Category Archives: Health & Disease

Tips to Avoid Environmental Chemicals

bubble cactus

More research is showing that environmental chemicals are disrupting hormones, immunity, and nervous system in children. Parents are starting to ask questions what they can do to prevent their kids from exposure without going overboard.

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FOOD: Foods that are nutrient dense (think vibrant vegetables and fruits, grass-fed and free-range meats, raw nuts and seeds) provide the vitamins and minerals that help you detoxify every day. It’s that simple.
1. Avoid pre-packaged and processed foods
2. Buy Local and Organic when possible
3. Reduce intake of large fish (i.e. tuna, swordfish)

Water:
1. Avoid plastic containers when possible
2. Filter water with reverse osmosis (most good reverse osmosis filters can be installed in your kitchen – can buy from your local hardware store).

KU Integrative Medicine Kitchen

In the Kitchen:
1. Avoid chemical treated pans and Use stainless steel, cast iron, porcelain (provided that there isn’t toxins in the paint in ceramic/porcelain dishes)
2. Use Glass storage containers instead of plastic

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Home and Garden:
1. Of all the tips, this is the most IMPORTANT: Avoid pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and weed killers.
2. Change furnace filter monthly if possible
3. Avoid new carpeting or chemical cleaners on carpet
4. Keep home ventilated, open windows when possible
5. Use ionizer and Hepa air purifiers
6. Avoid cleaning chemicals and use DIY vinegar/baking soda cleaner or good brands are seventh generation and meter’s.
7. Buy Low VOC Paints

Personal Care Products and Hobbies:
1. Avoid Parabens, Phthalates, and BPA in your lotions, makeup, and haircare products
2. Avoid fragrance, perfumes

Please add any comments or other tips that you might find in your home useful!!

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Gluten Related Disorders

There seems to be some confusion in regards to gluten sensitivity versus celiac disease.

Gliadins (contained within gluten) are the proteins found in  wheat, barely, and rye. We (at least for some of us) have really not been exposed long enough to evolutionarily adapt to ingesting gluten as the age of agriculture introduced it to us only 10,000 years ago (I know that seems like a really long time but evolution is a SLOW process).

Celiac Disease is when your immune system thinks gliadin is a foreign substance and starts destroying the gastrointestinal lining.  However, individuals can present with skin rashes, migraines, poor hair and nail growth, poor balance, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies such as iron deficiency, and even other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease.

Gluten sensitivity is when your immune system (and maybe other systems) reacts to gluten but does not destroy the gut.  It can cause inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, but it can also cause inflammation in other areas of the body. Most people who are gluten sensitive may feel joint pain, commonly in the lower back just above the hips (called the sacroiliac joints).  Others may get migraines or headaches and fatigue especially a few hours after ingesting gluten.

I’m also finding that when individuals go on a gluten-free diet but reintroduce it at some point, they have extreme mood swings and behavioral changes that they can’t explain.

There are some great websites for review:

http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2012/01/the-gliadin-effect/

http://bodyecology.com/articles/beyond-gluten-free-how-corn-and-oats-are-becoming-just-as-troublesome-as-wheat-gluten#.UoljUZGM5g0

http://www.glnc.org.au/grains/grains-and-nutrition/gluten-in-grains/

 

Food Allergies vs. Food Sensitivities

food sensitivityThere can be confusion about the difference between food allergy versus food sensitivity. Food allergy and food sensitivities occur when the immune system goes “awry” and thinks that food is foreign.

Food allergy means that an antibody called IgE (stands for immunoglobulin E) binds to food and causes a reaction in the body. The reaction commonly manifests in hives, skin rashes, stomach aches, nausea/vomiting, and more seriously, swelling of the throat and “anaphylaxis” which can be life-threatening.

Food sensitivities are mediated by different antibodies than a Food Allergy. A Food sensitivity happens when an antibody, IgG or IgA, binds to a food and causes a reaction in the body. Usually this type of reaction is not as immediate as food allergy, but may occur from 2-3 hrs to days after ingesting the food. The reaction may cause inflammation in the body. Many people people report feeling fatigue (especially a few hours after eating), congestion, joint pain (especially in the lower back), stomach aches, constipation, diarrhea, and general malaise.

The most common food sensitivities you’ll hear about is gluten and dairy sensitivity. In my practice, I often see find dairy food sensitivity linked to stuffy nose and congestion, frequent ear infections, sinus problems and even allergy-like symptoms, such as itchy throat and puffy, dark under eye circles. See gluten sensitivity and celiac disease HERE.

Testing can be done for food allergy by your child’s allergist/immunologist or pediatrician. It can be done by a skinprick test or by a blood test.

Specialized testing can also be done for food sensitivity. This may include IgG and IgA food sensitivity testing by blood and stool, respectively. The gold standard for detecting food sensitivity, however, is the food elimination diet. This elimination diet may be very difficult and the child should be followed by a dietitian closely.