The Analyst™

Comprehensive diagnosis of your symptoms

Healthy

  Stress  
 
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Signs, symptoms and indicators | Conditions that suggest it | Contributing risk factors | Other conditions that may be present | It can lead to... | Recommendations

 

A hereditary vulnerability and concerns such as economic or political uncertainties, a decreasing quality of life, looming unemployment, and fear of old age or abandonment has led to a general increase in persons who report stress. Other contributing factors include insufficient regular leisure or physical activity, poor diet, an inadequate family structure and lack of a support network. These personal, social, economical and dietary factors interact with biological factors to make stress a leading cause of ailments, from a simple heartburn to a decrease in immune responsiveness, and from this to cancer and other diseases. In the past few decades a large body of research has confirmed a connection between stress and disease, and between stress management and a reduced risk of, or reduced morbidity and mortality from, certain diseases.

One of the pioneers of modern stress research, the physician/physiologist Hans Selye, was the first to invoke the concept of a physiological response to a wide variety of stressors, both psychological and physical. He coined the term 'general adaptation syndrome' (GAS) to describe the physiological process by which the organism responds to stressors and attempts to re-establish homeostasis. The syndrome consists of three phases: alarm, resistance and exhaustion.

During the alarm stage the organism detects a stressor and responds with activation of the sympathetic nervous system and adrenal medulla, the so-called ‘fight or flight reaction’ during which the body's defenses are mobilized. The second stage, resistance, recruits the pituitary-adrenocortical axis to permit the organism to achieve optimal adaptation and maintain homeostasis. Exhaustion results when the organism depletes its adaptive resources and may give rise to disease or even death.

Selye identified ‘diseases of adaptation’ which include, amongst others, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, peptic ulcer, hyperthyroidism and asthma.

Treatment should involve taking time enough from your schedule to evaluate your life and priorities. Take time to reflect about your choices, your social and family life, work, study and even financial conditions. A stressed-out person should rethink their life, mostly by identifying the sources of stress and make efforts to resolve them. Wise counseling can be very helpful.

When you are under stress, cortisol may be literally eating away at your muscle building potential. An excess of cortisol can lead to a progressive loss of protein, muscle weakness, atrophy, and loss of bone mass through increased calcium excretion and less calcium absorption.

When organic disease is already installed as a result of stress, be it a simple gastritis, a cardiac or lung disease, asthma, allergies, or any suspected stress-related condition, it is important to seek medical help as soon as possible. Specific treatment may be required for these ailments. Simple changes however, such as more exercise, improving nutrient status, making more free time, or changes in life habits may be enough to resolve the problem.

Another list of tips includes: listening to others, sending encouraging notes, saying "thank-you", laughing, smiling, sharing - and imagine this - praying.
 

 
 

Signs, symptoms & indicators of Stress:
 
 
Lab Values - Cells  High platelet count

Lab Values - Common

  High systolic blood pressure
  High diastolic blood pressure

Personal Background

  Needing a vacation or poor vacation frequency

Symptoms - Bowel Movements

  Bowel movement changes

Symptoms - Cardiovascular

  Heart racing/palpitations

Symptoms - Female

  Having galactorrhea

Symptoms - Food - General

  Night eating or not needing to eat during the night
  Weak appetite

Symptoms - Food - Preferences

  Afternoon sugar craving
  Craving for salt

Symptoms - General

  Constant fatigue
  Dizziness when standing up
  History of/having a CFS diagnosis

Symptoms - Head - Mouth/Oral

  Cold sores

Symptoms - Metabolic

  Low stamina
  (Occasional) daytime sweating

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

  Phobias
  Impatient/hostile disposition
  Being anxious/nervous
  History of depression
  Depression with fatigue

Counter-indicators:
  Being care-free

Symptoms - Mind - General

  Jumpiness
  Short-term memory failure
  A 'foggy' mind

Symptoms - Nervous

  Inside-knee/back pain

Symptoms - Reproductive - Female Cycle

  Breast soreness during cycle

Symptoms - Reproductive - General

  Weak sexual desire

Symptoms - Skeletal

  Lower back pain

Symptoms - Sleep

  Unsound sleep
  Difficulty getting out of bed
  Being a light sleeper
  Being able to stay up late or being a "night person"
 
 

Conditions that suggest Stress:
 
 
Allergy  Allergies Indoor

Autoimmune

  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk
 Stress appears to play a big part in the development of MS. A study suggested the stress that results from losing a child increases your chances of developing multiple sclerosis by 50%. Since it is believed severe cases of stress play a role in the development of MS, the severe stress caused to parents who lost a child make them likely candidates to study.

