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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Genetic Modification/Engineering and Allergy:

One thing in this whole process for me that has been INCREDIBLY frustrating is the lack of oversight and regulation that the FDA, CDC and USDA have over our health. I really should call it selective oversight and regulation, because it is there for the right price ;) There is very little needed to prove a product safe for consumption (another post another day). It has turned into our job, as the consumer, to either die or get sick in great numbers to prove the product otherwise, once the product is on the market. Even after this occurs, if the producer has enough money/power it may still be consumed. Case in point would be GMO’s. The United States is one of a few countries that allow GMO’s to be sold without labeling. Coca Cola and many other big names produce a different product without GMO’s for places like Europe that required labeling, because the product won’t sell if GMO’s are used. Crazy right?!?!
The process of GM, in its simplest terms, is the extraction of one organisms’ DNA for injection into another organism. This is done to control certain aspects of the production of the desired final product. At times this is done with pesticides, such as round up, to produce a seed that is resistant to round up.  This process is a HUGE step with very limited research into its safety by the FDA. There are many people who believe this is one reason for an increase in allergies, not to mention the even more severe implications this process has on our health. Here are just a few articles on the topic:
The problem here is that when research is done, the majority of Americans want it to come from a big name to motivate them to move in a passionate direction. This will not happen if the research being done is being done by biased sources. Monsanto’s roots spread far and wide and their interests affect the interests of many powerful people. When a third party does come out with shocking revelations such as this study:
They are contradicted and discredited by people, who appear to be the authority, read the bottom of the article for the “top scientists” who disagree. But I urge you to follow up any anti GMO reading that has been contradicted by “leading scientists” with a Google search for that “leading scientist” with the name Monsanto following it. I am sure you will find at least one link to tie them to the leading producer of GMOs. Here is an example of the links between the “leading scientists” from the above article to their beloved GMO roots.
It is not hard to do; you just have to want to see the connection. GMOs should at the very least be labeled so that I can choose not to purchase them. I believe that the allergy epidemic, to name one, is tied to the mass consumption of foreign proteins and organisms!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Acetaminophen, the liver and atopic...

When you have a fever, aches, pains or soreness what do you most commonly reach for, especially for babies? You guessed it....Tylenol. Tylenol's active ingredient is Acetaminophen also known in the UK as Paracetamol. According to experts the actual way in which Acetaminophen works is unknown, they believe that it increases the threshold of pain so that the pain would have to be greater for a person to feel it. They do know how it works as a fever reducer, acetaminophen acts on the area of the brain that regulates body temperature. It orders the brain’s thermoregulation center to lower the temperature when it is elevated.  So essentially it is telling your body to stop doing something that is a natural response to combat invaders in your system (another topic for another day). When J was a very colicky baby, as a first time mom, I often thought the worst. Is she in pain? Is she teething? What is wrong? I used tylenol at the very least, once a month, thinking she was in pain from teething. After all, it must be safe if the doctor prescribes it, its available at most stores and the whole world seems to use it and they are "fine". WRONG!! Here are some interesting facts I did NOT know about Acetaminophen that I wish I had:

-Acetaminophen causes three times as many cases of liver failure as all other drugs combined.
-Acetaminophen is the most common cause of acute liver failure in the United States.
-Acetaminophen is metabolized in the liver, resulting in a by-product, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine (NAPQI), that can damage liver cells, but is typically converted into a harmless substance by an antioxidant glutathione. However, large doses of acetaminophen overwhelms the body's supply of glutathione, resulting in destruction of the liver cells. (caffeine can triple the amount of, N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine)
-40% of the population, including my family, has a genetic malformation called MTHFR, which can impact production of glutathione. The very antioxidant needed to convert NAPQI into a harmless substance.
-Acetametaphin has a cumulative affect and overdose threshold is very small.
-Acetaminophen use linked to atopic conditions: For medium users the risk of asthma 43 percent higher than non-users; high users had 2.51 times the risk of non-users. Similarly, the risk of rhinoconjunctivitis (allergic nasal congestion) was 38 percent higher for medium users and 2.39 times as great for high users compared to non-users. For eczema, the relative risks were 31 percent and 99 percent respectively. (Frequent use considered to be one or more times a month.)
A handy chart:
  • 43% higher asthma risk among medium users compared to non-users
  • 31% higher eczema risk among medium users compared to non-users
  • 2.51 times the risk of developing asthma among high users compared to non-users
  • 99% higher risk of developing eczema among high users compared to non-users
  • None
  • Medium - at least once over the last 12 months
  • High - at least once a month

In my opinion it is essential to question everything and not just assume the FDA is doing that for you. In my opinion the standard for approval is very low and its my family's health that we are talking about. So my rule of thumb from now forward is to research everything, even if it is "safe."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Driving force...

