April Showers Bring May Flowers – Achoo! – and Allergies….

Allergies are in full bloom right now! You’ve probably noticed that your car has a nice glow-in-the-dark colored coat of dust in the mornings right about now.  If you haven’t noticed it yet, your nose probably has if you suffer from seasonal allergies.  There are some things that you can do to take the miserable out of your March, April, and May…..

There are some basic things that you can do to reduce the amount of environmental exposure to allergens.  Keep your doors and windows closed so that that nice yellow coat on your car doesn’t float into your house and cling to your couches and carpet, too. Change the filters in your air conditioning units to a HEPA filter.  You can also purchase portable HEPA filters to clean the air in your bedroom as you sleep at night. Make sure you change your filters regularly to help clean the air inside your home clean.  Also consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap the pollen versus just spreading it around. Remove your shoes at the door so that you don’t track the dust in that way.  If you work or play outdoors, consider showering off especially before bed so that you don’t take the pollen into the bed with you where you will marinate in it all night.  When you dust, use a damp cloth or a microfiber one that will trap the pollen.  Otherwise you will probably just end up stirring up the dust and flinging more back into the air to resettle somewhere else in the house.Now! We’ve talked about adjusting what’s happening outside so let’s look inward. If you have allergies, asthma, and/or eczema, then by definition you have a leaky gut! ‘What’s leaky gut?’ you ask?  Learn more about that here. Also, be mindful that if you and/or your spouse have any of those conditions, then your children can have any combination of one or two or all three as those three ride on the same gene. But fear not! There ARE things that you can do to address the root of the problem and get some genuine relief. Take it from me. I used to take FOUR medications daily and still felt awful.  After cleaning up my diet and lifestyle, I take NO medications and I feel ten times better than I ever did on those medications.  Most medications simply address the SYMPTOMS not the true cause of allergies.

Here are a few simple things that you can start today.  Consider removing gluten (the protein found in wheat) from your diet as it literally pokes holes in your intestinal lining allowing partially digested food molecules to slip in to your bloodstream triggering an angry antibody response and all the histamine release that goes with it.  If you just can’t live without your bread, then at least consider digestive enzymes to help mitigate the impact of gluten on your gut. Don’t forget – there is always good old colostrum to the rescue to seal that leaky gut and calm the storm.

Also, consider a good herbal cleanse to clear out any bad bugs in the microbiome in your gut that are contributing to the leakiness.  Part of the reason I no longer need the FOUR medications that I used to take daily for allergies is we do a one month herbal “cleanse” every so often.  I do a cleanse maybe twice a year and I feel better than I ever did on all of those prescriptions!!  You don’t need to spend a lot of money either.  There are super expensive ones that cost over $100 and have been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long.  However, we found a small family owned company that literally grinds the herbs by hand the day that they ship it to you and it costs just $40. That’s a LOT cheaper than a copay for four prescriptions every month I tell you!

The next step is to start a good quality, multi-strain probiotic.  Studies show that various probiotics help reduce allergy, asthma, and skin symptoms. Each strain of bacteria has different properties. Some help synthesize vitamins, some modulate your immune system, some directly displace yeast off of your gut cell receptors, and on and on.  That’s why its good to have a wide variety of strains in high numbers along with a clean diet will have the most impact.

There are a couple of other things that you can do to alleviate some of your allergy woes. Taking raw, locally grown honey for instance.  The premise is that locally produced honey contains small amounts of the pollen that is common in your area the may help desensitize you to it over time.  **(Do NOT give honey to children less than 1yo due to the risk of botulin toxin and paralysis!!)  In addition, honey has good antiseptic and anti fungal properties which can help clean up your gut a bit. There is also propolis which is a resin produced by bees to help solidify the honeycomb structure. It has immune modulating and antibacterial, anti-oxidant properties as well.

Remember! Never underestimate the power of a clean, organic diet with lots of fruits and veggies. The microscopic phytonutrients are rich with nutrients and antioxidants that help heal and cleanse from the inside out.  If you don’t think that you will meet the mark of 5 – 9 fruits and veggies a day, consider a whole food plant based supplement like Juice Plus.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Questions, Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • Keep pollen outside by keeping doors and windows closed.
  • HEPA filters can help remove the pollen from the air in your home.
  • If you have allergies, you have a leaky gut.