The study followed the parents for an average of 9.5 years. The risk was the same regardless of the age or sex of the child or parent. The cause of MS is not known and the average age of diagnosis is 30, but researchers believe that genetics and environment play a key role. [Neurology March 9, 2004; p.62, 76]

  Ulcerative Colitis
 Long term stress increases the risk of Ulcerative Colitis flare-ups, according to a study by Susan Levenstein, MD, at the Nuovo Regina Margherita Hospital in Rome. [American Journal of Gastroenterology, May 2000]

Circulation

  Atherosclerosis
 Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association, reports on a study that has correlated the degree of carotid arterial atherosclerosis with exaggerated response to mental stress in men under the age of 55. Patients whose blood pressure responses to stressful situations were the strongest were found to have significantly more advanced atherosclerosis in the carotid arteries than those whose blood pressure responses were less salient.

Although researchers are careful not to say that stress causes atherosclerosis, the evidence clearly points to cardiovascular reactivity to stress as an atherosclerotic risk factor of the same magnitude as smoking, hypertension, insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol levels. The hypothesis is that, "Frequent and prolonged periods of elevated blood pressure during mental stress may promote mechanical injury to the endothelial lining or cause release of hormones that can promote the build up of plaque." [Circulation Vol. 96, No. 11: pp. 3842-3848]

Moscow scientists stated in October, 2000 that they have shown atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels are formed because of adrenaline, a hormone that releases during stress.

  Thrombocytosis

Diet

  Sugar Craving

Digestion

  Hydrochloric Acid Deficiency
 Stress can impair HCL production.

  Constipation
 In a study of 34 women with chronic constipation, investigators led by Dr. Anton Emmanuel and colleagues at St. Mark's Hospital in Middlesex linked emotional distress with changes in the nerve pathway that helps control gut function. They say the findings suggest a specific path through which psychological factors directly influence the digestive system.

The researchers compared the patients, who had suffered bouts of constipation for an average of 21 years, with a group of women with no history of gastrointestinal illness. All took standard tests that measure psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, self-image, social functioning and ability to form intimate relationships.

Women with chronic constipation were more likely than healthy women to report anxiety, depression and feeling less "feminine". They also found it harder to form close relationships. [Gut Aug 2001;49: pp.209-213]

Hormones

  Night Eating Syndrome
 Nighttime eaters have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol during almost all hours of the day, suggesting that they suffer from the effects of chronic stress in their daily lives.

  Low DHEA Level
 Stress accelerates the loss of DHEA.

  Hyperprolactinemia
 Any stimulus that causes a reduction of prolactin inhibiting factor (PIF) secretion by the hypothalamus enhances the release of pituitary prolactin. Stress can inhibit PIF production.

  Low Progesterone or Estrogen Dominance
 Stress increases cortisol production; cortisol blockades (competes for) progesterone receptors. Additional progesterone is required to overcome this blockade.

  Elevated Insulin Levels
 One of cortisol's undesirable effects is it contributes to insulin resistance by decreasing the rate of glucose uptake, probably by blocking the insulin receptor. [J Clin endocrinol Metab 54 (1982) : pp.131-138]

Immunity

  Weakened Immune System
 Studies show that stress and depression affect the body physically and can weaken the immune system. Suppressor-T cells, also known as CD8 cells, are part of the immune system. Studies by Manuck et al in 1991 showed that psychological stressors induced cell division among CD8 cells, thereby increasing the number of CD8 cells and suppressing immune function. However, this response was only seen in those subjects who also showed high heart rate change and catecholamine change during the stressors i.e. those people who are significantly affected by stress.

  Chronic Fatigue / Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Infections

  Periodontal Disease - Gingivitis
 Research demonstrates that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including periodontal disease. [Journal of Periodontology July 1999]

Lab Values

  Elevated Cortisol Levels

Metabolic

  Problem Caused By Being Overweight
 Some people respond to stress by eating. "Stress Eaters" use food as a drug to deal with external stressors such as work, deadlines or finances. Carbohydrates are often the craved foods because they increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which has a calming effect and helps induce sleep. Stress Eaters often use candy, cookies, pretzels, etc. on the job to relieve stress and are unaware of the reason behind it. A habit of eating in response to stress may lead to obesity.

  Headaches, Migraine/Tension
  Tinnitus
 Many people say their tinnitus is worse when they are tired or stressed.

