Category Archives: Inflammation

Can food allergies lead to headaches?

A headache is something that almost everyone on the planet has endured at some point in his or her life. When people have a headache, they tend to think that it was brought about by the most talked about and most obvious triggers such as anxiety, noise, lack of sleep, medication, and dehydration. Although all of these are proven to be some popular causes of a headache, one of the most common triggers that tends to be overlooked is food and food sensitivities.

Food sensitivity is caused when the body incorrectly treats a certain food or food additive as a foreign substance, resulting in an immune response. When the immune system is triggered, it causes inflammation and increased blood flow to the affected area. The common factor in all headaches typically involves inflammation, which can potentially affect your head. The inflammation and therefore the headache will vanish once the triggering food is removed from the diet.

Many other foods can trigger headaches, even if you aren’t sensitive to the specific type of food. Some dairy products, especially cheese, contain a phosphoprotein called casein. Casein is a major trigger of migraines and headaches. They also contain a component called Tyramine. Tyramine can cause the nerve cells in your brain to release norepinephrine. This unusual amount of chemical change in the brain can be a major cause of headaches. Another food chemical that can cause headaches is Aspartame. Aspartame is an artificial sweetener that is commonly found in diet sodas. It is considered an excitotoxin, meaning that it causes spasms in the neurons, which eventually damage and burn out the neurons in your brain causing a painful headache. Alcohol is also a very common headache trigger. Alcohol increases blood flow to the brain and induces dehydration, both of which can cause headaches.

Cheese, artificial sweeteners and alcohol are just a few of foods that are notoriously known for causing headaches. There are several natural methods to help treat and prevent headaches without the use of pain relievers and over the counter medication. One of the most common is acupuncture, which has been used to treat headaches for thousands of years. Acupuncture works very well with sinus, tension, and sleeping disorder headaches, and is also effective for migraine headaches. Acupuncture can help relax the patient and has a lasting effect on the prevention of headaches. Unlike synthetic drugs, acupuncture has generally no side effects and is minimally invasive.

Another natural remedy for headache treatment and prevention is taking magnesium. People who suffer from migraines and headaches usually have much lower levels of magnesium than people who don’t suffer from headaches. Magnesium is an important element in your body that is involved in numerous cell functions. A lack of magnesium may play a large role in the upbringing of a headache due to changes in neurotransmitter reactions and inflammation. Magnesium works especially well for tension headaches by relaxing the soft tissue in your brain and therefore reducing headache symptoms. Magnesium is a safe, inexpensive and natural way to help treat and prevent acute and chronic headaches.

If you are suffering from headaches, there is a high possibility that it may be due to your diet. If you are interested in finding out what foods may be triggering your headaches and want to establish an effective and natural treatment plan, please contact Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center at (206)-319-5322.

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Filed under Allergies, Food allergy, Inflammation, Leaky gut syndrome

Can food allergies lead to weight gain?

Food allergies and weight problems are intimately related. If you are having difficulty losing weight, it may be because you have a food allergy or sensitivity preventing you to do so. 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. Inflammation from food allergies inactivates leptin, which is the body’s main weight control hormone. Your immune system produces anti-inflammatory chemicals to offset inflammation, and these chemicals restrict the ability of leptin to function properly. When you overeat, the leptin levels in your body rise, which results in an increased metabolic rate and a decrease in appetite. If you have inflammation due to a food allergy, this process does not occur, and it leaves you with a slow metabolic rate and a hungry appetite.

Eating foods that trigger an allergic reaction and inflammation also cause secretion of epinephrine from your adrenal glands, which triggers a hormonal cascade that ultimately results in the storage of fat rather than the breakdown of fat. Epinephrine causes glycogen (stored glucose) breakdown in the liver, which increases the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. When high sugar levels are detected, insulin is released. High levels of insulin activate the enzyme lipoprotein lipase, which catalyzes the synthesis of fats. It also inhibits the enzyme triglyceride lipase, which is one of the important enzymes in the break down of stored fats.

