Category Archives: Allergies

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9 Surprising Ways You Make Allergies Worse

Yes, you read that right. You may be doing things that make your allergies even worse. Anyone who has them knows first hand that allergies cause the most disruptive, most lingering and unpleasant symptoms. For the estimated 60 million Americans who struggle, it might surprise you to hear that though you keep your windows closed, you stay indoors when pollen counts are high, you may still be doing things that contribute to your symptoms.

Here are nine, along with quick fixes.

1. A friend who smokes cigarettes around you, as allergy sufferers appear to be especially vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke. Some times particles from a heavy smokers clothing or hair can also be problematic.

2. Showering only in the morning. Those who deal with hay fever actually benefit from a quick shower as soon as they get home, or after being outside for any length of time. This helps remove hidden pollen particles on your body, hair, clothing and shoes that can keep on triggering symptoms even after you’re inside. If you’re dealing with a pollen allergy, make it a habit to slip out of your shoes, change and put your clothes in the hamper and shower as soon as you come inside.

3. Stress laden deadlines at work. Research from 2008 found that subjects with allergies had more symptoms after taking a test designed to induce anxiety, compared to when the same subjects did something that didn’t make them feel anxious. Those troublesome stress hormones may increase the body’s production of blood proteins that bring on allergic reactions. So if you’re under stress, be sure to get enough sleep and keep up with any stress reduction strategies that work for you. If you don’t have any, find some, fast.

4. Having another glass of wine with dinner. Surprisingly, alcohol can increase the chances of perennial allergic rhinitis by 3% for every added alcoholic drink consumed in a single week. It may be that the bacteria and yeast naturally part of wine produce histamines and these are the cause of those uncomfortable allergy symptoms… stuffy nose and itchy eyes. You’ll might want to hold off on the alcohol when your symptoms are acting up.

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9 Surprising Ways You Make Allergies Worse Continued…

5. Waiting too long to take your medication. The drugs you’ve been given to help your symptoms work best before you’re ever exposed to the allergen. Your best bet is to start taking your allergy medications a few weeks before the season starts, or before you’ll have to be around your own allergy triggers.

6. Wash water that’s not hot enough. If you find you sniffle a lot in bed, turn up the temperature of the water in the washing machine to the hottest setting you have and launder your bedding again. In South Korean research, washing cotton sheets at 140 degrees killed all the dust mites, but at a warm, 104 degree just 6.5% of the dust mites were killed. Hotter is better.

7. You’re allergic to a houseplant – over 75% of hay fever allergies come from at least one of the most common plants we keep indoors according to a Belgian project. The allergens in plant sap can diffuse into the air. The plants most likely to cause trouble are the ficus, yucca, ivy, palm, orchid and fern.

8. Skipping evening medications is not a good habit to get into. Taking your allergy medication at bedtime allows for the drug to be circulating in your bloodstream all night long and first thing in the morning. Allergy symptoms like sneezing, weepy eyes and runny nose actually are worst in the morning according to Richard J. Martin, MD, who is chair of the department of medicine at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Colorado. A smart suggestion is to choose the regular (instead of non drowsy) formula so you’ll fall off easily.

9. Water workouts in an indoor pool can cause lots of problems for your system thanks to all that chlorine. It disinfects the water but also is super hard on your skin, eyes and respiratory tract. A study in the journal Pediatrics reports that teens who spend more than 100 hours per week in a chlorinated pool have a 3 to 7 times greater risk of suffering from hay fever when compared to swimmers who do laps in chlorine free pools. A good strategy here is to wear a mask or goggles, try not to swim in a chlorinated pool every day, and swim outdoors instead of inside, where chlorine fumes can build.

To your good health,

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

5 Places In Your Home Where Allergies Attack

If you’re dealing with seasonal allergies, your home may not be the safe haven you expect it to be, and in fact might be the source of all your uncomfortable symptoms. There are places in every home, even clean, uncluttered ones, where allergens lurk, waiting to cause trouble. We’ve highlighted these areas here, plus offered some tips to use to get rid of mold, dust mites and other culprits that set off your worst allergy symptoms.

In the family room…

Look at your windows and be sure to caulk all the edges so outside allergens don’t find their way into your home. You should also set your air conditioning system to “circulate” to keep from bringing new air pollutants into the room.

