Many patients that I see are suffering with skin problems such as acne that range from the occasional blemish to chronic cystic acne that can result in scarring. These patients can range greatly in age but are equally frustrated by the relentless breakouts that occur. Fortunately there are several very effective ways to treat skin conditions naturally and quickly! Read on to find out what the underlying causes of acne are and what you can do to clear your skin....
Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition characterized by skin eruptions on the face, chest, back and shoulders. Acne vulgaris, the least severe form, is a superficial disease that affects the skin's oil-secreting glands and hair follicles and manifests as blackheads, whiteheads and redness. Acne conglobata, a more severe form, is characterized by the formation of pustules and cysts with the potential for subsequent scarring. Both forms are more common among males than females with onset typically at or shortly after puberty but can also occur much later in life as adult acne.
The underlying causes of acne can vary in nature, but some of the most common causes include:
- Hormonal shifts during puberty. During puberty, increases in levels of testosterone cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum which results in acne.
- Poor intestinal health causing excess toxins to be absorbed by the intestines can lead to severe acne.
- Food allergies are the number one cause of acne, and the worse the acne the more likely food allergies are involved. Eating a food to which the body is allergic leads to a continuous toxic reaction. In such a case the immune system fights the food as if it were an invading toxin. This can cause inflammation in the skin resulting in acne.a continuous toxic reaction. In such a case the immune system fights the food as if it were an invading organism. This can cause inflammation in the skin resulting in acne. Eliminating the allergenic food completely clears the skin in most cases!
- Poor liver function can cause the skin to attempt to take over the detoxifying aspects of the liver which then causes outbreaks like acne to occur.
- An overgrowth of yeast called Candida can cause an imbalance in the sebum production in the skin leading to acne.
- Hormonal imbalances can occur in males and females in adulthood in the testosterone levels which also creates an environment for acne production
The top recommended tests to uncover the underlying cause include:
- Food Allergy Testing. This is done through a blood test which tests for a large variety of food and/or environmental allergens often implicated in acne.
- Hormone Panel. This test is done through a combination of blood and saliva to uncover imbalances in certain hormones such Cortisol, DHEA, Estradiol, Progesterone, Testosterone and Thyroid hormones (TSH, T4, T3 and TPO).
- Digestive Function Test. This is done through a stool and saliva test and helps to identify any potential digestive imbalances including Candida and other yeasts, digestive enzymes, pH, parasites, worms, bacterial overgrowth, inflammation, immune function and digestive intolerances.
The best treatments for acne elimination is treating the underlying cause. Food allergy elimination is the most common and effective source of treatment. Certain nutrients such as Vitamin A, Zinc, Omega 3's, Vitamin B5/6, Probiotics and liver cleansing herbs also are very beneficial for achieving clear skin.
For the months of July and August we are on a mission to help kids feel great! Food allergies are a very common cause of many childhood ailments and we want to help you discover if your child has food allergies.
Common signs that your child is suffering from food allergies:
- Chronic ear infections
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Eczema, acne, psoriasis, rashes and hives
- Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and tummy aches)
- Behavioral issues
- Bed wetting
- ADD/ ADHD
- Chronic sinus congestion
- Frequent illness
For a limited time only we are featuring our 94 IgG ELISA Food Allergy Panel. This test is done through a simple finger poke and will test the blood for reactions to 94 of the most common foods. Book your child (17 and under) in for a blood test, fill in a patient history form and come for a results appointment 3-4 weeks later (all included in the price).
Call Essential Health to book your child’s appointment 604 467 9554
Regular price $466.50
Special price $346.50 SAVE $120!
(Only available until August 31st, 2015)
One of the most common causes of fatigue is low iron or anemia. The kind of fatigue that results from anemia comes on slowly and is present all day long. It can feel like someone has unplugged you! Anemia is a shortage of either the quality or quantity of blood. Specifically, it arises from a lack of hemoglobin which is the red, iron-containing pigment in the blood that transports oxygen to every cell in the body. There are different kinds of anemia such as iron-deficiency anemia, anemia due to a shortage of vitamin B-12, pernicious anemia and folate-deficiency anemia.
