Episode 33: Detox for Hormone Balance with Joy McCarthy, Nutritionist and Author

In this episode, Dr. Lisa talks with Certified Holistic Nutritionist (and best-selling author!) Joy McCarthy about: which foods to eat to support detox; how to “green” your body care products; ways to amp up your salads with powerhouse foods; and how to sneak more vegetables into your child’s diet.

Joy McCarthy is the bestselling author of: Joyous Health, The Joyous Cookbook and Joyous Detox, which was a World Gourmand Cookbook Award recipient. She is also the co-host of the Joyous Health Podcast.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How a food-based 10-day detox can be the easiest way to get started
  • The benefits of focusing on what you can eat instead of what you can’t eat
  • Sources of different chemicals that you may be exposed to throughout the day (and it may shock you!)
  • The benefits of doing a beauty detox, starting with the products that spend a lot of time on your skin, like your moisturizer and foundation
  • Why you should look up the ingredients of your personal care products on the Think Dirty App and Skin Deep Database
  • How to tell if the food you’re eating is putting a burden on your liver
  • The benefits of choosing organic food whenever possible, especially when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen”
  • Why you need more variety and colour on your plate (and why you should be eating kale and arugula!)
  • How lemon, apple cider vinegar and fermented foods can help your gut to support you body’s detoxification process
  • What Joy puts in her salad and how she gets her daughter to eat salads
  • How to fit more veggies in your life and make kid-friendly foods

How to detox on a daily basis:

  • Avoid: additives, preservatives, processed foods, sugar
  • Eat more: vegetables and other plants, especially cruciferous vegetables, citrus, herbs and spices like fennel, cilantro, parsley, mint, turmeric, ginger, garlic

Some delicious Joyous Health Detox Supporting Recipes you can try:

Nourishing Turmeric Golden Soup

Creamy and Dreamy Colourful Kale Salad

Golden Smoothie

Digestive Soothing Green Smoothie

Cauliflower Hummus

Lazy Lady Turmeric Latte

You can find Joy @joyoushealth on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and on Facebook. Shop for her detox tea, detox program, and the Joyous Detox Cookbook on her online store.

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa takes a teaspoon of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in water before eating to support her digestion.

Joy includes meditation in her daily routine to stay sane and manage anxiety, including the Calm app and Deepak Chopra’s Daily Breath app.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe everyone!

Episode 125 – Atopic Triad: Allergy, Asthma and Eczema in Moms and Kids

In this episode re-release, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the atopic triad of allergy, asthma and eczema that both perimenopausal moms and their kids can experience. Find out how your hormones are involved, plus what you can do to prevent and treat these inflammatory issues today.

What is an allergy?

Hypersensitivity disorder of your immune system, where you react to normally harmless substances in the environment that most people won’t react to.

Allergic symptoms include:

Itchy, watery, red eyes

Runny nose

Sneezing

Headache or pressure in sinuses

Itchy throat

Postnasal drip

Constant clearing of throat

More serious symptoms include:

Eczema – inflammatory skin condition

Asthma – immune reactivity and inflammation in airways causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath

Hives and anaphylaxis

The prevalence of allergic symptoms is increasing!

Allergic rhinitis, including runny nose, dark circles under eyes and throat clearing, affects as many as 40% of kids in US

CDC reported food allergies increased by 18% in US since 1990s

Eczema affects about 1 in 5 kids in US, with rates tripled in past 3 decades

Asthma affects at least 1 in 8 kids in US, with rates tripled between 1980 and 2008

Increased immune system reactivity causes may include:

  1. Hygiene Hypothesis or Microbiome Disruption
    • Your immune system needs to learn to respond to components in dirt and soil
    • Babies born by C section are 5x more likely to develop allergies than vaginal birth, since they are not exposed to mom’s vaginal microbiome
    • Also influenced with breastfeeding
    • Good bacteria are needed for “oral tolerance” and immune tolerance, so you are less reactive to foods and environmental allergens
    • Reduced gut flora diversity linked with increased risk of eczema, damage to gut lining allows foreign particles to trigger more immune reactions since more than half of your immune system is found along your gut – see Episode 8
    • Germ phobia can make kids more allergic
  2. Insufficient micronutrient and antioxidant intake
  3. Environmental pollution and compromised liver detoxification pathways 
    • Liver filters all the blood in the body from the digestive system and removes toxins, allergens, hormones, chemicals, drugs, etc.
    • Your liver contains the Reticuloendothelial System (RES) containing immune cells that remove antigens from the digestive system
    • If overworked with high levels of chemicals and pollution, your liver will not be able to remove allergens appropriately – see Episode 33
  4. Stress and adrenal function
    • Adrenal glands produce stress hormone cortisol, which is needed for an appropriate immune response
    • If overstressed or burnt out, you produce less cortisol resulting in more inflammation – for more info, see Episode 24
  5. Genetics
    • Can be modified by environmental factors
    • Just because your parents suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you have to!

Immune system balance is like a teeter-totter or see-saw 

Th1 vs.Th2 response 

  • Infants born with an allergic tendency and proper amounts of beneficial bacteria or microbiome supports more balance away from allergy while preventing autoimmunity

For example:

Research has shown that children in Estonia are less allergic than those in Switzerland and Estonian children have higher numbers of good bacteria in their intestines

Components of the Allergic Response include:

Allergens are also called antigens, like food, animal hair, insects, pollen, mold, dust, trees, chemicals, drugs, dyes, detergents, additives, etc.

Antigen binds to IgE antibody receptors on immune cells called mast cells, which triggers the release of inflammatory substances including prostaglandins and histamine 

Histamine acts in many areas in the body causing:

  • Vasodilation – swelling, redness, inflammation
  • Skin – itching, swelling, redness, hives
  • Nose – runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion
  • Eyes –watery
  • Lungs – congestion, bronchoconstriction of airways, difficult to breathe
  • Digestive System inflammation

Conventional medical treatment for allergies, asthma and eczema include:

  • Antihistamines – blocks action of histamine
  • Steroids (Inhaled, oral, topical cream) – suppresses the overactive immune response
  • Decongestants – reduces congestion 
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine) – blocks action of histamine
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline) – dilates the airways, makes breathing easier
  • Immunotherapy – small doses of allergens are injected below the skin or taken under the tongue to desensitize the immune system

Nutritional Factors that Increase Allergic Symptoms

  • Mucous-producing foods including dairy, gluten, sugar, bananas, processed foods, fried foods
  • Pro-Inflammatory foods can include:
    • Dairy, gluten, red meat, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, oranges, grapefruit, soy, shellfish, sugar, processed foods, pork, corn, eggs
  • Histamine-containing foods:
  • Deli meats, aged cheeses, fermented foods, canned fish, shellfish, avocado, citrus, tomatoes, alcohol, dried fruits, smoked meat/fish, 
  • Foods high in omega-6 increases inflammation and the allergic response – vegetable oils, soybean, canola, sunflower, corn, safflower
    • Ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be 4:1; Western diet ratio is 10:1!
    • In Japan, with westernization of diet (less fish and omega-3), saw increase in allergies
    • Can balance with more omega 3 from algae or fish source (anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon), as well as omega 6 GLA found in evening primrose, borage, hemp
  • Deficiencies in:
    • Omega-3 
    • B vitamins
      • Vitamin B6 – found in tuna, calf liver, chicken, salmon, turkey, potatoes, cod, sunflower seeds, halibut
      • Vitamin B12 – found in calf liver, sardines, salmon, beef, lamb, halibut, scallops, yogurt
    • Magnesium – found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds
    • Zinc – found in oysters, red meat, poultry, baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts like cashews and almonds
    • Vitamin C – found in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kiwi, cauliflower, kale, parsley, lemons, limes, spinach, snow peas, and rose hip tea
    • Vitamin D – found in small amounts in eggs, milk, best made with UV exposure to skin
    • Vitamin E – sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, papaya
    • Vitamin A – found in two forms:
  • Retinol – active form of vitamin A, found in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods
  • Carotenoids –  can turn into active form of vitamin A, found in plant foods like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes

Why Does Perimenopause Cause More Skin Itching and Hives?

