Category Archives: Spring

ND Perspective: Allergy and Sensitivity Testing

The development of allergies is becoming more and more common. The same goes for sensitivities to foods, chemicals and environmental factors.

Our immune system and cellular tissue can become compromised due to inflammatory responses from the mechanisms of each reaction – especially through responses from sensitivities.

Here’s a little more information on the what and why of allergy and sensitivity testing – from an ND’s perspective.


A type 1 hypersensitivity reaction is an immediate release of histamine by IgE antibodies when exposed to an allergen. This type of allergy shows up quickly and sometimes with life-threatening symptoms such as swelling of lips or face, difficulty breathing and anaphylactic shock. The cause of the reaction is usually quite clear such as peanuts and shellfish.

Immune complex disease 

A type 3 hypersensitivity is mediated by IgG antibodies. This type of process antibodies bind to antigens and there is a gradual formation of antibody-mediated complexes (immune complexes) that can deposit in tissues and joints. Over time, this can lead to chronic inflammation, which can lead to an array of varying delayed onset of symptoms, like headaches, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, asthma, joint pain, eczema, fatigue and many other health concerns.

Allergy testing 

type 1 hypersensitivity

Skin prick testing determines type 1 hypersensitivity, usually done through your medical doctor, where a purified allergen is injected just below the skin to produce a controlled reaction. This process usually tests for allergies like pollen, dander, dust mites, pet dander or certain foods.

If there is a known IgE reaction, foods that are causing an anaphylactic reaction must be avoided indefinitely.

type 3 hypersensitivity 

Food Sensitivity testing exists to determine type 3 hypersensitivity reactions. It is a blood test done in a lab and usually requisitioned by a naturopathic doctor. This type of test can detect sensitivity for over 200 specific foods as well as yeast overgrowth (Candida albicans). It measures the food-specific IgG antibodies found in the blood.

The test may also reveal high levels of IgG antibodies to food that you never or rarely eat, but the same proteins can exist in multiple foods and this is explained by the test results. ‘Treating the root cause’ is one of the foundational naturopathic principles. From an ND’s perspective, testing is beneficial in knowing what the culprit is that is causing the IgG reaction.

Environmental allergens, however, are not so easily avoided. Developing preventative lifestyle methods such as introducing a high-quality air purifier in the house, cleaning dust & pollen laden surfaces, and closing windows, especially during the night, when pollen release is at its highest, can be helpful.

However, when it comes to foods that are causing a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction, a more preventative approach can be taken. First, removing the offending food(s) for a lengthy period of time is a must. Using substances to heal the gut and support the body’s digestive system while promoting proper elimination is the next step (see list below).

An intensive healing protocol, known as the Four R’s (remove, replace, repair and reinoculate is often used if the intestinal wall has been compromised due to ongoing inflammation from sensitivities).

Depending on the severity of the sensitivity and the tissue damage it may have caused, integration of the original foods that were eliminated may be slowly reintroduced while monitoring symptoms.

Key therapies in practice 

L-glutamine is an amino acid that repairs cells when damage has occurred from food sensitivities, like inflammation. This inflammation can create spaces between the cells in the gut which allow for bacteria, food and toxic by-products to enter the bloodstream and cause subsequent ailments.

Vitamin C  acts as a natural antihistamine in high doses and helps strengthen the immune system by increasing white blood cells, improves the linings of mucous membranes to reduce pollen and other airborne allergens. Vitamin C can be easily be taken just before bowel tolerance (at the point it causes diarrhea) to make sure maximum absorption and benefit have occurred.

Probiotics like CanPrev’s Pro-Biotik 15B, help strengthen the immune system by reducing inflammation and keep toxins moving through the system and out through the bowels efficiently.

Antioxidants like vitamins A, C, E, Zinc, Selenium, and CoQ10 and N-Acetyl-cysteine are key at providing phase 1 and phase 2 in the liver with the nutrients it needs to process allergens efficiently so they can be eliminated through the colon.

Omega 3 fatty acids have an amazing anti-inflammatory effect, thus calming down the symptoms associated with allergies but also improving the immune system at the same time.

Detoxification is very important for chronic allergies, such as seasonal, asthma and hives, and is an area I usually begin with when developing a patient’s treatment plan that will properly address their allergies. This approach not only helps with treating the current symptoms but also addresses the root cause of improving the functioning of the elimination organs to reduce overall allergenic potential.

