Tag Archives: seattle naturopathic medicine

Food Safety – Don’t Eat These Seven Foods!

You have seen articles about food safety and food additives in the news lately.  I dug up an article from Prevention Magazine written by Liz Vaccariello entitled “Seven Foods Even Food Safety Experts Won’t Eat”.  Bon appetit!

  1. Canned Tomatoes – resin linings of tin cans can contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen.  Acidic contents (such as tomato sauces) cause BPA to leach into food.  Solution – choose fresh tomatoes or ones packaged in glass bottles or waxed boxes.
  2. Corn-Fed Beef – cattle evolved to eat grass, not grains.  According to a Clemson University study grass-fed beef, compared to corn-fed, is higher in beta-carotene, Vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid, calcium, magnesium and potassium; lower in the inflammatory omega-6′s; and lower in saturated fats.  Solution – buy grass-fed beef.
  3. Microwave Popcorn – the problem is the chemicals in the lining of the bag.  Solution – pop it the old-fashion way in a skillet or pan.
  4. Potatoes (non-organic) – root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides during the growing season.  Because these chemicals are absorbed they cannot be washed off!  Solution – buy organic potatoes.
  5. Farmed Salmon – nature didn’t intend for salmon to be artificially fed in pens.  Farmed salmon tend to be lower in Vitamin D and higher in contaminants including carcinogens, PCB’s, and pesticides.  Solution – switch to wild-caught Alaska salmon.  If the package says fresh Atlantic, it’s farmed.  No commercial fisheries remain for wild Atlantic salmon.
  6. Milk Produced with Artificial Hormones – bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST) is used to increase milk production but may have a deleterious effect on humans.  Solution – check labels for rBGH-free, rBST-free, produced without artificial hormones, or organic milk.
  7. Conventional Apples – fall apples are sprayed with pesticides because, as individually grafted trees, apples don’t develop resistance to many pests.  Solution – buy organic apples or at least wash and peel them first.

As you can see, there are a few relatively easy and not very expensive ways to protect yourself from potentially harmful food products.

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Filed under Allergies, Digestion, Food allergy

Eczema and Food Allergies Often Go Hand and Hand

Eczema causes an itchy and sometimes painful rash, blisters, and dry, rough skin. It is typically a chronic problem with times of improvement followed by worsening. Typical parts of the body are involved (e.g. arms, legs, hands, face) and there is usually a family history of allergy. One of the most common triggers that is often neglected = food allergens.

There’s a selection from the National Eczema Association:

I have been an eczema sufferer since age 17, and I am now 44. The eczema started on the inner elbows of my arms. Then my hands were affected; I would get these very small blisters that intensely itched, and then my fingers would swell and weep. In a Scratch Pad letter, a gentleman suggested going on an elimination diet. This meant eating nothing but chicken, broccoli, and cauliflower for about a week, then adding certain foods back in to the diet to see what was causing the itch. This was a very difficult thing to do! But after three days I noticed the itching on my hands was gone. After thinking the problem was wheat for a while, I finally pinned it down to tomatoes/ tomato sauce, and soda pop/coffee. Pinpointing a food was  difficult since my itching usually started the morning after eating an offending agent. A food diary can be helpful. Good luck on your journeys.

Ann Lee

Food allergens can be identified via eliminating suspected foods and reintroducing foods to see if there are notable symptoms. Another option of identifying food allergens is food allergy blood test. Blood test can show if food allergens create an immediate or a delayed response. For more information on Food allergy testing, please contact Dr. Lee at 206-3195322 or info@seattlenaturopathiccenter.com, Seattle Naturopathic Center.

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Filed under Allergies, Eczema, Food allergy, Inflammation, Skin Conditions

Fiber as a natural weight loss promoter

The best fiber to use for weight loss is water-soluble fiber. Examples of water-soluble are psyllium, gluconmannan, guar gum, and pectin. When taken with water before meals or with meals, these fiber sources bind to the water in the stomach to form a gelatinous mass that makes you feel full. As a result, you will be less likely to overeat.

The benefits of fiber go well beyond this mechanical effect. Fiber supplements have been shown to enhance blood sugar control and insulin effects, as well as reduce the number of calories absorbed by the body. In clinical studies demonstrating weight loss, fiber supplements were shown to reduce the number of calories absorbed by 30-180 calories/day. This reduction in calories may not seem like much, but over the course of a year it would add up to three to eighteen pounds.
In addition to weight loss, fiber supplementation promotes good health. Studies have shown these very same water soluble fiber sources to reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and lowering blood pressure, reduce the risk for various cancer including colon, rectal, and pancreatic cancer, reduce blood sugar levels in diabetes, promote proper bowel movement function, and help with peptic ulcers.