Symptoms of Anemia
- Poor concentration
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Chronic infections
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Red or sore tongue
- Soreness or cracks at the corner of the mouth
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and/or tingling in the hands and feet
Some of the common causes of anemia are loss of blood, inadequate diet and poor absorption, veganism, imbalanced gastrointestinal bacteria, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, parasites, certain medications (such as antifungals or Metformin for diabetes), hypothyroidism, food allergies and pregnancy.
Anemia is easily corrected once it has been diagnosed. Lab work should include a complete blood count as well as testing Ferritin and B12 levels. Optimal levels of Ferritin should be over 100.
The underlying cause of anemia should always be considered when correcting the issue. When supplementing with iron, it is crucial to include folic acid, vitamin B12 and Vitamin C for optimal function and absorption. In order to restore iron levels, I have been using the following 3 products with unfailing success in thousands of patients:
Ferrasorb- Thorne (Highly absorbable and non-constipating iron bisglycinate combined with folic acid)
B12- 5mg or 15mg- Bioclinic (Sublingual vitamin B12 in therapeutic dosages)
Vitamin C with Flavonoids- Thorne (Pure Vitamin C compounded with plant flavonoids for optimal absorption)
Summer is upon us and this often causes stress for many people battling weight issues. One of the most overlooked underlying causes of weight loss resistance is a liver that is over burdened with toxins. Bringing health and balance back to the liver is often the missing key to sustained weight loss. Read on to find out how the liver causes unwanted weight gain, how to know if your liver is toxic and what to do about it!
A seldom discussed yet extremely important aspect of weight loss is liver function. The liver is the chief operator of detoxification in the body. In our modern day society, many of our foods are laden with hidden toxins and void of nutrients. Many fad diets cause the liver to work overtime in an attempt to keep up with the high fat and nutritionally void foods and weight loss gimmicks. This eventually causes the person to gain more weight in the end as the demand on the liver is too high. Throughout this process, the liver literally becomes more and more sluggish in function and eventually becomes "fatty". Once a liver has reached the fatty stage, the function is extremely impaired and weight loss becomes an impossibility. The liver's job of detoxifying blood and metabolizing fat is compromised and the metabolism greatly slows.
Symptoms of a poorly functioning liver may include:
* Low energy
* Indigestion, bloating, constipation, gas or diarrhea
* Foggy thinking
* Weight gain
* Stiff, aching, weak muscles
* Altered cholesterol levels
* Blood sugar abnormalities
* Sleep disturbances
* Easy bruising
* Brittle bones
* Fluid retention
* Kidney problems
* Slow wound healing
Action Steps for Optimal Liver Health
1. Start the day with ½ lemon squeezed into 1 cup of warm water.
2. Consume half your body weight in ounces of filtered water daily.
3. Increase fiber consumption to 35 grams per day to assist in the elimination of fat soluble toxins. Choose high fiber foods such as ground flax seeds, psyllium, apple pectin, rice bran, beet fiber, oat fiber, chia seeds and sun fiber.
4. Consume liver cleansing foods such as beets, bitter greens, apples, lemons, garlic, onions, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, collards and cauliflower.
5. Use liver cleansing herbs such as Dandelion root, Artichoke, Milk thistle, Burdock root and Turmeric.
6. Detox the liver with Alpha lipoic acid, Calcium D-Glucarate, NAC, Selenium, Choline and Methionine.
7. Drink liver detoxifying tea with dandelion root, nettle root, red clover, licorice root, burdock root and cleavers.
8. Support the digestion with probiotics and digestive enzymes.
9. Avoid toxic foods such as sugar, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, pesticides, hydrogenated fats and artificial sugars.
10. Avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, pop and energy drinks.
11. Exercise regularly.
If you still need affirmation in your organic decisions, here are 5 more reasons to Go Organic!
