly erotic stimulation. Feeling judged or broken for their sexuality is exactly what they don’t need — and what will make their desire for sex shut down.

 

Whether you are a woman or in sexual partnership with a woman, having an understanding of responsive sexual desire and spontaneous sexual desire is fundamental to whether or not you’re going to have sex tonight. For women who have responsive sexual desire (which is the majority), it can be really important that they feel sexually desired. If the woman doesn’t feel desire, she will probably not be inspired to have sex. Women with responsive sexual desire want you to want them.  They require erotic stimulation in order to first feel arousal then desire for sex. 

 

This is why so many people are addicted to what is known as “New Relationship Energy.” They need to feel hot desire and the game of pursuit to access their full erotic turn on. It’s amazing how quickly a steamy love affair can fade with a woman who has responsive sexual desire, when she feels the hot desire from her lover turn to warm desire. Think back to the lust encounters of a ‘new’ relationship. Likely you couldn’t wait to see, touch, smell, and have wild sex with your new partner. Because you spent hours positively anticipating sex, you were instantly aroused by the time you actually had sex — and it was likely wonderful! Now compare that with your thoughts of sex with your partner today. For too many women, foreplay becomes days of anxiety, of her walking on egg shells wondering when sex will be initiated. When the sex is initiated, getting sexually aroused takes twice as long (if it happens at all). Women need at least 10-15 minutes of ‘warm up’ – and ironically, that’s how long the average sexual encounter lasts. Sex is suddenly over and she hasn’t had a chance to enjoy it, even if she had an orgasm, which creates an even deeper resentment towards her partner and any future sex act.

 

When you hit a ‘sex rut’, you dig yourself deeper every time you have sex. To bring the zest back into your sex life, you must build positive expectations towards sex. Unfortunately, if a couple has gone years without discussing the negative circumstance, creating positive thoughts toward sex will not happen instantaneously. Especially for women who tend to hang onto anger and allow it to linger. Luckily, fixing your situation is still doable. As sex is a team sport, it’s up to both of you to make a concerted effort to persevere and bring the fun back into your relationship. 

 

There are a few basic guidelines to consider to help with improve your sexual desire.  Remember, good sex starts outside the bedroom. A little intimacy, affection and touch will go a long way to help a couple easily transition into the bedroom. Look for ways to have a 10-second positive and affectionate moment every day. Talk positively about sex.  Be aware of how sex is communicated between you and your partner. Being able to inject fun, flirty chat into your daily conversation – perhaps about a future sexual encounter – is a simple way to create new, positive sex feelings. Take turns planning out fun sex.  Too many couples walk into the bedroom without a plan and have the same old sex time after time. Remember, variety is the spice of life and will do a lot to enhance your sexual desire.  Next, it is important to understand what you want out of the experience and communicate that to your partner. To help your partner plan out a fun sex evening, let them know what you would like to do. Plan an “all about your partner” evening when you spoil them. Once in a while think of something nice you can do for your partner. Spoiling your partner is definitely a win-win proposition on so many relationship levels. In a nutshell, creating positive sexual desire doesn’t have to be complicated, although it might take a little time. See for yourself how positively anticipating sex can completely turn your sex life around.

 

Sex Tips For Lovers With Women Who Have Responsive Sexual Desire:

  1. Women with responsive sexual desire will probably not think of sex or get “turned on” without their lover or some stimulation.
  2. Use all your ‘tools’ to show a woman that you desire her:  your words, your presence, your attention, your actions, and your body.
  3. Read chapters of erotic books to each other, or look at sexy photographs or watch erotic movies with each other before initiating sex. 
  4. Use technology to flirt and express desire to stimulate her sexual response: texting, private messages, etc. 
  5. Let her know that you love her body. Tell her this more than you think you need to. Women carry way too much body shame, and you can turn her on by supporting her in feeling beautiful in her body. Don’t just tell her that you care — show her.

Anxiety Disorder

May 31, 2019

Anxiety can have a profound negative impact on those who experience it. It can also have a negative impact on friends, co-workers and loved-ones. 

 

Anxiety can affect people physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Many find their lives dramatically impacted. Anxiety can be fraught with distressing and debilitating sensations and symptoms, as well as cause severe lifestyle restriction. These challenges often cause people to feel frightened, confused, and frustrated. Those struggling with anxiety can experience many distressing sensations, symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Anxiety often impacts many systems in the body, including the nervous system, endocrine system, respiratory system, reproductive system, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. In addition to these biological symptoms, most sufferers also experience distressing thoughts and emotions.