There are many fiber supplements to choose from. I recommend one that is rich in water-soluble fiber and avoid products containing added sugar or other sweeteners. One other very important recommendation is to be sure to drink adequate amount of water when taking and fiber supplement.

Remember to start with a small dosage and increase gradually. Water soluble fibers are fermented by intestinal flora. As a result, gas and bloating can be a problem. If you are not used to a high fiber diet, an increase in dietary fiber can lead to increased flatulence and abdominal pain. Start out with a dosage of 1-2 grams before or with meals and gradually increase the dosage. How much weight will you loose? It really depends on how much you weigh, you should lose 50-100% more weight by supplementing you diet with fiber than by dietary restriction alone.

Caution: individuals with a disorder of esophagus should not take fiber in pill as it can expand in the esophagus and create obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract.

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Antiaging supplements for optimum health

It is hard for us to get everything for our bodies to function as they should. An orange you buy in the grocery store today can have minimal vitamin C due to the impoverishment of soil by modern farming methods. In order for our bodies to function optimally, we need at least seventeen minerals and thirteen vitamins, in addition to protein, fiber, carbohydrates and the right fats. Most fruits and vegetables in the store travel long distances, so that vitamins deteriorate along the way. Unless you get your vegetables from mineral-rich soil that has been carefully fertilized with natural composts and manures for many years, you might be deficient in various minerals and vitamins.
If you take a good mult-vitamin and mineral supplement, you can get a good range of essential vitamins and minerals. Remember that supplements are just that they are supposed to supplement a balanced diet, no a replacement. A cheeseburger and fries plus a milkshake followed by a handful of vitamins will not lead to optimum health.

Dr. Lee’s 5 top antiaging supplements:

Vitamin C: a potent immune-boosting antioxidant that is absolutely essential for good health. Vitamin C quenches carcinogenic free radicals and protects DNA from being damaged. It also builds collagen and protects arteries from damage. Suggested dosage: 1-2grams*, spread throughout the day. High doses can cause loose stools. Vitamin C acids absorption of iron, consult a doctor first if you have condition in handling iron (ie. Hemochromatosis) Food consideration: citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, kiwi, berries.

Zinc deficiency is very common, especially in elderly. Look at your fingernails- if you have more than two small white spots in your fingertip part, you are likely to be zinc deficient. Zinc regulates normal cell death and tells the problem cells to commit suicide, which prevents them from dividing uncontrollably – an anticancer mechanism. Zinc also has the ability to rejuvenate the thymus gland, responsible for overseeing immune systems. Suggested dosage 10-30mg daily*. Use zinc gluconate for best absorption. High doses (>50mg) can interfere with other nutrient absorption. Food consideration: meat, poultry, garlic, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Glutathione: a potent antioxidant that regenerates immune cells. It is a crucial part of our liver detoxification pathways. It is found in most foods and is produced in our cells. People who are deficient are more likely to age prematurely, as free radicals are left unchecked. Suggested dosage: 50-100mg. Vitamin C boosts glutathione levels.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: a potent antioxidant. It is both water and fat soluble, so is able to protect both fatty and watery areas of the body and can regenerate both vitamin E and vitamin C. Alpha lipoic acid also boosts the body’s own production of glutathione. It lowers blood glucose and can useful for counteracting insulin resistance. It is made small amounts by the body. Suggested dosage: 100-300mg. Food consideration: dark leafy vegetables.

Coenzyme Q10: a powerful antiaging antioxidant, particularly with regards to its ability to boost heart health. It is one of the few antioxidants that can get inside the mitochondria, the powerhouses of our cells that are highly susceptible to free radical damage. Suggested dosage: 50-100mg.

*The suggested dosages are much higher than RDA (recommended daily allowance) as RDA levels are set to prevent serious deficiency diseases such as scurvy.

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Filed under Antiaging, fatigue, Skin Conditions

Get You Daily Dose of Sunshine

Sunlight provides us with good levels of vitamin D, a vitamin and also a hormone with several functions. It is thought to help protect us from cancer, TB, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and possible some as-yet unknown disease. Vitamin D is manufactured from cholesterol when skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun and it is difficult to get enough from diet alone.

