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Natural Awakenings Boston

Help for Common Issues Caused by Stress in Men

May 28, 2014 01:54PM ● By Gary Kracoff

Over the past few years, men have become more proactive than reactive when it comes to their health. Previously, many men would silently suffer or only ask for help when a problem became overwhelming. Now more men are asking questions and seeking assistance for problems that were left untouched in the past.

Sleep issues are a common problem, and for many people, stress is the underlying cause. We are designed by nature to deal with severe stress for short periods of time. When we are stressed our adrenals go into overdrive raising the levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. This spike in our adrenals is a healthy physiological response designed to keep us from danger and harm.

The problem today is that many people are constantly stressed for long periods of time and the adrenals become overworked. When the adrenals are elevated, normal circadian rhythm can be disturbed, leading to sleep issues and insomnia. Nature has provided us with adaptogenic herbs (herbs that help us get back to balance, back to our baseline) such as rhodiola rosea, which taken when stressed, can help bring the adrenals back to a more normal level.

Stress can lead to another common problem: erectile dysfunction and decreased libido. As stress rises, our body uses more DHEA to make more cortisol to manage the stressful situation. DHEA is also necessary to help make testosterone and other hormones. When stress occurs long term, DHEA is shunted to the adrenals to make cortisol and less is available to make testosterone. When this occurs, decreased libido and erectile issues can occur due to lowering levels of testosterone. This common issue can often be rectified with over-thecounter products.

Another common issue is a decrease in erectile strength. Nitric oxide is needed to increase blood flow to produce a strong erection. Adding the amino acids the body uses to produce nitric oxide can be helpful. L-Arginine and L-Citrulline are the two amino acids that, when taken daily, can increase nitric oxide production which increases blood flow to the penile tissues.

Of course removing the stress is the most important issue to be addressed. As stress levels are lowered, improvement in sexual response and function, along with better sleeping patterns, can be seen in many men. Adding DHEA in low doses helps replace the DHEA that has been overused by the adrenals, providing DHEA necessary to restore testosterone levels. Men no longer need to quietly suffer; be proactive when these issues arise.

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a naturopathic doctor and registered pharmacist at Johnson Compounding & Wellness Center, 577 Main St., Waltham. He can be reached at 781-893-3870 or [email protected] For more information, visit

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