Estrogen plays an important role in your skin health, impacting the microbiome of your mouth, gut and skin. Microbiome changes related to menopause may increase intestinal permeability, which increases the likelihood of having food reactions and atopic dermatitis. 

Hives, also called chronic urticaria, are about twice as common in women as in men and may be associated with hormonal changes such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pill or synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Your sex hormones can modulate immune and inflammatory cell functions, including mast cell secretion of histamine. 

One study suggests that patients with chronic urticaria have lower levels of serum DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), an adrenal hormone that tends to decline with age. Stress is commonly elevated during perimenopause, leading to high output of cortisol and adrenaline which are frequently associated with hives.

Lab testing you can consider:

Serum hormone testing or DUTCH urine hormone testing

IgG food sensitivity testing

Micronutrient testing – vitamin D, specialized labs for zinc, vitamin A, omega 3 

Comprehensive stool testing for microbiome balance and gut health

Prevention and Treatment to Consider for Allergies, Asthma and Eczema:

  • Support stress management and adrenal glands
    • Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, stimulants
    • Stress-relieving techniques including sleep support and routine
    • B vitamins, Vitamin C, adaptogenic herbs
  • Increase air quality
    • HEPA filter (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, vacuum cleaner)
    • Avoid carpeting
    • Regular dusting and vacuuming
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom and bathe regularly
  • Sinus rinse or Nasal Lavage
    • Neti Pot or Nevage
    • Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil
    • Blow your nose regularly
  • Support gut health with probiotics and fermented food
    • Avoid antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDs
    • Use filtered water to remove chlorine
  • Nutrition
    • Avoid inflammatory and histamine increasing foods
    • Avoid food allergies and sensitivities
    • Increase foods with nutrients important for immune function, including flavonoids  – see Episode 39 for more info on nutrients to support immune activity for viruses
      • Pomegranate, tomatoes, bilberry, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, sweet cherry, apples, apricots, pears, raspberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, watercress, green tea, grape skin
    • Consider regular intake of local honey to decrease immune sensitivity to environment
  • Supplements to consider:
    • Urtica dioica (nettles), Ribes nigrum (black currant), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Pine bark extract, Flavonoids including quercetin
    • Homeopathic Remedies
    • Homeopathic Immunotherapy
  • Topical treatments for eczema can include moisturizing oils like coconut, shea, jojoba (anything except olive), oat baths, calendula

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves roasted beets and beet root powder to provide natural sweetness and extra liver support.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of having moisturizing lotion and creams for hands and body handy. She likes Baby Bum fragrance free every day lotion with shea butter and Rocky Mountain soap company omega 3 vanilla coconut hand cream.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Thanks for joining us today!

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 85: What To Eat? Nutrition Tips for Hormone Balance (previously released as Episode 10 on Mar 5th 2020)


This episode is an oldie but goodie. It was previously released on Mar 5 2020 (pre-pandemic!) but the nutritional information is timeless. Listen in to discover how to: eat healthy with minimal preparation and time; what foods should be on your plate; which foods may wreak havoc on your hormones; and how to eat to balance blood sugar levels, energy and hormones.

As perimenopausal mamas, it can be tough to eat healthy when life is busy. Preparation can be key, especially to help make it easier at the end of the day after working and running around picking up kids from school or daycare.

Quick tips for food prep:

  • Pick a day on the weekend to do quick meal prep for the week, make a grocery list and get your groceries for the week
  • Keep frozen veggies on hand to roast, steam or saute as an option for quick nutrient boost to meals

What does a healthy, balanced diet look like? Macronutrients found in food include:

  • Protein – animal and plant based
  • Fats – animal and plant based, unsaturated and saturated (avoiding trans fats!)
  • Carbohydrates – simple and complex including fibre

There is no one size fits all when it comes to a healthy diet! There is no one master diet that is the right way to eat for everyone and your nutritional needs can change depending on the stage of life you are in.

