Category Archives: Eczema

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

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

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

Where you get your food allergy testing matters!

The problem with the standard food allergy tests, run by most doctors, allergists, and dermatologists is that they missing out very important food allergy reactions in the testing methods. Most clinics tests for IgE reactions only, which is only found in a small population. Most food allergies are not IgE mediated but are rather IgG reactions or sometimes IgA reactions, such as in celiac disease.

 

IgE hypersensitivity immune response is commonly known as a food allergy.  This reaction typically occurs very quickly (minutes to hours) after eating an offending food and symptoms are generally severe.  Many are aware of food allergies causing anaphylaxis (the most common example being peanuts and kids) but they may also experience itchy lips/tongue/throat, stuffy nose, headaches, belly ache, diarrhea, gas, bloating, skin reactions, and sudden fatigue.  This test is typically done through the blood or a skin prick test. However most adults have their ‘trigger food’ figured out because the reaction is so quick.  If ice cream causes immediate diarrhea, or strawberries create lip swelling, and peanuts close your throat – one does not easily forget. It’s usually fairly obvious because the symptoms occur so quickly to the offending food.

 

IgG and IgA food allergy response is different from an immediate IgE food allergy response in that symptoms may not show up for hours or days after ingested offending food allergens. This makes it very difficult to pinpoint exactly what foods are causing what reaction in the body especially as people tend to eat the same foods over and over.  Symptoms of an IgG and IgA response include: sore throat, stuffy nose, congestion, headaches, belly aches, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating, hormone issues, foggy head, headaches, weight gain, fatigue, joint pain, depression, behavior changes, anxiety, and skin issues (particularly acne, eczema, psoriasis).  How do you know if dairy products cause your mental fogginess or gluten causes fatigue or almonds increase your acne if you eat them everyday?


Testing for IgG and IgA food allergies is confusing for many healthcare providers as they are not typically trained on these types of reactions as they are neither obvious nor life-threatening. However food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities are gaining public awareness as people are removing offending food groups in order to help support autism/spectrum disorder treatment plans, chronic diseases, and reduce inflammation in the body with success.

 

For more information about food allergies, intolerances and sensitivities, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322

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Filed under Allergies, Arthritis, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome, Skin Conditions, Weight Loss

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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Filed under Allergies, Antiaging, Digestion, Eczema, fatigue, Food allergy, IBD, IBS, Leaky gut syndrome