The driving force in our journey with the girls' allergies, eczema and other issues, for me anyway, has been to find the cause. To figure out what went wrong... What could we have done differently... Yes I know that we are born with a set of predispositions, a set of genes that respond differently etc.... But can we prevent or change certain aspects?!?! It is my belief that we can! I get myself into trouble often with friends and family due to my heated passion for my ever broadening knowledge for things that I preach about. But to me, health is too important to stifle knowledge. It is easy to get over whelmed and it is easy to blame ourselves for past decisions... Hind sight is 20/20... I look at it this way... We do the best we can with the knowledge that we have, yet our knowledge is ALWAYS changing!!! We can't blame ourselves for decisions that we make with lack of knowledge or the wrong knowledge if that is what we know to be true... BUT we have to want to learn to better our decision making in the future!! On that note, I am beginning a series where I will post information that I have learned through my driving force in our journey, while questioning decisions I made in the past.... More to come, stay tuned....

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Then and Now

After a seven month hiatus we are back. Life got in my way and I became over whelmed and ready to  lose my mind. J went down hill, m started showing more eczema and I was just discouraged. BUT we started to question everything, challenged foods we thought were safe, found a new Ped and upped her vitamin d. So now we are on a good track! J has been clear for some time, few flares and m is growing like a weed!!! So I will list where we were before the hiatus and after.....
-Three doses of supplements a day: Kirkman lab probiotic gold, cal/mag, vitamin d and digestive enzyme.
- unsure of all food allergies
- at least 1 tsp Xyzal
- three night wakings at least
- parent in bed every night
- constant flared feet, joints and hands
- morning pro biotic, calcium and vitamin d
- food allergies under control
- 1/4 tsp Xyzal maybe once a week
- in own bed every night with no night wakings most nights and only one that can be easily redirected if at all.
- clear more than flared and flares last maybe a day.
We have come a long way with skin and behavior and are so very happy! More details to come!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Chemical food allergies.... (Mini series 3)

*Disclaimer* This is my opinion based on research and our experience! It will probably rub people the wrong way or annoy some because they disagree, but this is my media ;)

A whole foods, made from scratch diet created in your kitchen at home, by you, is the best way to control all avenues. A food journal and close watch over cross contamination is key to eliminating the trigger, figuring out the triggers or excluding a trigger! It is crazy hard, aggravating, stressful, overwhelming, annoying, tear inducing, ulcer creating, gray hair producing!!!!! BUT its a productive way to help you/your child heal without the fear of side affects and the frustrations of lathering on the steroids and gulping down the preservative rich, god knows whats in them antihistimines that DON'T cure anything!!! (BTW I do use steroids when needed (rarely) and antihistimines daily when needed to help keep comfortable during the process). 

The following is a list of food chemicals that can cause allergy symptoms INCLUDING eczema!!! If you have not tried taking all of these things out of your/your child's diet you can not say eczema is not FA related! MSG can be hidden in many different names! (

Preservatives (to give food a longer shelf-life)

The SulphitesThese chemicals in the form of gases cause lung irritation and may trigger asthma. They are commonly found in liquid form in cold drinks and fruit juice concentrates, but also in wine and sprayed onto foods to keep them fresh and prevent discoloration or browning. They are used to preserve smoked and processed meats, dried fruit (apricots) and salads. In the solid form, sulphites can cause urticaria when ingested. ( E220 – E227)
Sulphur dioxide, Sodium sulphite, Sodium bisulphite, Potassium bisulphite and Potassium metasulphite.
Benzoic acid and ParabensBenzoates and Parabens have antibacterial and anti fungal properties for prevention of food spoilage. These agents are added to pharmaceutical and food products such as drinks (sugar free Coke) and occur naturally in prunes, cinnamon, tea and berries. They may cause urticaria, asthma and angioedema. (E 210 – E 219 )
Sodium benzoate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben and Heptylparaben.
AntioxidantsFat and oils in food turn rancid when exposed to air. Synthetic phenolic antioxidants (BHA and BHT) prevent this spoilage happening but can trigger asthma, rhinitis and urticaria. (E320 – 321 )
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)).

