Conditions and Disorders

Understanding Celiac disease

May is Celiac Awareness Month in the United States. Many of us have heard of celiac disease, but with so many conditions, illnesses and diseases affecting Americans today, it’s hard to stay educated on the many points of illness or disease that attack our personal health and well-being.

It is important to understand different allergies, conditions and diseases in order to be aware of what could be affecting your body. We have provided the basics behind celiac disease for you below. Naturally, we do recommend further research. When it comes to promoting your long-term personal health and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices within your community – awareness is everything.

An Introduction to Celiac Disease

Gluten-Free-300x300Celiac disease is defined as an autoimmune disorder that prevents a person from properly absorbing and digesting foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in foods sources containing barley, rye or wheat. When a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, their body will respond to gluten based food sources by destroying something called villi, which is located in the small intestine. Villi are largely responsible for helping to absorb nutrients into the larger small intestine. Damage to villi therefore, will result in the inability to absorb essential nutrients into the bloodstream.

Common signs or symptoms associated with celiac disease can include, but are not limited to bloating, diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, weight loss, delayed growth due to malnutrition, significant fatigue, and loss in bone density, numbness in the hands and/or feet and depression.

Most often, a health care practitioner will begin treatment for celiac disease by recommending a gluten-free diet. If you have noticed signs or symptoms that could be associated with celiac disease, it is certainly recommended that you speak with your health care practitioner. He or she will be able to conduct a series of tests in order to assess if indeed you are suffering from celiac disease, or if there are other changes that could be made to your daily nutritional regime to assist in comfortable, smooth digestion. Celiac disease is also genetic. All first and second-degree relatives should be tested for celiac disease when a family member is diagnosed.

The Gluten Free Diet:

A detailed breakdown of convenient gluten free decisions for your daily nutritional intake can be found through the Celiac Spruce Foundation.

Here is a list of four simple changes that can be introduced into your daily nutritional intake – without feeling like significant sacrifices to your regular meals!

Lean Meats and Other Sources of Protein

Protein intake is crucial to the personal health of absolutely everyone. The importance of protein increases for people on a gluten free diet. People suffering from celiac disease don’t often get enough protein. When we experience protein deficiencies we feel weak, malnourished, and fatigued. Because a person with celiac disease has difficulty with absorption of nutrients, it is important to boost protein intake to ensure your body is getting the essential nutrients it needs to function at its best. Keep in mind that complete proteins are high quality proteins. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are the most common sources of complete protein in people’s diets.

Meat and fish are especially important because they help make up for the lack of dairy in many celiac’s diets. Lactose intolerance and celiac disease will often coincide.

Lean meats are also high in essential nutrients like zinc, iron, and B12 all of which are especially important for you. For those following a vegetarian diet, fortunately, there are a number of gluten free foods rich in protein that are vegetarian friendly.

Eggs, dairy, gluten free tofu, and quinoa are great complete protein sources for vegetarians. Other vegetarian protein sources include nuts, black beans, lentils, and hemp protein powder.

Legumes: Complex Carbohydrates Packed with Protein

Healthy-meal-300x199When following a gluten free diet, it’s important to make sure we are still seeking out strong food sources of fiber. Fiber promotes intestinal health, works to balance cholesterol levels, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Grains are the top source of fiber in America. For many celiacs, cutting out grains means cutting out most of the fiber in their diet. Legumes, like beans and lentils, are incredible replacements for gluten based grains. Like grains, legumes are stocked with complex carbohydrates and fiber. In fact, legumes are stronger than grains because they’re also loaded with protein! Beans and lentils are also excellent sources of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, and antioxidants. The nutrients found in legumes are vital when it comes to combating the weak nutrient absorption that is attached to celiac disease.

These nutrients are all very important to combat a damaged small intestine and weak nutrient absorption stemming from celiac disease.

Yogurt

Yogurt is considered a healthy good item but not many actually understand why. The key to the importance of yogurt when it comes to any autoimmune disorder is probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your intestine that are a must for digestive health and building up your immune system. Eat just a single yogurt per day and your intestine will thank you for it.

