Immune System Support 101 – ZINC

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There are many natural treatments that provide immune system support. You can even find some of these remedies in your very own kitchen! Zinc is just one of the many great natural immune supports.

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Please know Dr. Katie and Dr. Julia are available for virtual video and phone visits right now and would love to help you and your family with any health concerns.

Today we are going to talk about zinc! I think about immune function first with zinc. I also think about zinc in children, elderly, and pregnant or breastfeeding moms as these populations are more likely to have low zinc levels.

The body does not store very much zinc. Most of it is not readily available which is why taking a supplement can be critical.

Zinc is a mineral like iron, calcium, magnesium, and copper. When taking a mineral in supplement form, it is important to think about dosage and timing, because they can compete with each other for absorption. Zinc can be taken daily in lower doses and slightly higher with an acute infection.

Vitamin C helps with absorption of zinc and iron. Studies show that people experience less symptoms and recover more quickly when taking zinc and vitamin C together. Zinc and iron on the other hand compete for absorption so they should be taken separately.

Benefits of zinc

  • Helps lower inflammation
  • Immune system support
  • Associated with taste and smell
  • Especially beneficial for children and the elderly as they are often deficient
  • Sperm production and testosterone metabolism
  • Reduces pregnancy complications
  • Burn and wound healing
  • Antioxidant

Foods high in zinc

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Oysters
  • Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Red meat
  • Chicken and pork
  • Oysters
  • Beans
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy

 I hope you learned something about zinc today and will begin to include it in your diet and supplements if you weren’t already.

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath

Dr. Katie is a Naturopathic Doctor practicing in Edina and Woodbury, MN. She specializes in natural treatments that address the root cause of disease. We offer 15 minute consultations by phone. You can schedule online.

 

 

 

  1. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/4/1181/htm
  2. https://www.infezmed.it/media/journal/Vol_28_2_2020_9.pdf

Combat Seasonal Allergies, Naturally!

allergies

Natural Treatments for Seasonal Allergies

‘Tis the season for allergy sufferers out there … both in adults and children.

allergies

What causes allergies, anyway?

Allergies are caused by an overactive immune response to substances in the environment that are generally harmless to most people. When the immune system recognizes something as harmful it creates an inflammatory response in the body that often drives the histamine pathway. Symptoms in allergy sufferers can be exacerbated by inhaling irritants, consuming certain foods, and / or touching substances that cause irritation. Allergic reactions to mold, spores, pollen, dust and dander can cause symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, chest tightness, sneezing, runny nose, congestion, and headaches, which are heightened during the change of seasons.

Six natural treatments options for seasonal allergies:

Honey

1) Diet

EAT CLEAN!!! Avoid mucus forming, high histamine, and inflammatory foods, such as dairy products, bananas, mangoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, peanuts, eggs, red meat, food dyes and additives, sugar, and gluten to name a few… Personal food sensitivities also play a role in the inflammatory response and thereby further contribute to immune dysregulation. Local honey and bone broth may be beneficial, in addition to plenty of leafy greens, seasonal vegetables, wild caught fish, and fermented foods.

Essential oils

2) Essential oils

There are numerous single oils and blends that naturally support body systems involved in both the allergic (histamine) and inflammatory response in the body. Essential oils are excellent at alleviating symptoms. The following oils are well-known and have natural antihistamine properties: Lemon, Lavender, Peppermint

Oranges

3) Nutritional supplements

Vitamin C, bromelain, and bioflavonoids such as quercitin and hesperidin help stabilize mast cells that release histamine in the body (antihistamine effects).

Probiotics support GI microflora; a healthy microflora is crucial to proper immune function and modulation. Magnesium deficiency has been shown to heighten allergic response.