Flavour enhancers (to enhance food palatability)

Aspartame a low calorie sweetener can occasionally trigger urticaria (nettle rash), itchy hives and swelling of the body.
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) which can trigger the “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” of headache and burning plus tightness in the chest, neck and face.  Found in packet soups and instant drinks. (E 620 – E 635)

Colourings (make food visually more attractive)

All colourings must now be labeled. They can trigger hives, urticaria, asthma and generalized allergic reactions.  ( E 100 – E 180 )
Azo dyes (Tartrazine) and Non-azo dyes (erythrocine)
Nitrates and Nitrites give meat a pink colour to look more attractive and found in bacon, salami and frankfurters. ( E 249 – E 252 )

Emulsifiers and stabilisers

Stop oil and water components separating, as in ketchup and mayonnaise, but do not cause adverse reactions.

Naturally occurring substances in food causing adverse reactions

Vaso-active aminesNatural Histamine, Serotonin and Tyramine occur in some ripe cheeses, fish, cured sausage, red wine, chocolate and pickled vegetables and can induce cramping, flushing, headache and palpitations in a dose related manner.
Caffeine found in foods, medication, tea, coffee and Coca-Cola induces dose dependent agitation, palpitations, nausea and tremors.
Salicylates (aspirin-like naturally occurring chemicals)Salicylates induce urticaria, asthma and nasal polyps to develop. They are found in Curry powder, paprika, dried thyme,  oranges, apricots, ginger, honey, berries and fruit skins, tea and almonds.  Salicylate sensitive individuals also tend to have adverse reactions to benzoates and tartrazine.
Always read all packaged food labels, legislation now ensures that additives must be clearly labelled. E Numbers – all additives used within the European Community must be allocated an E number.
Colourings: (E100-180)Tartrazine E102, Sunset Yellow E110
Flavourings: (E620-635)Monosodium Glutamate E620
Preservatives: (E200-297)Benzoates (E210-219), Sulphites (E220-227), Nitrates (E249-252)
Antioxidants: (E320-321)BHA (E320) & BHT (E321)

General rules for preservatives and additives:

Many E number additives are completely harmless.  Safe E numbers include: E101 Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), E200-203 Sorbate derivatives, E260 Acetic acid, E280 Propionic acid, E300-304 Ascorbic acid derivatives (Vitamin C), E330-333 Citric acids, E412 Guar gum and E578 Calcium gluconate are just a few examples,
No accurate diagnostic tests are yet available – so be suspicious of any advertised in the media.

Taken from:

MTHFR, Fillagrin Atopic links

Friday, January 6, 2012

Eczema....TREAT THE ROOTS!!! (mini-series part 2 1/2)

*Disclaimer* This is my opinion based on research and our experience! It will probably rub people the wrong way or annoy some because they disagree, but this is my media ;)

The body is created to run synergistically in every way. It relies on certain nutrients, vitamins, minerals and exercise. Our blueprints formed by our genes are what determines the success in which our individual body gets the job done with no pain or issues. We live in a world that has evolved into something very different than the one in which our bodies were designed to encounter. This causes many kinks in the systems. Eczema is not normal, it is not something that just happens that we have to live with and patch up as it flares. It is the body telling us that something is out of line. Whether this be a genetic malformation, a deficiency of some sort or damage by an outside factor. The two genetic possibilities that I have found are the fillagrin deficiency and MTHFR mutation, both of which I have posted links about. The environmental factor that I have found is the use of Aluminum in vaccines as an adjuvant, which I have also posted about. These are all things that should be explored while treating!

