Nutritional Support for Allergy Season – April 2016​

As the old saying goes; April showers bring May flowers. You know how it feels when you have that first hint of spring. The sun is a little higher in the sky and you can feel its warmth. All the sudden you can see the buds on the trees. That’s when it hits you. Allergy season.

You know the symptoms: watery, itchy eyes, sneezing, nasal congestion, loss of sense of smell and post nasal drip. The typical treatment is to use antihistamines. Antihistamines make sense because the allergy symptoms are caused by the release of histamine. The release of histamine is part if a process the body goes through in an attempt to rid the body of the offending substance, in this case the allergen. This whole process starts in a special cell called the mast cell. When an allergen hits the mast cell, a cascade of events occur which ultimately leads to the release of histamine and thus your allergy symptoms.

Antihistamines block the action of histamine in the body but they come with a number of adverse side effects which can create additional challenges for individuals using them. Fortunately, there are several natural substances that may be able to address on’s allergy challenges without the side effects found in traditional antihistamine products.

Higher doses of vitamin C has been shown to be beneficial against allergies because vitamin C can expedite the elimination of inflammatory histamine from the body. Typical doses of vitamin C is 500mg 2 to 3 times a day.

Quercetin is another natural substance that can serve as a mast cell stabilizer. When the allergen contacts the mast cell, the cascade of events within the mast cell causes the mast cell to open releasing the histamine. When you stabilize the mast cell you don’t get the release of the histamine, thus the benefits of the quercetin.

Bromelain is a natural enzyme that is commonly taken with food as an aid in digestion. However, when taken on an empty stomach, bromelain can be absorbed into the bloodstream, helping to reduce inflammation and break up mucous.

Finally, when developing a strategy to manage allergies, a good preventative foundational approach is often very helpful. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, like those found in fish oil supplements can be beneficial in managing allergic and asthmatic symptoms. A quality probiotic helps to support a health intestinal tract. We know that 70 percent of our immune function is located in our gut. So maintaining a good gut health is essential for the management of allergic issues, regardless of the source.

At both Custom Health in Manitowoc and Custom Health Pharmacy we have the supplements you need to help support a healthy immune system for your allergies. Stop in and talk to Angel in Manitowoc or John in Green Bay for the best product for you.​

Control Your Cravings – March 2016​

Have you ever had someone pay you a compliment? It might have been as simple as someone saying “good job on that project,” or “have you been working out.” You can’t help but feel good about yourself for the reward you’ve received, in this case the compliment. When this happens, you actually have changes that go on in your brain. In the brain there are chemicals that send messages. The scientific name is “neurotransmitters.” These chemicals send all kinds of different messages and they do that by connecting to a receptor. If the chemical fits in the receptor it sends off a message.

Certain neurotransmitters are considered “feel good” neurotransmitters. When they are released you feel good. You have better spirits and your mood is better. Certainly, being paid a compliment would make you release these “feel good” neurotransmitters. The main feel good neurotransmitters are Dopamine and Serotonin.

Unfortunately, this whole system can be disrupted. This can happen because you don’t make enough of those neurotransmitters or the receptor become compromised. When this happens you can feel deprived or feel you are missing that reward you are looking for. What often happen, then, is you start to look for alternatives places for those rewards. You may look to food or alcohol to fulfill those rewards. The false sense of reward from food or alcohol doesn’t go away when you decide to stop using it and thus you crave those items again. Interestingly, there is a name for this and it is called “Reward Deficiency Syndrome.”

Studies have shown that lower amounts of Dopamine or lower amounts of the Dopamine receptor can will lead to this craving behavior. Also, increasing the amount of Dopamine released also causes the increase of the number Dopamine receptors. Nutritional support of the release of Dopamine can help.

DL-Phenylalanine is an amino acid that can be taken as a supplement. It has been shown to have a role in pain relief, inflammation and anti-craving. It has been shown to inhibit an enzyme in the brain which then increases the amount of Dopamine in the brain. DL-Phenylalanine should be enhanced with other supplements to have maximum benefits. L-Tyrosine, L-Glutamine, 5-HTP Rhodiola Rosea and P5P help to ensure that healthy levels of dopamine are encouraged to address “Reward Deficiency Syndrome.”

