Category Archives: Allergies

Identifying the problem: food allergy vs. food sensitivity

Knowing the difference between a food allergy and a food sensitivity can better help you determine the type of testing best suited to the problem. A food allergy is when the immune system targets a specific food protein as an allergen. The body attacks it and as a result produces large amounts of immunoglobulin E (IgE). The release of IgE causes the release of histamines and other chemicals which cause what is known as an allergic reaction. Food allergies symptoms range from mild to severe such as hives, swelling, dry cough, intestinal problems, eczema, headaches, etc. Only about 4-5% of the population has a true, immediate food allergy; some common allergens are peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. A delayed response in food allergy is more frequently seen. Instead of the production of IgE, the body produces IgG. The result of IgG production can lead to symptoms such as asthma, eczema, headaches, joint pain, fatigue and more. Delayed response to food allergen generally takes about 48-72 hours for symptoms to occur.

On the other hand, sensitivities to food are not caused by an immune response but instead an unpleasant reaction to certain foods commonly in the form of stomach upset, acid reflux, and nausea. Nearly 70- 80% of Americans have a food intolerance; common foods include dairy products and gluten rich foods.

Ways to tackle food intolerances is through an elimination diet method to first detect the suspect foods. If this alone doesn’t eliminate symptoms, getting a food sensitivity blood test such as an ALCAT test can match what types of food one is sensitive to. Two common ways to test for food allergies are a blood test that measures the amount of IgE and or IgG present for certain types of food. A basic skin prick test which tests for immediate IgE immune reactions to foods is also used.

For more information about food allergy and/or food sensitivity testing, please contact Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center at 206-319-5322 or info@seattlenaturopathiccenter.com

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Everything you want to know about Vitamin B12!

Cobalamin, also known as vitamin B12, is an essential vitamin critical to function and health that is not naturally synthesized in our bodies. This vitamin can be obtained through the consumption of animal products in which bacteria within these foods synthesize it or through synthetic forms such as tablets, injections or additives. Some of the most B12 dense foods include shellfish, cow liver, fish, crab, fortified soy products, red meat, low fat dairy products, cheese, and eggs. As an alternative to these animal products, rice milk, fortified energy bars, and yeast extract have high B12 content as well.

Some major health benefits of B12 include lowering the levels of homocysteine, a protein in the blood which is known to lower nerve and heart health. Therefore, by lowering this protein level in the blood through the increase of B12, it increases protection against heart disease, increases DNA protection and repair which helps reduce cancer risks and slows aging, and increases protection against dementia and cognitive decline. It is also known that B12 and B9 (folate) deficiencies can double the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as lower energy and endurance. Slight deficiencies in B12 can have adverse health effects including immediate signs of anemia, fatigue, mania, depression, and long term affects including permanent brain and nerve damage.

During normal absorption of vitamin B12, proteins in the stomach combine with the vitamin and aid in its absorption in the small intestine. Those at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency include people who have Atrophic Gastiris, an inability to absorb B12 from natural food sources, those with anemia, vegans or vegetarians, pregnant or lactating mothers, and those on certain medications. Also, individuals over the age of 50 have a declining ability to absorb B12, those who have had GI surgery, or those with pernicious anemia which decreases levels of proteins that aid in absorption. Recommended treatment or prevention for people B12injections or supplements. Also, topically B12 can be applied in combination with avocado or coconut oil to help treat skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.

For more information about vitamin B12 injections, please visit Seattle Naturopathic Center or call 206-319-5322

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Are You Vitamin B12 Deficient? Take a Self-Awareness Survey

What are the symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Weakness and fatigue, brain fog, light-headedness, loss of balance, rapid heartbeat and breathing, pale skin, sore tongue, easy bruising or bleeding, including bleeding gums, stomach upset and weight loss and diarrhea or constipation are all symptoms of Vitamin B12 deficiency.

If the deficiency is not corrected, it can damage the nerve cells. If this happens, vitamin B12 deficiency effects may include: tingling or numbness in arms, legs, fingers and toes, difficulty walking, mood changes or depression, memory loss, disorientation, and dementia.