Musculo-Skeletal

  Muscle Cramps / Twitching
 Small muscle twitching, usually called "tics", are often triggered by stress and anxiety.

  General Weakness

Nervous System

  Tremors

Nutrients

  Zinc Requirement
 Levels of zinc and other trace minerals were determined in 66 men before and after a five-day period of sustained physical and psychological stress. Zinc levels decreased by 33% on average.

  Magnesium Requirement
 Stress may increase magnesium excretion.

Organ Health

  Prostatitis
 A literature review for the years 1966 to 2003, found that the symptoms of CP/CPPS appear to result from an interplay between psychological factors and dysfunction in the immune, neurological and endocrine systems.

Theories behind the disease include:
  • Stress-driven hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis dysfunction and adrenocortical hormone (endocrine) abnormalities
  • Neurogenic inflammation
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
In the latter two categories, dysregulation of the local nervous system due to past trauma, infection or an anxious disposition and chronic albeit unconscious pelvic tensing lead to inflammation that is mediated by substances released by nerve cells (such as substance P).

The prostate (and other areas in the neighborhood like the bladder, urethra, testicles) can become inflamed by the action of the chronically activated pelvic nerves on the mast cells at the end of the nerve pathways. Similar stress-induced genitourinary inflammation has been shown experimentally in other mammals. However, there is no correlation between inflammation on histological examination of the prostate and the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index.

Respiratory

  Asthma

Risks

  Increased Risk of Coronary Disease / Heart Attack
 Stress may increase magnesium excretion and the resulting temporary magnesium depletion may make the heart more sensitive to electrical abnormalities and vascular spasm that could lead to cardiac ischemia.

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Psoriasis
 Stress (physical, emotional and psychological) can be a trigger for psoriasis. Stress can be an initiating condition, or for worsening of existing lesions. Just the fact of having psoriasis is, in itself, psychologically and emotionally stressful.

  Female Hair Loss
 Severe stress can cause hair loss.

  Hives
  Cold Hands and Feet

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

Counter-indicators:
  Absence of stress
 
 

Risk factors for Stress:
 
 
Childhood  (Severe) sexual abuse during childhood
 One study showed that an average adult female is 6 times more sensitive to stress if she was sexually molested as a child.

  Physical abuse/physical punishment/harsh punishment during childhood

Lab Values - Chemistries

  Normal/elevated pm serum cortisol or elevated serum pm cortisol
  Elevated AM serum cortisol

Lifestyle

Counter-indicators:
  Practicing yoga

Mental

  Poor Sense of Humor
  Unresolved Grief

Personal Background

  In an unstable/in a poor/in a stable but wanting relationship
  Long/normal work hours
  Recent marital status changes
  Recent career changes

Symptoms - Food - Intake

  (High) refined sugar consumption
  (High) refined white flour consumption

Symptoms - Mind - Emotional

  Recent death of a loved one
  Occasionally/rarely laughing

Counter-indicators:
  Experiencing frequent laughter

Symptoms - Mind - General

Counter-indicators:
  Absence of short-term memory loss

Symptoms - Skeletal

  History of lower back pain
 
 

Stress suggests the following may be present:
 
 
Cell Salts  Cell Salt, Kali Phos Need
 
 

Stress can lead to:
 
 
Autoimmune  Multiple Sclerosis / Risk
 Stress appears to play a big part in the development of MS. A study suggested the stress that results from losing a child increases your chances of developing multiple sclerosis by 50%. Since it is believed severe cases of stress play a role in the development of MS, the severe stress caused to parents who lost a child make them likely candidates to study.

The study followed the parents for an average of 9.5 years. The risk was the same regardless of the age or sex of the child or parent. The cause of MS is not known and the average age of diagnosis is 30, but researchers believe that genetics and environment play a key role. [Neurology March 9, 2004; p.62, 76]

Circulation

  Thrombocytosis

Habits

  Calming / Stretching Exercise Need

Hormones

  Elevated Insulin Levels
 One of cortisol's undesirable effects is it contributes to insulin resistance by decreasing the rate of glucose uptake, probably by blocking the insulin receptor. [J Clin endocrinol Metab 54 (1982) : pp.131-138]

  Night Eating Syndrome
 Nighttime eaters have elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol during almost all hours of the day, suggesting that they suffer from the effects of chronic stress in their daily lives.

  Cushing's Syndrome / Hypercortisolism
 Elevated cortisol levels are often the result of stress and as such will not cause Cushing's syndrome. Increased levels are found in women during their last 3 months of pregnancy and highly trained athletes. People suffering from depression, alcoholism, malnutrition, chronic stress and panic disorders may also have increased cortisol levels.

