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Can Melatonin Be Used For Fibromyalgia?
December 28, 2012 04:19 PM
Fibromyalgia is a condition that may be very frustrating and has no known cure currently. Due to its complexity and also the number of symptoms that occur during an infection with fibromyalgia, one may be moody, anxious, depressed or irritable. Melatonin, a natural hormone which controls sleep patterns, can help relieve some symptoms of fibromyalgia and promote one's feelings of well-being.
Melatonin hormone is produced by the brain's pineal gland. It is majorly responsible for controlling the sleep-wake cycle; called the circadian rhythm. The secretion of melatonin is influenced by exposure to light. Whenever it gets dark, melatonin production rises. Conversely, during exposure to sunlight, the production of melatonin is lowered. Several people employ the use of melatonin supplements to promote symptoms of insomnia, since it can aid to reset one's body clock and even make it easier to fall and stay asleep.
How melanin treats Fibromyalgia
Disturbances of sleep and the frequent disruption of circadian rhythms occur during fibromyalgia. Melatonin has always been proven to synchronize the circadian rhythms and promote the quality of sleep. Excess damage by free-radicals is quite common in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin as well as its metabolites have been discovered to be potent scavengers of free radicals and indirect antioxidants.
Elevated Nitric Oxide In Patients
Some studies have shown that synthesis of nitric oxide is elevated in fibromyalgia patients. Melatonin acts as a potent inhibitor of a rate-limiting enzyme in the production of nitric oxide. Depression is at times a symptom or maybe an overlapping fibromyalgia condition.
Melatonin As An Antidepressant:
Melatonin has also been proven to be an antidepressant. There is a component of melatonin that has been synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry and is now being enhanced as an antidepressant. Lyrica, antiepileptic drugs, have been proven to be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Melatonin has been found to work as an antiepileptic too.
Moderating Male Midlife Moodiness - The lesser known guy version of menopause is now a ...
July 14, 2005 09:28 AM
Moderating Male Midlife MoodinessThe lesser known guy version of menopause is now a syndrome
Question: How can you tell if a man has irritable male syndrome?
Irritable male syndrome (IMS) may sound like a joke, but it's really no laughing matter. Just as women experience anxiety, depression and irritability with hormonal changes, men too can suffer from cyclic and menopausal symptoms-they're just more likely to be chastised for it instead of being consoled with a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
Since men's hormones actually fluctuate every hour rather than every 28 days, it should come as no surprise that male behavior should be affected. For some men over 40, however, the behavior swing can be quite dramatic, leaving a guy in a chronic bad mood. But try telling the grouch that he suffers from "male menopause" and he just might chuck the Ben & Jerry's at you.
The term "irritable male syndrome" was coined by Gerald A. Lincoln, a researcher at the Medical Research Council's Human Reproductive Sciences Unit in Edinburgh, Scotland. Lincoln first observed IMS while studying Soay sheep, a large, curly-horned variety known for their boisterous rutting rituals that rival the masculine intensity of any Super Bowl party. After mating season, however, Lincoln noticed that as testosterone levels dropped off, the rams became agitated, fearful, withdrawn and likely to irrationally strike out at other males. The hypothesis behind this behavior is that the withdrawal of androgens affects melatonin and serotonin uptake and can make for one cranky ram. However, IMS in two-legged, human subjects can present itself with more complexity.
Psychotherapist Jed Diamond, author of The Irritable Male Syndrome: Managing the Four Key Causes of Depression and Aggression (Rodale Books), defines IMS as "a state of hypersensitivity, anxiety, frustration and anger that occurs in males and is associated with biochemical changes, hormonal fluctuations, and loss of male identity" that can occur at any time during a man's life. A lot of IMS involves depression; normally thought of as a female problem, this emotional downer often comes out differently in men, more outwardly than inwardly directed.
One point of similarity between the sexes is that IMS, like depression in women, is often linked to the multi-source stress that pervades modern living. The result? According to Diamon, "Up to 30% of men, especially those in adolescence and midlife, exhibit symptoms of IMS. In its mildest forms, it can cause men to be moody and irritable. At its worst, it can lead to violence and even suicide."