What Diseases are Linked to Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

  • Alzheimer’s, dementia, cognitive decline and memory loss, (collectively referred to as “aging”)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders
  • Mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, psychosis)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Learning or developmental disorders in kids
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Autoimmune disease and other immune system dysfunction
  • Cancer
  • Male and female infertility
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Anemia
  • Inflammatory bowel disease 

Who is at risk for Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Many people over age 50 lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from foods.  This happens as specialized stomach cells slowly lose their ability to release an enzyme called intrinsic factor that helps break down dietary B12. 

Strict vegans (people who don’t eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, or milk) are at greatest risk. Vegetarians who eat eggs and milk products are also at risk, because, on average, they consume less than half the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12.  Studies consistently demonstrate that up to 50 percent of long-term vegetarians and 80 percent of vegans are deficient in B12.

A common myth amongst vegetarians and vegans is that it’s possible to get B12 from plant sources like seaweed, fermented soy, spirulina and brewers yeast. But plant foods said to contain B12 actually contain B12 analogs called cobamides that block B12 absorption and increase the need for metabolically useful B12.  See the following study for explanation: (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10552882)

Others who may be low in Vitamin B12 are those who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery and people who have digestive disorders, such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease.

What are the Functions of Vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 works together with folate in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. It’s also involved in the production of the myelin sheath around the nerves, and the conduction of nerve impulses. Vitamin B12 is also needed for building proteins in the body and helps keep levels of the amino acid homocysteine in check, which may help decrease heart disease risk.

Where can I get Vitamin B12 From my diet?

The body absorbs animal sources of vitamin B12 much better than plant sources. As mentioned above, non-animal sources of vitamin B12 are not reliable sources of the vitamin. 

Can you benefit from vitamin B12?

Take the survey in the next section to see if you can benefit from vitamin B12. If you have a score of 10 or higher, you will likely benefit from vitamin B12 injection. 

Are You Vitamin B12 Deficient?   Take a Self-Awareness Survey  

* * *

On a scale of 0 to 4, with zero being “experience not at all” and four being “experience greatly,” rate yourself on these symptoms and keep a running point total:

  • Depression (double your score)
  • Fatigue  (double your score)
  • Brain fog  (double your score)
  • Numbness or tingling in hands and feet  (double your score)
  • Dandruff
  • Bleed or bruise easily
  • Slow reflexes
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Memory problems
  • Menstrual problems
  • Nervousness/Anxiety
  • Pale, chalky skin
  • Pale nail beds
  • Pale tongue
  • Sore tongue
  • Feeling of weakness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Difficulties with balance
  • Bleeding gums
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • Frequent colds and flus
  • Tender calves

Scoring:  When adding up your total score, double the values for the first four symptoms (Depression, Fatigue, Brain fog and Numbness or tingling in hands and feet).  All other symptoms are 0 to 4.

  • Under 10 points — most likely not Vitamin B12 deficient
  • 10 to 15 points — probable to benefit from Vitamin B12
  • 15+ ponts — likely to benefit from Vitamin B12

From more information about Vitamin B12 injection and if you would like to schedule a 15 minute appointment for your B12 injection, please call 206-319-5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center.

 

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Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Arthritis, B 12 injection, Digestion, fatigue, vitamin injection, Weight Loss

How food intolerances affect your health?

The relative frequency of food intolerance and food-related complaints in the general populations is very high. Many food intolerances produce minimal symptoms, yet the long-term consequences are astonishing including thyroid disease, neurological disorders, increased cancer risk and accelerated aging.

 

Food intolerance is caused by a food substance that triggers a toxic reaction on contact with our intestinal cells. Contact with susceptible cells produces inflammation that can result in intestinal damage. The inflammatory cells release chemicals that cause our immune system to release antibodies against the offending food.


Some misconception of food intolerance

 

Food intolerances are diseases of childhood. Intolerances are more likely to be symptomatic in children but are found in adults of all ages. Food intolerances are perpetrators of ongoing intestinal inflammation, which may eventually exhaust the body’s defenses.


Food intolerances are only present in symptomatic patients. Food intolerances can be subjectively silent in many individuals. Nonetheless, they continue to drain our defenses and weaken our intestinal immune system. Food intolerance occurrence is underestimated in our symptom-driven health care system.