Keeping things clean is very beneficial for allergy sufferers. Look under the couch and other furnishings for dust and eliminate as much as you can – it’s the source of dust mites. Use a damp mop under furniture and a damp cloth on dusty surfaces like bookcases, blinds, fake plants, windowsills and the like. A damp cloth traps dust as it cleans, so it won’t be sent back up into the air, for you to breathe in.

Keep area rugs to a minimum and remove as much wall-to-wall carpeting you can. If you can’t be rid of this type of floor covering, vacuum as often as possible as this will help keep the dust, and pollen spores tracked in, from accumulating and causing an allergy flare up.

In the kitchen…

This is most often the room where the pet bowls are, but you can enjoy the companionship of a pet if you follow some simple suggestions. Pet allergies are most often triggered by the proteins that are secreted by their skin into the dander. With that in mind, don’t allow the pet to sleep on your bed or on upholstered furnishings. Wash your hands, face and arms after holding or grooming your pet. Weekly baths for your pet keep down the dander.

In your bedroom…

Any upholstered furnishings here are also a magnet for allergens. Keep upholstered chairs vacuumed and do not allow pets to sit on them, even once. You’ll also want to use a damp mop to wipe down your bedsprings and under the bed. There are many allergen trapping covers you can use for your mattress and box spring, invest in these. A damp cloth is perfect for removing dust on bureaus and TV screens. Wash all your bedding in hot water once a week to be sure you are rid of dust mite waste, a major allergen.

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5 Places In Your Home Where Allergies Attack Continued…

In your bathroom…

Because of the warm, moist air, your bathroom shower is a prime spot for mold growth, so you’ll need to be scrupulous about keeping this area clean. Use an anti mold spray in the shower, on the shower curtain or enclosure, around the sink and toilet tank to keep your bath free of troublesome mold buildup. Airing out the room on warm days also helps.

In the closet…

Surprise, molds are very light and super easy to take with you… right into your home and into your closet. To keep this to a minimum, don’t put your shoes into the close without a wipe down, and never put wet shoes or other clothing in there either, as this is a perfect breeding ground.

To your good health,

Foods That Make Pollen Allergies Even Worse

It’s that time of year again… the sun is warmer, the grass is greener, everything is in bloom… and your allergies are making you miserable… again. For many who have seasonal allergies eating certain foods (even good for you foods) can cause itching or hives inside the mouth… known to medicine as oral allergy syndrome (OAS). You may not have heard a lot about it, but this is a terribly uncomfortable problem that affects almost a third of pollen allergy sufferers according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI for short).

When it comes to allergies, your body’s immune system treats pollen like a foreign invader that it must expel. You sneeze, have a runny (or stuffy) nose, watery or itchy eyes and perhaps a few other uncomfortable symptoms – all intended to rid your body of the invader pollen. Though the pollen appears at about the same time each year, the weather (rainy, cloudy or windless) can impact how much pollen is in the air.

In cases of oral allergy syndrome, the immune system treats proteins in foods just like pollen in the air and reacts in the same way, attacking. The most common OAS signs of a reaction include itching or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue and throat. These uncomfortable symptoms can appear right after you’ve eaten a particular food, or up to an hour later.

If you’ve been diagnosed with any of the more common seasonal allergies, here are foods you might want to watch out for…

- If you have ragweed allergies you would do well to avoid bananas, melons (honeydew,
cantaloupe, watermelon, tomatoes) as well as zucchini, sunflower seeds, chamomile
tea, Echinacea and dandelions.

- If you’re allergic to birch pollen, stay away from kiwi, apples, pears, peaches,
plums, coriander, fennel, parsley, celery, cherries, carrots, hazelnuts and almonds.

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Foods That Make Pollen Allergies Even Worse Continued…

- For those with a grass allergy, avoid peaches, celery, tomatoes, melons and oranges.

- For a latex/rubber allergy, you’ll want to avoid bananas, avocados, kiwi, chestnuts
and papaya.