Metabolic

  Tinnitus
 Many people say their tinnitus is worse when they are tired or stressed.

  Problem Caused By Being Overweight
 Some people respond to stress by eating. "Stress Eaters" use food as a drug to deal with external stressors such as work, deadlines or finances. Carbohydrates are often the craved foods because they increase levels of serotonin in the brain, which has a calming effect and helps induce sleep. Stress Eaters often use candy, cookies, pretzels, etc. on the job to relieve stress and are unaware of the reason behind it. A habit of eating in response to stress may lead to obesity.

Skin-Hair-Nails

  Female Hair Loss
 Severe stress can cause hair loss.
 
 

Recommendations for Stress:
 
 
Amino Acid / Protein  Theanine (L-Theanine)

Botanical

  Rhodiola rosea
 To successfully combat stress and stressful situations, adaptation is required. Adaptation might be best thought of as the ability to be exposed to a stressor, while responding with either decreased or no characteristic hormonal perturbations. Adaptation also implies being prepared to and capable of rapidly reassuming homeostasis after the stressor is withdrawn. Rhodiola is one of several adaptogens.

The utility of plant adaptogens is analogous to the training an athlete undergoes in order to prepare for competition. Plant adaptogens cause our physiology to begin the adaptation process to stress. When a stressful situation occurs, consuming adaptogens generates a degree of generalized adaptation (or non-specific resistance) that allows our physiology to handle the stressful situation in a more resourceful manner.

  Ginseng, Korean - Chinese / Asian (Panax ginseng)
 Research has repeatedly shown that ginseng helps the body cope with stress. Laboratory studies from several different countries have demonstrated that mice under stress showed less abnormalities of behavior and distress when Asian ginseng was used. Stephen Fulder, M.A., PhD reported that when ginseng was taken, following a stressful event, the body activity also settled back to normal more quickly. Korean and Chinese research has shown that ginseng acts directly on the adrenal glands while others have shown that it may act on the brain itself.

  Noni

Extract

  De-Stress
 Forty-two healthy volunteers (all males) participated in a double-blind randomized designed study. One single dose of De-Stress hydrolysate was studied. One group received the De-Stress hydrolysate, the other group received the placebo. The products were administered under the supervision of the investigator at the clinical research center, with the actual time of ingestion documented in the individual case report forms.

Systolic blood pressure was significantly less in the active group vs. the placebo group during the Stroop test. Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. Because it is a stress indicator, cortisol levels were measured. Blood cortisol remained stable in the control group, while decreasing significantly in the active group during the stress test (cold pressor test). ACTH is a normal product of the anterior pituitary and acts as the controller of the secretion of cortisol. ACTH levels are an indicator of stress. During the stress tests, blood ACTH levels increased in the control group but not the active group.

  Plant Sterols / Sterolins (Phytosterols)
 See the link between Elevated Cortisol and Plant Sterols.

Habits

  Aerobic Exercise
 Regular exercise can help reduce elevated levels of hormones (such as cortisol) that are associated with chronic stress.

Lab Tests/Rule-Outs

  Test Zinc Levels
 Zinc has been shown to counteract some of the adverse effects of stress.

Mineral

  Magnesium

Miscellaneous

  Reading List
 The Maker's Diet by Dr. Jordan Rubin, NMD.

Nutrient

  DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)
 A study performed on Japanese students during the high stress period of final exams showed that students supplemented with DHA were significantly less aggressive than students who were not supplemented with DHA. Aggression is one of many manifestations of stress along with others such as irritability, defensiveness, being critical, irrationality, overreaction and reacting emotionally.

Another small study found that the effects of DHA may be applied to people under long-lasting psychological stress to prevent stress-related diseases. [Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology 45(5): pp.655-65. Oct 1999]

Physical Medicine

  Rest
  Calming / Stretching Exercises
 Many people who practice yoga say they experience a "freeing the mind from mental disturbances," "calming the spirit," or "steadying the mind" with reduction of nervousness, irritability and confusion, depression and mental fatigue.

  Massage
  EMDR

Psychological

  Laughter
 Looking forward to an upcoming comedy show, or something that you know will make you laugh, can have some of the same benefits as experiencing laughter itself. A small study of men showed that those who were promised the chance of watching their favorite comedies experienced half the depression, 20% less anger and 15% less fatigue.

