Did you know that this week we celebrate brain awareness? And did you know that studies have shown that Vitamin B12 seems to contribute to higher IQ in children? A study conducted by the department of pharmacology at the University of Oxford found that children born to mothers with a higher dietary intake of vitamin B12 had a slightly higher IQ than other children, and that those with mothers carrying putative vitamin B12-increasing alleles were more likely to have a higher IQ than those born to mothers without these alleles. This study collected extensive data from the mothers and their offspring from pregnancy onwards by questionnaire, abstraction from medical notes, record linkage and by attendance at research clinics. Cognitive testing was carried out by trained psychologists during a clinic visit when the children were 8 years old using a shortened version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-III). Psychologists found that on average, children had higher IQ scores when their mothers presented higher levels of vitamin B12 during gestation.
If you are pregnant, or trying to conceive, you know that taking folate is essential for the healthy development of your baby. But according to the World Health Organization, vitamin B12 is just as important in preventing neural tube and other neurological defects in infants and unfortunately as many as 1 in 20 adults is deficient in this essential vitamin. Vitamin B12 is also important because it helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells. A vitamin B12 deficiency is associated with increased risk for several adverse pregnancy outcomes for both mother and fetus. These risks include neural tube defects, intrauterine growth retardation, preeclampsia and early miscarriage. If you’d like to know more about Vitamin B12, please visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.
Vitamin B-12 Status during Pregnancy and Child’s IQ at Age 8: A Mendelian Randomization Study in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children
Multiple studies have been conducted on the subject of MTFHR mutations and their impact on how our body work on a daily basis. MTHFR’s function in our body is to perform a process called methylation inside our cells. By doing so, MTHFR can help create, convert, and alter compounds within our cells. Methylation impacts many processes. It is involved in cellular repair and the production of DNA. It helps with neurotransmitter production and it is also vital in the formation and development of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and the maintenance of a healthy immune system.
Research studies including “Assocation between MTHFR C677T polymorphism and depression: an updated meta-analysis of 26 studies” and “ Angiotensin converting enzyme and MTFHR gene variations in fibriomyalgia syndrome” have found that there is in fact a strong link between MTFHR variations and detrimental health conditions such as depression, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, among others. These studies have also shown that active forms of vitamin B12 and folinic acid are helpful in treating the negative effects of the mutation.
Today, over 60% of the world’s population has a vartiation on their MTHFR gene. Although some people never present negative side effects or health conditions due to this muation, an increasing number of people suffer consequences from the mutation. This in part is because epigenetic plays a huge role. Epigenetic is the non-genetic influence of gene expression. Simply put, our diet, stress levels, environment, lifestyle can have an impact on how the gene is expressed. Screening for MTFHR mutation is highly recommended for all patients who suffer from chronic mental, neurological, pain conditions such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and ADHD, as well as histamine related conditions such as hives and itchy skin.
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.
Filed under Allergies, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, epigenetic, fatigue, Food allergy, headaches, IBD, IBS, Leaky gut syndrome, Weight Loss
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!
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.
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.
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