Oral allergy syndrome is most common in adults, and tends to appear over time, after repeated inhaling of a particular pollen. Your best bet if this is you is to visit a board certified allergist to be sure your symptoms are not a sign of something more serious. Allergy testing, using the skin prick test, will often be used to positively identify what you are allergic to; then the doctor will assess your problem to see if it’s something routine or a bit more serious. Some recent research on those with oral allergy syndrome found that in about 2% of cases the itching of the mouth could progress to the more serious, potentially deadly, anaphylactic shock.

Avoiding the foods mentioned in relation to your own allergy is a smart move, but if something on the list is your absolute favorite, what can you do? Here are some things that might help.

- Cooking breaks down or changes the trigger proteins so the immune system will
leave them alone.

- Peeling a fruit (like apples) can help because many of the trigger proteins are
in the outer skin.

- Canning a fruit or another forbidden food also breaks down trigger proteins.

To your good health,

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7 Health Problems Of Drinking Diet Soda

The single biggest source of calories in the American diet is soda. On average we drink almost two cans a day. In an effort to watch calories, diet varieties of our favorites are readily available. What most people don’t realize is that drinking diet varieties of soda comes with some serious side effects that can cause real health problems. Today kids drink diet soda at more than double the rate of the last decade, while for adults consumption has increased just about 25% according to numbers from a study appearing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

By raising awareness about the very real downside to all that soda we’re drinking experts hope this might help more of us stop consuming so much of it.

1. Kidney problems – In an 11-year Harvard Medical School study including 3,000 female subjects the researchers found that diet soda is linked to a two fold increased risk for kidney decline. Kidney function started going down when a woman drank over two sodas a day. The findings also suggest that sugar sweetened sodas are not the culprit, but rather the diet sweeteners that are being used instead.

2. Metabolic syndrome – based on a University of Minnesota study from 2008 of nearly 10,000 adult subjects, just one diet soda a day was associated with a 34% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms that put you at higher risk for heart disease.

3. Obesity – we know that diet soda does not help you lose weight. This comes from a University of Texas Health Science Center study that saw the more diet soda a person drank, the greater their risk was of becoming overweight. Drinking two or more servings a day upped waistline measurements by 500%. The reason appears to be that artificial sweeteners disrupt the body’s natural ability to manage calorie intake based on how sweet tasting a food is. This means eating diet, artificially sweetened foods might have you overeating.

4. Hangovers – drinks that are made with diet soda get you more drunk, faster according to research from the Royal Adelaide Hospital located in Australia. The reason is that sugar free mixers allow the liquor to enter your bloodstream much faster than those with sugar. So you get drunker, and suffer the consequences the next day.

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7 Health Problems Of Drinking Diet Soda Continued…

5. Cell damage – diet soda has one thing many regular varieties do not, mold inhibitors (sodium benzoate, potassium benzoate), and this is bad news because these preservatives have the ability to causes damage to the DNA in the mitochondria. They totally inactivate it. These substances have also been associated with hives, asthma and other allergic problems.

6. Tooth decay – because diet soda has a very acidic pH, it dissolves tooth enamel. Those who drink three or more sodas per day have worse dental health according to a University of Michigan analysis of data from dental checkups.

7. Reproductive problems – this comes from the can you drink is housed in. Many containers are coated with the substance bisphenol A (BPA) a known endocrine disruptor that has also been linked to problems as broad as heart disease and obesity to trouble having children.

To your good health,

What Trigger Fatigue And Sleepiness, Part 1

In today’s busy world, there are many reasons why people battle fatigue, skimp on sleep and push past the breaking point only to end up dragging and feeling awful. In a two part series, we’ll explore fatigue, both the mild, troublesome type and the energy sucking kind that keeps you on the couch – as well as make suggestions for what you can do to fight back, feel better.

When it comes to mild fatigue, the kind that hangs on, maybe slows you down a bit but lets you keep going; often the best suggestion is exercise. Research has found that a modest workout gives healthy but fatigued adults a significant energy boost. Twenty minutes of moderately intense exercise three times a week is enough to do the trick.

The most obvious cause of more serious fatigue, is of course, not
getting enough quality sleep
. Too little sleep impacts not just how you feel, but your ability to concentrate as well as your overall health. While there is no one amount that works for everyone, 7 hours each night at a minimum is what experts suggest. If you’re not waking up before the alarm, you’re probably in need of making sleep more of a priority in your routine. Shut off all the technology after a certain hour, or ban it completely from your bedroom.