Busy Bodies and “A”mazing Kids

Struggling with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia or Dyspraxia?! These are all nuerodevelopmental disorders that can be dramatically improved and corrected with the proper BIOMEDICAL intervention and therapy – NOT pills.
One struggle that I had in private practice was explaining to parents, patients, AND professionals that medication is NOT the treatment for these disorders. After a PROPER evaluation, if indicated, then a medication can be used to give you a window of opportunity to grasp your attention while utilizing other modalities that actually treat the PROBLEM – not just the symptoms. Especially now with data showing that there may be an increased risk of drug abuse in the future if you take these medications, it would behoove you to find a better way.
As a parent I’ve learned a lot more about even more modalities to treat these issues. Let’s Dive in…..
Firstly, you ARE what you eat! If your gut is inflamed and leaky due to poor dietary choices or food sensitivities (that you may not even realize that you have), it WILL affect your brain’s ability to function. Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut” THOUSANDS of years ago. There is plenty of evidence now proving that – all the way down to specific probiotics that affect certain brain functions like speech for instance. Also, for all of the naysayers – hold on to your hats – The Vagus nerve is a HUGE nerve that comes right off of the brain stem and controls automatic functions of the upper 2/3 of your intestinal tract. If what you eat and probiotics don’t matter, riddle me this… why then is 75% of the vagus nerve made up of Afferent nerves meaning that 75% of the vagus nerve takes information FROM the gut BACK up to the brain?! Think about that for a minute… I’ll wait…..

ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia help
There are also plenty of studies proving the additives and coloring of foods have an excitatory effect on your nervous system.

Eating clean, organic food that isn’t processed along with taking good quality probiotics is a great start. Removing some of the common offenders like gluten (wheat protein) and processed dairy and getting a PROPER food SENSITIVITY panel test (NOT simply a celiac disease test – big difference) can help immensely. Working closely with a highly trained developmental or biomed physician can help you wade through specific evaluations and nutritional supplements tailored to your needs would be very helpful support for this process.

In medical school we are taught about primitive or newborn reflexes. You know, make a loud noise around a new baby and their arms flail out to the sides as a startle reaction briefly then they calm down and that’s it, right?! Wrong! We are simply taught that you are born with a set of immature neurological reflexes that should extinguish by about 6 months of age and are only relevant again if there is a brain injury to determine the extent of the damage. You may have seen it in a movie or TV show – the Doctor swipes up the bottom of the comatose patient’s foot and if the big toe goes up? Uh oh!  Well, there is SO much more to it than that!!! If that startle or Moro reflex doesn’t extinguish or integrate properly, then your visual tracts won’t mature correctly and being able to track letters as you read across a page or switching back from reading the board at school and then back down to your paper to write will be VERY difficult to say the least.

Another key one is the spinal or galant reflex. If you turn a new baby face down on your palm and gently stroke down the side of their spine, their back/behind will curl over to that side and vice versa. If that doesn’t extinguish properly, then you expect a child to sit in a hard back chair all day at school, guess what?! That chair is constantly hitting their backs and causes a REFLEXIVE movement in their back – meaning they CAN’T control that wiggling!!  A pill WON’T fix that. Proper integration of the reflex will.

It’s just like when a Doctor taps your knee with a reflex hammer and your lower leg kicks out – you can’t control that either- its a reflex! There are a myriad of learning or developmental difficulties that can be attributed to poorly integrated reflexes – poor handwriting? emotional outbursts? social awkwardness? motion sickness? clumsy? bump into and/or drop things a lot? difficulty focusing and paying attention? poor/ slow speech development or pronunciation? reflux? the list goes on and on…

Your best bet is to find a qualified practitioner (likely a specially trained Occupational Therapist or perhaps a Pediatric Chiropractor) in your area that can specifically evaluate and treat retained primitive reflexes.  You have to specifically ask if reflex integration is what they do. One thing that I’ve learned is that all therapy isn’t equal. Some therapists go the extra mile and receive additional training in specific areas and techniques after they finish the standard education and training. ALL therapists aren’t even aware of this phenomenon, let alone know how to treat it. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover wonderful professionals that “get it” right in my own backyard! They are few and far between but they are out there!

These reflexes can be gently integrated by doing simple exercises daily under the guidance of a highly trained professional that specializes in this process and follows you closely and adjusts the exercises as needed.  I’ve listed a few books below that explain this more in-depth below to get you started. Feel free to comment or ask questions below…

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time….

Questions? Comments? Let me know below. The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • Medication is NOT the TREATMENT for ADHD.
  • Medication can give you a window of opportunity to institute the correct therapies .
  • Primitive/Newborn Reflexes that do not integrate properly can cause a myriad of learning and behavioral difficulties.

Helpful Resources

The Symphony of Reflexes: Interventions for Human Development, Autism, ADHD, CP, and Other Neurological Disorders

Reflexes, Learning and Behavior: A Window Into A Child’s Mind: A Non-Invasive Approach To Solving Learning and Behavior Problems

Gut and Psychology Syndrome : Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, and Schizophrenia

Beauty IS More than Skin Deep

I’ve been asked a lot lately about several skin conditions like acne and eczema and if I have any products that will help. Although we have a few products coming down the pipeline, I think it is prudent to explain what you can do from a holistic stand point TODAY.  It doesn’t much matter what you slap on top of your skin to fix a problem (which is really just a symptom of something deeper oftentimes) without fixing the real underlying problem – the inside! The old adage “you are what you eat” is SO true! Many skin ailments begin on the inside. Remember last week we talked about how the skin is actually the largest organ in the body? and how it absorbs and excretes things? Well let’s dig deeper.