Food intolerances are simply intestinal irritations. Food intolerances can be more than a local intestinal problem, and may increase the risk of autoimmune diseases and cancer as well as accelerated aging.

 

Manifestations of Food Intolerance

 

  • Diarrhea or soft to loose stools are the most common digestive tract symptom
  • Constipation
  • Acid reflux
  • Changes in intestinal wall integrity
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Skin: hives, rash, eczema
  • Respiratory: asthma, nasal congestion, sinusitis
  • Brain: headache, migraine, sleeplessness, irritability

 

For more information about food intolerance and/or food intolerance testing, please contact Dr. Lee’s office at 206-319-5322 or visit us: Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center

 

 

 

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Elite athletes turning to Food Allergy testing for Better Health

PR Newswire

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., April 18, 2012

Many professional athletes are turning to a new coach.  It’s not a conventional coach, it’s not even a human coach; rather, it’s a coach that instructs them in personalized dieting, a coach to help increase strength and normalize weight.  It’s a simple blood test for food and chemical sensitivity called the ALCAT Test.  Proponents claim that the ALCAT identifies adverse cellular reactions to foods and chemicals associated with inflammation. Experts agree inflammation causes chronic health problems including obesity.

 

So why is this of interest to elite athletes?  According to Roger Deutsch, test co-developer and author, Your Hidden Food Allergies are Making you Fat, “…avoidance of reactive foods might unblock insulin receptors, so food is burnt for energy and not stored as fat; decrease immune mediated muscle degradation and fatigue, and increase overall metabolic and respiratory function.  The results will be individual but all these things can arise from incompatible food triggers.”

Two of the most notable athletes to have taken the ALCAT Test are Minnesota Twins’ First Baseman Justin Morneau and Boston Red Sox’s Designated Hitter David Ortiz. Morneau is a former American League MVP and four time MLB All-Star.   Morneau’s experience was chronicled in the StarTribune wherein he states he was planning to ‘do everything I can humanly do to make myself feel better.’ The StarTribune also states: “While making the medical rounds last fall, Morneau also took the ALCAT Test to see if he had food allergies. He learned his body was sensitive, if not allergic to, sugars, gluten and dairy.” Morneau then lost 14 pounds in just a few weeks by following his new diet.

Athletes are always seeking new ways to enhance performance, and diet plays an essential role in their ability to do so.  Morneau states, “It’s not like I’ll choke or die from eating those things, but my body reacts poorly to them. It treats them as something I’m allergic to and fights the inflammation instead of the inflammation from an injury.”

The Red Sox David Ortiz was recently featured in a separate article titled, The Skinny on Big Papi’s Diet featured on ESPN.com. Even though Ortiz took the ALCAT Test for different reasons than Morneau, he had a similar experience, dropping 20 pounds in two months. Ortiz took the test because his “cholesterol had risen to dangerously high levels.” Since taking the test, and following its dietary guidelines, Ortiz said, “The results have been almost immediately noticeable.” He goes on to say, “I feel great” and “I can feel the difference when I swing a bat and when I work out, I don’t get as tired.”

Studies have shown dietary modification and food sensitivity testing to be a viable treatment modality for a number of chronic health problems.  Major League Baseball isn’t the only professional sport that has utilized the ALCAT Test.  Joe Rowgowski, Strength and Conditioning Coach for the NBA’s Orlando Magic, has been quoted as saying, “I’ve seen very good results with the ALCAT Test and often recommend it to the athletes I work with.”  In addition, Elite European Soccer Club, Juventus, was recently featured in a study titled Rational Management of Food Intolerance in an elite soccer club. This study was presented at the International Society of Sports Nutrition: 8th Annual ISSN Conference and Expo in 2011.

 

So what does all of this mean? This means your fork may actually be the best tool available for maximum performance. For the elite athlete, with all the available supplements, PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) and training methods perhaps it is indeed as simple as Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.”  For the elite athlete or the occasional weekend warrior the best medicine may actually be finding out what foods are right for you.

ALCAT testing is available at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center. Please call 206-3195322 for more information. 