 

People who experience anxiety can easily become inwardly-focused, frightened, short-tempered, confused, discouraged, distant, uncaring, child-like, and hypochondriac once an anxiety disorder occurs. People struggling with anxiety may look fine on the outside, but they often experience a raging battle on the inside – a battle that only someone who personally experiences anxiety could fully understand. 

 

The severity of a person’s condition generally determines the degree and frequency of symptoms. Because of the nature of anxiety, people often battle with confusion, fear, and despair – and they often feel that there is no way out. Most people who suffer from anxiety would like to feel normal again. But overcoming anxiety disorder is a process that takes time, and often much more time than most people expect.

 

Ways To Help Someone With Anxiety:

Anxiety doesn’t mean the person is mentally inferior or deficient.

Try not to view the person as inferior or deficient. Anxiety is caused by overly apprehensive behavior – which have been learned as ways of coping with life. Behaviors are learned during our formative years (birth to age 8). Most people with anxiety learned those behaviors from a parent(s) or those who raised them and/or greatly influenced them. Those that struggle with anxiety do not deliberately choose to adopt overly apprehensive behavior, but that they have come to feel that this behavior is normal. In order to overcome anxiety, a person needs to learn healthy ways of coping with life. To that end, overcoming anxiety disorder requires getting the right information, help, and support. While the road to recovery isn’t easy or quick, success can be attained through effort and perseverance. There is no reason to feel sorry for the person who struggles with anxiety disorder. Offer empathy and support rather than sympathy.

Anxiety isn’t something a person can ‘just snap out of it’.

There are NO shortcuts or ‘quick fixes’. While self-help information can be beneficial, often full and lasting recovery requires the assistance and support of an experienced counselor or therapist.  With this understanding, you can be more supportive and help the person get the help he needs. And then, support him as he works through to lasting success.

Reassure the person that they are going to be okay.

Anxiety can create one of the strongest responses the body can experience. It can create intense emotions, feelings, sensations, and symptoms. This is why in the midst of high anxiety, a person can feel like he/she is going to lose her mind, have a complete breakdown, or die. Fortunately, even though anxiety is a powerful force, it alone is not dangerous and doesn’t lead to a mental collapse, breakdown, or death. Once the person calms down, all of these strong emotions, feelings, sensations, and symptoms diminish and eventually disappear. So when a person is having an episode of high anxiety, reassuring that its going to be okay can help calm them down, which will lead to the cessation of the strong feelings of anxiety.

Stay calm, and help the person to calm down.

Anxiety is predicated on fear – fear that is rational or irrational. Fear activates the stress response, which can cause a number of physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. These changes can produce anxiety sensations and symptoms. Often it is these sensations and symptoms that cause people to react with more fear. Regardless of whether the fear is rational or irrational, we can always find ways of calming ourselves so that the body shuts off the stress response, which leads to feeling better. Encourage the person to calm down and settle themselves. As they calm, they will feel better. It can take up to 20 minutes or more for the body to recover from an activated stress response. Remaining calm yourself can provide an example for the person undergoing an episode of anxiety. 

Encourage the person to do something about their anxiety.

Being empathetic and supportive is helpful. However, if the person isn’t working at overcoming anxiety disorder, your empathy and support won’t be enough. Anxiety is only resolves when a person works at it. Anxiety seldom resolves on its own. So be an encourager, not an enabler. Encourage the person to seek the necessary help. Encourage and support her as he/she works at making healthy behavioral change.

Encourage him/her to seek professional help.

Anxiety is caused by unhealthy behavior. While self-help information can be beneficial, a professional anxiety disorder counselor/therapist is almost always required to overcome problematic anxiety because many of these behaviors are invisible, and therefore, unknown to the sufferer. Unless the person is professionally trained, it’s unrealistic to think he/she would be able to identify, successfully address, and help themselves back to lasting anxiety disorder-free health.

Support the person in their decision to seek counseling/therapy.

Traditionally, society has had a dim view of counseling/therapy. Fortunately, this view is changing. More people today are seeking professional help for psychological and emotional challenges than ever before. Professional counseling/therapy skill-sets are improving as independent research on their effectiveness improves. Because of recent strides in research and resulting techniques, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is now recognized as the ‘gold standard’ for anxiety disorder resolution.