Veggies, Veggies, Veggies

Vegetables are literally jam packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and (sometimes) even essential fatty acids. Dark, leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense of them all. Different vegetables have different benefits so it is best to try and eat a variety of vegetables on a daily basis. Try to include vegetables with very meal (even breakfast!).

Following a gluten-free diet has become popular among people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease for various other health benefits such as weight loss.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the daily health care plan that works for you, and the needs surrounding your personal health. Above all else, we recommend that you work with your family physician, to develop the health care plan that best accommodates you and your family’s needs.

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog, Conditions and Disorders, Health.

World Autism Day

Three weeks ago was the sixth annual Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2013. Though millions of Americans have heard the word ‘autism’, very few have an actual grasp on what autism actually is, or how it affects individuals and their families.

What is autism?

The official name of autism is actually ‘autism spectrum disorders’. This is because doctors include autism in a group of problems that affects children, such as Asperger syndrome. Autism spectrum disorders happen when a child’s brain develops differently and has difficulty making sense of their surroundings. Each day, our brains interpret the things we see, smell, hear, taste, touch, and experience. When a person’s brain has trouble interpreting these things, it can be difficult to talk, listen, understand, play, and learn.

Autism, kid looking far away without interesting

Presently, there isn’t a specific medical test that can diagnose autism. Specially trained psychologists, pediatricians, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and physicians develop and administer autism specific behavioral evaluations.

Parents are often the first to notice when their child is showing unusual or strange behavioral patterns such as failing to respond to his or her name, doing things in repetitive ways or not making eye contact. Because parents know their children deeply and instinctually, it is recommended that they follow their instincts and seek the advice and attention of a healthcare professional. It is also recommended that children are seen frequently up until the age of three to monitor developmental milestones.

Sometimes an autism disorder is diagnosed later in life because of learning, social or emotional difficulties. Diagnosis for adolescents and adults will often come as a relief to those struggling, and the families who support and love them. Understanding the source of personal difficulties will shed light on positive treatments and create opportunity for an improved quality of life.
While autism has a strong genetic basis, a lot of research is still ahead of us in order to completely understand the complexity of the disorder(s). Today, approximately 20 out of every 1,000 Americans are diagnosed with autism. The number of people diagnosed with autism has been increasing since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses. Whether or not there are actually more people with autism than there was 30 years ago, is a question that remains unresolved.

A healthy lifestyle for quality of life

It is certainly recommended that people dealing with autism spectrum disorders, and their families, work closely with their health care teams to develop a customized health care plan that promotes a dynamic, healthy, quality life.

Doctors and Nurse

Naturally, leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial to holistic health for all Americans. For those coping with complex disorders such as autism, it is important to promote optimal health. Implementing healthy nutritional choices can be difficult as people with autism will often have strong reactions to food of specific flavors, colors, textures, and so forth. Exercise is also essential, as autism can encourage seclusion, and therefore a sedentary lifestyle.
It is also important to stay on top of vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid intake. Omega-3’s for instance, are incredible when it comes to promoting cognitive function, feelings of personal well-being and self value and memory capabilities. There have also been various claims made regarding the positive impact omega-3’s can have on individuals with autism. We have provided a few examples regarding clinical research and studies that address the relationship between omega-3’s and autism.

  • Amminger et al. (2007) reported that omega-3 fatty acids reduced hyperactivity and stereotypy (in 13 5-17 year olds with ASDs and severe tantrums, aggression or self injurious behavior using 840mg EPA and 700mg DHA for 8 weeks)
  • Bell et al (2004) reported improvements in overall health, cognition, sleep patterns, social interactions and eye contact (in 18 children with autism given 372-744mg EPA and 116-332mg DHA for 6 months)
  • Johnson and Hollander (2003) reported the elimination of anxiety about everyday events (in one 10 year old given 540mg EPA for 4 weeks)

Autism spectrum disorders are extremely complex, and can’t be summed up in a single article. For those people reading this who are not directly affected by the disorders, we encourage awareness. Take some time to learn more about autism, as you never know when someone with autism could come and light up your life.

Citations

http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/world-autism-awareness-day

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/autism/#.UXbkibXvswB

http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/brain/autism.html

http://researchautism.net/autism_treatments_therapies_intervention.ikml?print&ra=60&infolevel=4

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog, Conditions and Disorders.