This, in turn, allows food and toxins to be processed properly, reducing toxic buildup from waste particles from inflammatory reactions.

Using supplements to support liver health, such as CanPrev’s Detox Pro, can ensure the liver has the nutrients it requires to neutralize toxins and get them out of the body. Along with eating a healthful anti-inflammatory diet, lots of water and fiber are all essential to enhance these detoxification systems, improve one’s immune response and decrease food sensitivities and allergy symptoms.

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Preparing Your Immune System for Air Travel

You’re dreaming of sunshine, scenic views, and counting the minutes till you board an airplane en route to your spring break getaway. But, have you stopped to consider how you’ll stay healthy during your travels?

It’s no secret that airports and planes are well-traveled public spaces that contain a ton of germs! Some of which can make you sick, thanks to close proximity with the thousands of passengers that frequent air travel on a daily basis – and we have no control over the hygiene of others!

Even if you aren’t overly concerned with germs in everyday life, it doesn’t hurt to take extra precaution to protect yourself from potential illness-causing germs when traveling.

A healthy immune system is your first line of defense against catching an unwelcome virus, like the cold or the flu. Before you put the finishing touches on your packing list, there are a few items you’ll want to include to help ensure you arrive at your destination in good health.

1. Sanitize Your Air Space

Come prepared to clean your personal flight space!

  • Include cleansing wipes and hand sanitizer in your carry-on and use them diligently throughout your flight
  • Upon boarding, wipe down any surfaces you may touch, like your tray, seatbelt buckle, headrest, armrests, and overhead air vent controls
  • Clean your hands with sanitizer before eating and drinking and after using the bathroom.
  • To avoid direct contact with bathroom surfaces, use clean paper towels when handling flushers, faucets, and door handles
  • 2. Stay Hydrated

    Flying is dehydrating to the body due to dry air and low humidity levels found at high altitudes. A study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research suggests the low humidity levels on planes are to blame for the increased prevalence of colds among air travelers [1].

  • Drinking water throughout your flight can counteract the drying effects of air travel
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, like coffee and soda, as these can dehydrate you further
  • Don’t rely only on the beverage cart for your hydration needs – it’s not enough, especially during long flights.
  • Purchase bottled water in the airport prior to take-off or bring a refillable bottle from home to guarantee you have plenty of fresh water to sip throughout your flight
  • Vitamin C can also enhance immune system function to help protect you against germs. However, our bodies are unable to make and store this vitamin, so consider enhancing your water with a supplement containing Vitamin C, like the healthy dose you get in our effervescent ElectroMag!

    3. Protect Naturally

    Proper hydration also helps support the mucous membranes in your nostrils and throat. These membranes, also known as the Mucociliary Clearance System, are a first-line of defense against invasive air-borne pathogens [1].

    The dry air found in plane cabins prevents this mucous from effectively clearing away harmful bacteria, leaving your respiratory system more susceptible to catching a cold while you’re flying.

    Essential oils, like tea tree and oregano, have antimicrobial properties that can aid your mucous membranes and immune system in protecting against air-borne bacteria.

    Studies have found tea tree oil works as an antimicrobial by disturbing microbes’ protective cellular structures [3].

    Naturopath tips:

    Place a dab of tea tree ointment in each nostril before flying to help capture harmful germs and prevent them from entering and infecting the respiratory system.

    It’s believed oregano oil works the same way. A few drops of oregano oil placed under your tongue or added to your water can help ward off harmful germs.

    While research shows you can boost your immunity and/or shorten the duration of a cold with supplementation, the best thing to do to ensure a strong immune system during travel is to take good care of it regularly – aka before and after any trips.

    Regular healthy habits to help keep your immune system strong include:

    • getting plenty of quality sleep
    • drinking lots of water
    • eating a balanced diet, rich with whole foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables
    • supplementing with a high-quality multivitamin and a therapeutic dose of gut-protecting probiotics

    Managing stress is also important since chronic stress decreases the function of your immune system.

    If flying or preparing for travel leaves you feeling stressed or anxious, take extra care in finding time to rest. Whether it’s with meditation, light physical activity, a massage, or other activity that you find relaxing or decompressing.

    Wherever your destination, planning ahead and “preparing” your immune system before and during air travel will leave you feeling energized and ready to make the most of your travels.

