What are Food Allergies:
With food ALLERGIES, when you eat a contending food, there is an actual hypersensitivity reaction by the immune system leading to rashes, hives, itching of eyes or throat, or even anaphylaxis. This is the person that cannot even be in the same room as a dish of peanuts, for example. This is also the type of reaction some people have to a bee sting. This person should carry an EpiPen and be prepared to use it if they come in contact with the allergen.
How to test: Typically testing is relatively easy and involves either a skin-prick test performed by an allergist (a type of doctor specializing in allergies and allergic reactions) OR a blood test checking for IgEs to a certain type of food. IgE molecules indicate a hypersensitivity reaction to a food group or other allergen (pollen, dander, etc), and anyone with IgEs to an allergen should carry an EpiPen.
What are Food Sensitivities:
Food Sensitivities are much more common reactions, though not as immediately life-threatening. Though, I do like to point out that people that have food sensitivities that go unaddressed are likely to have inflammation that becomes chronic and leads to a myriad of other life-threatening illnesses (i.e. cardiovascular diseases, cancers, memory/brain issues, arthritis, etc.). Inflammation is key when considering your overall health, and eliminating foods that are causing inflammation is paramount in maintaining and optimizing your health.
Common reactions to food sensitivities include: rashes (eczema, psoriasis, acne), heart palpitations, asthma, hair loss, joint pain, digestive issues (reflux, diarrhea, constipation), post-nasal drip, sinus issues, headaches/migraines, and more.
How to test: Testing is a bit more complicated than it is for Food Allergies (IgE reactions). With food sensitivities, sometimes people will have elevated IgG or IgA levels (different types of molecules in the immune system that recognize more chronic antigens). While some people acknowledge that you could have IgG and/or IgAs for any food you've eaten since your body has "seen" it and responded to it, I have seen that too high of IgG or IgA could also be a problem. It makes sense that when these IgG and/or IgA levels get too high, this indicates an over-response of your immune system, and thus increased inflammation from these foods.
So, back to testing: Testing can be done with a blood test, an elimination/rechallenge diet, or a pulse test (or a combination of those). Each of these testing methods has pros and cons, but all of them do help guide you to understand your particular sensitivities.
1) Blood Test: Commonly done through private labs, this blood test takes an average of about 1-3 weeks to return and typically gives you a bar graph analysis showing the foods you have the highest reaction to. The pros: This is a very easy way to test and the data is pretty clear - it's easy to see which bar graphs are biggest, and thus it's easy to identify the foods you react the strongest to. Cons: This test costs money and it has a lot of false positives and false negatives by nature.
2) Elimination/Rechallenge Diet: This is a well-known way to strategically avoid foods that you are wanting to "test" for a food sensitivity. Typically, I recommend people avoid the testing foods for a period of 3-6 weeks, depending on their symptoms. After that time period, foods are reintroduced strategically and then we watch for symptoms to arise after the testing food. The Pros: This is the gold-standard for testing foods as the body doesn't lie. If you eat something and get a reaction, there's no question that you have a sensitivity to that food. This is a relatively inexpensive way to test, except the cost of wasted foods that you may find out you don't tolerate. The Cons: This test is difficult to adhere to for many people. It requires a lot of planning and strong-will to avoid the foods when not even certain if reacting to them or not.
3) Pulse Testing: This relatively simple testing method involves first counting your pulse for a minute, then tasting (holding in mouth but not swallowing) a questionable food and re-counting the pulse. If the pulse goes up by more than 6 beats in a minute, the person is likely to have a sensitivity to that food.
So, do you have any of the Food Sensitivity symptoms? If so, are you ready to explore your Food Sensitivities? Even if you cannot pinpoint a particular negative symptom but you're still interested in checking foods, it could be worth testing the 8 most common food allergens/sensitivities (wheat, peanut, egg, milk, fish, soybean, shellfish, tree nut) and possibly another common food group that tends to trigger inflammation (the nightshade family of fruits/vegetables).
Not sure where to start? Need help sorting out your data? Want to try a blood test? Great! I can help you with all of these and more. Simply fill out our Contact form here, and I'll get back to you right away.
By Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
There’s really nothing quite like a migraine.
You can’t see.
You can’t focus.
And work? How are you supposed to work with a migraine?
What are the top causes of Migraines?
Migraines are truly debilitating… And what causes a migraine for one person may be totally different than what causes one for someone else. Here are some of the top causes of migraines I see in my practice:
What can you do about your migraines??
Well, let’s go through the list I mentioned above and see what you can get started on today to improve your migraine threshold tomorrow. How about trying:
And what if you’ve done all that and you still have migraines? Or if you get a “breakthrough migraine”?? Or what if you just don’t know where to start?? Then what??
Then you come see me!!