Working nights or rotating shifts is a recognized cause of fatigue and
because this type of schedule disrupts your natural internal clock. This makes it harder to feel awake when you should, and harder to turn off when you need to sleep.

The best bet for shift work is to try and limit your exposure to daylight when you need to be sleeping. Make your sleeping space dark, quiet and comfortably cool. If you continue to have trouble, talk to your doctor, as there are supplements and other medications that might help you establish a good sleeping schedule.

Another common-sense cause of daytime
fatigue is
not enough fuel
. Eating too little is not going to do much for your energy level of course, but so is choosing the wrong (junk) foods. A balanced diet that’s loaded of lots of nutritious options keeps your body running and your blood sugar steady. You won’t get that sluggish, gotta eat feeling when blood sugar drops after eating less healthy foods.

One thing that can’t be stressed enough is to always, always eat breakfast while also trying to have protein and complex carbs as part of every meal. It’s okay to have snacks, healthy ones, through the day if you need them to help sustain your energy.

If you’re eating a pretty balanced diet and symptoms of significant fatigue persist, some physicians believe that you might be dealing with a food
allergy, a common cause of daytime sleepiness
. If your feelings of fatigue increase after you eat, this may signal a mild intolerance to something you’ve eaten that’s not enough to cause itching/hives, but is enough to have you feeling tired and not quite right.

Experts suggest that to narrow down a food allergy you try cutting out foods, one at a time, to see if your fatigue gets better or stays the same. There are also food allergy tests that can be done in a doctor’s office if you prefer.

You also might want to look at what you’re drinking. One of the surprising
causes of fatigue is the caffeine
you use to get going – improve alertness and concentration. In moderate amounts this is fine, but too much can up your heart rate, blood pressure and leave you jittery as well. Research has found that too much caffeine actually causes fatigue in some people.

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What Trigger Fatigue And Sleepiness, Part 1 Continued…

You can test the theory for yourself by gradually cutting back on caffeine in your diet, things like coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. Also look to any over the counter drugs for added caffeine. Do not stop your caffeine intake abruptly as this can not only bring on unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, but add to your fatigue.

Feelings of fatigue can also be caused by dehydration… a sign your body is giving you that it needs fluid now. When you feel thirsty, experts explain, your body is already dehydrated so you need to be drinking water all during the day. You want your urine to be light colored. Make sure you drink enough before, during and after any physical exertion, especially in warmer weather.

If feelings of severe fatigue persist, even after exploring all these causes and addressing what you can, a visit to your doctor is in order. Sleep disorders are more common than you think, and the other potential physical causes we’ll go over in part 2 of the series aren’t going to get better unless you identify them. The thing to keep in mind is that there are many ways to fight feelings of serious fatigue so that you can feel more energized.

To your good health,

Is A Gluten Free Diet Right For You?

If you have celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity/intolerance or a wheat allergy the answer is an unequivocal yes. For the rest of us, not so much. These days it’s likely that you know someone who’s given up gluten, complaining about the bloating or other discomforts and hoping for relief. Despite the increasing popularity of the gluten-free way of eating, there really are only a few very specific conditions that benefit from eating this way. For the rest of us, blindly cutting gluten from the diet isn’t a good idea.

Gluten is actually the term for a group of proteins (not a single component) that’s naturally in wheat, barley and rye according to Dr. Joseph Levy, the division director of pediatric gastroenterology at the NYU Langone Medical Center. When baking, it plays a pretty important part in the process, gluten is the reason dough is able to rise when yeast goes in. It’s the structure of gluten that makes baked treats light and crispy. Gluten free flour does not have the same airiness, with heavier dough so the finished product is flat and weighty.

Gluten causes trouble for those with celiac disease, an autoimmune condition that after gluten containing foods are eaten triggers an attack on the intestines. Over time the reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine lining and prevents the absorption of nutrients from what you eat. Even small amounts of gluten can trigger an immune mediated attack on the bowel lining.

The problem is, people aren’t always aware that they have celiac disease. A study appearing last year in the American Journal of Gastroenterology saw that nearly 80% of those with this disease are unaware they have it as it has no symptoms for many years. It’s often discovered because of one of the other problems it causes, anemia and osteoporosis.