- Strawberries are reportedly sprayed with up to 500lbs of pesticides per acre on some local and imported varieties rendering them heavily contaminated.
- Bananas contain a pesticide called benomyl which has been linked to birth defects.
- Peaches take the lead in above average rates of illegal pesticide violations according to the FDA.
- Bell Peppers are laden with pesticides that are considered to be neurotoxic to the brain.
- Baby Food was found in recent tests to contain detectable pesticide levels and carcinogens.
The facts are in and the choice is clear-Go Organic!
More and more people are frustrated and confused when it comes to taking the right supplements. 1 in 3 people are taking supplements on a regular basis but are they taking the "right stuff"? The shelves are lined with supplements that promise improved energy and good health but with so many choices it can become so intimidating that people have no idea what is best for them. Read on to find out the most important supplements for men and women.....
Have you ever wondered what you should be taking as far as supplements go?
There is something called "Tier One" supplements and these are the ones that you actually NEED to take on a daily basis.
Tier One supplements are the foundation for excellent health and disease prevention. It is wise to purchase good quality professional supplements that will actually be absorbed into the system and have a therapeutic effect on the body.
Here are the top Tier One supplements that everyone needs:
(See Feature Products for Dr Cobi's Top Picks for Tier One Supplements)
A very good quality Multi Vitamin- Even if you have the most perfect diet, it is not enough. We live in a world full of stress, air pollution, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, xenoestrogens, noise pollution and many of us eat processed foods grown in nutrient depleted toxic soil. We cannot get away from all of these factors so we therefore need a good daily multivitamin to prevent deficiencies and maintain optimal health. A good multivitamin will be FREE of additives, colorings, binding agents, preservatives, lubricants and non-pronounceable words under the non-medicinal ingredients!
Vitamin D3 and K2- Even the World Health Organization is now recognizing the need for daily supplementation of Vitamin D3 and K2. We need D and K to build bone and absorb Calcium, protect and optimize immune function, prevent certain types of cancer as well as regulate insulin and blood pressure and even improve mood! The recommended adult dose is 5000iu per day of D3 and 1mg of K2. Children require much less depending on age from 1000iu-2000iu of D3 and 200mcg of K2.
Omega 3 Oils-These fatty acids are linked to many health benefits because they are a fundamental human need. The diet on which we evolved consisted of about equal 1:1 or 2:1 ratios of omega-6s to omega-3s, but the ratio now stands at about 18:1 due to declining nutrition. Not surprisingly this means that a number of metabolic imbalances are causing health problems. Many fish oils are contaminated with heavy metals and have not been stored and /or shipped to ensure freshness. In fact it is estimated that 75% of the fish oils on the market are causing more harm than good. It is essential that fish oils are obtained from a clean source that can provide a "certificate of purity" to ensure they are free from heavy metals and other contaminants. The recommended doses range from 1000mg and up to 6000mg for cases of inflammation and neurological disease.
Calcium Magnesium- Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, mostly stored in bones. Magnesium is involved in almost every process in the body! Bone is a live tissue, and is not static as some imagine, so calcium is being turned over all the time. Boosting calcium intake is linked to improved bone health and reduced premenstrual symptoms. Calcium is excreted at times of stress. Absorption of calcium is greatly improved by taking a supplement which also contains vitamin D and magnesium.Not all forms of Calcium are absorbable. Calcium carbonate is the poorest absorbable form of Calcium. The best type of Calcium to take is Calcium citrate. Dosages vary depending on need anywhere from 500mg to 1000mg of Calcium and Magnesium.
In the world today, endocrine disruptors have inundated women's and men's bodies and driven hormonal excesses and deficiencies to the extreme. These disruptors invade the body and terrorize the hormonal balance as they lock into the estrogen receptor sites. From the shampoo in the shower to the make-up in the drawer and the pesticides in our morning fruit, the stage is set for xenoestrogen dominance. The Environmental Working Group recently released their "dirty dozen" list for the 12 worst endocrine disruptors. Read on to find out what these are and how to avoid them!