I specialize in various treatments for pain including trigger point injections and anti-inflammatory injections for your nerves causing your migraines. Scared of needles? I hear you, and you’re not alone. I’d love to talk to you about this treatment anyway and even discuss some preliminary [needle-free] treatments we can do that may be just as effective for you.
Know someone with migraines that could benefit from this information? PLEASE share this article and pass on my contact information. Migraines are literally THE WORST and no one should have to continue to suffer when there is help available!!
Have pain or arthritis?
Avoid NSAIDs and Steroids – they both lead to joint breakdown!
By Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
Do you have pain? Do you have “bone on bone”?
Have you seen your primary care doctor about it? If so, they’ve probably recommended you take up to 800mg of ibuprofen once or twice a day for the pain. They’ve also probably recommended a steroid injection (or sent you to someone else who did).
NSAID prescription is one of the first-line treatment recommendations for moderate to severe osteoarthritis. And steroid injections remain part of the standard of care for treatment of joint pain if NSAIDs haven’t helped (or sometimes in combination with NSAIDs). The next step is physical therapy and/or surgery, and that’s sometimes all your doctor may have to offer.
The NSAIDS and/or steroid injection(s) may have helped…and if you’re one for which they did – GREAT!
For the majority of my patients, though, these treatments haven’t helped. What’s more is that for several years now (at least 10), research has shown that corticosteroid (i.e. “steroid”) injections lead to increased joint deterioration. Newer research is also revealing that NSAID medications, in addition to stressing your gastrointestinal tract, may actually be causing deterioration in your joints as well!
So why is this the standard of care in our model? What else can be done!?
When you have pain or when your doctor has recommended NSAIDs or steroid injections – STOP!! Think PROLOTHERAPY FIRST!
Prolotherapy works to repair arthritic joints (“bone on bone”) and stop pain. In this treatment, the joint is treated with natural products like dextrose, saline, and sometimes vitamins and growth factors to promote the healing from within. There’s no masking of the pain or decreasing the inflammation – in fact, the opposite is true. With prolotherapy, we trigger a small amount of controlled inflammation alongside administration of the proper nutrients to allow your joint to heal in the proper way. This is true healing.
So, the next time you or your friends or family have pain, before you consider taking medication or getting steroids injected into the area, STOP! Think PROLOTHERAPY FIRST!!
Check out these articles from the Journal of Prolotherapy for more information:
By Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
It’s that time of year! The time of year where we embark on family BBQs, camping trips, and other get-out-town escapes. What do you bring? Here’s a few ideas to add to your checklist!
Enjoy your holiday weekend with your friends, family, and loved ones!
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
If you’ve been in for a visit with me, chances are we’ve discussed ozone at some point. Ozone is a type of oxygen – a “super oxygen”, if you will. Oxygen exists in nature as O2, but ozone is oxygen as O3 (three oxygen molecules bound together). O3 is not very stable, but while it is in this form, it can do all kinds of cool things in this world.
Most people know of ozone for its sanitation purposes. Ozone has been used for a long time in America for sewer treatment processes and in air purification devices. Ozone is also that familiar smell when it starts to rain after a lightning storm (the lightning creates ozone gas naturally).
Did you know ozone gas can also be infused into an oil and then applied topically to the skin?
Yes. It’s true. Ozone is one of my favorite topical remedies for….well, almost everything. I commonly recommend topical ozone for things like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and even everyday scrapes and scratches.
How does it work? The ozone gas helps to oxygenate our cells which brings about more healing to the tissue. Cells also require oxygen to replicate and stay “young” thus keeping the skin supple and youthful-looking as well.
What else do we do with ozone? All kinds of things! Ozone can be helpful for sinus issues, cardiovascular health, viral infections, fungal infections, digestive issues, a common cold, bug bites, ear pain/infection, sore or arthritic joints, and more. We also use it in our PRP Facials and Hair Regeneration treatments as well as some of our Pain Treatments at Elevated Natural Health! It’s been safely used for decades in other countries with few (if any) side effects when administered properly.
If you haven’t tried it yet, be sure to grab a jar of ozone oil at your next visit with me. Otherwise, stop by the office any Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday to grab a jar of your own to start today!!
P.S. If you do try it topically on a skin lesion, be sure to take "before" and "after" pictures! You’ll be shocked – I promise!
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
Many people deal with chronic pain (and I have a lot of remedies both at-home and in-office for helping with that), but what about those recent injuries (i.e. acute injuries)?
What do you do if you sprain your ankle playing soccer tomorrow? Or how about if you tweak your back doing some gardening this evening?