Is it a Bad Day or a Bad Decade?
So how can you really tell if a man has irritable male syndrome? Since a guy isn't likely to say flat out that he's having trouble with relationships or is having hot flashes (you read that right), there are other, more telltale signs to look for. While we all may temporarily experience bad moods, if you or someone you know exhibits one or more of these feelings with frequency over a period of time, IMS may be the cause: anger, sarcasm, defensiveness, blaming, withdrawal, anxiety, defiance, being argumentative, feeling unappreciated, frustration.
Physical IMS symptoms include fatigue, unexpected weight gain or loss, frequent urination, hair loss (besides the typical male pattern) and impotence. The thyroid gland, which serves as the body's master energy controller, is often out of whack on men suffering from IMS. If that sounds familiar, see your practitioner for a thyroid hormone check.
Less Flabby Means Less Crabby
Sometimes, IMS is not a matter of lowered testosterone levels but one of elevated estradoil, the usable form of the female hormone estrogen. This condition can develop with consumption of too many hormone-laced meats (eating organic meat is a good option). In addition, a diet high in high-glycemic carbs such as white breads and white pasta will undermine testosterone levels as well as pack on unwanted pounds.
To help trim down and keep IMS symptoms at bay, Larrian Gillespie, MD, author of The Gladiator Diet: How to Preserve Peak Health, Sexual Energy, and A Strong Body at Any Age (Healthy Life Publications), recommends a diet that's 40% protein, 35% low-glycemic carbs (read: green veggies) and 25% fat, of which only 10% should be saturated fat. To help keep testosterone levels up, avoid apricots, carrots, white potatoes, white rice (whole wheat past and rise are okay) and-sorry guys-dark beer.
Gillespie also recommends that men take a multivitamin daily along with calcium, magnesium and the herb saw palmetto to inhibit the breakdown of testosterone into dihydrotestosterone a precursor to prostate disease.
Now that you know IMS is real, you can take the bull (or Soay ram) by the horns and do something about it. IMS can be treated through diet, natural hormone replacement therapy and counseling, if necessary.
Question: What do you call a man who is always tired, miserable and irritable?
Wrong answer! That was the old guy. Mr. Nice is back. -Karyn Maier
Fight Hay Fever - Help Your Sinus...
July 11, 2005 09:15 PM
The National Institute of Health’s branch of Allergy and Infectious Diseases re p o rt that 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies in one form or another. Many experience food allergies that a re treated somewhat diff e rently from hay fever allergies. Hay fever comes from airborne allergens, generally from pollen or pollutants.
The symptoms of allergy occur when an immune system is overactive. The immune system often recognizes something as foreign and treats it as foreign by attacking it, when in fact it really isn’t a substance the body should be concern e d with. This over-activity of the immune system leads to the release of substances including histamine that cause the symptoms of hay fever.
The most common symptoms include a runny nose and itching eyes and scratchy throat. Sometimes, an allergy will precede a sinus infection by causing swelling in the nasal membranes preventing fluids f rom exiting the sinus passages. An infection then ensues. However, most people who feel pressure over their sinuses, never develop an infection and so can be adequately treated with the supplements mentioned here. Many people experience a tickle or a shallow cough that comes from the throat rather than the lungs. They may also experience a change in emotions, becoming quite irritable or moody.
These airborne allergies can often be g rouped by season. Those people sensitive to tree pollens usually have more severe allergies in the springtime. Those sensitive to grasses are often worse in mid-summer. Those allergic to weeds have their symptoms peak in the fall. There are some unfortunate people who have allergies all summer long who may be allergic to a few plants in each group. Those who have symptoms of allerg i e s all winter long probably are allergic to molds and mildew or household animals and dust mites. On occasion, it takes a real detective to determine from where the allergies come.