If you’re having symptoms, you need to see a specialist known as a gastroenterologist, to find out what your problem really is. If you stop eating gluten before the visit, this can mask other key symptoms that signal the true cause of your problem. Only after a thorough evaluation can you make the right dietary adjustments, including avoiding gluten, to help yourself feel better.

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Is A Gluten Free Diet Right For You? Continued…

Gluten sensitivity/intolerance is another condition that suggests gluten be avoided, though this condition is only just starting to be recognized among healthcare professionals. Eating gluten can bring diarrhea, bloating, nausea, a tired, achy feeling, while many also deal with migraines and feel as if they have a foggy brain. Something is clearly going on in the body, but no one sees the damage to the intestine. Research is ongoing in the area and we don’t know the long-term consequences of such sensitivities.

If you have a wheat allergy you may also choose to avoid gluten because of the risk of cross contamination with wheat. This allergy is known to be very common in children, and avoiding wheat is the only known treatment.

The experts agree the best gluten free diet is one that has foods that are naturally free of glutens like fruits, veggies, low fat dairy, beans, nuts, seeds, fish and lean meats. A healthy, balanced diet won’t really change that much when you give up gluten, though you should keep an eye out for hidden sources like bottled salad dressing, soy sauce, medications, vitamins and even lip balm can all be sources.

To your good health,

Gluten Sensitivity Symptoms – Hype Or Reality?

Is gluten a miscast villain in the diet world? Perhaps. A new analysis raises the question about gluten sensitivity symptoms and challenges the benefits of a gluten free diet for most people who have not been carefully and properly diagnosed with celiac disease.

Despite what you might see on the labels of all manner of foods in the grocery store, or hear from enthusiastic celebrity spokespeople, gluten free is not the right choice for everyone. An estimate from pediatric gastroenterologist Alessio Fasano, MD who runs the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, has from 5% to 6% of us, some 18 million Americans, having some level of sensitivity to gluten.

Let’s start with the basics; gluten is a protein that’s a natural part of wheat, rye and barley used to make beer, bread, pasta and lots of processed foods.

For about 1% of us eating glutens brings on a condition known as celiac disease that damages the wall of the small intestine so that the body is unable to absorb nutrients from food. The disease is properly diagnosed by tests on blood and bowel, but there is no widely accepted test to diagnose gluten sensitivity.

Symptoms that have been attributed to gluten sensitivity include some of the same ones attributed to celiac disease – diarrhea, cramping of the abdomen, bloating, headache, fatigue and possibly attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But until there’s a test that identifies gluten sensitivity, diagnosing this condition will remain a challenge.

In an essay appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers who specialize in celiac disease, Antonio Di Sabatino, MD, and Gino Roberto Corazza, MD from the University of Parvia in Italy discuss what we know about gluten sensitivity and delivered common sense recommendations about the much hyped gluten free eating. They suggest that the discomforts that accompany eating foods with gluten happen because these foods are believed to cause a problem. This is known to science as the nocebo effect, if you presume the worst health wise, that’s just what you’ll get.

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Straight Talk On Going Gluten-Free… Continued…

Many symptoms attributed to gluten might really be sensitivity to other parts of wheat flour or another ingredient in wheat based foods. And then, a gluten free diet is not bad for you, and will help even if you have other wheat allergies. That’s what food makers are counting on, and why you see so much gluten bashing on labels.

Of course gluten free diets (and products) aren’t going anywhere. The truth is, there are many, many people who are truly suffering with terribly troubling symptoms that do improve when they follow this eating plan.

The danger of misdiagnosing gluten sensitivity symptoms, according to president of the North American Society for the Study of Celiac Disease, Stefano Guandalini, MD, is that going gluten-free when you don’t need to deprives your body of fiber and gives it too much fat. Close monitoring of what you eat is important, as we know that for those who live with properly diagnosed celiac disease eating gluten-free eases the discomfort of symptoms and restores the digestive system to health.

Avoiding Scent Allergies

Some of the most powerful parts of the holiday season are the smells… candles that fill a room with the fragrance of home baked goodies, or air fresheners that leave a room filled with the refreshing outdoor scent of pine. These products add a subtle something to the air for some, while triggering uncomfortable scent allergies (and possibly asthma) for others.

