Category Archives: Leaky gut syndrome

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

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

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

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