There are several methods used to diagnose a cause of an allergy. In a scratch test, drops of an allergen are put on small scratches on the arm or the back. Are action is considered positive if swelling or redness occur around the scratch. A blood sample can also be used to meas ure antibody response to certain allergens. It is often helpful to determine the allergen which cause the hayfever to reduce the symptoms. There are also practitioners who use kinesiology or electronic devices to determine the cause of allergies.
The most common treatment of allergies is with antihistamines. Their side effects include drowsiness and drying of the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth. Many of the newer prescription antihistamines don’t cause drying but often have serious drug interactions and the consumer must be very careful in combining the prescription antihistamines with antifungal drugs, and blood thinning as well as asthma medication. There are some natural products that can be taken to decrease allergy symptoms. They are often equally effective without the side effects of antihistamines.
One of the more popular is quercetin. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in red apples, red onions, brussels sprouts, kale, peas, bell peppers, pears and asparagus. It is also found in bee pollen and propolis, two plant materials found in the beehive. It is possible to consume a fair amount of quercetin through your diet. If you have allergies, however, diet is often not enough and you may need a supplement to get enough quercetin to ontrol your symptoms. It appears quercetin decreases allergic symptoms by stopping the release of histamine. If you start taking quercetin and other nutritional supplements I will mention below before an allergy attack, they are likely to be more effective. However, don’t let that discourage you from taking them even after the symptoms have started. A common dose is 300mg to 600mg per day.
Bromelain is a nutrient often extracted f rom pineapple. Found in many digestive formulas, it is an enzyme that helps absorption. If it is found in a combination formula, chances are, it is there to help with the absorption of the other nutrients such as quercetin. Bromelain also has an anti-inflammatory effect. When someone develops allergy symptoms, part of the reason is due to the inflammatory response to substances such as histamine that are released as the allergy takes hold. This causes inflammation in the tissues which then manifests with redness and swelling.
Vitamin C is useful in many conditions including hay fever. Higher doses are often required in the treatment of allergies: 2,000mg is beneficial and you can take up to 4,000mg or more during acute symptoms. It also stabilizes capillaries, reducing the swelling in the throat, nasal passages and around the eyes. If you are taking a multi-vitamin or a combination product that contains Vitamin C, I still recommend additional supplementation.
Stinging nettle is probably a plant many a re familiar with, especially if it has come into contact with your skin, but it also has an historical use in the treatment of allergy. In fact, in double blind studies it was shown to decrease the symptoms of allergy, specifically runny nose.
The active component of the ephedra herb is ephedrine, an alkaloid. It is used in OTC asthma medication. As a natural herb, ephedra in small doses can be v e ry useful in decreasing the symptoms of colds, asthma, cough and in this case, hay fever. It is in many Chinese and American formulas that I use and I feel v e ry comfortable using 100mg to 200mg of ephedra that contain small doses of 2.5mg to 8mg of ephedra alkaloids per day. I feel comfortable using dosages of up to 15mg of ephedra alkaloids .
Feverfew is another herb with a variety of uses. You will find it in headache formulas, in fever reducing formulas, and many hay fever formulas. Like bromelain, it has an anti-inflammatory effect and reduces the swelling that occurs during a hay fever attack.
Homeopathic formulas can also be useful to reduce hay fever. There is no re ason why the herbs I’ve mentioned cannot be combined with homeopathic formulas. You may want to take them at separate times of the day.
So, if you suffer from hay fever, don’t give up. You can use these nutrients singly or in combination. You can take a formula that contains all of them and then add to that additional vitamin C for instance, or additional nettle. It may require trial and error to find the right amounts in combination that will work for you.
June 13, 2005 01:18 PM
by Cal Orey Energy Times, August 2, 1999
Depression plagues the creative and the mundane. The disparate desperate driven to distress by depression include painters, poets, actors and musicians as well as truck drivers, clerks, electricians and physicists. The victim list encompasses Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Audrey Hepburn, Virginia Woolf and Ludwig von Beethoven, as well as millions of other sharers of melancholy misery.
More than 17 million American men and women experience depression in one form or another every year, according to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This includes the deeply destructive major, or clinical, depression, the wide mood swings of bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), and dysthymia, a milder, long-lasting form of emotional suffering.