As the popularity of these scented products has grown, allergists like Dr. Stanley Fineman who is president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) are seeing more complaints from patients about reactions to all the fragrance. There’s sneezing and coughing, and while there isn’t an allergy test for these products, people certainly seem capable of having strong reactions to them.

Fineman made a presentation on the risks of air fresheners and scented candles at the ACAAI 2011 meeting in Boston. He cited a 2009 study that appeared in the Journal of Environmental Health that found large numbers of Americans affected by pollutants in products we use every day.

Almost 11% of more than 2,000 adults who were surveyed reported a hypersensitivity to popular laundry products; almost 31% reported an adverse reaction to scents on other people, and about 19% reported problems (trouble breathing, headache) when around air fresheners. For those with asthma, the rate was 34% who had bothersome symptoms when exposed to air fresheners or scented candles.

These scented products do emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), defined as chemicals that form a gas or vapor when at room temperature. Some of the VOCs in air fresheners include formaldehyde, petroleum distillates, benzene, styrene, terpenes, alcohol, phosphates, bleach and even ammonia.

High concentrations of VOCs can trigger both eye and respiratory tract irritation, as well as headaches, dizziness and memory impairment. A study conducted in 2008 by a University of Washington researcher found that many laundry soaps and room deodorizers gave off potentially dangerous VOCs.

One plug in brand sent out more than 20 VOCs, 7 of these classified as toxic or hazardous under existing federal laws. Candles produce soot, organic compounds and VOCs – including benzene and lead.

Today Fineman estimates more than 75% of American homes use scented air fresheners and other such products. And not just for the holidays, now we expect our homes to smell pleasing year round, and with this demand, an industry has grown accordingly.

Continues below…

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Warning: Holiday Scented Candles, Air Fresheners Can Bring Allergic Reactions… Continued…

What’s more, these products aren’t limited to homes. More often scented oil diffusers and plug in deodorizers appear in the workplace. If you like the smell, you probably don’t mind, but if it left you sneezing and coughing you’d probably feel differently. Just because something smells good to you doesn’t mean that everyone will feel the same way. Often some smells, such as the food type can be tolerated, while flowery ones cannot.

The scented products industry group, Consumer Specialty Products Association, says that VOCs aren’t necessarily all that bad. Anything that emits a scent, they say, is sending out a VOC

In the U.S. air fresheners and other scented products are governed by the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, both requiring makes to inform consumers of risks and ingredients that might contribute to that risk. There are some who feel these requirements aren’t nearly strict enough.

If you find yourself uncomfortable with all the scented products, talk with an allergist about your symptoms and your fragrance exposure. There are coping strategies and treatments for scent allergies that can help.

Should You Be Following a Gluten Free Diet Plan?

Maybe. Gluten is a protein that’s a natural part of wheat, rye and barley (not to mention products that contain these grains) and a problem for those who have celiac disease, an autoimmune condition caused by intolerance for gluten that can appear at any age. Over time those who have this disease find they need to adopt at gluten free diet plan, as gluten does damage to the wall of the intestines, keeping patients from absorbing vitamins and minerals. This can affect everything from your energy level to your brain function.

Loss of energy. Acne. Bloating. Diarrhea. Cramping. Constipation. All are symptoms of celiac disease, though it might take patients a bit of trial and error to get to this diagnosis.

This condition is often troublesome to diagnose because the symptoms appear baffling… even to doctors. Some celiac symptoms are the same as those for IBS; stomach aches, diarrhea and gas. Trouble is, a celiac patient can also have headaches, tingling, muscle pain, skin rashes, joint pain, fatigue and other seemingly unrelated symptoms.

There’s a two step process to diagnosing celiac disease – testing the blood for intestine attacking antibodies that are activated by gluten, and a biopsy (or more than one) to look for damage to the intestinal wall. Unfortunately, less severe conditions, including gluten sensitivity, don’t have any defining test your doctor can order.

Patients are left wondering… without an “official” diagnosis of celiac disease, will adopting a gluten free diet be any help? Touted as a way to lose weight, cope with ADHD, headaches, autism and other health problems, the experts discount these claims and point out that this way of eating has been shown to be helpful only for those who genuinely need it – celiac disease patients and those with gluten sensitivity.