Many people have heard of the R-I-C-E acronym for injuries which promotes the use of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. What if I told you those were the exact opposite of what is actually needed for proper healing of the tissue? Instead, when people are injured, I always say, “Ask for your M-A-M-A” – which promotes the use of massage, alternating hot and cold, movement, and arnica to encourage a healthy inflammatory response to allow for proper tissue healing. Generally speaking, most of these are safe for most people, but as for any of my recommendations, if you have any questions or concerns about the safety of the remedies for you, it’s always best to consult your physician.
On the other hand, if your injury is not improving after a day or two or seems to be getting worse over that period, it’s always best to seek medical attention either at the emergency department or with your primary physician. Similarly, if your injury initially improves but you are left with pain or inflammation weeks or months after the injury occurs, it’s also a good time to seek attention from a trained physician to help with this situation. (This may be a good time for some of the prolotherapy treatments I write about as well - check them out here!)
Questions? Would you like to discuss your acute or chronic pain/injury? I’d love to connect with you! Check out the Contact page on our site or send me an email at email@example.com.
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
Physical reactions to foods are common, but not all physical responses are classified as a true “food allergy” – many are deemed “food intolerances” instead. What’s the difference?
Food Allergies: An immediate immune system response to a food (even a tiny amount of that food) that causes sometimes widespread involvement in the body including (but not limited to) hives, anaphylaxis (closure of airway), asthma reaction, swelling, itching, or immediate GI distress/diarrhea.
Food Intolerance: An immune system response that is often delayed and can cause wide-spread, non-specific, sometimes less severe systemic responses. Sometimes a little bit of the food isn’t enough to trigger symptoms (but sometimes it is!). Common food intolerance symptoms include: GI upset (most common), increase in muscle and/or joint pain, headache, irritability/mood changes, depression/anxiety, breathing difficulties (less severe than an asthma attack or anaphylaxis), heartburn, ear infections, sinus congestion, post-nasal drip, urinary pain or discomfort, skin reactions (eczema, psoriasis, rashes, etc.), heart palpitations, and more. Basically, many of the symptoms people experience regularly can be caused by the foods they are eating.
It’s important to understand the difference between a true allergy and an intolerance, but often in either case, the problematic food/foods will be avoided (obviously this is a much more serious recommendation in the case of anaphylactic food allergens!).
One important symptom that I like to point out to patients at my clinic is the association with food to pain.The majority of my patients seek treatment with me for their pain, but many of them are not expecting me to suggest a food allergy/intolerance test as part of the work-up for the cause of their pain. Yes, I do like to treat pain with injection therapies (i.e. prolotherapies, PRP, neural therapies, etc.), but if the patient continues to eat a food that is causing them inflammation (pain), then the treatments are not likely to have a lasting effect – and sometimes they don’t work at all until the problematic food(s) are eliminated.
For this reason, I often will order a food intolerance test for patients as part of their initial workup when I suspect food as a component to their pain problem. The testing I use is relatively inexpensive and results come back quickly. These tests are really excellent ways to figure out quickly the most likely problematic food triggers for their body – and I OFTEN see that eliminating problematic foods for a period of time (or for good) will SIGNIFICANTLY change their pain problem!
Are you ready to explore your food intolerances? If so, send us a message through our Contact page today!
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
I’ve been getting the question a lot lately – “Why does PRP work for healing my joints and also for treating my sagging skin?” So, I thought I’d share a little more about Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy.
For a PRP treatment, we collect a sample of the patient's own blood, process it to collect growth factors, combine it with nutrients and ozone gas, and then inject it into the damaged tissues (tendons, ligaments, bone, skin, etc.). PRP is loaded with concentrated growth factors from your body’s own immune system which is really the magic in the medicine. The healthier a patient is to begin with, the “better” their PRP product is, which means the better results they will get from a PRP treatment.
In the case of joint pain, the growth factors in the PRP help the body to heal and regenerate soft tissues (like tendons and ligaments) which helps to stabilize the joint and therefore decrease the pain. Often, people think they have sore and/or tight muscles which is causing their pain. In reality, the muscles have become sore and tight to compensate for weak tendons and ligaments. So, by treating the damaged tendons and ligaments to stabilize the joint, we can actually treat the pain!
With wrinkled and sagging skin, there is a similar loss of soft tissue – collagen, in this case. The growth factors from the PRP are injected here to support the collagen matrix under the skin, thus providing more of a scaffold for the top layer of the skin to hold on to. This ultimately decreases the wrinkles, “sagging”, scaring, and the dreaded “bags” under the eyes.
For hair regeneration, the growth factors in the PRP work to help the hair follicles regenerate thus promoting hair growth in areas where the hair follicle had degenerated. The injections themselves also work to improve circulation to the area which naturally increases hair growth as well.
PRP, although wonderful and capable of dramatic results, is an advanced technique requiring special equipment and training by the practitioner. Always consult with your practitioner about their specific methods, ingredients, training and other details of the procedure to gain a full understanding of how their product and method can help you.