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How Food Sensitivity Affects Weight and More!

For certain people struggling with headaches or joint pain, the food they’re eating may not only be keeping them from getting better but from also losing weight. Now a simple test can pinpoint food sensitivities and help some people improve their overall health.

Gabi Rose, weight loss and fitness expert, explains how the ALCAT test pinpoints food sensitivity and how being sensitive or allergic to certain foods can cause weight gain and other health issues.

ALCAT test is available at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center. Please call 206-3195322 for more information.

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How to reduce allergy symptoms naturally?

An allergy is a heightened sensitivity to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that causes the body’s defense system (the immune system) to overreact when defending itself.

 

Normally, the immune system would only react if a harmful substance, such as bacteria, attacks the body. For people with allergies, their immune system is working too hard, and it reacts even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present. The severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations. General treatments for allergies include avoidance, use of anti-histamines, steroids or other medications, and immunotherapy to desensitize the allergic response.

 

Top three tips in reducing allergy symptoms naturally:


Neti pot know-how. The device have long enjoyed a reputation as a great natural way to flush out your sinuses- especially during allergy season. That healthy image became tarnished last year, however, when two people in Louisiana died as a result of a brain- eating amoebae found in the tap water. After being forced up the nose, the organism (naegleria fowleri) crossed the barrier separating the nasal cavity from the brain. But don’t toss your pot away yet. These were the first – and such complications are easily prevented. To play it safe, use only distilled water or boil yours from the tap then let it cool before using. Filtered water is fine too assuming the pore size is 1 micron or smaller    (check label or contact manufacture).

 

Vitamin C: The Natural Antihistamine.  Vitamin C enhances the action of the enzyme histaminase, which quickly metabolizes histamine. One gram of vitamin C reduces blood histamine by approximately 20%, and 2 grams of vitamin C reduces histamine by more than 30%, thus reducing the severity of allergic reactions.

 

Quercetin Bioflavonid. Quercetin is a plant bioflavonoid naturally found in wine, tea, outer layers of red and yellow onions. Quercetin stabilizes mast cells in allergic patients, and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. For the best effect, quercetin should be taken in combination with vitamin C and high-potency bromelain. The growing number of people who choose not to eat lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are undernourished with bioflavonoids, quercetin specifically. If they don’t consume more quercetin, they will be more prone to allergies.

If you are suffering from allergies and would like to reduce your symptoms naturally, please contact Dr. Lee at 206-3195322 or visit www.seattlenaturopathiccenter.com for more information.

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Food Safety – Don’t Eat These Seven Foods!

You have seen articles about food safety and food additives in the news lately.  I dug up an article from Prevention Magazine written by Liz Vaccariello entitled “Seven Foods Even Food Safety Experts Won’t Eat”.  Bon appetit!

  1. Canned Tomatoes – resin linings of tin cans can contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen.  Acidic contents (such as tomato sauces) cause BPA to leach into food.  Solution – choose fresh tomatoes or ones packaged in glass bottles or waxed boxes.
  2. Corn-Fed Beef – cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains.  According to a Clemson University study grass-fed beef, compared to corn-fed, is higher in beta-carotene, Vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium; lower in the inflammatory omega-6′s; and lower in saturated fats.  Solution – buy grass-fed beef.
  3. Microwave Popcorn – the problem is the chemicals in the lining of the bag.  Solution – pop it the old-fashion way in a skillet or pan.
  4. Potatoes (non-organic) – root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides during the growing season.  Because these chemicals are absorbed they cannot be washed off!  Solution – buy organic potatoes.
  5. Farmed Salmon – nature didn’t intend for salmon to be artificially fed in pens.  Farmed salmon tend to be lower in Vitamin D and higher in contaminants including carcinogens, PCB’s, and pesticides.  Solution – switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon.  If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed.  No commercial fisheries remain for wild Atlantic salmon.
  6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones – bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) is used to increase milk production but may have a deleterious effect on humans.  Solution – check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk.
  7. Conventional Apples – fall apples are sprayed with pesticides because, as individually grafted trees, apples don’t develop resistance to many pests.  Solution – buy organic apples or at least wash and peel them first.