Twice as Many Women In the depression scenario, women suffer twice as much: Two times as many women as men endure clinical depression, reports the NMHA. The mood-deteriorating effects of the hormonal disruptions women are heir to may be partly to blame.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one of 10 Americans wades through at least one depressive swamp sometime during his or her life.
The good news: Research shows that diet and lifestyle can lower your risk of depression.
Birth of the Blues
Nowadays, mounting evidence suggests that depression may result more from physiological factors than psychological woes.
Some of the hidden reasons why you may be depressed include: nutritional deficiencies, exacerbated by overdosing on too much caffeine, sugar, alcohol and high fat foods; allergies; anxiety and chronic stress; and a chemical imbalance in the brain's gray matter. According to the NMHA, people with depression often possess too little or too large a quantity of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. Changes in levels of these brain chemicals may cause, or contribute to, clinical depression.
The NMHA also reports that an imbalance of melatonin, a chemical made by the body's pineal gland (located at the base of the brain), contributes to a form of wintertime depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). This hormone is made at increased levels in the dark. Therefore, the body may oversupply this hormone during winter's shortened daylight hours.
Since the B vitamins are often involved in the production of energy, and a large component of depression may encompass the inability to get out of bed and deal with the world, experts believe that at least some of the signs of depression are linked to B deficiencies. For instance, studies cited in the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, demonstrate that folate deficiency and lack of vitamin B12 can compromise mental health (Drugs 45, 1993: 623-36; Lancet 336, 1990: 392-5).
Inositol: This vitamin is also part of the B vitamin complex, and it, too, has shown its ability to lift spirits. Research work in Israel shows that daily inositol given to 28 depressed patients for four weeks produced an overall positive effect. (Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 7:2, May 1997: 147-55). Inositol is found in whole, unprocessed grains, citrus fruits (except lemons) and brewer's yeast.
NADH: Allan Magaziner, DO, in his book The Idiot's Complete Guide To Living Longer & Healthier (Alpha), reports that brain energizing NADH, a metabolite of vitamin B3, enhances the production of the key neurotransmitters dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin. "In a recent clinical trial," he claims, "nearly all patients given NADH for depression reported improvement in their symptoms and the absence of side effects or adverse reactions."
Another substance winning the spotlight for its effect on mood is SAM-e: S-adenosylmethionine. In New York on February 24, a symposium coordinated by the American Health Foundation met to hear researchers present information from studies of SAM-e's ability to possibly ease depression.
"SAM-e is a natural product. You and I have it but as people age it declines in production in the body. And that's why we believe supplementation in older people is a beneficial means of bringing that back up and helping people that have depression," said the lead symposium researcher, John H. Weisburger, PhD, MD, Director Emeritus, American Health Foundation in Valhalla, New York.
Another researcher, Teodoro Bottiglieri, PhD, Associate Professor of Biomedical Studies and Neurology, Director of Neuropharmacology at Baylor University reported: "SAM-e has been shown to enhance brain dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter metabolism and receptor function. It may also aid in the repair of myelin that surrounds nerve cells. These mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the antidepressant effect of SAM-e."
(Bottiglieri is co-author with Richard Brown, MD, and Carol Colman of Stop Depression Now, a report on the powers of SAM-e just published by G.P. Putnam's Sons.)
SAM-e was first touted as an antidepressant in Italy in 1973. It's been reported that nearly 40 clinical trials demonstrate its beneficial effects as a natural antidepressant.
For instance, an analysis of more than 1000 people suffering depression showed that the effect of antidepressants in patients taking SAM-e was 17% to 38% better than dummy preparations. Conventional antidepressants show a 20% effectiveness rate (Bressa G. Acta Neurol Scand S154, 1994: 7-14).
5-HTP: Another popular supplement to boost mood and relieve depression is hydroxytryptophan. "This medication is actually a brain chemical that is metabolized from tryptophan into serotonin," says Magaziner. And since low serotonin levels have been linked with depression, and certain prescribed medications may up serotonin levels, 5-HTP is in demand.