If someone you know wants to pursue counseling/therapy for her anxiety disorder, encourage her to proceed and support her as she continues. Overcoming anxiety disorder takes time and effort, and as a result, can be discouraging. Encouraging the person to continue can help them work through times of discouragement.

Be available.

Let the person know they can talk with you anytime and without fear of judgment. Also let them know that you aren’t going to change the way you think of them because they are dealing with anxiety. You are there to support in any way needed. Letting the person know they can count on you can make a positive difference in recovery.

Be patient.

People with anxiety disorders can sound like a broken record – rehashing the same topics and fears over and over again. While you might understand the nature of their struggle and see it clearly, the sufferer doesn’t. Rehashing the same issues is usually due to an established a fear. Rehashing is a way of trying to come to terms with fears. During times like these, listen and reassure patiently. Over time, the ongoing reinforcement can be helpful in extinguishing long-held fears.

Learn everything you can about anxiety disorder, then help her by providing ongoing information, support, and reassurance.

Knowledge is power. This is particularly true with anxiety disorder. If you want to help someone with anxiety, become an expert on the condition. The more you know about anxiety, the better help you can be. A knowledgeable support person can help someone struggling with anxiety find their way and reassure them that everything is going to be okay. Ongoing guidance and reassurance can play a pivotal role in recovery.

Empathize, don’t patronize. Try to be as supportive, loving, and empathetic as you can.

People with anxiety typically feel bad enough about what is going on in their life. They don’t want your sympathy, but do appreciate your understanding, compassion, and the necessary time to get their condition under control.

Celebrate the small victories along the way to lasting success.

Overcoming anxiety takes a lot of work. To help with success, celebrate the little steps and victories along the way Make a big deal about them. Doing so can be very encouraging. Overcoming anxiety is a process that unfolds in many little steps. Progress is often slow and can be discouraging along the way. Celebrating and making a big deal about each victory can help the person remain encouraged, which can also keep the person working the process.

Provide affirmation.

Encourage and help the person to feel better about themselves. Low self-esteem is often associated with a struggle with anxiety.

If depression is involved, take suicidal comments seriously.

Call for emergency help if you believe the person is serious about taking his or her own life. It’s best to err on the side of safety.

Continually offer hope

Anyone can overcome anxiety with the right information, help, and support. Freedom from anxiety is attainable, even though it can be a lot of work. Your continued reassurance can help a person get through the drudge of recovery.  As above, there aren’t any ‘miracle’ or ‘quick-fix’ cures for anxiety. Overcoming it requires getting the right information, help, and support, and then doing the work required. But, success is attainable for anyone willing to do the work. Helping a person through this process can make a significant difference, especially when you know how to help.

Is Taking DIM Right For You?

April 28, 2019

Do you struggle with unexplained weight gain, PMS symptoms, fatigue, or acne? Have you ever thought it may be related to estrogen dominance? Estrogen dominance happens when the levels of estrogen in your body exceed the level of progesterone. Taking a DIM supplement can help regulate estrogen dominance.

What Is DIM?

DIM is a natural plant-based chemical found in many cruciferous vegetables. The effects of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, are being studied as a treatment for cancer.

DIM works to create a healthy balance of estrogen and testosterone in your body and is available in capsules or tablets.

DIM Supplement Benefits:

  • Anti-cancer properties. DIM may help control or stop cancer cells from forming and spreading, according to research. DIM may be effective specifically in preventing breast or prostate cancer.
  • Viral infection. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, causes multiple disorders, such as cervical cancer or lung cancer. DIM can help reduce the symptoms of HPV and possibly stop the growth of the virus.
  • Estrogen. DIM helps to restore a better ratio of “good” estrogens and “bad” estrogens. It also helps to encourage production of gentler estrogen and leads to a better balance of natural estrogen in your body.

Is Eating Cruciferoius Veggies Better Than Taking DIM Supplements?

It’s important to consume a balanced diet of fruit and vegetables, but keep in mind that cooking your veggies can negatively alter DIM compounds. DIM supplements are also a better source of diindolylmethane because they come in a higher dosage than what you’ll typically get in a meal containing cruciferous vegetables.