Beat the blues

Depression is an epidemic that is sweeping America. According to the New York Times, up to 35 million Americans are currently battling with the debilitating reality of depression on a daily basis. Depressive disorders can be beyond debilitating. People suffering from depression experience states of extreme fatigue, declined self worth, anxiety, difficulty with concentration, loneliness – and an ongoing feeling of hopelessness.

While, many Americans don’t suffer from chronic depressive disorders, many will experience periods of depression, anxiety and higher than usual levels of stress at some time. For this reason, it’s crucial that absolutely everyone does a regular check in on his or her mental, emotional and spiritual health.

DepressedmanMany Americans choose not to seek professional help because of fear, anxiety, shame, denial – and a myriad of stigmas that are attached to people experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. This is why it’s important, above all, to increase awareness on mental health issues, and breakdown communication barriers so that more people feel safe and comfortable when seeking out help.

Millions of Americans are seeking more holistic avenues to address their health. While pharmaceutical solutions can be invaluable (even lifesaving) in treating depressive mood disorders, it’s also important to be educated on the many natural mood boosters that nature has provided for us. Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Vitamin B for instance, can all be instrumental in helping to clear out the clouds in your mind, and provide a path for a brighter day.

Another powerful option for a daily lift is to invest in a superior quality omega-3 supplement. Omega-3’s have been clinically proven to increase feelings of personal well-being, while alleviating some of the terrifying symptoms associated with depression.

A study conducted at the University of Illinois in Chicago found that:

“People who are deficient in omega-3s are more likely to experience depression than people have consume adequate amounts. Davis and his team found in a previous study that pregnant women deficient in omega-3s are more prone to depression during and after pregnancy than those who get enough of it.”

The reason I specifically suggest Krill Oil for daily supplementation in the battle against depression – is because of the quality of the oil itself. Many fish oil’s found on the market today, contain a lot of the toxins and contaminants now found in many of our marine life due to pollution. Because fish are so loaded up with these toxins, family doctors are recommending we keep fish intake down to just a few times a week. Imagine the contaminants you are unknowingly putting in your body on a daily basis, if you are using standard fish oil!

Clinical Studies

Omega-3 supplements have a profoundly positive effect on people suffering from depression, according to a study directed by Dr. François Lespérance of the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier at the Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), head of CHUM’s Department of Psychiatry and a professor at the Université de Montréal.

Analysis revealed that omega-3 improved symptoms in patients diagnosed with depression. Efficacy for these patients was comparable to that generally observed with conventional antidepressant treatment.

HappywomanFrom October 2005 to January 2009, 432 male and female participants with major unipolar depression were recruited to take part in this randomized, double-blind study (neither patients nor researchers knew which capsules patients received). For eight weeks, half of the participants took three capsules per day of OM3 Emotional Balance, a fish oil supplement containing high concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). The other half took three identical capsules of a placebo consisting of sunflower oil, flavored with a small quantity of fish oil. In contrast with typical clinical studies designed to assess the effectiveness of antidepressants, this study included a high proportion of patients with complex and difficult-to-treat conditions, including patients resistant to conventional antidepressant treatments and patients also suffering from an anxiety disorder. The aim was to assess the value of Omega-3 supplementation in a group of individuals more like those treated in outpatient clinics.

“We are proud that OM3 Emotional Balance, with its high concentration of EPA at unexcelled levels of purity delivers the dose of EPA needed for effective treatment,” said Claire Bertin, head pharmacist for isodisnatura, the laboratory producing the omega-3 supplement used in the study.

Psychiatrist Drew Ramsey also states that rates of depression, bipolar disorder and postpartum depression, are all lower in fish-eating populations. This is well documented in his book, “The Happiness Diet”.

Krill oil supplement might be the solution to your symptoms that you are looking for – a way to wake up feeling more positive every day. It is important to stress that it is important for you, your loved ones, or anyone you may know suffering from a mental health concern – to seek out the advice and treatment of a mental health professional.

This entry was posted in: Blog, Conditions and Disorders, Health, Krill Oil.