While a healthy diet can vary from person to person, there are some nutrition guidelines to consider:

  • Aim for covering half your plate in vegetables, especially colourful veggies and leafy greens
  • Eat more Brassica family veggies to support estrogen detoxification, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale
  • Cover a quarter of your plate with healthy sources of protein like wild caught fish, organic chicken, grass fed beef, beans and legumes 
  • Complex carbohydrates like whole grains or starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash and beets can cover the remaining quarter of your plate
  • Add healthy fats like avocado, coconut and olive oil, ghee, nuts and seeds like almonds and walnuts

Start your kids early with healthy eating to avoid having to make more than one meal – see Episode 5 with Amanda Beatty for more tips!

Remember that your portion control and balance of carbs in your meals will most likely be different than your kids! Your kids may need more simple carbs in the form of fruit and grains. 

Read the label when you’re picking out processed foods and looking for healthy snacks. A snack may say gluten free or natural, but can still have a whole lot of added sugar in it in the form of evaporated cane juice, sucrose, glucose, fructose or other words that end with “ose”.

Are you eating enough protein? 

Protein is important for hormone balance for a number of reasons:

  • Acts as essential building block for hormones and enzymes
  • Supports muscle mass, which is metabolically active tissue that burns more calories!
  • Has higher thermic effect of food, which means that your body will burn more calories when digesting and processing food with higher levels of protein

Make sure you have a breakfast that contains protein with:

  • Eggs in scrambled, omelette, frittata or hard boiled form
  • Quinoa porridge with seeds like hemp and ground flax
  • Chia seed pudding 
  • Smoothie with nut butter, protein powder 
  • Adding in an extra scoop of collagen or protein powder to any of the above

Other goals to use your food as medicine can include:

  • Balance your blood sugar to prevent energy dips, insulin release and fat storage
  • Stay more full and satisfied with protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and fibre
  • Get a mood boost with complex carbohydrates and tryptophan-containing foods like chia and sesame seeds
  • Avoid inflammatory foods like processed sugar and find out if your body is not happy with other normally healthy foods 
    • Common food sensitivities can include dairy, gluten, corn, soy, eggs and even almonds!
  • Avoid drinking too much water with your meals so that you’re not diluting your stomach acid which can impact your ability to digest and absorb your food properly

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni believes that every mama needs a go-to healthy snack to fuel yourself and your kids and her go-to snack is her hemp protein power balls. Here’s her recipe:

Dr. Toni’s Hemp Protein Power Balls:

  • ½ cup hemp protein powder (from Manitoba Harvest)
  • 1 tbsp organic cocoa powder (from Camino Cuisine or Rodelle)
  • ½ cup sunflower seed butter (from Nuts to You, or use almond/pumpkin seed butter)
  • 1 tbsp organic blackstrap molasses (from Wholesome)
  • ½ tbsp hemp seed oil (from Manitoba Harvest, or use MCT/flaxseed oil)

Optional:

  • Coconut flakes
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Dried cranberries (sweetened with apple juice from Patience)

Mix dried ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then add wet ingredients. Consider adding more oil if using optional ingredients. Roll into bite sized balls and store in the refrigerator.

Thank you for joining us today! 

Have any comments, suggestions or burning questions? Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5 star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Episode 76: Is Going Gluten Free Just Trendy or Can Gluten Be a Problem if You Don’t Have Celiac Disease?

In today’s episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the spectrum of how you can react to gluten, from celiac disease to non-celiac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. Gluten issues can cause more than tummy troubles if you are sensitive and needs to be considered whenever you are experiencing any kind of inflammation. Common reactions can include: brain fog, fatigue, skin rashes, joint pain, headaches, boating and more.