  • Weight loss. DIM increases the amount of lipolysis, which is responsible for fat burning and weight maintenance. When your hormones are balanced, your metabolism will be higher, which results in less fat stored in your body.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects. It helps to activate an enzyme called activated protein kinase, or AMPK. AMPK promotes the breakdown of glucose for energy, it assists in the delivery of oxygen and acts as an antioxidant.
  • Acne. Many adult women suffer from hormonal acne. An excess of estrogen in the body can lead to other hormones, like androgen, rising to balance it out, thus, leading to to acne. If you reduce the level of estrogen, you can reduce androgen and help lower the risk of acne outbreaks.
  • Menopause symptoms. Estrogen deficiency is a common symptom of menopause. DIM supplements will not increase the level of estrogen, but they can help metabolize estrogen. Healthy level of estrogen can help with hot flashes or night sweats.

DIM Supplement Warnings:

DIM is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women, for children, or for cancer patients. DIM can possibly worsen hormone-sensitive conditions (such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer). It also isn’t recommended for those with kidney disease. If you have a hormone-related condition, make sure to discuss DIM with your doctor, because it can sometimes block estrogen activity. Taking larger doses can be unsafe; possible side effects of using DIM supplements include headaches and nausea.

 

The following symptoms may be clues that you have estrogen dominance symptoms and could benefit from DIM supplements:

  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular periods
  • PMS (Premenstrual syndrome)
  • Thyroid issues
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Low libido
  • Cramps

Enhancing Erection Naturally

February 23, 2019

Getting (and maintaining) an erection is a complicated process. It involves your heart, head, hormones, blood vessels, nerves, and even your mood. But erectile dysfunction is largely about inadequate blood flow. You can get stronger erections by improving your heart health and blood flow.

An erect penis contains up to eight times the amount of food as a flaccid penis. Anything you can do to increase your overall cardiovascular health and blood flow goes a long way towards treating or even preventing erectile dysfunction (ED). 

 

4 Ways to Get Stronger Erections without ED Medication

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Sleep more
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes

Stronger Erections with Exercise

On average, your heart beats 100,000 times a day and pumps over 2000 gallons of blood throughout your body. Your heart is incredibly strong, but you need to take care of this vital muscle. Exercise is one of the best ways to strengthen your heart (and your erections). It also increases stamina, strength and flexibility, which are all important in the bedroom.

Stronger Erection with Diet

Several studies have linked a healthy diet to reduced risk for ED. A good diet also helps reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes and obesity (which are both risk factors for ED). The goal is to increase your fruits, veggies, and grains and reduce your intake of processed foods, sugar, and red meat.

Men who eat less red meat, processed foods, and sugar, and eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains are less likely to experience ED

Obesity is a primary risk factor for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and ED.  Extra belly fat interferes with your ability to send enough blood to the penis. It can even damage blood vessel lining and cause testosterone levels to drop. Even a small decrease in body fat can improve ED (among many other things). Eating a heart-healthy diet that’s low in sugar and refined carbohydrates and high in “good” fats can help lower your risk for the cardiovascular conditions associated with obesity.

There’s no miracle food to prevent erectile dysfunction. However, there is some evidence that certain foods may help. Evidence that foods can help with ED is probably related to a vascular connection. Erectile problems are usually due to not having a good blood supply to the penis, so foods that are good for your vascular system may also help prevent ED. 

Nitrates in Leafy Greens and Beets

Leafy green vegetables, like celery and spinach, may increase circulation because of their high concentration of nitrates. Beet juice has been found to be really high in nitrates. Nitrates are vasodilators, which means they open up blood vessels and increase blood flow. Several case reports on the beneficial effects of nitrates for erectile dysfunction had already been published. The ED drugs used today are based on the relaxing effects of nitrates on the blood vessels that supply the penis.

Flavonoids in Dark Chocolate

A recent study found that flavonoids in dark chocolate improve circulation. That could be good for erection problems that are due to poor circulation. Flavonoids are naturally-occurring antioxidants that protect plants from toxins and help repair cell damage. Studies show that flavonoids and other antioxidants have similar effects on people. They may help lower blood pressure and decrease cholesterol, both of which are factors that contribute to ED.

Protein in Pistachios

A recent study found that men with ED who ate pistachio nuts every day for three weeks experienced significant improvement in sexual issues, including ED, sexual desire, and overall sexual satisfaction. The benefits of pistachios for erection problems may be due to a protein called arginine, which may help relax blood vessels.

