Manage Stress with Relora Cut Sweet Cravings at the Same Time


An increasing number of individuals are now developing a variety of symptoms as stress in America becomes a national epidemic. Twenty-five percent of the American work force suffers from excessive stress or anxiety.( n1) According to the National Commission on Sleep Disorders, one in five Americans suffers from stress-related insomnia. In addition to work stress are the added burdens of parenting, financial strain, traffic jams, deadlines and just too much to do in too little time. Even positive change, like a move or a new marriage, can be stressful.

Research shows that all of this takes a huge toll on our health in the form of fatigue, anxiety, depression, burnout, weight gain and often physical illness. Sixty percent of medical visits are connected to stress and its related physical ailments, including chronic illnesses such as arthritis, heart disease and high blood pressure. Moreover, due to the negative impact of stress on the immune system, we become more vulnerable to colds, flu and even more serious illnesses such as cancer.

Kimberly Cleveland is a 41-year-old single mom with two boys ages 10 and 13. A registered nurse and top sales performer for a major drug company, she was medically evaluated 18 months ago for chronic fatigue syndrome, a weight gain of 25 pounds, possible multiple sclerosis and an overall significant decline in health (after years of good health), With no medical diagnosis established she was dismissed as a "highly stressed, normal female over 40, with fairly normal complaints."

Being an RN, Kimberly refused to accept her gain in weight and loss of energy. A friend introduced her to Dr. Jim LaValle, an integrative medicine practitioner in Cincinnati. Now, one year later, under the guidance of Dr. LaValle and the use of a new dietary supplement called Relora®, she states that her life has been transformed. "I have lost 23 pounds, wake up in the morning before the alarm, have regained my sales personality, and most importantly, can now play soccer and basketball with my boys!"

Conventional physicians most often treat stress with prescription drugs such as Xanax® or Valium®. But tolerance can be built up to these drugs and they have serious side effects including difficult withdrawal symptoms. As a result, those of us who practice alternative or integrative medicine have looked to natural products as safer alternatives to these prescription drugs. Among the formulas I have investigated, I have recently become quite interested in this new natural supplement for anxiety and stress, Relora, the product Kimberly used while under the care of Dr. LaValle. It appears to help individuals not only manage their stress but also improves their quality of sleep and may help cut stress-induced sugar cravings by normalizing the stress hormones responsible for these cravings.

What is Relora?
Relora is an all-natural proprietary blend of botanical extracts from the herbs Phellodendron amurense and Magnolia officinalis. The barks of these two trees have been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for more than 1500 years. By combining these two patent-pending extracts, researchers at Next Pharmaceuticals discovered a synergistic anti-anxiety effect. In two studies Relora has been found to help control occasional mild anxiety and the associated symptoms.

In one research trial, 50 stressed adults took Relora two to three times daily for two weeks. At the end of the study, 82 percent agreed with the statement that it "helps control occasional mild anxiety and the associated symptoms: irritability, emotional ups and downs, restlessness, tense muscles, poor sleep, fatigue and concentration difficulties." It has a sedating effect; 24 percent indicated that they experienced some drowsiness with Relora, while a full 74 percent indicated that they had more restful sleep. There were no adverse side effects noted during the trial and Relora was reported by 94 percent of the participants to be gentle on the stomach.

Relora has also been shown, in a small pilot study of 12 stressed individuals, to normalize elevated cortisol levels and depressed levels of DHEA, two hormones that play a significant role in the symptoms and conditions associated with excessive stress. Cortisol levels are elevated in stressed patients.( n4, n5, n6) DHEA levels are correspondingly lower in the presence of stress, depression or chronic fatigue.( n7, n8)

In a more recent research trial, 49 stressed adults were given Relora. The findings were similar to the earlier study demonstrating that Relora helps control mild anxiety and stress as well as improve the quality of sleep. But another component was added to this study: determining if Relora would have a positive impact on the sweet cravings that frequently accompany stressful situations. Since the hormones cortisol and DHEA are related to such cravings, and Relora was shown in an earlier study to normalize the levels of these hormones in stressed individuals, the researchers at Next Pharmaceuticals wanted to know if Relora would actually change eating behavior in stressful conditions. The number of people that indicated they ate sweets such as ice cream, cake, pie or cookies in stressful conditions dropped by 76 percent after using Relora for a two-week period. This could be an added benefit to stressed individuals looking for a natural product to help them manage their stress.