Herbs

4) Herbs

There are many options depending on treatment goals, but some of the most common allergy supporting herbs are: Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica), Eyebright (Euphrasia), Butterbur (Petisides hybridus), Reishi, Astragalus membranaceous

Water

5) Hydrotherapy

Stimulates the immune and lymphatic systems, balances nervous system, and decreases congestion. Some of the best at home hydrotherapy treatments: constitutional hydrotherapy, contrast showers, warming socks, castor oil packs

Homeopathy

6) Homeopathy

Depending on symptoms, some top remedies to combat allergies are:

Allium cepa – bland discharge from eyes, burning discharge from nose

Euphrasia – swollen eyes with profuse burning discharge, bland discharge from nose

Sabadilla – violent sneezing, red, swollen eyelids, itchy nose

Pulsatilla – bland yellow discharge from nose, eyes; weepy, tearful disposition

Arsenicum album – burning tears, tightness in lungs, burning throat; restless worry

Nux vomica – evening congestion, blocked breathing, burning eyes with sensitivity to light, itchy ears, irritable and chilly

It is also important to support organ systems involved in the allergic response, such as the adrenal glands, immune system, and digestive tract to treat the root cause of dysfunction. Please consult a naturopath prior to initiating the above treatment strategies.

Julia Liebich

Dr. Julia Liebich is one of our Naturopathic Doctors practicing in Woodbury and Edina Minnesota, servicing the twin cities and Wisconsin. Specializing in treating the underlying cause using natural medicine, Dr. Julia creates customized treatment plans for each patient. Whether you have allergies, digestive issues, hormone imbalance, or cardiovascular problems, Dr. Julia can help. You can schedule an appointment by calling 612-564-2218 or scheduling online here.

Healing Pain and Inflammation Naturally!

healing pain and inflammation naturally

body massage

When you’re ready for natural pain relief

When you think about all the conditions and injuries out there, causing pain on the daily, you may wonder what your treatment options are. If you are like most adults, you probably already have a bottle of ibuprofen (Advil ®), acetaminophen (Tylenol ®), or naproxen (Aleve ®) just an arm’s reach away in your cabinet.

If you suffer from chronic pain, menstrual pain, or even the occasional “ouch”-worthy injury, you may be wondering if there are other options for pain relief beside NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), steroids, or opiates. At Balanced Care, we’re here to help. Taking steps for healing pain and inflammation naturally may be just what the holistic doctor ordered.

In this article, we’ve curated eight natural pain relief options for you to consider. If you’re curious about our services and how we can customize a treatment plan for you, be sure to schedule a consult with us, and together we can begin to help you find the relief you need.

Healing Pain and Inflammation Naturally

What is Natural Pain Relief?

A natural approach to pain relief means leveraging your body’s innate desire to be pain-free. Pain is a great teacher. Pain alerts us to injury, or that one or more of our body systems is not working optimally. Several natural pain relief modalities utilize our internal chemistry. Other methods use physical movement or other muscle manipulation to reduce inflammation and pain.

Remember, testing before treatment is best

When you notice pain in your body that is long-lasting, severe, new, or alarming in some way for you, it’s best to see your doctor first. If your pain accompanies a known or recent injury, it is essential to have proper diagnostic testing like x-rays, MRI scans, movement evaluations, blood work, or other diagnostics performed. Once you have a precise diagnosis, adequate treatment options rise for examination as well.

Prevent or reduce Inflammation

back pain

You’ve seen your doctor and got the tests to rule out severe conditions, and have acquired the recommended supports and resting protocol after injury. Now, what can you do to manage your pain and discomfort? Take steps to reduce systemic inflammation.  

Inflammation is our body’s natural response to an irritant or injury. The chemicals released by the body during an inflammatory response allows more blood to flow to the affected area, which can make the area hot, red, and swollen. Hormones released during the inflammatory response also irritate surrounding nerve tissue, which may cause pain. Taking natural measures to calm inflammation can reduce the pain you feel.

Stop Eating Inflammatory Foods

Several ubiquitous food sources can cause low-grade systemic inflammation. The biggest offenders are gluten and cow’s dairy. Watch out for these products that contain gluten:

Wheat, Barley, Spelt, and Oats, (unless the package says “gluten-free”, it may include some gluten particles).

Cow’s dairy is our most common form of dairy in the U.S. Dairy products (yogurt, cheese, or milk) are made from cow’s dairy unless the label says otherwise. Goat and sheep’s dairy are comparatively less inflammatory than cow’s dairy because they contain a different type of protein than cow’s dairy.

