Seasonal Allergies – Natural Options

ALLERGY season is upon us as Texas CEDAR trees bloom and pollen floats through the air. There are some great natural products that help alleviate the symptoms of allergies without the side effects of some of the “unnatural” products that many use.
QUERCETIN is one of our bestsellers. It is known for inhibiting allergy and inflammatory responses. Quercetin is a bioflavonoid, or part of the vitamin C family. Bioflavonoids are coloring pigments found throughout the plant kingdom that are antioxidants and provide protection from environmental stresses.
When ALLERGENS are absorbed into the bloodstream, they trigger allergy and inflammatory conditions. When allergens meet special immune cells containing histamine, the cell wall of the immune cell becomes leaky and releases histamine into the surrounding blood and tissues. Allergen released histamine produces the familiar allergic symptoms of runny noses, blocked sinuses, itchy eyes, blotchy skin, coughing and wheezing.
QUERCETIN actually helps to stabilize the cell walls of the immune components that contain histamine. This stabilization helps prevent release of histamine. Without histamine, there are no allergy symptoms. What is really nice about quercetin is it doesn’t “over” dry, doesn’t make you drowsy, and has very few negative interactions since it is part of the vitamin C family.
QUERCETIN also helps with asthma, which is allergic inflammation involving the lungs.
QUERCETIN is available in supplement form – chewables available for children. Quercetin is usually combined with bromelain or pineapple enzyme since it is barely soluble in water and needs the bromelain to increase absorption. Bromelain has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that act synergistically with quercetin.
Suggested dosage of quercetin for allergy and asthma is 1000 to 2000 mg. per day divided into at least 2 doses.
HOMEOPATHICS such as TEXAS ALLERGY MIX are popular and effective for seasonal allergies. Homeopathics are effective and safe enough for a small child with no drowsiness and no drug interactions. There are many homeopathic formulations available. Some are for general allergy symptoms while others are specific to the allergen, such as tree pollen, pet dander, mold, dust, etc. A bestseller is the Texas Allergy Mix – it is specific to mold, oak, cedar, ragweed, etc.
HERBS also work for allergies. Nettle, which inhibits histamine release is available in both capsules and tea. Boneset, horehound, fenugreek and horseradish are some of the other herbs used – usually in combination to soothe the respiratory tract while breaking down mucous. There are also enzymes which help digest allergy causing proteins in the blood which takes away allergy symptoms.
Give some NATURAL PRODUCTS a try this allergy season and see how they work for you.

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Get Regular Blood Work – Here is why!

HEALTH CHECK will be at THE GREEN HOUSE on Tuesday, FEBRUARY 10, 2015 from 8:00-11:00 a.m. Health Check provides low cost laboratory blood work and has many packages for any of the standard laboratory blood tests that you might interest you.
HEALTH CHECK is a great service and making this available to you is just one of the ways we help keep your health care costs as low as possible.
REGULAR BLOOD WORK is beneficial in that it is a good screen for diseases and it records health markers at given times so that a history is established. Blood work can also help indicate nutritional and functional status.
I like to use blood work PREVENTATIVELY . I have heard many times “my blood work is all normal” – this is GREAT. It means you do not have a diagnosable disease, but it doesn’t guarantee that you are in good health. I like to look at blood ranges with the word “OPTIMAL” in mind. In other words, standard ranges for blood chemistry tend to be fairly wide. When the ranges are narrowed, they can help pinpoint deficiencies and/or functional problems that can be addressed with nutrition.
STANDARD BLOOD WORK can give information about nutritional intake, digestion, mineral balance, essential fatty acid deficiencies, blood sugar handling, hydration, hormone balance, immune status, liver function and kidney function. In most cases, health problems do not develop overnight. Using regular blood work as a preventive tool tells you what areas to target and if the things you are doing are working.
ABNORMAL BLOOD WORK usually indicates an underlying functional issue. For example, high triglyceride and cholesterol levels are typically used as markers for cardiovascular risk, but they also can indicate deficiencies of essential fatty acids, blood sugar issues, liver dysfunction and thyroid problems.
BLOOD SUGAR is a good area to focus on. Standard lab ranges are 70-99 for fasting glucose. I think a better target range is 80-90. On the high side, or over 90, there will be problems with cholesterol and triglycerides. The standard medical care is to prescribe a cholesterol lowering medication; however, it would be much more healthful in the long run to lower blood sugar with diet and exercise. These lifestyle changes would not only lower cholesterol and triglycerides, but they would also make you healthier and less likely to incur more health problems down the road.
The LOW side of the BLOOD SUGAR range has different issues. From 70- 80, the body is having blood sugar handling issues, but the body over lowers to the point of going too low with symptoms of dizziness, headaches and getting weak when a meal is missed. This issue tends to turn into diabetes with age, if not addressed with lifestyle and nutrition changes.
From my perspective, it is better to solve the UNDERLYING ISSUE than to just take a pill that handles the symptoms. I believe that “an ounce of PREVENTION is worth a pound of cure”. And, preventing health problems is by far the cheapest option available.