If you have cravings some might say that this is all in your head. When they say that, they are correct, but that does not mean that there is not a real reason for those cravings. Changes in your brain are the problem and having the right nutritional support to correct the levels of the neurotransmitters, or their receptors can help.​

Stop in at Custom Health Pharmacy or Custom Health to pick up the perfect product to support formation of these Neurotransmitters, called “Crave Control”.

Eliminate Toxins – February 2016​

Are you taking in toxic chemicals?

Do you take in chemicals that are toxic to you? That is like asking if you are alive. In the world we live we have toxins all over the place. It is just a fact of life. Luckily the body has a mechanism to take care of these toxins. Detoxification takes place in a number of body systems. However, the principal organ of detoxification is the liver. Life is dependent upon the liver’s function as the primary defense against toxins and chemicals that enter from the bloodstream. The liver is challenged to detoxify 24 hours a day.

There are 2 phases of detoxification in the liver. In phase 1 the liver changes the toxins into a chemical that can actually be more toxic to the body. In phase 2, however, the liver makes the toxin less toxic. These byproducts are then eliminated from the body. They are eliminated via the kidney into your urine or into the intestines and are eliminated in the stool. There are many ways the body eliminates toxins.

Since the body eliminates these toxins eventually through the kidneys and through the intestines, making sure your gastrointestinal system and kidneys are healthy is essential to eliminate these toxins. The best way to ensure that your gastrointestinal (GI) system is healthy is to make sure you are having healthy bowel movements. The number one way to ensure this is to take in enough fiber. It is recommended you get at least 35 gm of fiber every day. Another way to make sure your GI system is healthy is to have a healthy gut flora. There are trillions of bacteria in your GI system and the wrong bacteria can cause many problems. A probiotic is therefore essential. Finally, elimination of toxins also happens through the kidneys and the best way to make sure these toxins are eliminated is to drink plenty of water.

Also essential to eliminating toxins is to have a healthy liver. With the extra toxins in our lives the liver can get overworked and supporting the detoxification process can help. Effective detoxification in the body begins and ends with glutathione. Glutathione is recognized as the most important antioxidant in the body and is found in every cell of the body. It is essential for liver detoxification and it plays an important role in both phase I and phase II of liver detoxification. Taking glutathione orally can help restore effective glutathione levels in the body; however, the glutathione needs to be liposomal to be effectively absorbed. Liposomal means that it is coated or “surrounded” molecularly to enhance oral absorption. Restoration of glutathione stores can have a major impact on many disease states such as pulmonary disease, liver disease and neurological disease.

Another way to support healthy glutathione levels is by taking n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), the major precursor for increasing glutathione stores in the body. It should always be accompanied by 1000 mg of vitamin C to prevent stone formation.

Another way to support healthy glutathione levels is with alpha lipoic acid (ALA.) ALA has been shown to increase glutathione stores by 30-70 percent. ALA has other benefits as well as it helps insulin work more effectively in diabetic patients and has been shown to slow brain aging and may help to maintain memory.

Supporting liver and kidney health, and GI function is essential to your health as we need to eliminate the toxins that we come into contact with. Having the right support for these functions can be achieved with the right mix of supplements. Custom Health Pharmacy has what you need to help support health elimination of the toxins you are subject to. Stop in at Custom Health Pharmacy on Willard drive to discuss these supplements.

Nutritional Support for the Flu – January 2016​​​

Flu season is coming. Web MD reported that last year’s flu treatment was only about 18% effective for the predominant strains causing the flu. The year before it was only about 60% effective. So, while the medical community is saying get your flu shot, getting the flu shot doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get the flu. There are ways to limit your chance of getting the flu and to minimizing the severity of the flu if you get the flu or are exposed.

Making sure your vitamin D levels are optimal is extremely important. Getting your level up to at least 70ng/ml is essential for a good immune system. If you have your level checked, make sure you ask for the specific number and don’t just rely on the practitioner saying your level is ok. Many times the labs will give normal ranges that are between 30ng/ml to 60ng/ml. Studies clearly show that this level is not enough to have an optimal immune system. Most people will need at least 5000iu daily to get their levels up to where they need to be.