Side Effects
With over 80 million doses of Relora distributed in the U.S., there have been no reports of significant side effects. Approximately 20 percent of the individuals studied reported some drowsiness. While allergic reactions are possible, as with any plant-based natural product, none have been reported. An overdose of Relora could possibly cause disorientation. Relora should not be used during pregnancy. If you are currently taking a prescription drug, consult your physician before taking Relora.

Stress in our lives is inescapable but excessive stress, or "distress," can be managed before it exerts its detrimental effects on our health. Here are some key components that you should consider incorporating into your stress management plan:

• Get sufficient sleep.

• Exercise--aerobic, resistance-training, stretching.

• Maintain a healthy diet with minimal sugar, caffeine and alcohol.

• Take relaxation breaks throughout the day, even if it's a few minutes of deep breathing.

• Have realistic expectations of what you are able to accomplish.

• Obtain a good support network of friends and family.

In addition to these key ingredients to stress management, you might want to consider the new natural supplement, Relora, as part of your overall stress management plan. For more information on Relora, including research you might want to share with your physician.

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Americans Are Stressed Out
Forty-three percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects due to stress.

Seventy-five to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or disorders.

Stress has been linked to all the leading causes of death including heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis and suicide.

Stress is responsible for more than half of the 550,000,000 workdays lost annually because of absenteeism.( n2)

Forty-seven million Americans exhibit excessive abdominal fat due to a stress-related condition known as "metabolic syndrome.( n3)

PHOTO (COLOR): Kimberly Cleveland says, "Relora has helped me lose 23 pounds, wake up in the morning before the alarm, regain my sales personality, and most importantly, I can now play soccer and basketball with my boys!"

(n1.) American Institute of Stress. (

(n2.) Ibid.

(n3.) Journal American Medical Association, Jan. 16, 2002.

(n4.) Ockenfels, M. C., Porter, L., Smyth, J., Kirschbaum, C., Hellhammer, D. H., Stone, A. A. "Effect of chronic stress associated with unemployment on salivary cortisol: overall cortisol levels, diurnal rhythm, and acute stress reactivity." Psychosom Med. (1995). Sept.-Oct. Vol. 57(5) pp. 460-7.

(n5.) Schulz, P., Kurschbaum, C., Prubner, J., Hellhammer, D. H. "Increased free cortisol secretion after awakening in chronically stressed individuals due to work overload." Stress Medicine (1998). Vol. 14 pp. 91-7.

(n6.) Bauer, M. E., Vedhara, K., Perks, P., Wilcock, G. K., Lightman, S. L., Shanks, N. "Chronic stress in caregivers of dementia patients is associated with reduced lymphocyte sensitivity to glucocorticoids." J. Neuroimmunol. (2000). Feb 1. Vol. 103(1) pp. 84-92.

(n7.) Michael, A., Jenaway, A., Paykel, E.S., Herbert, J. "Altered salivary dehydroepiandrosterone levels in major depression in adults." Biol Psychiatry (2000). Nov 15. Vol. 48(10) pp. 989-95.

(n8.) Kuratsune, H., Yamaguti, K., Sawada, M., Kodate, S., Machii, T., Kanakura, Y., Kitani, T. "Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate deficiency in chronic fatigue syndrome." Int. J. Mol. Med. (1998). Vol. 1(1) pp. 143-6.


By Hyla Cass, M.D.

Hyla Cass M.D. is a noted authority on complementary medicine and psychiatry, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine and author of many books including Natural Highs: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good All the Time.

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