Not found in nature, man-made toxins are estrogen imposters that mimic the effects of the real hormone but over stimulate cellular activity to an uncontrollable extent. In 1991, the field of xenoestrogens was first introduced to the world.
Xenoestrogens adversely affect the internal balancing mechanisms of the body, raising the estrogen burden and with it potential risks for the development of endocrine disorders. Xenoestrogens accumulate in the fat tissues of our bodies and have the capability of locking into our own estrogen's receptor sites. This deems them to be highly toxic and detrimental to our hormonal environment.
Xenoestrogens are making their way into our bodies on the pretense of being biological estrogen. These xenoestrogens are present in our soil, water, air, food supply as well as in personal care and household products.
The Environmental Working Group recently released their "dirty dozen" list for the 12 worst endocrine disruptors:
- Bisphenol-A (BPA)
BPA mimics the effects of estrogen in the body but in a way that causes complete chaos in the body. BPA has been linked to breast and others forms of cancers as well as obesity, early puberty and heart disease. The most recent government studies have shown that 93% of adults have BPA in their bodies.
Action Step: Avoid canned foods lined with BPA. Decrease your exposure to receipts as much as possible. Also avoid plastics marked with PC (polycarbonate).
Recent research has shown that exposure to low levels of dioxin as early as in the womb can both permanently affect sperm quality and lower the sperm count in men during their prime reproductive years. This can lead to reproductive issues later in life. Dioxins have also been shown to build up in the tissues of both the body and certain foods. They have been shown to be powerful carcinogens and can alter the immune and reproductive systems.
Action Step: Avoiding Dioxins is virtually impossible as the food supply is widely contaminated due to industrial release into the air. Eliminating or decreasing your intake of meat, fish, milk, eggs and butter will help to reduce exposure as these foods are the most densely contaminated.
Atrazine is an herbicide that is used on the majority of corn crops in the US and also therefore ends up contaminating drinking water. Researchers have found that exposure to even low levels of atrazine can turn male frogs into females that produce completely viable eggs. YIKES! Atrazine has also been linked to breast tumors, delayed puberty and prostate inflammation and cancer.
Action Step: Buy organic produce as much as possible. Drink only clean filtered water.
(For help finding a suitable filter, check out EWG's buying guide:www.ewg.org/report/ewgs-water-filter-buying-guide/)
Phthalates are often found in plastics have been shown to trigger "death induced signaling". This translates into increased cell death, particularly in the testes. Further studies have also linked phthalates to hormone changes, lower sperm count, less mobile sperm, birth defects in the male reproductive system, obesity, diabetes and thyroid irregularities.
Action Step: Avoid plastics as much as possible! PVC's with the recycling label #3 found in plastic food containers, children's toys and plastic wraps are notoriously the worst! Also avoid products with the ingredient "fragrance" as this can be a catch all phrase for hidden phthalates.
The Environmental Working Group and government test data has confirmed that perchlorate, a chemical used in rocket fuel is a common contaminant in much of our produce and milk supply. Perchlorate disrupts thyroid function by competing with the nutrient iodine which is needed to make thyroid hormones.
Action Step: An Osmosis filter can help to reduce the levels of perchlorate in drinking water. There is no way to completely avoid perchlorate in our foods. Making sure that dietary iodine levels are sufficient in the body can help to lessen the effects of perchlorate on our thyroid function.
- Fire retardants
Polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs were found in the breast milk of nursing mothers in a Swedish study in 1999. Further studies have shown that the levels have been doubling every 5 years since 1972! These chemically devious fire retardants have been contaminating the bodies of people and wildlife around the world. Measures to phase out some PBDEs have been taken however due to the persistent nature of these chemicals they will continue to disrupt our health, lower IQ's and causes thyroid dysfunction for years to come.