The authors concluded that "We believe this biology of hope underlies recovery from many chronic disorders. Treatments that take advantage of the effects of this hope may go a long way to stimulating immune responses and hasten recovery.". [Society for Neuroscience conference. 2001, San Diego, California, USA]

  Stress Management
  Counseling

Vitamins

  Vitamin B Complex
 There is evidence that high doses of B-complex vitamins in humans can reduce the immune-suppressing effects of stress.

  Vitamin E
  Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  Vitamin A
 
 


KEY
Weak or unproven link
Strong or generally accepted link
Proven definite or direct link
Weakly counter-indicative
Strongly counter-indicative
Very strongly or absolutely counter-indicative
May do some good
Likely to help
Highly recommended







GLOSSARY

Allergy:  Hypersensitivity caused by exposure to a particular antigen (allergen), resulting in an increased reactivity to that antigen on subsequent exposure, sometimes with harmful immunologic consequences.

Anxiety:  Apprehension of danger, or dread, accompanied by nervous restlessness, tension, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath unrelated to a clearly identifiable stimulus.

Asthma:  A lung disorder marked by attacks of breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and thick mucus coming from the lungs. The episodes may be triggered by breathing foreign substances (allergens) or pollutants, infection, vigorous exercise, or emotional stress.

Atherosclerosis:  Common form of arteriosclerosis associated with the formation of atheromas which are deposits of yellow plaques containing cholesterol, lipids, and lipophages within the intima and inner media of arteries. This results in a narrowing of the arteries, which reduces the blood and oxygen flow to the heart and brain as well as to other parts of the body and can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or loss of function or gangrene of other tissues.

Calcium:  The body's most abundant mineral. Its primary function is to help build and maintain bones and teeth. Calcium is also important to heart health, nerves, muscles and skin. Calcium helps control blood acid-alkaline balance, plays a role in cell division, muscle growth and iron utilization, activates certain enzymes, and helps transport nutrients through cell membranes. Calcium also forms a cellular cement called ground substance that helps hold cells and tissues together.

Cancer:  Refers to the various types of malignant neoplasms that contain cells growing out of control and invading adjacent tissues, which may metastasize to distant tissues.

Carbohydrates:  The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.

Cardiac:  Pertaining to the heart, also, pertaining to the stomach area adjacent to the esophagus.

Cardiovascular:  Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.

Catecholamine:  Any of various amines (as epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine) that function as hormones and/or neurotransmitters.

Cholesterol:  A waxy, fat-like substance manufactured in the liver and found in all tissues, it facilitates the transport and absorption of fatty acids. In foods, only animal products contain cholesterol. An excess of cholesterol in the bloodstream can contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.

Chronic:  Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.

Constipation:  Difficult, incomplete, or infrequent evacuation of dry, hardened feces from the bowels.

DHEA:  Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a steroid produced by the adrenal glands and is the most abundant one found in humans. DHEA may be transformed into testosterone, estrogen or other steroids. It is found in the body as DHEA or in the sulfated form known as DHEA-S. One form is converted into the other as needed.

Gastritis:  Inflammation of the stomach lining. White blood cells move into the wall of the stomach as a response to some type of injury; this does not mean that there is an ulcer or cancer - it is simply inflammation, either acute or chronic. Symptoms depend on how acute it is and how long it has been present. In the acute phase, there may be pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting. In the chronic phase, the pain may be dull and there may be loss of appetite with a feeling of fullness after only a few bites of food. Very often, there are no symptoms at all. If the pain is severe, there may be an ulcer as well as gastritis.

Gastrointestinal:  Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

Glucose:  A sugar that is the simplest form of carbohydrate. It is commonly referred to as blood sugar. The body breaks down carbohydrates in foods into glucose, which serves as the primary fuel for the muscles and the brain.

Hormones:  Chemical substances secreted by a variety of body organs that are carried by the bloodstream and usually influence cells some distance from the source of production. Hormones signal certain enzymes to perform their functions and, in this way, regulate such body functions as blood sugar levels, insulin levels, the menstrual cycle, and growth. These can be prescription, over-the-counter, synthetic or natural agents. Examples include adrenal hormones such as corticosteroids and aldosterone; glucagon, growth hormone, insulin, testosterone, estrogens, progestins, progesterone, DHEA, melatonin, and thyroid hormones such as thyroxine and calcitonin.

Hydrochloric Acid:  (HCl): An inorganic acidic compound, excreted by the stomach, that aids in digestion.

Hypertension:  High blood pressure. Hypertension increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure because it adds to the workload of the heart, causing it to enlarge and, over time, to weaken; in addition, it may damage the walls of the arteries.

