diet

Methylation and Histamine sensitivity

Do you have a sensitivity to pollen in the air at various times of the year? How about skin reactions to certain foods or things you touch that can respond to claritine or other antihistamine medications?  Watery eyes, runny nose or post nasal drip? Do you have a weak stomach? Maybe a history of panic attacks, depression or mental fatigue? If so, you might have a sensitivity to (or build up of) Histamine - a chemical naturally produced by the body, and consumed in foods. The problem is often a genetic limitation in processing and excreting histamine from the body, which is often linked to a process called under methylation. Undermethylation and its many consequences can cause a wide variety of symptoms in different people.

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Amine Sensitivity

Amines are naturally occurring chemicals caused by the breakdown of proteins especially in meats, fish and dairy, as well as in the fermentation of other foods such as vegetables, wines, beers, ciders, vinegars, and soy sauces. They are highest in concentration in the aging and curing of meats such as in salamis, prosciuttos, hams, etc.; when meats are cooked or grilled and in the production of cheeses. Amines enhance the flavour of food - think of the difference in flavour between a raw steak and a grilled one.  Proteins are necessary for survival, so the best way to ensure a minimal input of amines is to eat meats and other amine containing foods in their freshest possible state, as aging (such as with beef and pork packaging in supermarkets) will cause increased amine production even if the food hasn't "gone off". It has been noted that even freezing wont stop amine production, so the rule of strictly fresh is best to follow.

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Salicylate Sensitivity

  Salicylate Sensitivity Salicylates are chemicals that occur naturally in many plants. They are produced by the plant to regulate flowering, growth, ripening and they act as a natural pesticide against fruit fly and other destructive pests, as well as limiting fungus and mould growth. Some people have a sensitivity to moderate levels of salicylates which can either be genetically predisposed, or the result of foetal exposure to pesticides and other chemical irritants. While salicylates are naturally occurring, higher than acceptable levels in some people causes them to react and display any number of physiological and psycho-behavioural symptoms such as hyperactivity and "silliness". The symptoms can vary quite widely however, with other more common symptoms reported below:

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Bedwetting in children

A common children's condition we see at the clinic is bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis). It is normal for children below the ages of 4 or 5 to lack control of their bladder, however, if this continues after the age of 5, it could signify a problem. Primary enuresis is described as bedwetting in a child beyond 5 years old who has never been able to establish good bladder control. Secondary enuresis is described as a bedwetting relapse in a child who was previously toilet trained.   There are several alternative medicine therapies that have published reports on treatments for bedwetting. These include:   Dietary modification Craniosacral therapy Acupuncture  

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Low FODMAP diet

The FODMAP diet is considered to be one of the most effective diets in the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a common gastrointestinal disorder the developed world where it affects one in seven adults. It is characterised by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, wind and stool changes often swinging from diarrhoea to constipation. However, there is often no pathological change detected in bowel studies. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for: Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. These substances are essentially all types of sugars or sugar alcohols. It should be noted that the typical western processed food diet contains a large amount of these sugars as added ingredients - examples include galactose, lactose, fructose, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol and maltilol. All of these types of sugars are poorly absorbed in the human small intestine, leading to fermentation, toxicity and gas production by bowel bacteria. Weakening and stretching (distension) of the intestinal walls by this digestive dysfunction leads to the symptoms of IBS. People with fructose sensitivity and lactose intolerance are more specific examples of the general FODMAP sensitivity found in some people and will also benefit from this diet, which was developed by a team at Monash University in Australia.   What foods are high in FODMAPs? Apart from processed foods mentioned, many of these sugars are found naturally, though in much smaller amounts. People who have developed IBS may be sensitive to fruits and vegetables containing FODMAPs, even though they were not sensitive previously. Some examples of foods are listed below: Fructans: Wheat, Rye, Barley, Onion, Garlic, Spring Onion, Leek, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Fennel, Chocolate Galactans: Beans and pulses Polyols: Stonefruits, Apples, Avocados, Blackberries, Lychees, Pears, Watermelons, Cauliflower and Mushrooms   A rule of thumb is that fruits, onions and vegetables of the cabbage family are to be avoided on the FODMAP diet as is lactose containing dairy food. Foods considered acceptable on the diet: Vegetables: bok choy, cucumbers, capsicum, carrots, corn, eggplant, lettuce, leafy greens, pumpkin, potatoes, yams, zucchini Fruits: bananas, berries (not blackberries or boysenberries), rock melon, grapes, grapefruit, honeydew, kiwifruit, kumquat, lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, passion fruit, pawpaw, pineapple, rhubarb, tangerine, tomatoes Proteins: meats and fish all OK, nuts (except cashews and pistachios), seeds Grains: gluten free grains and their products, oats, quinoa, rice, tapioca Beverages: Water, coffee and tea. Avoid fruit juices. Dairy: Lactose free dairy products, hard cheeses, alternative milk products (soy, rice and almond milk)   Monash University has a website with further information on IBS and the FODMAP protocol: http://www.med.monash.edu/cecs/gastro/fodmap/