Trends in Food Allergy Research

Study: Trends in Food Allergy Research by JUNKO SHIMADA (Life Science and Medical Research Unit)

This week is “National Healthy Eating Week” and I wanted to share with all of you some important insights related to food allergy research. A study conducted by Junko Shimada at the Life Science and Medical Research Unit, regarding important trends in food allergies suggests that the incidence of allergic diseases such as food allergy, atopic dermatitis, bronchial asthma and cedar pollenosis continues to increase in developed countries such as the United States. In particular, food allergy, which is often developed during infancy, and can affect a child’s growth or trigger an “allergic march,” or in other words, the progressive development of multiple allergies.

Currently, it is estimated that over 15 million Americans suffer from food allergies and food sensitivity. Data has also shown that 1 in 13 children are affected by at least 1 food allergy in their lifetime. Now you may be wondering what exactly is a food allergy? Food allergy is an exaggerated immune response induced by the misrecognition of orally ingested food as a foreign substance. Some of the most common food allergies include but are not limited to: eggs, milk, wheat, beans, buckwheat, fruit, seafood and meat. The development of food allergy involves both genetic and environmental factors such as pollution, food contamination, and chemical preservatives added to the different food products. Food allergies cause a hypersensitive reaction that damages our various systems, with symptoms that can include diarrhea, abdominal pain, hives and eczema. Severe cases of food allergy can induce anaphylactic shock, which may lead to death. The best way to stay safe and healthy is to become aware of potential existing allergies and food sensitivities by getting tested! If you would like to learn more information regarding this topic or if you’d like to get tested you can call our office at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center and our team we’ll be happy to help you schedule an appointment.


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Filed under Allergies, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, epigenetic, fatigue, Food allergy, headaches, IBD, IBS, Leaky gut syndrome, Weight Loss

Genes and diet: making healthier choices lower the chances of detrimental gene expression changes

Let’s talk about Epigenetics! The field of Epigenetics studies the different changes in organisms caused by the modification of gene expression rather than alteration in the genetic code itself. Now, you may be wondering how is this field relevant to you, your health and your everyday life style choices? Environmental factors such as your daily diet, smoking patterns and stress levels have been shown to impact gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms. In other words, research studies suggest that your lifestyle habits directly impact your organism and the way your genes are expressed.

Let’s take a look at one particular study that focused on testing this idea! A recent experiment performed by BMC Physiology scientists on mice, had the purpose of determining how their immune system responded to a typical Western diet. When mice were fed a Western diet, systemic inflammation occurred which was entirely expected. However, what was particularly interesting was that the Western diet fundamentally changed their immune system. After eating a high calories, low nutrient food, not only did the mice exhibit more systemic inflammation, but their white blood cells became programmed to remain hyper-sensitive to inflammatory triggers. In other words, their diet caused a drastic change tot their cellular “memory”, making their cells more vulnerable to inflammatory responses. These results may help explain why chronic inflammation is behind so many lifestyle-related diseases such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Studies like this one and many others conducted recently, show significant evidence that demonstrate the impact that your environment and life style choices have on your body. They also suggest that making healthier choices lower the chances of detrimental gene expression changes.

If you’d like to learn more about ways to improve your diet or get tested for food
allergies, give Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center a call and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for you!

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Filed under decrease pain, Digestion, epigenetic, Food allergy, gene, IBD, IBS, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome, Uncategorized

How does low vitamin D worsen eczema?

Eczema is a skin condition that is most commonly found among infants. However, many people will continue to have this condition into their adult life. Eczema can be caused by exposure to various environmental factors or it can simply be genetic. Eczema is a general term for any sort of dermatitis or itchy rash. This rash can flare up all over the body. However, the most common areas of eczema are the inside of the elbows, back of the knees, and all over the face and neck. Depending on exposure to irritants, allergies, foods, and stress levels the severity of eczema varies. 