An allergist, as described in the first part of this post, is a shot in the dark without thorough treatment of the gut. It is essential to heal the gut and aid in digestion to decrease reactivity to food as well as environmental factors. The skin barrier theory goes hand in hand in what happens to the gut in allergic people. Damage is done to the gut and foods are more likely to pass through and cause a reaction.  It is impossible to make any permanent changes without changing the way you eat and healing the gut.  The majority of foods on the shelves of our grocers are very close to plastic in make up and if not they are most likely GM and if not then they are processed to the point of cardboard and synthetic nutrients are added. These types of food are not suitable for maintaining life let alone healing!!! A whole food, nutrient dense diet is essential.

Supplements to research for aiding in the journey:
digestive enzymes
vitamin d3
vitamins A,C,E
Vitamin B's
fish, flax, hemp oil

Eczema....GO TO THE ALLERGIST!!! (Mini-series 2)

*Disclaimer* This is my opinion based on research and our experience! It will probably rub people the wrong way or annoy some because they disagree, but this is my media ;)

The definition of allergy (as defined by A damaging immune response by the body to a substance, esp. pollen, fur, a particular food, or dust, to which it has become hypersensitive.

This means that ANYTHING can be an allergy. Allergy tests do nothing but tell you what a potential reaction to an object/food may be or the reaction to an object/food is at a particular time using a specific formula by the administrator to represent that object/food. It is by no means an exact science and results may vary depending on the doctor and the moment in time.  A positive at least gives you a starting off point, but experimentation, elimination and challenge is the only real mode for an answer.

When you have an atopic condition your body has a "bucket" each allergen is a drop in that bucket and once it hits the brim ANYTHING can set off a reaction. This means that one day you could react to a mild allergy in a severe way and the next day you could eat/encounter it in excess and not show a thing. This makes life difficult to the person/people figuring out the allergies.

There are two theories in eczema....the skin barrier issue and the allergy issue. Well good news is they are both RIGHT! The Utopian treatment for eczema would be an allergist, dermatologist and natural practitioner. The skin barrier theory is that the body doesn't produce enough fillagrin which is imperative in proper skin barrier. But the very idea of this theory is an allergy!!! This root problem causes allergens to enter the body quicker and with more intensity.

It can not be said that allergies don't cause eczema unless in every case histamine levels were controlled, allergy tests were done and you have eliminated all processed foods from your diet. If diagnosed with multiple food allergies, it is likely that you are still consuming allergens if you have not seen a vast improvement. My daughter has been eating whole foods made at home for the last 9ish months and we have finally gotten her to a baseline with the realization that she is allergic to many real foods, but above all processed foods. You can be allergic to the process of production, you can also be allergic to food chemicals (MSG) which is in more than you know in various forms. She can eat apples, but not freeze dried apples!!! It is not possible to know your case of eczema is not allergy related until you have first worked toward gut healing (coming in part 2 1/2) and then scaled back to the foods that you are relatively certain are safe and given it a good 3 months or analyzed everything in your home that your child comes in contact with and experimented with changing it and the change in reactivity! Things you think are safe could be the very things flaring! In some cases it can take 2 days to flare from an allergen.

All this being said....a good allergist can help you to realize factors in the home, environments and diet that could be triggers. They are good guides into the journey to find causes to change instead of treating with topical steroids in an endless cycle of obsessive compulsive skin maintenance that we all get into! (Obviously this too is an integral part of treatment, but in my opinion is only a band aid).

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Our Eczema Hypothesis (mini-series 1 1/2)

In my CURRENT opinion, eczema is not caused by only one thing, it is a combination of things and is not the same cause for everyone. In our daughters' case I feel we have pinpointed a couple of things that could be the issue and cause.