 

Zinc in Oysters and Other Shellfish

track.pngThe oyster has always had an aphrodisiac reputation. One reason may be that oysters have high levels of the mineral zinc, which plays an important role in the production of the male hormone testosterone, and low levels of testosterone could be one reason for erectile dysfunction. Research presented at an American Chemical Society meeting may offer another connection: Raw shellfish contain compounds that stimulate the release of sexual hormones, in both men and women.

 

Antioxidants in Watermelon

Some studies show that watermelon may have effects on erectile dysfunction that are similar to the ED drug Viagra and may also increase sexual desire. Watermelon is rich in beneficial ingredients known as phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are also antioxidants. One of their benefits is that they relax the blood vessels that supply an erection. Although watermelon is 92 percent water, the other 8 percent may work wonders for your heart and your sexual enjoyment.

 

Lycopene in Tomatoes and Pink Grapefruit

Lycopene is one of those phytonutrients that is good for circulation and good for sexual issues. Lycopene is found in deep red fruits like tomatoes and pink grapefruits. Some studies show that lycopene may be absorbed best when mixed with oily foods like avocados and olive oil. So you might want to make yourself an ED-fighting salad. Research also shows that antioxidants like lycopene help fight male infertility and prostate cancer.

 

Sex Tip:

It helps if you avoid large meals before having sex. Erections are mostly about blood flow. Eating a big meal diverts blood towards digesting your food, and away from giving you an erection. It’s also a good idea to avoid large meals even when you’re taking ED medications. Because a fatty meal can block absorption of the medication, making it less effective.

Stronger Erections with Sleep

Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart attack, slow your metabolism, weaken your immune system, and cause erectile dysfunction. Sleep deprivation and even sleep apnea can decrease testosterone levels. And a dip in testosterone can lower your libido, making it harder to diagnose ED.

Life is hectic. But getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night is one of the best things you can do for your health…and your erection.

Stronger Erections: Avoid Alcohol & Cigarettes

ED is extremely common in men who:

  • Smoke at least 10 cigarettes a day
  • Drink more than three alcoholic drinks a day

Smoking damages your blood vessels, which are a big part of getting an erection. In fact, men who smoke are twice as likely to experience erectile dysfunction as non-smokers. The good news is that quitting smoking can improve your health (and your erection) almost immediately.

In the short term, alcohol relaxes the soft muscle tissues in the penis. This stops blood vessels from closing and trapping enough blood to get an erection. In the long run, excessive alcohol consumption can cause liver damage, high blood pressure, and damage to blood vessels resulting in erectile dysfunction. Alcohol is also a nervous system depressant that can block messages between the brain and the body. (It’s why people get slurred speech when they drink).

Bottomline: reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking will improve your overall health and sexual performance.

Intermittent Fasting

January 27, 2019

Intermittent fasting is the process of cycling in and out of periods of eating and not eating.

 

Although people do experience weight loss with intermittent fasting, it is less of a diet plan and more of a lifestyle choice to reap a variety of health benefits.

 

There are different intermittent fasting methods. These are:

  • 5:2: This method allows you to eat normally five days a week. The other two days are your fasting days, although you do still eat. Just keep it between 500 and 600 calories
  • Eat-stop-eat: With this one, you restrict all food for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
  • 16/8: You eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period — typically 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. You can do this every day, or a few times a week.

 

When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a lot of good.

 

It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. For most of history, people were not eating three meals a day nor were they grazing on snacks throughout the day. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting.

 

There is a lot of incredibly promising research on intermittent fasting — highlights include weight loss; and reduction of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars. A growing body of research suggests that the timing of the fast is key, and can make intermittent fasting a more realistic, sustainable, and effective approach for weight loss, as well as for diabetes prevention.

 

Intermittent fasting makes intuitive sense. The food we eat is broken down by enzymes in our gut and eventually ends up in our bloodstream. Carbohydrates, particularly sugars and refined grains (think white flours and rice), are broken down into sugar, which our cells use for energy. If our cells don’t use it all, we store it in our fat cells — as fat.

 

Sugar can only enter our cells with insulin, a hormone made in the pancreas. Insulin brings sugar into the fat cells and keeps it there. Between meals, as long as we don’t snack, insulin levels will go down and fat cells can then release their stored sugar, to be used as energy.