Eczema is shown to be linked to allergic diseases such as asthma and thus, may increase with increased allergies. In more recent studies, people with eczema have shown to have very low levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin that aids in boosting your immune system. It reduces levels of inflammatory proteins and increases the production of good antimicrobial proteins. Therefore, if one is experiencing severe eczema, their immune system is not functioning properly. Recent studies have shown that because of the lack of vitamin D present in the body, the immune system is not able to fight off any bacteria or virus that might cause irritation to the skin.  Lower vitamin D levels have been linked to more severe cases of eczema. Having a sufficient amount of vitamin D in your body, helps decrease inflammation and increase the strength of the skin’s barrier preventing the cause of eczema.

A study published in 2013 in Poland gave vitamin D supplements to adults with eczema who had low levels of vitamin D. The people all got 2000 IU of vitamin D daily for 3 months in the wintertime. The researchers looked at eczema severity and symptoms before and after supplementation and found that:

  • People with the lowest vitamin D levels had more skin infections.
  • After supplementing with vitamin D, the eczema symptoms and severity score was much lower.
  • People who took vitamin D supplements had significant improvements in skin lesions.

The researchers conclude that supplementing with vitamin D may help to manage and treat the skin symptoms associated with eczema. Vitamin D causes skin cells to make more antimicrobial proteins, which is why people with low levels of vitamin D tend to have more skin infections.

For more information on vitamin D testing or natural relief for eczema, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322.

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Filed under Allergies, Eczema, Food allergy, seattle naturopath, Skin Conditions, Vitamin D

How can food allergies worsen your seasonal allergies?

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to some foreign object that enters the body. This causes the body’s immune system to overreact by trying to defend itself. The body would normally only react towards more harmful substances such as bacteria in the air, however if you are suffering from an allergy, then even the most harmless substances will cause the body’s overreaction. Allergens can stimulate the body’s immune response by breathing it in, touching it, or ingesting it from food. Once the body is exposed to the allergen, a wide range of immune responses and symptoms can occur. These vary from mild symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, stomach ache, fatigue, and itchy eyes. However, they can become more severe such as anaphylaxis.

One of the most common types of allergy is a food allergy. Food allergies cause the body to carry out an immune response after ingesting the food that they are allergic to. In fact, many types of foods may even cause an immune response to occur. This is due to the fact that many foods contain histamines. Histamines are what cause the immune response and if one is already suffering from seasonal allergies, certain foods may worsen and increase the severity of the symptoms.  Therefore, it is beneficial to not only stay away from foods that contain histamines, but it is also critical to know what types of food your body may be allergic to. Being informed of allergens will help one to avoid increasing and stimulating any other immune responses.

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms or want to receive an allergy test, call Dr. Lee at the Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center (206) 319 – 5322.

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Filed under Allergies, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, Food allergy, headaches, Leaky gut syndrome, Skin Conditions, Uncategorized

Can eating eggplants (nightshades family) give you joint pain?

Potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers are just a few vegetables that all belong to the nightshade family. “Nightshade” is a term coined because most of these vegetables either grow in the shade or bloom during night. The nightshade family also belongs to the Solanaceae family. The vegetables that are part of this family all contain a certain chemical that is toxic to the body. Due to these toxins, the body is not able to digest it correctly and it may lead to inflammation and joint pain.

Specifically, nightshades contain a group of chemical compounds called alkaloids. Alkaloids are used as the plant’s self bug repellant. These chemicals are a defense mechanism that defends against insects and other pests. In high concentrations, these chemicals can be toxic to humans if ingested. However, alkaloids are mostly concentrated on the stems and leaves of the plant, which humans typically do not eat. Therefore, at lower doses many people will not feel the effect of toxic chemicals that the nightshade vegetables possess. However, people who are suffering from an autoimmune disease or digestive issues may experience a different effect. For these people the chemicals in these plants are foreign to the human body and the digestive system does not know how to digest these compounds. Therefore, the body initiates an immune response, which is detrimental for a person with an autoimmune disorder.