First and foremost....our eldest daughter started showing signs of food allergies early, we didn't even notice that they were signs! This will be a whole different post (signs of food allergies). I believe based on turn of events, observation and research that her last straw was her 2 year check up. We got her MMR and two flu shots. She never got more than one at a time before then and we were pressured into all three. People get very touchy about vaccines. Comments arise, such as why don't we all have autism, eczema, fill in the blank if it is the vaccine? How come we all are fine and we got them? The answers generation got 10 shots this generation gets upwards of 30 ( and we all have different DNA and metabolic systems!! Anyway, a vaccine is designed to force the body to, through artificial means, create antigens to certain viruses. For this reason vaccines have aluminum as an adjuvant to increase B cell production and increase activity of T2 cells. These are the inflammatory cells that are the attack dogs. Eczema is directly related to over active T2 cells in EVERY case. On this note, those T2 cells are activated to create antibodies to fight off that one antigen, but how does the body know what to fight and what not to fight? How long are those T2 cells activated? It is my theory that at that junction our bodies don't know how and people with predispositions to certain thing over react and make antibodies to fight off everything in the vaccine as well as what the body encounters as long as those T2 cells are activated. (Who knows how long this lasts since we are administering this ingredient during the most important time for maturing immune systems). Shortly after this visit she developed pneumonia and was knocked on her rear for almost 3 weeks. During this time she was on three different rounds of antibiotics and 2 weeks of NSAIDs that further tore up her gut. It was awful. So this is the first part of my hypothesis and why J's so reactive to her environment. Now on to what I think may be her predispositions...

I am under the impression that my family has a metabolic malfunction for lack of a better word. I think we have issues with insulin resistance, IBS as well as predisposition for atopic disease and many other things that I believe are tied to the fact that we have a malformation on our MTHFR gene. This is a common malformation and can affect up to 40% of the population. It can affect many metabolic processes. I have posted a couple of articles about this gene malformation in another post. I am still learning a lot about this and hope to figure more out as I go. With this can come low levels of Glutathione, it is the body's natural ability to detox. If my girls inherited this from me or if Tom has it as well and they inherited the more complex malformation this could be a huge factor. Not only does folate deficiency cause increased IgE levels, but if she were low on glutathione it could explain why we started to see such severe symptoms after her multiple vaccines. The aluminum had a more lasting and profound impact on her body because she wasn't able to metabolize it at the same rate as other people.
Glutathione has multiple functions:
  • It is the major endogenous antioxidant produced by the cells, participating directly in the neutralization of free radicals and reactive oxygen compounds, as well as maintaining exogenous antioxidants such as vitamins C and E in their reduced (active) forms.[17]
  • Regulation of the nitric oxide cycle, which is critical for life but can be problematic if unregulated[18]
  • It is used in metabolic and biochemical reactions such as DNA synthesis and repair, protein synthesis, prostaglandin synthesis, amino acid transport, and enzyme activation. Thus, every system in the body can be affected by the state of the glutathione system, especially the immune system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system and the lungs.[4]
  • It has a vital function in iron metabolism. Yeast cells depleted of or containing toxic levels of GSH show an intense iron starvation-like response and impairment of the activity of extra-mitochondrial ISC enzymes, followed by death.[19 
My hypothesis: Eczema is an atopic condition that is a result of an overactive T2 cell production as well as a disruption in the metabolic system that is caused by both environmental factors as well as genetic make up. 

The next few posts will include further experiences regarding these topics as well as supplements, products and strategies that we have tried to alleviate these issues. Some of these things have worked and some have not. 

It’s eczema…What do I do???? (mini-series 1)

(Sorry for the lack of posting....I needed a vacay :))
I am currently participating in various forums regarding eczema. The forums are made up of people with eczema or parents with children who have eczema. It never fails, once a day someone posts “Help, new here…it is eczema, what do I do.” Every single person is so very nervous at the prospects of what this might bring to their child’s life. They ask themselves…"will she/he always have this, will their face always be rashy, will their skin always look like this, will they ever sleep again, will they be trapped in this skin forever????” The one common response to these questions is NO BODY KNOWS!!!! This is an unfortunate reality and what is even more unfortunate is that there really is no medical outlet for atopic kids. There are outlets to seek treatment, if you want to succumb to steroids, antihistamines, bleach baths, antidepressants and such. But there are very few accessible outlets to help in a journey to find what the cause is of YOUR case of eczema because EVERYONE is different, has different triggers and responds to everything differently. It is a scary diagnosis and in most cases the patient is sent away with no direction and a tool bag with a lot of tubes without a lot of instruction. So I am going to start a miniseries of what I would do from the get go if I were to receive the eczema diagnosis based on the knowledge I have from OUR journey. This may or may not be helpful. But God gave us these hurdles for a reason and as much as we have to keep searching for a cure for the girls we have to keep searching for the reason. Maybe that reason is to shorten the struggle for someone else that may benefit from skipping some frustration themselves. So here it goes…