Action Step: Decreasing exposure is difficult but some steps have been shown to lessen the effects. Vacuum cleaners with a HEPA filter can cut down on toxic-laden house dust. Avoid reupholstering foam furniture and take proper precautions when replacing old carpet (the padding underneath may contain PBDEs).
(Find more tips at: www.ewg.org/pbdefree/)
Lead is a heavy metal that is still kicking around even though after decades ago it was realized how dangerous it can be for our health. The effects of lead in the body are not exclusive to one area but rather almost every organ system in the body. Lead has been linked to a overwhelming array of health effects, including permanent brain damage, lowered IQ, hearing loss, miscarriage, premature birth, increased blood pressure, kidney damage and nervous system dysfunction. The body's major stress system also takes a hit with lead as the hormone signaling becomes disrupted and the effects of stress are magnified.
Action Step: The main source of lead is still crumbling old paint which continues to be an issue in older homes. Carefully removing all traces of this will dramatically lessen exposure. Drinking water contamination is also a factor. Drinking clean filtered water is crucial to lessen contamination.
Mercury is considered a toxic metal and enters our food supply from the burning of coal. It enters our air and oceans and mercury-contaminated seafood therefore becomes our major source of dietary ingestion. The effects of mercury in women are particularly detrimental. Menstrual cycles can become disrupted as mercury binds to the hormone that regulates cycles and ovulation. Mercury is also is known to be particularly toxic to pregnant women as it concentrates in the fetal brain and can interfere with brain development.
Action step: When consuming seafood choose (sustainable) seafood such as wild salmon and farmed trout which are better choices with less contaminants.
In small and accumulating amounts arsenic can cause skin, bladder and lung cancer. Arsenic is found in much of our drinking water supply. Arsenic can also interfere with normal hormone functioning in the processing of sugar and carbohydrates. This disruption can trigger weight issues, immune suppression, diabetes, osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues.
Action Step : Using a water filter that lowers arsenic levels is the best way to decrease contamination.
10. Perfluorinated chemicals (PFC's)
PFC's are used in non-stick cookware and have been shown to cause decreased sperm quality and cause low birth weight, kidney disease, thyroid disease and high cholesterol. It is estimated that 99% of North Americans have these chemicals lurking in their bodies. Some PFC's are so persistent because they do not breakdown in the environment- ever!
Action Step: Avoid non-stick pans like the plague! Also avoid stain and water-resistant coatings on clothing, furniture and carpets.
Organophosphates are commonly used pesticides which target the tissues of insects. Many studies have linked organophosphate exposure to effects on brain development, behavior and fertility. These pesticides have also been shown to affect testosterone levels and thyroid function.
Action Step: Eat organic as much as possible! Avoid the Dirty Dozen unless organic (Apples, Celery, Sweet bell peppers, Peaches, Strawberries, Nectarines, Grapes, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumbers, Blueberries and Potatoes).
Glycol ethers are commonly found solvents in paints, cleaning products, brake fluid and cosmetics. These chemicals have been shown to damage fertility or the unborn child when exposed. Studies also indicate a rise in asthma and allergies in children who are exposed to glycol ethers in the paint of their bedrooms.
Action Step : Start by checking out EWG's Guide to Healthy Cleaning (www.ewg.org/guides/cleaners/) and avoid products with ingredients such as 2-butoxyethanol (EGBE) and methoxydiglycol (DEGME).
Did you know.... The human body is made up of approximately 70-percent water?! It makes sense that fluids are vital for the majority of our bodily functions-protecting our joints, maintaining organ function, transporting oxygen to cells, and sustaining body temperature.
Common symptoms of chronic dehydration include:
- Joint pain
- Digestive issues
- Skin conditions
- Urinary tract infections
- Premature aging
The average person needs to consume half of their body weight in ounces (ex. 150lbs = 75 ounces of water per day).