These chemicals are a natural pesticide. Therefore, ingesting these vegetables can cause damage to the intestines and the cells that line the walls. This leads to a syndrome called leaky gut, which can cause a plethora of responses such as inflammation and joint pain. In order to prevent these immune responses, one must cut out ingestion of nightshade vegetables. Relieving one’s body from these toxic chemicals will prevent the initiation of an immune response. Ultimately, one will begin see the positive effects such as reduced joint pain and inflammation.

If you want to learn more about the effects of nightshade vegetables or if you are experiencing joint pain, please call Dr. Lee at (206) 319 – 5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncutre Center

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Filed under Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome, seattle naturopath

More on Vitamin B12 shots

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that aids the body’s functioning of the brain and nervous system. It also helps keep the nerve and blood cells healthy, while assisting in the formation of new cells. Most people consume enough vitamin B12 in their everyday diet; however, dietary restrictions such as being vegan or vegetarian may cause one to have a vitamin B12 deficiency. This is because most people receive their portion from foods such as eggs, milk, poultry, and/or fish. When one is not consuming these foods, a deficiency develops. Some people with Crohn’s disease or celiac disease may also find that they have a vitamin B12 deficiency because their body is unable to absorb this essential nutrient correctly.

A vitamin B12 deficiency has a wide range of symptoms. This includes fatigue, numbness or tingling sensation in fingertips or feet, loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss, memory loss, and development of megaloblastic anemia. A vitamin B12 shot is a very effective type of treatment for people with this type of deficiency. This injection helps combat the symptoms and increases the level of vitamin B12 in one’s body. The injection allows for the nutrient to be transported directly into the bloodstream. Therefore, people that have difficulty absorbing this specific vitamin will now have a way of receiving enough B12 to keep their cells healthy and developing correctly. After the injection, one will notice an increase in energy levels and an increase in concentration and memory.

If you are interested in receiving a vitamin B12 shot or want to learn more about the effects of these injections, please contact Dr. Lee at (206) 319 – 5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.

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Filed under Allergies, B 12 injection, fatigue, vitamin injection

Natural Care After a Car Accident

With the rainy weather approaching us, unfortunately the risk of being in a car accident rises. Traumas from car accidents can range from whiplash to life threatening conditions. After being involved in a car accident, one’s body is put in a very vulnerable state. This means that the care one puts into their body after this kind of trauma predicts not only the speed of recovery, but also the possibility to fully recover.

Typically, one is in a great deal of pain after an accident and therefore resides to pain medications to take care of the pain. However, there is a misconception when it comes to pain medication. Many believe that these medications will heal their body from the trauma that he or she endured when involved in the car accident because their pain will magically “go away.” However, these medications are actually not contributing to the healing process. What these medications truly do, is mask the pain that one is feeling. Taking pain medications can actually be detrimental to one’s recovery. When someone is experiencing pain, it is the body’s way of communicating that something is wrong and precautions need to be made in order for it to heal. With the addition of pain medications, the pain is masked and therefore one proceeds with daily activities that one normally would not be able to conduct due to the existing pain. This disrupts the healing process and therefore, recovery time is lengthening and the ability to properly recover is diminishing.

Recovering from a car accident using natural care adds to the body’s healing process. Natural care ensures that every aspect of pain is made aware of and is being treated in a correct and natural way. Nature treatments may include but not limited to acupuncture, cranioscaral therapy, trigger point injections, spinal adjustments, rehab exercises, and supplements. These treatments will not mask any of the symptoms, but it will actually treat them so that the body can fully heal and recover. If you have recently been involved in a car accident and want to be treated, please call Dr. Lee at (206) 319 – 5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.

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Filed under car accident, decrease pain, headaches, Inflammation, seattle naturopath, trigger point injections, trigger points