Recent research has shown that ailments like asthma, allergies and eczema (all three ride on the same gene) and even psoriasis can be improved with taking probiotics. Why is that you ask? Many chronic illnesses with immune system or inflammatory issues actually begin in the gut just like Hippocrates said!

All disease begins in the gut.

So we talked briefly before about gluten and leaky gut.  So here we are again.  Allergic or inflammatory responses like eczema and psoriasis can find their root in your gut.  If you have the typical Western or American diet, then likely all of the (genetically modified) additives have poked microscopic holes in the lining of your gut and caused an imbalance in the bacteria that line your intestines.  Recolonizing your gut with the good bacteria it needs from fermented foods and high quality probiotics can help. Taking colostrum can also help plug those holes in your leaky gut as well.  When you have a leaky, improperly functioning gut, partially or improperly digested food particles can slip straight into your bloodstream through the gaps that are created in between your intestinal cells by this unhealthy environment.

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These molecules are recognized by your immune system as foreign invaders and attacks them.  The problem is that your now overactive immune system also attacks your own healthy tissue by mistake – including your skin.  In addition, as we mentioned earlier your skin excretes and absorbs things.  When your liver (which typically helps filter and clean your blood of undesirables along with your kidneys) becomes overloaded, the skin takes the hit as things spill over into the blood stream in uncontrollable amounts. The consequences can be eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives among other things. One thing that you can do to help is adding Epsom Salt to your bath water. The magnesium sulphate is absorbed directly through your skin and gives your liver the cofactor it needs to help with the excretion of toxins via a sulfation process.  It will also help calm the itching.  If you can’t stop to take a bath try soaking a clean cloth in warm (not hot) water with Epsom salt dissolved in it and apply it to the rash. Don’t apply to broken skin that has been scratched raw as the salt may cause a stinging sensation. Be sure not to bathe in hot, hot water as heat causes histamine to be released from your immune cells and will aggravate itching. Hence, the use of anti-histamines to treat allergies (anti means “against” or “opposite of” so an anti-histamine medication works “against” the release of histamine to reduce or prevent itching).

One other thing to consider is not using harsh soaps. In fact, try to refrain from lathering your whole body and taking prolonged showers or baths as that disrupts the protective lining and probiotics that naturally coat your skin.  I’ll tell you like I tell my kids “Get in, get the good parts, and get out!”  Of course, they don’t always listen as they LOVE to play in the tub but I try.  That’s part of the reason that I created my own Body Wash without the harsh Sodium Laurel Sulfates and the like so as to minimize the damage to our skin. I also load their bathwater up with Epsom salt to boot.  Infants (especially newborns) and very young children don’t need baths everyday by the way. They don’t have developed sweat glands like adults that cause odor yet. (Put a pin in that topic for another day). So unless they’ve had an extensive day of outdoor play in the hot sun, it’s okay to skip a day especially in the cooler months when eczema symptoms can be more intense. Now if they smell like the “great outdoors” after a day of play, of course, give them a bath.  But if not, don’t stress about it.

Be Mindful – Herxheimer Reaction

Be aware but don’t panic! Sometimes as you begin a new regimen, your skin symptoms may sometimes appear to worsen briefly before they get better. This is a phenomenon known as the Herxheimer or die-off reaction.  As the new, good bacteria starts to squeeze out the old, the old bugs will die and release some toxins which have to go somewhere. If your liver is overloaded, the toxins will exit through your skin. This may appear as an increase in your original symptoms or new rashes.  You may also feel a general sense of ‘blah’ and maybe even joint or generalized aches and pains.  Have no fear – this, too, shall pass.  If you can push through the discomfort (consider slowing down on your new regimen for a few days if it becomes too much) and drink plenty of clean water, then life will be better on the other side! Applying coconut oil to those areas of your skin rash flare -ups can help.  If you mix in a little lavendar or Teatree oil with the coconut oil that may help even more. Coconut oil is antiseptic and anti-bacterial and also helps kill yeast which is one of the main culprits in eczema.

canstockphoto23765846Cleaning up your diet  (and personal care products) and removing processed foods by sticking to organic vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats (in that order) is a great first step.  Daily probiotic use, drinking clean water, and even juicing can take you to the next level of health. We will go into more detail about juicing in the future – it’s more than just a fad. Awesome things can happen when you add it to your healthy lifestyle. Can’t wait to chat about it later!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

Questions? Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in….