 

We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as diabetes. Just changing the timing of meals, by eating earlier in the day and extending the overnight fast, significantly benefited metabolism even in people who didn’t lose a single pound.

 

There is evidence to suggest that the circadian rhythm fasting approach, where meals are restricted to an eight to 10-hour period of the daytime, is the most effective means of intermittent fasting.

 

Additionally, when you fast, several things happen in your body on the cellular and molecular level. First, the body adjusts hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Also, cells initiate important repair processes and change the expression of genes.

 

Other changes that occur in the body with intermittent fasting include:

  • Human Growth Hormone (HGH): The levels of growth hormones skyrocket, increasing as much as 5-fold. This has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain, to name a few.
  • Insulin: insulin sensitivity improves and levels of insulin drop dramatically. Lower insulin levels make stored body fat more accessible.
  • Cellular repair: When fasted, your cells initiate cellular repair processes. This includes autophagy, where cells digest and remove old and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells.
  • Gene expression: There are changes in the function of genes related to longevity and protection against disease.

 

TAKE AWAY POINTS —

  1. We lose weight if we let our insulin levels go down.  The entire idea of intermittent fasting is to allow the insulin levels to go down far enough and for long enough that we burn off fat.
  2. There is some good scientific evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm fasting, when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle, can be a particularly effective approach to weight loss, especially for people at risk for diabetes.
  3. Changes in hormone levels, cell function and gene expression are responsible for the health benefits of intermittent fasting.

 

In summary, switching to an intermittent fasting diet expands your limits and boosts your performance in a number of ways.  Here are some of the powerful benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • Boosts weight loss
  • Increases energy
  • Promotes cellular repair and autophagy (when your body consumes defective tissue in order to produce new parts)
  • Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers bad cholesterol
  • Promotes longevity
  • Protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Improves memory and boosts brain function
  • Makes cells more resilient

 

People with advanced diabetes or who are on medications for diabetes, people with a history of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not attempt intermittent fasting unless under the close supervision of a physician who can monitor them.

Could Cannabis Lube Be the Secret to Enhanced Female Sexual Pleasure?

November 25, 2018

Cannabis Lubrication and Sexual Pleasure

 

Just when I thought I had finally become familiar with all the possible medical uses of cannabis, I came across a few articles touting the benefits of cannabis lube for female orgasm. 

 

Cannabis lubricants and other cannabis-infused sensual aids are on many women’s radars, not to mention going into their nightstand drawers.  But does cannabis really help with women’s sexual health and wellbeing?

 

Anecdotally, Women Say Cannabis Lube Can:

 

  • reduce their stress that, in turn, can facilitate more pleasure.
  • enhance their creativity which could translate to a willingness to try new things.
  • lower inhibitions to get them “out of their head.”
  • increase hormonal production that could ‘open up’ emotions such as passion.
  • ease discomfort and pain, particular during and post menopause.
  • enhance physical sensitivity and sensation and potentially increasing orgasms or orgasm intensity.

 

The Skinny On Cannabis Lube

 

  • It is just as much a relaxation aid as a sexual aid.
  • It takes 20-40 minutes to work.
  • Cannabis oil is an experience in itself. Sex isn’t required, but it certainly makes it better.
  • A lot of cannabis lube formulations should not be used in combination with latex. The oils in the product can cause latex to break down and render your protection useless.

The Basic Breakdown of How Cannabis Lube Works Its Magic:

Isolated Cannabis Bud for making cannabis lube

  1. The mucous membranes present in a woman’s genitals (and there are a lot) absorb the THC in the oil lubricant
  2. The cannabinoids act locally on the cannabinoid receptors.
  3. This causes the capillaries to dilate and increases blood flow to that area.  This causes the lower portion of your body to relax and increases blood flow to all parts of your vaginal.
  4. This enhanced circulation magnifies sensitivity and sensation.

 

Put all those things together and you’ve got a very enjoyable experience.

 

THC absorbed in the vagina technically should not make you feel ‘high’.

 

** Take careful note that if you are using an oil-based lube, they are not compatible with latex or polyisoprene condoms and can degrade any rubber-based sexual aids or accessories. While no substance introduced with condoms is 100% safe for the integrity of the condom material, some product websites claim they should be okay to use with lambskin, polyurethane, or nitrile condoms. 