If you have been struggling to lose weight and tried diet and exercise, there is a high possibility that it may be due to food allergies and intolerances. Food triggers can be easily identified by a simple blood test. If you are interested in identifying what foods could be causing inflammation and developing a personalized treatment plan, please contact Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center at (206)-319-5322

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Filed under Food allergy, Inflammation, Weight Loss

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

Natural ways to cope with pain from a car accident

Anyone who has been in a car accident is familiar with the negative effects it can have on a person’s body. Not only can a car accident cause chronic physical stress, but emotional and cognitive stress as well. People sometimes take medication that may mask the symptoms for temporary relief not knowing that there are several natural ways to help the recovery process of the mind and body after a car accident.

Common chronic physical symptoms after a car accident include insomnia, lower back pain, whiplash, increased heart rate, headaches, and muscle pain. A common treatment for muscle pains, soreness and swelling is one called Arnica. Arnica is a plant that can be compressed to a cream, gel or ointment and applied directly to the affected area on the body. Arnica is an effective natural remedy for pain relief that doesn’t involve the side effects or dependency of prescription painkillers.

A more common natural approach to post auto accident recovery is acupuncture. Acupuncture helps to relieve pain and discomfort by stimulating the body’s self-healing capability. It is an extremely safe form of treatment without the risk of side effects of over the counter medication. It also helps treat more than just your physical pain after a car accident. Acupuncture is considered a holistic form of medicine, which means that it treats the mind and body. Therefore, acupuncture can also help relieve stress, depression and insomnia, which are some of the most common symptoms that occur.

Another natural remedy that is extremely powerful in inducing relaxation is Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is proven to help you relax, distress and improve your sleep. In fact, it is often referred to as the “Relaxation Mineral”. Magnesium helps you sleep by regulating the secretion of melatonin, which is the sleep-regulating hormone. It also helps balance stress hormones, which are usually a cause of insomnia. Consuming magnesium also helps you relax because it regulates and activates the release of serotonin which helps calm the nervous system.

There is a wide range of mental and physical reactions following a traumatic event such as a car accident. If you’re interested in a more natural path to recovery or would like to talk about different treatment plans, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322.

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Filed under Acupuncture, decrease pain, Inflammation

Importances of Vitamin B12 and D deficiency in the Pacific Northwest

Vitamin deficiency can result in numerous health problems including disease, pain, inflammation and even increased risk of cancer. Two of the most common deficiencies are vitamin D and B12. The primary way to retrieve vitamin D is through the sun. Studies have shown that even if you live in a sunny environment, it is still very possible to be deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin B12 on the other hand is most commonly retrieved through diet. Deficiency is vitamin B12 is most common in those who don’t consume a sufficient amount of animal products.


Vitamin D deficiency

If you are experiencing bone pain or muscle weakness, you are probably suffering from vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is synthesized in your body in response to sunlight. Therefore, a lack of direct sunlight may result in being vitamin D deficient. Even if you live in a generally sunny environment, depending on your lifestyle, you can easily be deficient. For example, if your job requires you to be indoors all day, you may very well be lacking vitamin D. Studies have also shown that people who live 37 degrees above or below the equator receive much less direct sunlight than places closer to the equator. That is why vitamin D deficiency is so prevalent in places like the Pacific Northwest.

There are a very small number of foods that actually contain vitamin D, therefore increased sun exposure and/or supplements is usually required to obtain healthy levels.

B12 deficiency

The most common symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include weakness, irritability, mood changes, overall tiredness, lack of energy and overall depression. As mentioned before, vitamin B12 is consumed primarily through diet. B12 is only found in animal products, therefore vegans and vegetarians are at high risk. Another factor that can contribute to being deficient in vitamin B12 is alcohol consumption. Alcohol irritates the lining of the intestines and the stomach. Because of this, alcohol blocks B12 from being sufficiently absorbed into the blood stream. If you are vegan, vegetarian, or over the age of 60, you should highly consider taking supplements or receiving B12 injections.

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

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Filed under B 12 injection, fatigue, Inflammation, Vitamin D, vitamin injection

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