Category Archives: IBS

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

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

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

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