"One of the more impressive studies supporting the efficacy of 5-HTP for depression evaluated 100 people who had previously found conventional antidepressant therapy to be inadequate. Forty-three of these folks reported a complete recovery, and eight showed significant improvement," reports Magaziner. Not only has 5-HTP been shown to work slightly better than drugs known as SSRIs (these include Prozac), he adds, it has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants, too. DHEA: Medical experts also believe that levels of the hormone DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) may influence mood. Ray Sahelian, MD, in his book All About DHEA (Avery) reports an interesting study conducted by Dr. Owen Wolkowitz of the Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco. A group of six depressed middle-aged and elderly individuals who took DHEA found that within a month they had better memory and mood. (Biological Psychiatry 41, 1997: 311-18.) "In addition," adds Sahelian, "other studies have also found that DHEA increases energy levels and a sense of well being." But follow package directions: Some people complain of greater irritability and overstimulation with DHEA, when they take large amounts.
St. John's wort: still the most touted natural therapy for defeating depression. In Europe, 23 clinical studies, reviewed in the August 3, 1996 British Medical Journal, found that this herb, also known as Hypericum perforatum, can be helpful in alleviating cases of mild to moderate depression. The work, which included 757 patients, has shown that hypericum produced fewer side effects than conventional anti-depressants.
Although experts have never satisfactorily explained exactly how St. John's wort benefits the brain, some theorize that it boosts serotonin levels. And it can help SAD sufferers.
"In a recent study of 20 people with SAD, four weeks' worth of St. John's wort significantly alleviated feelings of depression. Those people who added full-spectrum lights to the treatment program gained an even greater benefit," notes Dr. Magaziner.
Valerian: Anxiety and stress, which can cause depression and insomnia, may be helped by this herb, says the prolific Dr. Sahelian in his book Kava: The Miracle Antianxiety Herb (St. Martin's). In 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave), Steven Foster reports that "Ten controlled clinical studies have been published on valerian...one of which suggests that valerian should be used for two to four weeks before daily mood and sleep patterns improve."
Amino Acid Help
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, may also help improve mood. (For more on protein, see page 65.) These chemicals are used by the body to construct neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that facilitate mental activity.
For instance, the amino acid L-tyrosine is necessary for the formation of transmitters adrenaline and dopamine. This substance, therefore, is given to alleviate depression and anxiety.
The substance L-dopa which is given to victims of Parkinson's disease is concocted from tyrosine. And several antidepressants alleviate bad moods by boosting the interaction of brain chemicals related to tyrosine.
In addition, since tyrosine is used to make adrenaline, this amino acid may be helpful for folks trying to cope with the mood problems related to stress.
Another amino acid that experts believe useful for better moods, L-methionine, is used by the body to make choline, a crucial substance for brain function. (Choline goes into the formation of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.)
Methionine has been given to people suffering from schizophrenia and depression as well as to those with Parkinson's. Methionine plays a number of crucial roles in the brain and body since it helps form other vital proteins.
For those concerned about preserving a positive mood, researchers are positive that smoking worsens depression. A study at the Department of Behavioral Services at the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan found that daily smokers run twice the risk for major depression compared to those who only smoked occasionally.
Unfortunately, the investigators found that not only did smoking seem to lead to depression, depression, in turn, led to more smoking (Archives of General Psychiatry, 2/99).
"Smokers who have depression tend to see their smoking become a daily habit and it may be because they use nicotine to medicate their depressed mood," reported Naomi Breslau, PhD, who headed the research. Over a five year period, the researchers looked at about a thousand young people aged 21 to 30. They found that daily smokers generally start smoking in adolescence, and those who report early depression are three times as likely to eventually become daily smokers.
If you're feeling down, don't give up hope. Although depression can prove to be a depressingly complicated malady, daily, healthy habits can offset its effects. Getting consistent exercise, dousing your cigarettes and turning to herbal and nutritional help to treat mild depression may defeat those blues.