Choosing foods consistent with an anti-inflammatory diet may reduce the severity of your pain.

Exercise Gently

Consistently moving your body has been shown to help nearly every significant health condition. For example, in people with arthritis, a gentle and consistent movement like walking, biking, stretching, swimming, or even light dancing can help preserve or improve range of motion, reduce stiffness and swelling, and reduce pain symptoms.

People living with fibromyalgia may also relieve pain with exercise. A gentle walk or stretch can mitigate menstrual pain. Exercising (within healing protocols as suggested by your health care team) is required for re-gaining pre-injury levels of fitness and range of motion. These are just a few examples of how body movement can reduce pain.

Consider a Natural Herbal Pain Relief Supplement

Turmeric

There are a host of herbal remedies that help in healing pain and inflammation naturally. Here are a few of the most common anti-inflammatory supplements and topical products.

Capsaicin: The “spicy” compound found in peppers, capsaicin can be effective as a topical pain relief remedy.  This compound interrupts “substance P” (the neurochemical that transmits pain messages to the brain) transmission in our nervous system.

MSM: This sulfur-containing compound exists in humans, animals, and plants, and is sold extensively in pill form. The proof is in the science–taking this supplement can reduce pain and inflammation, as well as helping curb allergy symptoms and boosting immune function.

Turmeric: The curcumin in turmeric is touted as a potent anti-inflammatory. Though the science is still unclear, taking supplement-grade turmeric may improve the following conditions:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Heartburn
  • Arthritis
  • Joint pain
  • Kidney problems
  • High Cholesterol

Turmeric as a supplement is best for adults who are not pregnant or nursing. Using turmeric as a cooking spice is generally considered harmless for most people. As always, check with your primary care physician or schedule an appointment with us for proper dosing suggestions.

Make Friends with Needles

Yes, it’s a thing. Commonly called acupuncture, getting “needled” can have some tremendous pain-relieving benefits. Here’s how acupuncture can help reduce pain:

  1. A needle is inserted just below the skin, along several key “meridian”, or energy points in the body.
  2. Once the needles are inserted, they remain in the patient for 10-30 minutes, while the patient relaxes in a chair or on a massage table.
  3. The going hypothesis is that the needles stimulate the surrounding nerves to send a hormonal message to the brain.
  4. The brain releases our natural pain-relieving chemicals (like endorphins), and we feel happier, and we may feel less pain.
  5. Try several treatments for best results.

Try a Relaxing “Mass-ahhhhhh-ge.”

See what we did there?  Now that you are picturing yourself breathing profoundly and sinking blissfully into the care of a licensed massage therapist’s experienced hands, perhaps you are feeling less pain already! Massage helps to:

  • Loosen tight muscles
  • Improve range of motion
  • Free up the adhesions that can build up between muscle layers (Myofascial release)
  • Quiet muscular “trigger” points–irritated bands of muscle commonly seen in the neck, shoulders, and other places where we tend to hold stress.

Next time you find yourself reaching for a bottle of your favorite pain relief drug, remember that there are may ways of healing pain and inflammation naturally. Methods that use your body’s own intelligence to come back into pain-free balance. Pain relief is best approached as a mosaic — a combination of tools will bring the best results. Contact Balanced Care today for an appointment. Together, we will find the best pathway to your well being —naturally!

8 Home Remedies For the Common Cold

home remedies for the common cold
You wash your hands, you stay away from others when they are sick, and you eat your fruits and veggies. You do all of these things, and yet those pesky viruses have still found a way into your body.

Eat Your Medicine

An unfortunately timed upper respiratory infection has attacked you like the common cold.  Did you know adults get about 2 to 4 colds each year? Children are double that, getting on average 6 to 8 colds each year. That is a lot of sick people to try to avoid. No wonder you have landed yourself with a cold.

Regardless of statistics, your nose is a faucet, your throat is sore and scratchy, and your pile of tissues on the coffee table makes you consider becoming the world’s next Jenga champion.

