Category Archives: Digestion

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 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

How can leaky gut affect you?

Continued stress, poor diet, and a surplus of toxins lead to a syndrome known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is when the lining in your intestinal tract becomes inflamed and starts to malfunction. The intestines start to absorb nutrients incorrectly and begin to bring in pathogens, toxins, and food particles that normally would not be allowed in. This malfunction leads to food sensitivities. Certain food particles and chemicals that are either partially digested or have not been digested yet are leaking out of the intestines and into the bloodstream, and thus, are causing allergic responses. This allergic response can lead to many other symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Acne, and other skin issues
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Variety of Digestive Issues (gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and IBS)
  • Mental Health (depression, anxiety, etc.)
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent colds and sinus infections

There are many things that lead to leaky gut, however, ingestion of certain foods can increase the risk. Sugars, conventional cow’s milk, gluten, and food containing GMOs are just a few examples that raise the risk of acquiring leaky gut. These foods will weaken your gut, allowing the unneeded particles to leak out.

The inflammation of the GI tract leads to the malabsorption of nutrients. This triggers an immune response (allergic response), leading to multiple digestive issues and food intolerances. If the leaky gut is not properly treated, then it could lead to an autoimmune disease, such as Type 1 Diabetes.

In order to rid of this syndrome, one must remove any foods that might be causing the inflammation and incorporate healthier and healing foods into their daily diet. Probiotics are a great way to rid of bacteria that are unwanted and to replenish the good bacteria in your gut.

Contact Dr. Diane Lee at (206) 319-5322 or visit Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or if you are interested in food allergy testing.


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

How does food allergies affect asthma?

Asthma is defined as a respiratory condition or lung disease that causes spasms in the lungs and inflames and narrows the airways. It causes wheezing, chest tightening, coughing and breathlessness. Asthma is generally thought to occur due to several triggers including physical activity, airborne allergens, pollutants and irritants, such as smoke. What most people don’t know though is that foods and chemical additives can trigger asthma, especially if the person is allergic or even slightly allergic to that certain type of food. Common foods that may cause an allergic reaction or asthma flare-ups include dairy products, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, seafood and wheat. Food chemicals that are also known to trigger asthma in people who are susceptible are food coloring, MSG and sulphites, which are typically in processed foods and give off sulfur dioxide that irritates the lungs.

There is no diet that can completely eliminate your symptoms. But there are many types of foods that may help. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins C and E, which can help reduce lung inflammation and swelling. Foods with high magnesium content such as flax seeds are also a type of food that can help with asthma symptoms. Magnesium is a relaxing mineral and can relax the muscles surrounding the bronchi (airways) and keep them open.

Another form of treatment for asthma is Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a safe and effective way to repair the imbalances that cause asthma symptoms. Acupuncture for the treatment of allergies and asthma is also frequently accompanied with Chinese herbs, which are exceptional in helping relieve symptoms and strengthen the immune system to prevent future allergic reactions. Acupuncture provides an effective alternative to common allergy medication without the side effects and dependency.

It is important to figure out what types of food or food chemicals may be triggering your asthma symptoms. This can be done with a simple test. If you are interested, please contact Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center at 206-319-5322.


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Filed under Acupuncture, Allergies, Digestion, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome

Omega 3’s- why are they anti-inflammatory?

Omega-3’s are polyunsaturated fatty acids that the body derives from certain foods. They are considered essential because they are critical for good health and the body cannot make them on its own. There are two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: Long chain (EPA and DHA) and short-chain (ALA).

Although they have many vital effects on one’s health including anti-blood clotting effects, reducing blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol, they also play in important role in fighting inflammation and are considered anti-inflammatory.

Inflammation is a critical mechanism your body possesses to help protect you from pathogens, irritants, and heal injuries by sending proteins and white blood cells to the affected area. While inflammation is very essential process, uncontrolled regulation can result in consequential tissue damage and contribute to many disease formations including cardiovascular disease and even cancer. That is why consuming anti-inflammatory foods, like Omega-3 essential fatty acids, is so imperative.

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in several foods. These foods include:

• Grass fed beef

• Fresh deep water fish

• Raw flaxseeds, hemp seeds,

• Soybeans

• Shrimp

• Cauliflower

• Brussel sprouts

As you can see, there aren’t many foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and it is difficult to obtain the amount of Omega-3 that your body needs. Most people require a supplement to get this essential amount. Many health conditions require additional Omega-3. There are many types of supplements that are abundant in Omega-3’s. The most common and beneficial are:

• Fish oil

• Krill oil

• Cod liver oil

• Flax oil

• Hemp oil

Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) are abundant in fish and shellfish, and short-chain omega-3 fatty acids (ALA) are typically found in plants, such as flax and hemp. It is possible for the body to synthesize DHA and EPA from ALA, but conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is extremely limited. Therefore, fish oils are usually the most efficient source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

If you are experiencing signs of inflammation or are interested in having an analysis of your Omega-3 intake, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322.


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Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, IBD, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome

What are pro-inflammatory foods? Who should avoid them?

Inflammation occurs in response to many different stimuli including injuries, irritants and pathogens. It is a process where your body’s immune system responds by sending proteins and white blood cells to the irritated area in order to repair the damaged tissue. Blood vessels also dilate allowing an increase in blood flow to the area. This causes the symptoms of inflammation we usually see including pain, redness and swelling. Too much inflammation or inflammation of healthy tissue however can be unhealthy and cause numerous different diseases. Lack of exercise, stress, and smoking can all play a part in chronic inflammation. But one of the most important causes of inflammation is diet.

Pro-inflammatory foods are defined as any type of food that tends to cause inflammation. In general, there are about seven different food ingredients that can cause inflammation.

Sugars- soda, candy, deserts

Saturated fats- cheese, red meat, pizza

Trans fat- fast food, deep-fried foods, cookies, donuts

Omega 6 fatty acids- vegetable, corn, soy and peanut oil, mayonnaise

Refined carbs- rice, noodles, pasta, white rice and white flour products

Artificial sweeteners- aspartame, MSG (aspartame)

Alcohol- liquor, beer and wine

Who should avoid pro-inflammatory foods?

Although everyone should consider limiting their intake of pro-inflammatory foods, there are some who should avoid them more than others. Arthritis, eczema, Alzheimer’s, and acne are all conditions which inflammation can worsen symptoms. People who have high blood pressure, are obese, get frequent headaches, or is an athlete could also benefit from avoiding pro-inflammatory foods in their diet.

If you’re interested in having your diet assessed, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322


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Filed under Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Inflammation