The most well known result of severe vitamin D deficiency is rickets, a disease causing crippling bowlegs. That is because vitamin D is necessary for the proper absorption of calcium and magnesium, needed for good bone density. In adult, vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteomalacia and is caused by an inability to absorb both calcium and phosphorus, for which vitamin D is necessary.

Vitamin D has recently become known as an effective anticancer agent, and it has been known for decades that there is an inverse correlation between sun exposure and cancer mortality. Vitamin D is associated with lower colon, prostate, skin, and breast cancer. Women with breast cancer have been found to be twice as likely to have a fault in the gene that enables that body to use vitamin D. The anticancer activity of vitamin D may be due to its ability inactivate certain oncogenes, genes that instruct ordinary cells to become cancer cells.

Vitamin D can be obtained from the diet, but not very easily. Milk and some breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D. Eggs contain vitamin D but you would need to eat 10 eggs to get 200IU. The best source of vitamin D are fish oil and cod liver oil. Vitamin D is no use with a completely fat-free diet, since it is a fat soluble substance needing fat for transport.

Spending ten to twenty minutes outside two to three times a week in summer is thought to give us adequate vitamin D to help prevent and manage many health conditions. Those with dark skins may need more, and you may need to take supplements in if you live in a cloudy region. It is best to have your vitamin D level tested to determine if there is a vitamin D deficiency. To ensure proper assessment of vitamin D level, 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be tested. A level below 32ng/ml is considered deficient and requires therapies including diet and lifestyle changes and supplementation. Published cases of vitamin D toxicity all involve intakes of at least 40,000 IU/day.

Examples of conditions that benefit from vitamin D:

  • · Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, osteomalacia, rickets
  • · Vitamin-D deficiency myopathy
  • · Psoriasis
  • · Polycystic Ovaries
  • · Seasonal mood disorder
  • · Scleraderma
  • · Prostate cancer
  • · Migraines

For more information about vitamin D testing or supplementation, please contact Dr. Lee via email info@seattlenaturopathiccenter.com or 206-319-5322.

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Seattle Natural Ezcema Cure

A 28 year-old female came into the clinic with a chief complaint of eczema. The onset of her eczema was 2 months ago.  Her eczema was covering more than 50% of her body, including her scalp, face, ears, back, torso, arms and legs. Her eczema was dry, scaly, red, and can be weepy from scratching. She also reported that the itching was affecting her quality of life. She has been seen by several dermatologists and was prescribed with hydrocortisone topically and cortisone internally. The prescriptions did not relieve her symptoms.  She has had eczema in the past but nothing to such severity. With a thorough history intake, it was found that started a new job at a bakery 2 months ago. Her diet is a typical American diet, including pizza, pasta, packaged foods, sodas.

The treatment plan was as follow:

  • Elimination of wheat and dairy for 1 month.
  • To decrease inflammation: fish oil starting with 1g
  • Probiotics to normalize gut function
  • L-glutamine

A follow up call was made 10 days after the visit. The patient reported eczema was at least 75% resolved. She reported having to cheat on wheat three times.

One of Naturopathic medicine principles is to “treat the root cause”. By eliminating cause of the eczema, the body is allowed to return to its normal state.  The prescription medications did not alleviate her eczema because it was an attempt to cover her symptoms but not getting to the root of it.

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Filed under Eczema, Food allergy

Why food allergen elimination?

The underlying cause of intestinal inflammation and immune dysregulation can often be caused by certain foods that you may have difficulty digesting or to which you may have a sensitivity or allergy. In fact, over 50 percent of the immune system is located in and around the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, when the gastrointestinal immune system is affected by food allergens or intolerances, the systemic immune system is also impacted. In turn, chemical messengers of alarm and inflammation are released by the gastrointestinal associated immune system that enter the bloodstream and can have an effect upon other organs and systems in the body. For example, drinking milk, in susceptible individuals, may trigger the gastrointestinal immune system to release molecules that travel through the blood stream and affect the brain causing disturbances such as changes in mood and cognitive performance. Many people find that eliminating common food allergens helps decrease intestinal inflammation and improves symptoms such as fatigue and muscle pain. It is highly recommended that you eliminate the common food allergens while you and your health practitioner help establish a healthy gastrointestinal system.

This is the first step toward identifying problematic foods and this step should not be ignored. It is important to eliminate all known or suspected food intolerances. Many individual who have avoided common and suspected food intolerances have noticed a dramatic improvement in cognitive function, behavior and over health. In addition, once the “leaky gut” has healed, the avoided foods can gradually be reintroduced in an effort to identify the problematic ones without major setbacks.

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Filed under Food allergy