Essential Fatty Acids Managing allergies without drugs

We would like to extend a warm welcome to all you new patients as well as give a big thank you to those of you who have referred others to our practice. Your continued referrals are greatly appreciated. Sharing the benefits of chiropractic with someone in pain or dealing with some other illness or disorder, chronic or acute, is a real gift. It is a great honor for us to be able to help you, your family and friends restore your health and stay on a path to a healthy life. Again, thank you so much for your referrals.

For this newsletter, Dr. Bolton has prepared some information about how to manage allergies without the use of drugs  Having first hand experience with it all, she enthusiastically shares.

Our featured nutrient is Essential Fatty Acids, the Omega 3’s and 6’s you most likely are hearing about. If you haven’t, it’s time. It truly is “brain food”. Essential, because you need it and need to get it from foods and/or supplements, Dr Newbold explains.

If you have any questions regarding any of the information on allergies or essential fatty acids, please feel free to email us or ask us about it on your next visit.

As a reminder, during the week of July 4th, Dr’s Newbold and Bolton and Beverly will all be out of the office for a vacation.  However, Jeanne and Susan will be available for massage therapy. Just call the office for an appointment. We will all be back in the office, 8am Tuesday morning, July 11.

Wishing you a safe and healthy Summer,

Dr. Nancy Newbold
Dr. Angela Bolton 
Susan Peterson, CMT
Jeanne Vargas, CMT
Beverly Hawkes, Office Manager

Managing Allergies Without Drugs

Although it is now officially Summer, many of us are still suffering from allergies. With the VERY rainy Spring this year, all the plants are growing extremely well and giving off a lot of pollen. It can be incredibly uncomfortable when suffering from allergies symptoms such as stuffy, runny nose, itchy eyes and throat, sneezing, coughing, headache, etc.

There are several easy things you can do to decrease your allergies:

  • Increase your water intake. Aim for at least eight glasses a day.
  • Decrease or fully cut out your sugar intake. Sugar increases inflammation. I think decreasing sugar is difficult for most people to do, but if you can go a couple weeks without junk food and simple sugars you will find that your craving for it decreases greatly.
  • Decrease your stress. Allergies are a result of the immune system being overactive. This can occur for many reasons, including stress! Finding ways to express anger and anxiety can help to decrease overall stress. Regular exercise, meditation and listening to relaxing music are only some of the many ways of de-stressing.

There are also a number of vitamins and supplements that help to decrease the histamine and allergic response. The one I have found to be most effective is Quercetin. Quercetin is a plant bioflavonoid and is a natural antihistamine. It has none of the undesirable side effects that the over-the-counter and prescription allergy medications have.

Quercetin works best if you take it three times a day before meals. It can take a several days to notice the difference. Once your allergies have subsided you can cut back to taking it just one time a day.

In addition to Quercetin, vitamin C, black tea, green tea and local honey all help to decrease the histamine response.  It’s those overactive histamines that give us allergy symptoms.

  • Quercetin – 500 to 2000 mg per day which we carry in our office.
  • Vitamin C – in high doses (2000-8000 mg per day in divided doses) can block the histamine response. You should taper up to the higher doses. So slowly increase the amount of vitamin C over a few days to a week. It you get diarrhea you have hit the limit that your body can absorb at that time.
  • Black tea and green tea can block the histamine release and even prevent allergic reaction.
  • Local honey, which can be found in several local markets, helps by giving our bodies small amounts of the local pollen, so that we get adapted to it and do not get an allergic response from it.
  • Fish oil and omega-3 oils help to decrease inflammation over the body as a whole. We also carry the omega oils at Newbold Chiropractic. More information can be found on the omegas below.

When using any of these supplements, remember that the above suggestions of increasing water, decreasing sugar and decreasing stress, all play a big part in your overall symptoms. Quercetin, alone, won’t provide a noticeable decrease in symptoms if you are still eating a ton of sugar or drinking very little water!

Essential Fatty Acids: What They Are and Why We Need Them 

Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are polyunsaturated oils – the ‘good fats.’  They are essential because your body does not make them; they must be obtained through diet on a daily basis for optimal health and well-being.  EFAs produce beneficial hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids (pronounced that control everything from your immune system to your brain and heart; as well as regulate pain and swelling, help maintain proper blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and promote fluidity in nerve transmission. EFAs are also needed for proper growth in children, particularly for neural development and maturation of sensory systems, with male children having higher needs than females. Fetuses and breast-fed infants also require an adequate supply of EFAs through the mother's dietary intake.

The most important EFAs are, EPA and DHA (the Omega-3s), that stop inflammation (anti-inflammatory) and promote healing; and GLA (Omega-6) that promotes inflammation (pro-inflammatory) and tissue destruction. You need to have both kinds in the proper balance in order to maintain a state of wellness.

The evidence is overwhelming: a deficiency in EPA or DHA poly-unsaturated fatty acids can put you at a serious health risk. The intake of different fats has changed considerably over the past century. We now eat many more saturated fats and vegetable oils, loaded with Omega-6. More significantly is that our intake of Omega-3 has decreased dramatically so for most us, these two important nutrients are out of balance. 

Omega-3 (Linolenic)
Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) is the principal Omega-3 fatty acid, which a healthy person will convert into EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), and later into DHA. (docosohexenoic acid).  EPA and the GLA synthesized from linoleic (Omega-6) acid are later converted into eicosanoids.