You know you will get better eventually, but right now you would like some relief. Life doesn’t slow down when you are sick, and you are ready to start feeling better, like yesterday. Natural home remedies for the common cold are becoming increasingly popular since people are getting more serious about their health.

So go ahead, curl up on the couch with a blanket (you deserve to because you’re sick) and continue reading below to find eight ways you can eat your medicine. That’s right, eat it. (And technically drink it for some of them.) The best part about the following list of natural home remedies is the fact that most of these ingredients are already sitting in your kitchen.

8 Home Remedies for the Common Cold

Some of these remedies are old favorites that you might already know, but some might surprise you and become your next favorite cold go-to.

1. Honey

Honey is liquid gold. It is high in nutrients and enzymes which help kill the nasty cold viruses. Honey will coat your throat and help protect it from the extra mucus which is causing your throat to be sore. Honey can also be given to adults and children with sore throats before bed to help them sleep.

Best Ways to Eat Honey

  • A spoonful of honey!
  • Add honey to your tea
  • 1 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp honey. Take every 2 hours

Note: You should only give honey to children that are over 1 year old

2. Ginger

Ginger has a long history in medicines, so what is so unique about it? Ginger has some essential medicinal properties like antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It will help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways to Eat Ginger

  • Eat raw ginger
  • Ginger Tea
  • Boil 2 cups of water
  • Add 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • Cover and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Take off heat for another 5 minutes
  • Strain
  • Add a little lemon juice and honey, then enjoy.

Chicken Soup

3. Chicken Soup

Chicken soup and colds go hand in hand. Good thing it is delicious as well as nutritious. While you are slurping down this delightful soup, you are doing your body another favor. The soup is full of ingredients that help fight off the infection. So go ahead and have a second bowl, or third.

Best Ways to Eat Chicken Soup

  • Homemade chicken soup using organic vegetables and chicken will provide you with the best ingredients
  • Bowl and spoon

4. Red Onion

Yes, red onion. When you inhale red onion oils, relief from your cold symptoms might feel immediate. Also, since red onions are high in antioxidants, they can help your body fight off the infection.

Best Ways To Eat Red Onion

  • Red onion syrup
  • In a mason jar, alternate layers of a thinly sliced onion and raw honey. Repeat until the jar is full. Cover for 12-15 hours.
  • Drink a spoonful of syrup often during the day for relief

5. Black Pepper

Black pepper contains piperine which is known to help open up the airways. That can help with breathing and reduce coughing. Since there is probably pepper sitting on your counter next to your stove, go ahead and add some to your next meal.

Best Ways to Eat Black Pepper

  • Sprinkle on meal
  • Gargle 1 tsp with warm water
  • Smell it (just smelling pepper can help open up your airways)

6. Garlic

Garlic is known to be antibacterial and antiviral which will help give your immune system an extra boost. Like pepper, garlic can help open up airways to make breathing more comfortable, but it can also flush out toxins from your body which will help you recover faster. (More on the healing benefits of garlic.)

Best Ways to Eat Garlic

  • Munch on raw garlic cloves
  • Garlic paste
  • 1 crushed garlic clove, 2 tsp honey, 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder). Eat daily until your symptoms go away.
  • Add fresh chopped garlic to your food

Turmeric Milk

7. Turmeric Milk

Turmeric is known to have antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Turmeric milk will help with not only coughing but also body aches and headaches.

Note:  I suggest using unsweetened coconut milk…

Best Way to Drink Turmeric Milk

8. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can help a scratchy and sore throat in addition to helping fight off the infection. Cinnamaldehyde is full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Best Ways to Eat Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon Tea
  • Combine 1 tbsp powdered cinnamon, 2 cloves, and 2 cups boiling water
  • Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Strain, let it cool, and enjoy!
  • For added benefits, and best results, add honey

There you have it: 8 home remedies for the common cold and upper respiratory infections.

Upper respiratory infections of any kind are never a welcomed experience. They are annoying, untimely, and they can make you feel miserable for days. People continue their daily lives feeling miserable until the cold goes away, but remember you will recover faster if you are taking care of yourself. Not only is it imperative to take care of yourself to get better, but it’s also important to take care of yourself, so you don’t get worse. A cold can turn into other more severe upper respiratory infections if untreated.