Hyperthyroidism:  An abnormal condition of the thyroid gland resulting in excessive secretion of thyroid hormones characterized by an increased metabolism and weight loss.

Hypothalamus:  An important supervisory center in the brain regulating many body functions. Despite its importance in maintaining homeostasis, the hypothalamus in humans accounts for only 1/300 of total brain weight, and is about the size of an almond.

Immune System:  A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.

Insulin:  A hormone secreted by the pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Insulin stimulates the liver, muscles, and fat cells to remove glucose from the blood for use or storage.

Ischemia:  Localized tissue anemia due to obstruction of the inflow of arterial blood.

Magnesium:  An essential mineral. The chief function of magnesium is to activate certain enzymes, especially those related to carbohydrate metabolism. Another role is to maintain the electrical potential across nerve and muscle membranes. It is essential for proper heartbeat and nerve transmission. Magnesium controls many cellular functions. It is involved in protein formation, DNA production and function and in the storage and release of energy in ATP. Magnesium is closely related to calcium and phosphorus in body function. The average adult body contains approximately one ounce of magnesium. It is the fifth mineral in abundance within the body--behind calcium, phosphorus, potassium and sodium. Although about 70 percent of the body's magnesium is contained in the teeth and bones, its most important functions are carried out by the remainder which is present in the cells of the soft tissues and in the fluid surrounding those cells.

Mineral:  Plays a vital role in regulating many body functions. They act as catalysts in nerve response, muscle contraction and the metabolism of nutrients in foods. They regulate electrolyte balance and hormonal production, and they strengthen skeletal structures.

Multiple Sclerosis:  Demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system, causing patches of sclerosis (plaques) in the brain and spinal cord, manifested by loss of normal neurological functions, e.g., muscle weakness, loss of vision, and mood alterations.

Nervous System:  A system in the body that is comprised of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor organs that receive and interpret stimuli and transmit impulses to effector organs.

Peptic Ulcer:  A general term for gastric ulcers (stomach) and duodenal ulcers (duodenum), open sores in the stomach or duodenum caused by digestive juices and stomach acid. Most ulcers are no larger than a pencil eraser, but they can cause tremendous discomfort and pain. They occur most frequently in the 60 to 70 age group, and slightly more often in men than in women. Doctors now know that there are two major causes of ulcers: most often patients are infected with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori); others are regular users of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), which include common products like aspirin and ibuprofen.

Pituitary:  The pituitary gland is small and bean-shaped, located below the brain in the skull base very near the hypothalamus. Weighing less than one gram, the pituitary gland is often called the "master gland" since it controls the secretion of hormones by other endocrine glands.

Prolactin:  An anterior pituitary peptide hormone that initiates and maintains lactation.

Prostate:  The prostate gland in men that surrounds the neck of the bladder and the urethra and produces a secretion that liquefies coagulated semen.

Protein:  Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.

Psoriasis:  An inherited skin disorder in which there are red patches with thick, dry silvery scales. It is caused by the body making too-many skin cells. Sores may be anywhere on the body but are more common on the arms, scalp, ears, and the pubic area. A swelling of small joints may go along with the skin disease.

Serotonin:  A phenolic amine neurotransmitter (C10H12N2O) that is a powerful vasoconstrictor and is found especially in the brain, blood serum and gastric membranes of mammals. Considered essential for relaxation, sleep, and concentration.

Spasm:  Involuntary contraction of one or more muscle groups.

Sympathetic Nervous:  Sympathetic nervous system: Portion of the autonomic nervous system that is generally associated with “flight or fight” reactions by increasing blood circulation and respiration and decreasing digestion.

Tinnitus:  A sensation of noise (ringing or roaring) that is caused by a bodily condition and can usually only be heard by the person affected.

Ulcerative Colitis:  (Colitis ulcerosa): Ulceration of the colon and rectum, usually long-term and characterized by rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, frequent urgent diarrhea/bowel movements each day, abdominal pain.

Zinc:  An essential trace mineral. The functions of zinc are enzymatic. There are over 70 metalloenzymes known to require zinc for their functions. The main biochemicals in which zinc has been found to be necessary include: enzymes and enzymatic function, protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism. Zinc is a constituent of insulin and male reproductive fluid. Zinc is necessary for the proper metabolism of alcohol, to get rid of the lactic acid that builds up in working muscles and to transfer it to the lungs. Zinc is involved in the health of the immune system, assists vitamin A utilization and is involved in the formation of bone and teeth.