Other supplements have also been show to help the immune system. EGCG is a supplement that has been shown to have antiviral properties for many viruses that include influenza, hepatitis B and C and even Ebola. Research has shown that EGCG supports the activity of the cells in the body that provide the immune response. Numerous studies have demonstrated the ability of EGCG to prevent the proliferation and growth of virus cells. An excellent source of EGCG is Green Tea extract but you need to look at how concentrated the EGCG is in the product you look at.

There are many other supplements to support a healthy immune response. These include DMG, Astragalus, Black Elderberry, Larch Tree and Maitake mushroom. Each of these supplements could be a subject of their own article but there are many studies available to show how these support a healthy immune system. For example, Astragalus is a Chinese herb that has been extensively studied since the 1970’s for its ability to support the immune system. Black elderberry which serves as a source of anthocyanidins that are thought to have immune modulating effects. DMG, which according to numerous studies, can help maintain a strong immune system by supporting increased resistance to invading microorganisms and enhancing antibody and lymphocyte production. Larch Tree is a source of Arabinogalactans, which support the immune system in its production of immune cells and supporting healthy cell replications. Maitake mushroom has a long history as an immune support product and serves as a highly concentrated source of Beta-1-6 Glucans which research has found support the body’s first line of defense, including macrophages and natural killer cells. While a lot of this information is technical, the bottom line is the body uses many ways to fight infections within the immune system. Using many different supplements to support those different immune responses makes for a synergistic effect.

If you get the flu, or more correctly influenza, it is a serious disease. Flu symptoms include fever over 100 degrees, aching muscles, chills and sweats, headache, dry, persistent cough, fatigue, weakness, nasal congestion and sore throat. So shortening the time or lessening the severity of those symptoms is important and the right mix of supplements can help. Certainly you should do the things necessary to keep you comfortable such as rest, fluids and treating the high fever. Some natural practitioners are recommending high doses of vitamin D to stave off the flu. Many are recommending 100,000iu daily for 10 days if you get exposed to this contagious disease. While this is a high dose, and I wouldn’t advocate using this high dose for a long time, a short course of this high dose is extremely safe.

While the best course is to avoid the flu, nutritional support can help to shorten the severity and length of the flu. At Custom Health Pharmacy we have the products needed for you. We have great Vitamin D, Green Tea extract wit the highest amount of EGCG on the market and Immuno DMG Chewable Tablets for a healthy immune system.

Hormones and Osteoporosis – December 2015

In 1993 a study was launched called the Women’s Health Initiative. The study enrolled over 160,000 women aged 50-79 into a number of randomized clinical trials testing the health effects of hormone therapy, dietary modification, Calcium and vitamin D supplementation. The study’s goal was to look at the beneficial effects of using these therapies to counteract many of the problems women see as they age. It was noticed that after menopause, many women start to have many of the problems that men see at an earlier age such as more heart trouble and Osteoporosis. The thought was that since women, once they are going through menopause are making less hormones, then if we give them hormones we can reverse these problems or at least stop their progression.

The study was stopped though when it was observed that there was actually increased risks of breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and blood clots in women using HRT. While the study also found hormone therapy reduced the risk of fractures and possibly colon cancer many women stopped using and many doctors stopped prescribing hormone therapy.

However there is great evidence that hormone restoration therapy can help lessen the risk of osteoporosis. One of the problems with the study is that the researchers were using hormones that are medications and not the hormones that the body produces. Part of the funding for the study came from drug companies. While this is good, as it provides funding for studies that may not otherwise happen, however this meant they were providing the hormones they produce. The source of those estrogen hormones came from pregnant mares. The other hormones used was medroxyprogesterone. This is a progesterone like medication used to balance the estrogens in the body. Medroxyprogesterone has been shown to protect the uterus from excess estrogens. However there are many other problems with using medroxyprogesterone.

If you are trying to restore hormones to natural levels, it makes sense that you would use the hormones that the body produces to do that. What that is called is bio-identical hormones restoration therapy. The term “bio-identical” is short for biologically identical. They are the exact same hormones the body produces. The term “restoration” means we want to restore those hormones to physiological levels. When these hormones are compounded at a compounding pharmacy you can be provided with the exact amount of hormones that you need to restore those levels.

As I wrote last month there are many things you can do to limit your risk for osteoporosis and restoring your hormones to physiological levels is a part of that.​ Stop by to get more information.