Gluten sensitivity is estimated to be 6 times more prevalent than celiac disease, which affects about 1% of the population, but about three quarters of people are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. 

There are 3 major categories of gluten or wheat–related conditions: 

  1. celiac disease
  2. wheat allergy
  3. gluten sensitivity (aka non-celiac gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance)

Research by Dr. Fassano from Harvard shows that the frequency of common symptoms of gluten sensitivity:

abdominal pain (68%)

eczema or rash (40%) 

headache (35%)

“foggy mind” (34%) 

fatigue (33%) 

diarrhea (33%) 

depression (22%) 

anemia (20%)

numbness in legs, arms, or fingers (20%)

joint pain (11%). 

What is gluten?

Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in common grains like wheat, rye and barley. It provides a gummy consistency.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a multi-system autoimmune disorder that is triggered by the ingestion of gluten in genetically susceptible individuals. Autoantibodies can be produced in your body and can be tested in the blood, along with genetic markers.

If your antibodies are positive, the second step is a small intestinal endoscopic biopsy to look for atrophy of the villi along your intestinal tract. You have to be regularly consuming gluten for the test results to be accurate.

This inflammatory autoimmune condition breaks down your gut lining, manifesting digestive symptoms and/or extraintestinal symptoms. Celiac disease is a serious disorder, resulting in an increased risk for nutritional deficiencies and development of other autoimmune disorders.

The classical or typical symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Malabsorption of macronutrients like protein, healthy fats and micronutrients like iron, vitamin B12 and other B vitamins, vitamin D and calcium
  • Weight loss

Other symptoms of celiac disease are often considered as non-classical or atypical:

  • Anemia, osteoporosis or osteopenia due to nutritional deficiencies, also dental enamel defects
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Oral ulcers and burning tongue
  • Skin issues like eczema or dermatitis herpetiformis (raised blister with intense itching and burning) 
  • Hair loss and brittleness
  • Liver enzyme elevation
  • Constipation, heartburn
  • Infertility (causes unexplained infertility in 5.9% of women), miscarriage, gestational diabetes
  • Migraines, joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, muscle aches and pains
  • Neurological problems like depression, anxiety, peripheral pain or tingling, balance issues

 Children with celiac disease can have:

  • Short stature
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting

Gluten sensitivity can be indistinguishable from celiac disease or wheat allergy based on your symptoms alone. Lab testing is needed!

Research suggests that gluten sensitivity may be linked with the activation of your innate immune response, which causes an inflammatory response without the damage to your intestinal tract that happens due to the specific immune response that happens with celiac disease.

See Episode 8 to learn more about leaky gut and your microbiome and how gluten and other foods may be impacting your health.

Research also links the high intake of gluten containing grains during pregnancy with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in kids.

What are sources of gluten?

Gluten is commonly found in wheat, spelt, kamut, rye and barley. Other grains that contain gluten are wheat berries, spelt, durum, emmer, semolina, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat, einkorn, and triticale (a blend of wheat and rye). 

Oats are naturally gluten free, however commercially available oats often contain gluten from cross-contamination when they are grown near, or processed in the same facilities as the grains listed above. 

Gluten is also sold as wheat gluten, or seitan, a popular vegan high-protein food. Less obvious sources of gluten include soy sauce, modified food starch and personal care products like shampoos

There also may be cross-reactivity with other foods like oats and corn. 

How do you go gluten free?

 Gluten free grains include:

  • Quinoa
  • Brown, black, red, white rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Amaranth
  • Millet
  • Corn
  • Sorghum
  • Teff
  • Gluten-free oats

Gluten free doesn’t automatically equal healthy – check your labels!

It’s key not to rely on processed gluten-free foods that may be high in calories and sugar, and low in nutrients, such as gluten-free cookies, chips, and other snack foods. Consider gluten free grains as filler foods and focus more on getting your carbohydrates from vegetables. Listen to your body!