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Brain Food for Good Moods

Our BRAIN requires amino acids to make neurotransmitters which regulate our brain power, our memory and our mood. What we eat has a tremendous effect on our levels of neurotransmitters and therefore on mood. Stress and nutritional deficiencies alter our brain chemistries and are common precursors to many illnesses and disorders including anxiety and depression.
Being HAPPY and BALANCED requires a symphony of brain chemicals which include serotonin, catecholemine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and endorphin. When in balance, these neurotransmitters help us in being alert, optimistic, calm and resourceful. A proper diet helps us to maintain a good balance; however imbalance can result from improper diet, poor digestion, stress, prescription drugs, and deficiencies or imbalances involving other nutrients.
Being CALM and HAPPY requires serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood, sleep and appetite. Low levels of serotonin lead to anxiety, sleep disorders, food cravings, panic attacks, etc. L-tryptophan is the amino acid integral to the production of serotonin. Food sources of tryptophan include brown rice, cottage cheese, meat, peanuts, and soy protein. The amino acid supplements for increasing serotonin levels are L- tryptophan and 5- HTP. Both can be used to increase serotonin levels in the body – the one that will work best for you depends on your body chemistry. I am a fan of 5-HTP, but I find it needs a buffer such as theanine to balance it.
ENERGY and ALERTNESS comes from catecholemine is our natural caffeine. Symptoms of low catecholemine include depression, lack of energy, lack of drive, and lack of focus. L-tyrosine is the amino acid necessary for catecholimine production. It is also the precursor to the thyroid hormones. Supplementation of l-tyrosine tends to increase our energy levels along with having a mild antidepressant effect.
Being RELAXED requires GABA, the relaxing neurotransmitter. It is derived from glutamic acid and can be supplemented directly. Symptoms of low GABA include stiff and tense muscles, stress, feeling burned out, and inability to relax. I tend to recommend B vitamins instead of GABA since most people are unable to make GABA due to this deficiency. A product worth mentioning is Phenitropic – a GABA derivative that many use for insomnia and for stress.
FEELING GOOD requires endorphins. People low in endorphins are very sensitive to both physical and emotional pain, they cry easily and crave comfort. They also love certain foods or alcohol. Endorphins are metabolized from phenylalanine. The best supplement form is the DL-phenylalanine form which is used to elevate mood, decrease pain, suppress the appetite and aid in memory and learning.
For CALM and FOCUS, try theanine. It is included in 2 of my favorite stress formulas. Theanine relaxes the body and calms the mind. It helps promote sounder sleep while also having antioxidant properties that protect the brain.
As with any supplementation, there are certain conditions in which amino acids would be contraindicated. Check with your health care practitioner if you are considering taking any of these supplements.

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Thyroid – Get yours working naturally!

The thyroid gland is the body’s internal thermostat, regulating the temperature and controlling how quickly the body burns calories and uses energy. If the thyroid is overactive and secretes too much hormone, the condition is known as hyperthyroid. If the thyroid is underactive and secretes too little hormone, the condition is called hypothyroid.
   Hypothyroidism affects about 13 million people in the United States. About 90% of these are women. Thyroid imbalances are not always easy to recognize. Stress, depression, anxiety, tiredness and other emotional or mental states can mask a thyroid imbalance. Minimal imbalances in the thyroid gland can significantly affect mental and physical health.
   Symptoms of thyroid imbalance include: fatigue or exhaustion; irritability and impatience; feeling too hot or too cold; constipation; depression, anxiety, or panic attacks; dry skin or hair; hair loss; mood swings; frequent memory lapses; inability to concentrate; unexplained weight gain or loss; loss of enthusiasm for life; a sinking spell around 3 or 4 in the afternoon; and insomnia.
   Women from 30 to 50 years of age are the most likely to develop hypothyroidism. The most common reason for hypothyroidism is estrogen/progesterone imbalance. Estrogen interferes with thyroid hormones, while progesterone facilitates normal action of the thyroid hormones. As progesterone levels naturally fall, so does thyroid function.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) compounds the problem since it is commonly synthetic estrogen without the balancing component of progesterone that is prescribed. Synthetic progestins that are used for HRT do not have the same thyroid facilitating action that natural progesterone does.
    Radiation and / or heavy metals can accumulate in the thyroid gland and cause thyroid dysfunction.  Many of us have metal fillings in our teeth that slowly deteriorate and leak mercury which easily accumulates in the thyroid. Heavy metals such as mercury can cause the thyroid to be either ‘hyper’ or ‘hypo’ depending on the individual. A heavy metal cleanse will chelate the mercury out of the body, cleaning the thyroid gland, and restoring thyroid function. Medicinal grade green tea helps clean radiation.
   Iodine deficiency is another reason for hypothyroidism. Iodine is a rare trace mineral and is very hard to assimilate if the pH of the body is not correct. Sometimes supplementing iodine in a natural form such as kelp will help, but a stronger form is usually necessary to get iodine to an optimum level. Iodine helps detox the thyroid gland of bromines which have become abundant in our food and our environment.
Many take prescription Synthroid or Armour Thyroid and still have symptoms of hypothyroidism. I find that supplementing with at least 800 I.U. per day of natural vitamin E along with iodine helps to facilitate uptake of the medication so that thyroid function normalizes.

There are some good natural supplements I find helpful for hypothyroidism.  They include natural progesterone cream as mentioned above; thyroid glandular extracts: l-tyrosine, a precursor to thyroid hormones in the body; natural vitamin E; and iodine.  There are many good combination products specifically for thyroid health.  Check with your local health food store.

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