    CanPrev recommends

    Probiotic 15B
    Synergy C with Seabuckthorn

    Studies & Referenced Content

    [1] Journal of Environmental Health Research, 2004, Common cold transmission in commercial aircraft: industry and passenger implications

    [2] Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, 2013, Roles of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation

    [3] Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2000, The mode of antimicrobial action of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil)

    Eating for Allergies This Spring

    That time of year is here, when the cold bite of winter weather finally seems to be behind us, flowers are slowly starting to bloom, the birds & the bees are all atwitter and, oh yah – pollen also starts to fill the air!

    Are you experiencing itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, blocked sinuses, sneezing and headaches? Love Springtime but loathe allergy season?

    If only there were something you could include in your daily diet to help alleviate these symptoms or ward them off altogether…drum roll please!

    Eat whole foods instead of relying on allergy medication

    Although there are many different OTC medications available to relieve those tell-tale allergy symptoms, sometimes just small tweaks to your diet can also provide you with some much needed relief and even a measure of prevention – more naturally.

    Top 7 items that your grocery cart should come in contact with this Spring:


    Researchers have discovered that broccoli could help to protect you from respiratory inflammation. In fact, all cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called sulforaphane, which appears to have a very beneficial effect for fanning the flames of  inflammation.

    Other cruciferous veggies containing this key compound are kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage & cauliflower.

    Studies have also shown that getting in at least 500 mg of Vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.

    Citrus Fruits

    Citrus fruits are considered ‘super allergy fighters’ because they contain higher levels of Vitamin C and bioflavonoids, both of which are natural antihistamines that may reduce allergy symptoms.

    Bioflavonoids enhance the health benefits of Vitamin C, including stronger immunity, detoxification, eye and skin and health. This makes citrus fruit a powerhouse in fighting allergies as well as in overall health optimization. Oranges, lemons and grapefruits are rich sources of Vitamin C with naturally occurring citrus bioflavonoids.

    However, if considering a supplement – look for a buffered form containing mineral ascorbates as well as bioflavonoids for better absorption.


    Quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, is believed to help reduce the inflammation associated with allergies. Studies indicate that this component prevents immune cells from releasing histamines, or better known as an allergic response.

    Garlic, onions, berries, cabbage, cauliflower and most caffeinated teas also contain quercetin.

    Red Grapes

    The skin of red grapes is very high in antioxidants and resveratrol — a well-studied anti-inflammatory compound. Eating red grapes will also help protect the cells from oxidative damage that may cause many diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

    Be aware that grapes (and apples) are on the EPA’s ‘Dirty Dozen’ list of highest pesticide residues, so buy organic when possible and wash your produce well.

    Fatty Fish

    Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood have natural anti-inflammatory effects that boost the immune system — in turn, improving your body’s ability to fight off allergies which are basically a sign of excess inflammation.

    In fact, anything you can do to reduce inflammation in the body has widespread benefits, including easing seasonal allergy symptoms.

    Some studies have even shown that eating upwards of six ounces of wild-caught salmon twice a week can be just as effective as taking allergy medication.

    While your Healthcare Provider may not be writing you a prescription for salmon any time soon, this recommendation is certainly worth a try, considering all of salmon’s other health benefits. Try wild caught Alaskan caught salmon for a lower risk of contamination of organic pollutants and pesticides.

    Not keen on seafood, or have a food allergy to it? Some good vegan sources of Omega-3’s are walnuts, flax seeds, hemp hearts, chia seeds, spirulina (fresh water algae) and sea vegetables like wakame.

    You could also consider choosing a high quality Omega-3 supplement.

    Collard Greens

    Collard greens, and other dark leafy greens like kale contain phytochemicals – specifically carotenoids. This component is well known for easing allergic reactions.

    To help your body absorb their nutrients more readily, eat collard greens along with a healthy fat. Sautéing them in extra-virgin olive oil or virgin coconut oil is a great, and tasty – way to go.

    Be aware that many greens are on the “dirty” list too, so go organic (and local), when possible.

    Fermented Foods & Probiotics

    I know, you probably didn’t expect this one to be on the list, but according to research,  eating probiotic-rich foods such as naturally fermented (not pickled) foods like sauerkraut and kimchi, as well as supplementing with good quality human-strain  probiotics can significantly ease allergy symptoms.

    Happy allergy fighting this Spring!