Omega-3s are used in the formation of cell walls, making them supple and flexible, and improving circulation and oxygen uptake with proper red blood cell flexibility and function.

Omega-3 deficiencies are linked to decreased memory and mental abilities, tingling sensation of the nerves, poor vision, increased tendency to form blood clots, diminished immune function, increased triglycerides and ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) levels, impaired membrane function, hypertension, irregular heart beat, learning disorders, menopausal discomfort, itchiness on the front of the lower legs, and growth retardation in infants, children, and pregnant women.

Omega-3s Found in foods

Omega-3s are found in flaxseed oil (which has the highest linolenic content of any food), flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, mustard greens, collards, etc.), canola oil (cold-pressed and unrefined), soybean oil, wheat germ oil, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, and others.

Flaxseed oil used for dietary supplementation should be kept in the refrigerator or freezer, and purchased from a supplier who refrigerates the liquid as well.

Canola oil is often used as a less expensive alternative to the healthier virgin olive and grapeseed oils. Although it has at least some linolenic content, supermarket varieties of canola oil are often refined and processed with chemicals and heat, which destroy much of its linolenic acid. If you want to use Canola oil, cold-pressed, unrefined Canola oil is a healthier kind to use.

Omega-6 (Linoleic Acid)

Linoleic Acid is the primary Omega-6 fatty acid. A healthy person with good nutrition will convert linoleic acid into gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which will later be synthesized, with EPA from the Omega-3 group, into eicosanoids.

Some Omega-6s improve diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, skin disorders, like psoriasis and eczema, and aid in cancer treatment.

Although most of us obtain an excess of linoleic acid,  often it is not converted to GLA because of metabolic problemscaused by diets rich in sugar, alcohol, or trans-fats from processed foods; as well as smoking, pollution, stress, aging, viral infections, and other illnesses such as diabetes. It is best to eliminate these factors whenever possible, but some prefer to supplement with GLA-rich foods such as borage oil, black currant seed oil, or evening primrose oil.

Omega-6s Found in foods

Omega-6 is found in flaxseed oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed meal, hempseed oil, hempseeds, grapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds (raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, chestnut oil, chicken, among many others. Avoid refined and hydrogenated versions of these foods.

Corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, and cottonseed oils are also sources of linoleic acid, but are refined and may be nutrient-deficient as sold in stores.

Food tips

High heat, light, and oxygen destroy EFAs, so when consuming foods for their EFA content, try to avoid cooked or heated forms. For example, raw nuts are a better source than roasted nuts. Don't use flaxseed oil for cooking, and never re-use any type of oil.

Replace hydrogenated fats (like margarine), cholesterol-based fats (butter/dairy products), and poly-saturated fats (common cooking oils) with healthy EFA-based fats when possible. For example, instead of margarine or butter on your warm (not hot) vegetables, use flaxseed and/or extra virgin olive oils with salt. This tastes similar to margarine, as margarine is just hydrogenated oil with salt.

Sprinkling flaxseed meal on vegetables adds a slightly nutty taste. Whole flaxseeds are usually passed through the intestine, absorbing water only and not yielding much oil. Also, its best not to use huge amounts of flaxseed in its meal (ground seed) form, as it contains phytoestrogens. The oil is much lower in phytoestrogens.

In many recipes calling for vegetable shortening, replacing the shortening with half as much virgin olive oil, and a very small pinch of extra salt, often yields similar results.

Adding flaxseed and/or virgin olive oil to salads instead of supermarket salad oil is another healthy change.

Replace oily snack foods, like potato chips and corn chips, with nuts and seeds.

Extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil is best to use for cooking oil, as they withstand high heat well.

To achieve optimum Omega-3 levels to help prevent heart disease, the American Heart Association dietary guideline recommends eating fish several times a week. Fish high in Omega-3 are sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies.  If you choose salmon, tuna or swordfish, they often contain unhealthy levels of chemicals such as dioxins, PCBs, pesticides, and dangerous amounts of heavy metals such as mercury. Therefore, the benefits of eating fish could be offset by the dangers of contamination. To enjoy all the benefits of Omega-3, a smart answer is supplementation.

Many studies have been published showing great success using EFAs.  Some of the studies were for language and learning, behavior measures, anxiety, major depression, cardiac protection and joint pain, reducing C-reactive protein levels, reducing NSAID use, and glucose uptake/insulin action.  I personally have seen changes in children diagnosed with ADHD and with adults with high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.  Reference to this information is available by request.
When buying fish oil supplements, be sure the manufacturer has used a process to separate out the metals and toxic chemicals.  We carry products from Nordic Naturals and have been very pleased with the results.  As a real bonus, they also do not give you the fish after-taste or ‘fish burps!’

If you are taking an anti-coagulant, such as Coumadin, be sure and consult with your physician before supplementing.

Please take seriously the levels of Omega-3s and Omega-6s in your diet. Take time to find ways to improve your diet, if necessary, to manage them. Preventative care on your part now may have a direct impact on your health now and in the future.

Nordic Naturals
The Omega-3 Breakthrough, by Julius Fast
Zone Fast, by  Dr. Barry Sears

October 24, 2018