- Tired Blood- A simple blood test can help to reveal if a condition called anemia or low iron is the cause of your fatigue. Levels of Ferritin (Iron storage) falling below 15 are considered to be severe anemia. However levels between 16 and 100 are still considered to be an issue especially when accompanied by other anemia symptoms. These symptoms can include feeling cold, paleness, shortness of breath, dizziness, lowered immunity, irritability, headaches, hair loss and easy bruising. The fix is simple and should include a combination of an easy to absorb iron supplement along with Vitamin C, B12 and Folic acid. Most people feel dramatically better within 21 days.
Action step: Ask your Dr to test your Ferritin levels as well as a CBC which will test all of your blood cells. Ferritin levels falling below 100 along with fatigue can indicate low iron (optimal range is over 100).
Low Thyroid Function- This accounts for up to one third of the population's fatigue symptoms. There are 4 lab tests that should be done in order to get the complete thyroid function picture. These include TSH, Free T4, Free T3 and TPO. TSH is the main marker for thyroid function and levels above 3.0 are considered to be a low functioning thyroid. Other symptoms may include feeling cold, hair loss, depression, weight gain, constipation, headaches, brain fog, aches and pains.
Action step: Book in for a complete hormone panel or a complete thyroid panel- this type of comprehensive testing is not available through your regular Dr but is available through Dr Cobi. Inquire within for more information.
Food Allergies- Fatigue can be the result of hidden food allergies or sensitivities. Gluten is the biggest culprit in the case of fatigue but other inflammatory foods such as sugar, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, pork, shellfish, eggs and processed foods often also play a part.
Action Step: In order to discover if foods are playing a role in your fatigue you can undergo a 21 day food elimination diet whereby all of the listed foods are eliminated for 21 days and then slowly re-introduced back in one at a time three days apart. Alternatively a simple blood test called an ELISA food allergy panel can easily reveal hidden food allergies. This type of testing is only available through Dr's of Natural Medicine and is available through Dr Cobi. Inquire within for more information.
Adrenal Fatigue- Stress plays a role in almost all disease and conditions and fatigue is no different. The adrenal glands are responsible for secreting the hormones that we need in order to respond to the stressors in our lives. Chronic stress can deplete the function of the adrenals and reserves can therefore become diminished. This can result in fatigue, lowered stress resistance, lowered immune function and an overall burnt out feeling.
Action Step: Testing for adrenal function can be done through a saliva test known as the Adrenal Stress Index or through a Complete Hormone Panel. This type of testing is available through Dr Cobi. Inquire within for more information.
Sleep- It is estimated that 60% of Canadian's are suffering with some type of sleep issue. Sleep is key to our daytime energy levels and many of us are burning the candle at both ends.
Action Step: The first step is create a "sleep routine". Start winding down around 8 pm. Step away from the computer and dim the lights. Doing this will allow your brain to start producing melatonin. Avoid eating after 7 pm so that your digestive system can also take a much needed rest.
The next step is create a "sleep zone". This means creating a space that is inviting for sleep. Turn your bedroom into an oasis of comfort and relaxation. Make sure there are no lights left on in your room. Turn the alarm clock away from your head so the light from it does not interfere with your melatonin production. If outside noise is an issue, invest in a white noise unit. Keep pets on their own beds and out of yours. Turn off the TV and empty your mind of the day's worries.
Although they are fruits, avocados have a fat content of between 71 to 88% of their total calories - about 20 times the average for other fruits. A typical avocado contains 30 grams of fat, but 20 of these fat grams are health-promoting monounsaturated fats, the kind that doesn't turn to fat in our bodies but rather helps to burn unwanted "bad fats".
This monounsaturated fat also helps to lower cholesterol. In one study of people with moderately high cholesterol levels, individuals who ate a diet high in avocados showed clear health improvements. After seven days on the diet that included avocados, they had significant decreases in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, along with an 11% increase in health promoting HDL cholesterol.
Enjoying a few slices of avocado in your tossed salad, or mixing some chopped avocado into your favorite salsa will not only add a rich, creamy flavor, but will greatly increase your body's ability to absorb the health-encouraging carotenoids that your salad vegetables provide.