Other things you need to know about gluten:

A low gluten diet has been shown to increase the release of Peptide YY, which binds to your brain receptors to decrease your appetite and make you feel full after eating.  

Gluten is different in North America vs. Europe!

  • Faster processing of bread and pasta in North America
    • Overnight to allow enzymes in yeast to break down peptides in Europe; 2 hours in North America
  • Certain pesticides are not used in Europe
  • Traditional forms of wheat are used in Europe instead of more modern and genetically modified wheat in North America

Glyphosate is the core ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide sprayed on many crops, including gluten containing grains like wheat. Research on rats has found a disruption in beneficial gut bacteria at doses considered safe. Levels of glyphosate found in the human bloodstream have spiked by more than 1,000% in the last two decades!

Lab testing to consider:

  • Celiac screen – IgA tissue transglutaminase antibody (TTG), endomysial antibody (EMA) and deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP)
  • Endoscope and biopsy
  • Other antibodies – IgA/IgG anti-gliadin, IgE wheat
  • Genetic markers – (HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes)
  • C Reactive Protein, Iron levels, vitamin B12 and D
  • IgG food sensitivity testing
  • Comprehensive Stool Testing with zonulin 

What do you do if you are diagnosed with celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity:

  • Eliminate gluten containing grains to lower antibody and inflammatory levels in your body
    • Can consider re-introduction to tolerable levels if you have gluten sensitivity
    • Re-test antibody levels if you have celiac disease to confirm you have not been exposed to gluten unknowingly 
  • Consider full hypoallergenic elimination challenge or food sensitivity testing
  • Support gut healing with bone broth, glutamine, NAG, aloe, probiotics, digestive enzymes, DGL, slippery elm, marshmallow, mastic gum
  • Consider immune support with vitamin D, fermented food, probiotics, prebiotics like arabinogalactans

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of the gluten free bread by Slice of Life and Un-Bun, along with Glutenberg gluten free beer.

Dr. Toni loves her favourite gluten free pasta – black bean spaghetti by Explore Asian and Liviva, which is yummy, and higher in protein and fibre than regular pasta. 

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening on June 21. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Sign up for Dr. Lisa’s free sleep webinar on Monday, June 7th at 8:00pm to discover how to use Naturopathic Medicine, essential oils, yoga, meditation, osteopathy and massage to get those zzz…s!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 74: The Allergic Triad: How to Deal With Allergies, Asthma and Eczema in Moms and Kids

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni discuss the atopic triad of allergy, asthma and eczema that both perimenopausal moms and their kids can experience. Find out what you can do to prevent and treat these inflammatory issues today. We also uncover why hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause can trigger things such as hives.

What is an allergy?

Hypersensitivity disorder of your immune system, where you react to normally harmless substances in the environment that most people won’t react to.

Allergic symptoms include:

Itchy, watery, red eyes

Runny nose

Sneezing

Headache or pressure in sinuses

Itchy throat

Postnasal drip

Constant clearing of throat

More serious symptoms include:

Eczema – inflammatory skin condition

Asthma – immune reactivity and inflammation in airways causing wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath

Hives and anaphylaxis

The prevalence of allergic symptoms is increasing!

Allergic rhinitis, including runny nose, dark circles under eyes and throat clearing, affects as many as 40% of kids in US

CDC reported food allergies increased by 18% in US since 1990s

Eczema affects about 1 in 5 kids in US, with rates tripled in past 3 decades

Asthma affects at least 1 in 8 kids in US, with rates tripled between 1980 and 2008

Increased immune system reactivity causes may include:

  1. Hygiene Hypothesis or Microbiome Disruption
    • Your immune system needs to learn to respond to components in dirt and soil
    • Babies born by C section are 5x more likely to develop allergies than vaginal birth, since they are not exposed to mom’s vaginal microbiome
    • Also influenced with breastfeeding
    • Good bacteria are needed for “oral tolerance” and immune tolerance, so you are less reactive to foods and environmental allergens
    • Reduced gut flora diversity linked with increased risk of eczema, damage to gut lining allows foreign particles to trigger more immune reactions since more than half of your immune system is found along your gut – see Episode 8
    • Germ phobia can make kids more allergic
  2. Insufficient micronutrient and antioxidant intake
  3. Environmental pollution and compromised liver detoxification pathways 
    • Liver filters all the blood in the body from the digestive system and removes toxins, allergens, hormones, chemicals, drugs, etc.
    • Your liver contains the Reticuloendothelial System (RES) containing immune cells that remove antigens from the digestive system
    • If overworked with high levels of chemicals and pollution, your liver will not be able to remove allergens appropriately – see Episode 33
  4. Stress and adrenal function
    • Adrenal glands produce stress hormone cortisol, which is needed for an appropriate immune response
    • If overstressed or burnt out, you produce less cortisol resulting in more inflammation – for more info, see Episode 24
  5. Genetics
    • Can be modified by environmental factors
    • Just because your parents suffer from allergies doesn’t mean you have to!

Immune system balance is like a teeter-totter or see-saw 

Th1 vs.Th2 response 

  • Infants born with an allergic tendency and proper amounts of beneficial bacteria or microbiome supports more balance away from allergy while preventing autoimmunity

For example:

Research has shown that children in Estonia are less allergic than those in Switzerland and Estonian children have higher numbers of good bacteria in their intestines

Components of the Allergic Response include:

Allergens are also called antigens, like food, animal hair, insects, pollen, mold, dust, trees, chemicals, drugs, dyes, detergents, additives, etc.

Antigen binds to IgE antibody receptors on immune cells called mast cells, which triggers the release of inflammatory substances including prostaglandins and histamine 

Histamine acts in many areas in the body causing:

  • Vasodilation – swelling, redness, inflammation
  • Skin – itching, swelling, redness, hives
  • Nose – runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion
  • Eyes –watery
  • Lungs – congestion, bronchoconstriction of airways, difficult to breathe
  • Digestive System inflammation

Conventional medical treatment for allergies, asthma and eczema include:

  • Antihistamines – blocks action of histamine
  • Steroids (Inhaled, oral, topical cream) – suppresses the overactive immune response
  • Decongestants – reduces congestion 
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine) – blocks action of histamine
  • Epinephrine (adrenaline) – dilates the airways, makes breathing easier
  • Immunotherapy – small doses of allergens are injected below the skin or taken under the tongue to desensitize the immune system

Nutritional Factors that Increase Allergic Symptoms

  • Mucous-producing foods including dairy, gluten, sugar, bananas, processed foods, fried foods
  • Pro-Inflammatory foods can include:
    • Dairy, gluten, red meat, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, oranges, grapefruit, soy, shellfish, sugar, processed foods, pork, corn, eggs
  • Histamine-containing foods:
  • Deli meats, aged cheeses, fermented foods, canned fish, shellfish, avocado, citrus, tomatoes, alcohol, dried fruits, smoked meat/fish, 
  • Foods high in omega-6 increases inflammation and the allergic response – vegetable oils, soybean, canola, sunflower, corn, safflower
    • Ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 should be 4:1; Western diet ratio is 10:1!
    • In Japan, with westernization of diet (less fish and omega-3), saw increase in allergies
    • Can balance with more omega 3 from algae or fish source (anchovies, sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon), as well as omega 6 GLA found in evening primrose, borage, hemp
  • Deficiencies in:
    • Omega-3 
    • B vitamins
      • Vitamin B6 – found in tuna, calf liver, chicken, salmon, turkey, potatoes, cod, sunflower seeds, halibut
      • Vitamin B12 – found in calf liver, sardines, salmon, beef, lamb, halibut, scallops, yogurt
    • Magnesium – found in pumpkin seeds, spinach, swiss chard, soybeans, sesame seeds, halibut, black beans, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds
    • Zinc – found in oysters, red meat, poultry, baked beans, chickpeas, and nuts like cashews and almonds
    • Vitamin C – found in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, papaya, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kiwi, cauliflower, kale, parsley, lemons, limes, spinach, snow peas, and rose hip tea
    • Vitamin D – found in small amounts in eggs, milk, best made with UV exposure to skin
    • Vitamin E – sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, papaya
    • Vitamin A – found in two forms:
  • Retinol – active form of vitamin A, found in animal liver, whole milk, and some fortified foods
  • Carotenoids –  can turn into active form of vitamin A, found in plant foods like carrots, squash, sweet potatoes