Bear in mind, eating this way is not the easiest thing to do, but if you’re desperate for relief of your symptoms it may well be worth a try. Sales of gluten free products rose by 16% last year alone, so many are making an effort to remove the gluten from their daily meals.

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Is Going Gluten Free Good For Your Health..? Continued…

Interesting that many medical professionals have come to believe that celiac disease may be an extreme of gluten intolerance that can take many forms. Gluten sensitivity, once dismissed, is now also being recognized as a legitimate complaint. Experts are even beginning to think that as many as half those in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may in fact have some sensitivity to gluten. Allergies to gluten are the less severe form of gluten intolerances.

Gluten intolerance might start in the intestine, but it doesn’t stay there. It can impact other organs according to Alessio Fasano, MD, the medical director of the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.

A recent bit of research by Fasano and his team might give some clues about what gluten sensitivity is, and what makes it different from the more well known celiac disease. While patients might show no signs of erosion or other damage to the intestine, the intestines of gluten sensitive people have proteins that contribute to a bad immune response. It might resemble celiac disease, but is a distinct condition. Blood tests that are capable of measuring these proteins are still a way off.

Estimates suggest celiac disease affects about 1% of the U.S. population, though medical professionals believe that perhaps as many as 10% of us have gluten intolerances or sensitivities and could benefit from following a gluten free diet plan.

7 Seasonal Allergy Remedies

Now that spring has finally arrived, those who live with allergies have to cope with the annual onslaught of itchy, watery misery. Whether you deal with reactions to outdoor or indoor allergens, if you’re finding that typical allergy drugs just aren’t working for you… let us tell you about some seasonal allergy remedies that just might.

Science knows that allergies are an exaggerated response from your own immune system to something in your environment. They’re relatively common, with both genetics and environmental factors playing a part. Sources of trouble include pollen, pet dander, mold and dust, foods and drugs. Allergic reactions can come from insect bites, jewelry, spices, cosmetics or other substances.

The good news is that there are some far less marketed but very powerful natural alternative allergy treatments that can prepare your body in advance to fight miserable allergy symptoms. If you’re already suffering, these seven tips can help you too.

1) A non-allergenic diet – sure allergens are external, but our body responds on the inside, and this response is the cause of the allergy symptoms you feel. If your body is already overwhelmed with food allergy triggers, your immune system becomes hyper sensitive, even more likely to react to external allergens. Be aware of what you’re eating… common trouble spots are wheat, dairy and added sugar.

2) A spoonful of honey - choose local honey produced by bees in your area, and try a spoonful. The thinking goes that this is much like immunotherapy, introducing a tiny dose of an allergen to reduce your sensitivity. As bees collect nectar they also pick up pollen grains that get in the honey – providing a source of homeopathic immunotherapy. Start taking a daily dose a few weeks/months before allergy season.

3) Take vitamin C and quercetin – this vitamin is a mast cell (cells that line the mucous membranes) stabilizer. It’s these cells that release histamine when exposed to an allergen, often a trigger for eye irritation, sneezing and runny nose. The vitamin C (1500 mg), supported by quercetin (500 mg), makes mast cells less reactive. Start daily doses at the first sign of allergies and repeat every four to six hours.

4) Drink stinging nettle leaf tea – a perennial that is aptly named, this natural substance is safe and healthy when in liquid form. Steep the tea for 10-15 minutes to get the full benefit.

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7 Natural Fixes For Your Seasonal Allergies… Continued…

5) Soothe your nose with a neti pot – washing the allergens out of the nasal passages with salt water is a simple, natural way to reduce your symptoms and keep pollen from triggering the allergy process in the body. Neti pots have been used since ancient times to clear nasal passages.

6) Inhale steam with essential oils – boil some water in a saucepan and turn off the heat. Add 4 drops of eucalyptus oil, 1-2 drops of tea tree oil and 3 drops of rosemary essential oil. Drape a towel over your head and breath deeply for five to ten minutes.

7) Try acupuncture - this pain free, non-invasive technique can be very effective, helping to calm down an overactive immune system. Used in the nose area it can help cut inflammation of the nasal and sinus area, the place where most of the discomfort of allergies can be felt.

By trying one or more of these seasonal allergy remedies, you just might find that you can enjoy the springtime (or anytime) without sniffling, sneezing or suffering.