 

Click Here to Learn More About Cannabis Lube

Boost Your Mood With Vitamin D

October 2, 2018

Do you get enough vitamin D?

 

There could be many warning signs or symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in your life or of someone you know.

 

It is essential to understand the importance of getting enough of this crucial vitamin.

 

 

Vitamin D Basics

Vitamin D is best known for building bones. However, this highly-potent vitamin is essential for overall brain and body health. Optimal vitamin D levels can help improve your mood, boost your overall brain function, and generally improve your wellbeing. Vitamin D may be involved in the healthy regulation of as many as 900 human genes.

 

Vitamin D is converted by the liver and kidney into a hormone that is so important to brain function its receptors can be found throughout the brain. Vitamin D plays a critical role in the brain’s early development, its ongoing maintenance, and in its functions to maintain healthy mood and many of the most basic cognitive functions including learning and making memories. 

 

Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency

Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more and more common, in part because we are spending more time indoors and using more sunscreen when having fun outdoors. Research suggests that 70% of all adults and 67% of children, aged 1-11, do not have adequate levels of vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with low mood, behavioral difficulties in children, and psychological difficulties in adults. Vitamin D supplementation is consistently linked to higher quality of life and better wellbeing with the passing of the years.

 

Recommended Daily Vitamin D

In the United States, the current recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 400 IU. However, most experts agree that this is well below the physiological needs of most individuals. Instead, it is suggested that all adults take at least 2000 IU of vitamin D daily – unless directed to take a higher dose by their healthcare provider. We all should get our blood vitamin D levels tested every 4-6 months and if necessary increase our daily intake to as much as 5000-10000 IU per day to ensure we achieve blood levels of at least 60 ng/mL.

Avoid taking vitamin D2 supplements since D2 can interfere with the actions of vitamin D3 which is the body’s natural vitamin D.

 

The Vitamin D Challenge

Getting necessary amounts of vitamin D can be challenging during the winter season in some parts of the country —typically from November to March—when there are fewer hours of sunlight and when the sun itself is less intense. This is particularly true if you live in the northern half of the United States. Due to colder temperatures and inclement weather, the tendency for many people is to stay inside where it is warm and hunker down for the winter. However, failure to get enough vitamin D, as well as exercise, can lead to health problems and other mental and physical difficulties. For individuals who struggle with low mood during the winter, the colder months can produce feelings of melancholy and desperation.

 

5 Tips for How to Get More Vitamin D In Your Life

1.  Alternate Light Source

Daily exposure to appropriate levels (even just 10-30 minutes per day) of direct sunlight can boost vitamin D3 levels which can help improve your mood. If you have a hard time getting enough natural light during the winter, consider buying a vitamin D lamp for your home or work desk. Though many artificial light boxes claim to do the job, make sure to purchase one that is as close as possible to the natural sunlight spectrum and proven to increase vitamin D levels.

2.  Go Somewhere Sunny

If getting sufficient levels of UVA (ultraviolet A) rays from the sun proves difficult during the winter months, especially if you live anywhere near the Great White North, consider saving up some money during the summer for a vacation to a sunny destination (the Caribbean, for instance) during the winter. This will make enduring the cold, dark months more bearable.

3.  Get Quality Sleep

Insufficient and inconsistent sleep can increase irritability, moodiness and poor judgment. To remain at the top of your game, it is recommended that you get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Getting appropriate levels of sunlight during the day, or adequate amounts of vitamin D from foods or supplements can also help maintain your body’s natural production of serotonin. In the evening, the brain naturally converts serotonin into melatonin, our main sleep hormone that improves our chance of getting a good night’s sleep.

4. Vitamin D-Rich Diet

Foods can be an important source of vitamin D. Examples of vitamin D-rich foods are fortified milk, eggs, mushrooms and fish (especially wild salmon, tuna, and mackerel). A 4-ounce portion of salmon can provide over 250% of your daily recommended allowance of vitamin D. Wild salmon contains about 988 IU of vitamin D per serving, while farmed salmon contains 250 IU, on average.

5.  Take Sunshine Supplements

When it comes to mood, the scientific evidence is clear – the higher your vitamin D levels, the more likely you are to feel happy rather than blue. A 2014 study showed that the positive effect of vitamin D3 on mood was clinically very substantial as compared to other options. Since it promotes healthy mood, vitamin D3, which is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, can help you get through the doldrums of the winter season.