If you're interested in getting started with PRP treatments today, send us an inquiry from our Contact page today or give us a call at 206-566-7225.
I always tell my patients that anti-depressant medications and anti-anxiety medications were originally created with good intentions in mind, but now they are drastically overused in our country.
The 2 biggest groups of people I see prescribed these medications are teenagers, both boys and girls, and women above the age of 40. What do these 2 groups of people have in common? They are both going through major hormonal transitions in life.
All depression and anxiety has an underlying cause. Depression and anxiety are symptoms of something else deeper going on. What the doctor should be asking is WHY is this patient having this problem and these symptoms. Sure, anxiety and/or depression can be situational based on what is going on in a person’s life, but it shouldn’t be running your entire life. The most common underlying causes of anxiety and depression are all treatable without using pharmaceutical medications. Often times I find in clinical practice that anxiety and depression are caused by the combination of a variety of these factors.
The most common underlying causes of anxiety and depression I see in my office are:
1. Hormonal Imbalances:
Hormone Imbalances in both men and women:Depression and anxiety can be the first sign of low Testosterone in both men AND women. Yes, women need Testosterone too! Fluctuations and imbalances in estrogen and progesterone in women often manifest as psychological and emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
2. Undiagnosed Thyroid Disorders:
The standard lab tests used to diagnose thyroid disorders are very limited. The commonly used test only looks at a couple steps in a very complicated process. Thyroid disorders go undiagnosed for years because doctors aren’t doing a complete and thorough thyroid panel.
3. Vitamin D deficiency:
Vitamin D, then sun vitamin, is important for psychological and emotional health in so many ways. Most notably, Vitamin D is a co-factor needed in the process to create Serotonin and Dopamine, your happy, calm, cool and collected neurotransmitters. If we don’t have enough vitamin D, we can’t make sufficient amounts of those happy hormones.
4. B Vitamin deficiencies:
I am seeing more and more B12 deficiencies these days. Often supplements and vitamins contain the wrong types of B12, B9 and B6 so people’s bodies don’t know how to assimilate them properly. All B vitamins & vitamins are not created equal.
5. Low Iron levels:
One of the most common symptoms I see of low iron, before even patients complain of fatigue, is depression or anxiety. Other markers of iron levels need to be check outside of just someone’s red blood cell count, which would show if someone was anemic. Actual iron levels as well as iron stores should be checked to catch iron deficiency early.
6. Food Sensitivities:
Many people are eating foods that can cause or worsen anxiety and depression. These can be discovered using blood testing or doing an elimination diet. Eliminating or minimizing inflammatory foods can help treat and eradicate psycho-emotional symptoms in adults and adolescents.
7. Gastrointestinal dysbiosis:
Over 70% of your serotonin and dopamine is actually made in the lining of your gut. The balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria and microbes is integral to our psycho-emotional health. If a person has an overgrowth of bad bacterial in their intestinal tract, this can severely affect your production of serotonin and dopamine and thus your mood.
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND
I see many patients every day who struggle with pain. Sometimes joint pain, sometimes back or neck pain, sometimes muscle pain, and sometimes headaches. One thing these pains all have in common is they are symptoms. And symptoms are always a message from the body to tell us something is not quite right. When the body has all the nutrients, sleep, happiness, support, and water that it needs, the body is free of symptoms.
Let’s talk today about one foundational part of your body’s needs – adequate nutrition, and this starts at the dinner table.
So let’s say the body isn’t getting the right nutrients it needs. Without the proper nutrients, it cannot make enzymes work properly. Without properly working enzymes, certain things like soft tissue repair cannot happen properly. When the soft tissues are not repaired, other tissues have to work harder (i.e. muscles), and this can lead to the symptom we experience as PAIN.
This means that one of the ways we can treat pain before we even use treatments like prolotherapy or PRP is by supporting the soft tissue repair. And to support soft tissue repair, we need the proper nutrients.
Research has shown a few nutrients to be especially important in healing and repair of soft tissues, like collagen, for example. Some of these key nutrients are protein, vitamin C, zinc, copper, and manganese.
Please note that the list above is not all-inclusive (other nutrients can be very important for treatment pain too – i.e. magnesium, calcium, MSM, etc.). Diet is a great place to start when it comes to treating pain though. It’s essential that a person is getting the proper nutrition BEFORE we start treatment with prolotherapy, PRP, or other fancy treatment options to ensure your body has the building blocks it needs to make the treatment most effective.
Here’s one of my favorite products for pain and healing: ArthroSoothe by Designs for Health. You can find it on our online dispensary or at our clinic.
Please email us or give us a quick call today if you are ready to start talking about treating your pain!
by Dr. Jessica Corbeille Harris, ND, CES
The Doctors at ENH post to this page regularly with new health information, home remedies, and other interesting tidbits.