As you can see, there are a few relatively easy and not very expensive ways to protect yourself from potentially harmful food products.

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Confused by the different types of vitamin B12?

Looking for a safe and effective way to reduce to optimize health? The answer would be to eat right and exercise. One can also consider vitamin B12 injections as it can give you positive results as well.

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin. It is a nutrient that is important for cell proliferation, nerve health, and carbohydrate metabolism. It is an essential nutrient needed to make red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body, the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve cells, and various proteins. It also plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

As vitamin B12 injection is getting more popular, there is also the question of which type of B12 to get.

Hydroxocobalamin B12 is a natural and uniquely powerful form of vitamin B12. Clinical studies practice have shown it can help to improve cognitive function, fight fatigue, promote heart health and more. Studies have found that hydroxocoblamin raises B12 levels higher and lasts longer than cyanocobalamin (1,2). Hydroxocobalamin has a high affinity for cyanide. It pulls the cyanide out of the mitochondria of the cell and combines with it to form cyanocobalamin, which is then excreted in the urine. In 2006, hydroxocobalamin was approved by the FDA as an antidote for cyanide poisoning. Since cyanide is present in cigarette smoke  (and essentially reduces the cells’ ability to use oxygen), hydroxocobalamin would be a good option for smoker seeking a B12 supplement.

On the other hand, methylcobalamin may be help in preventing and treating chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, peripheral neuropathies, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy and neurological aging.

The most common form of vitamin B12 is called cyanocobalamin. However, over the last ten years, a number of central peripheral neurological diseases have been linked to a deficiency of a very specific cobalamin, the methylcobalamin form, that is required to protect against neurological disease and aging. The liver converts a small amount of cyanocobalamin into methylcobalamin within the body, but larger amounts of methylcobalamin are necessary to correct neurological defects and protect against aging.

Few substances have been shown to regenerate nerves in humans with peripheral neruopathies. However, a study in the Journal of Neurological Science postulated that methylcobalamin could increase protein synthesis and help regenerate nerves. The scientists showed that very high doses of methylcobalamin produce nerve regeneration in laboratory rats. The scientists stated that ultra-high doses of methylcobalamin might be of clinical use for patients with peripheral neuropathies.

1. Hall CA, et al. “The availability of therapeutic hydroxocobalamin to cells.” Blood. 1984 Feb;63(2):335-41.
2. Glass GBJ, et al. “Hydroxocobalamin V. Prolonged maintenance of high vitamin B12 blood levels following a short course of hydrooxocobalamin injections.” Blood. 1966. Vol 27, No. 2 pp 234-241.

Interested in B12 injection. Visit  Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322.

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Eczema and Food Allergies Often Go Hand and Hand

Eczema causes an itchy and sometimes painful rash, blisters, and dry, rough skin. It is typically a chronic problem with times of improvement followed by worsening. Typical parts of the body are involved (e.g. arms, legs, hands, face) and there is usually a family history of allergy. One of the most common triggers that is often neglected = food allergens.

There’s a selection from the National Eczema Association:

I have been an eczema sufferer since age 17, and I am now 44. The eczema started on the inner elbows of my arms. Then my hands were affected; I would get these very small blisters that intensely itched, and then my fingers would swell and weep. In a Scratch Pad letter, a gentleman suggested going on an elimination diet. This meant eating nothing but chicken, broccoli, and cauliflower for about a week, then adding certain foods back in to the diet to see what was causing the itch. This was a very difficult thing to do! But after three days I noticed the itching on my hands was gone. After thinking the problem was wheat for a while, I finally pinned it down to tomatoes/ tomato sauce, and soda pop/coffee. Pinpointing a food was  difficult since my itching usually started the morning after eating an offending agent. A food diary can be helpful. Good luck on your journeys.

Ann Lee

Food allergens can be identified via eliminating suspected foods and reintroducing foods to see if there are notable symptoms. Another option of identifying food allergens is food allergy blood test. Blood test can show if food allergens create an immediate or a delayed response. For more information on Food allergy testing, please contact Dr. Lee at 206-3195322 or info@seattlenaturopathiccenter.com, Seattle Naturopathic Center.

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