That means that you are getting proper sleep, drinking plenty of liquids, and eating and drinking foods that are high in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Please, stay home from work you deserve to rest and get better. There are so many simple, symptom-relieving foods available that you can try above. Check your cupboards to see what you have on hand already and give one of them a shot. You might be surprised at how much better you feel.

Note:  If you haven’t recovered in about two weeks or are catching colds frequently, it is time to check in with your doctor.

Creative Ways To Use Your FSA Money Before It Is Lost

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Most FSA plans view naturopathic health and medicine as eligible expenses. Our goal as Naturopathic Doctors at Balanced Care is to help individuals in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and beyond address health concerns and treat illnesses.

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  1. Naturopathic Doctors

Most FSA plans view naturopathic health and medicine as eligible expenses. Our goal as naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care is to help individuals in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and beyond address health concerns and treat illnesses. We do this by using natural remedies and natural medicine. An appointment at Balanced Care may consist of running lab tests and prescribing supplements. Both of these services can usually be paid for with FSA money.

If you are looking for natural ways to help solve chronic health problems we can help you. Whether you have digestion issues , high blood pressure and high blood sugar , or infertility natural treatments are available. On the other hand, if you simply want to lose some weight, decrease the amount of sugar you consume, or find ways to positively increase your health and wellness, naturopathic doctors can also help with those issues.

  1. Eye Exams, Glasses and Contacts

If your annual eye exam isn’t until next year, you can still visit your eye doctor. You might not need an exam, but you can get additional glasses, prescription sunglasses or contact lenses. Getting prescription sunglasses in the winter may seem odd, but we’ve had many sunny winter days here in the Twin Cities in the last few weeks. Sunglasses make perfect sense on these days. Even when the sun isn’t shining brightly, some eye doctors still recommend wearing sunglasses to protect eyes and skin from the sun’s UV rays.

If you’ve had enough of your glasses and contacts you may be considering LASIK. FSA funds can help pay for LASIK surgery. Most health insurance plans don’t cover LASIK. Utilizing your FSA for this costly procedure is a great way to get the permanent results you desire without having to foot the entire bill yourself. Dr. Katie had LASIK done this year with Dr. Chu and had an amazing experience and perfect results – she highly recommends their clinic.

  1. Chiropractors

Even if you don’t have any back or joint pain seeing a chiropractor is still a good idea. You don’t have to wait until after an accident or until you’ve started experiencing pain to see a chiropractor. A chiropractic checkup is beneficial for everyone. Pain and injury often aren’t apparent until after a problem has gone on too long. During a checkup a chiropractic doctor might be able to uncover areas that could lead to more serious health issues in the future. When health problems are caught early, and treated correctly, your chances of being completely healed are much higher.

We highly recommend  Bloomington Wellness and Chiro Center Bloomington for our Edina patients and Woodbury Family Chiropractic for Woodbury patients.

  1. Acupuncture

  2. Supplements

  3. Contraception and Fertility

Condoms are covered under flexible spending accounts. Female contraception is also usually covered under FSA with a prescription. If you are looking to get pregnant, pregnancy tests, fertility monitors and testing systems can also be purchased with FSA money.

  1. Kick Your Smoking Habit

If you’re a smoker with the goal of quitting in the New Year smoking cessation programs are FSA eligible. Whether you plan to use an in-person program, smoking cessation patches or gum, these can all be purchased with your flexible spending account. Even if you don’t plan to start until the New Year, purchasing these items before the year is up will leave you well prepared and ensure that you won’t lose your FSA money.

  1. Make Sure Your First Aid Kits are Stocked

Bandages, hot and cold compress packs, gauze, medical tape and alcohol wipes are all essential to any well-prepared first aid kit. They can all also be purchased using your FSA. Whether you are restocking or creating your own kit, or looking to buy a kit that has already been put together, utilize your FSA for all of these items.

Dr. Katie and Dr. Rachel have appointments available still in 2017 and around the holidays if needed. You can schedule online or by calling 612-564-2218.