Why Does Perimenopause Cause More Skin Itching and Hives?

Estrogen plays an important role in your skin health, impacting the microbiome of your mouth, gut and skin. Microbiome changes related to menopause may increase intestinal permeability, which increases the likelihood of having food reactions and atopic dermatitis. 

Hives, also called chronic urticaria, are about twice as common in women as in men and may be associated with hormonal changes such as the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pill or synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Your sex hormones can modulate immune and inflammatory cell functions, including mast cell secretion of histamine. 

One study suggests that patients with chronic urticaria have lower levels of serum DHEA-S (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), an adrenal hormone that tends to decline with age. Stress is commonly elevated during perimenopause, leading to high output of cortisol and adrenaline which are frequently associated with hives.

Lab testing you can consider:

Serum hormone testing or DUTCH/CHI urine hormone testing

IgG food sensitivity testing

Micronutrient testing – vitamin D, specialized labs for zinc, vitamin A, omega 3 

Comprehensive stool testing for microbiome balance and gut health

Prevention and Treatment to Consider for Allergies, Asthma and Eczema:

  • Support stress management and adrenal glands
    • Avoid caffeine, sugar, alcohol, stimulants
    • Stress-relieving techniques including sleep support and routine
    • B vitamins, Vitamin C, adaptogenic herbs
  • Increase air quality
    • HEPA filter (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, vacuum cleaner)
    • Avoid carpeting
    • Regular dusting and vacuuming
    • Keep pets out of the bedroom and bathe regularly
  • Sinus rinse or Nasal Lavage
    • Neti Pot or Nevage
    • Steam inhalation with eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, thyme oil
    • Blow your nose regularly
  • Support gut health with probiotics and fermented food
    • Avoid antibiotics, PPIs, NSAIDs
    • Use filtered water to remove chlorine
  • Nutrition
    • Avoid inflammatory and histamine increasing foods
    • Avoid food allergies and sensitivities
    • Increase foods with nutrients important for immune function, including flavonoids  – see Episode 39 for more info on nutrients to support immune activity for viruses
      • Pomegranate, tomatoes, bilberry, blackberry, blueberry, black currant, sweet cherry, apples, apricots, pears, raspberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, watercress, green tea, grape skin
    • Consider regular intake of local honey to decrease immune sensitivity to environment
  • Supplements to consider:
    • Urtica dioica (nettles), Ribes nigrum (black currant), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Pine bark extract, Flavonoids including quercetin
    • Homeopathic Remedies
    • Homeopathic Immunotherapy
  • Topical treatments for eczema can include moisturizing oils like coconut, shea, jojoba (anything except olive), oat baths, calendula

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa loves roasted beets and beet root powder to provide natural sweetness and extra liver support.

Dr. Toni is a big fan of having moisturizing lotion and creams for hands and body handy. She likes Baby Bum fragrance free every day lotion with shea butter and Rocky Mountain soap company omega 3 vanilla coconut hand cream.

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing info session for expecting parents looking to trust their instincts and their body during labour and birth is happening in May. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

On Monday, June 7th, at 8:00pm, join Dr. Lisa and three other health care practitioners for their free webinar to learn how to get the best sleep of your life using naturopathic medicine, yoga, meditation, essential oils, massage, and osteopathy. Sign up HERE and feel free to share with your friends/family members/contacts.

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2021: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

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Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Intestinal Health

Infancy –most crucial time to give probiotics