Dr. Taz MD Living Healthy, Naturally Issue 18

Expanding Your Options: Anxiety

Eating organic food, using supplements and in-depth testing can seem costly, however, many people find it’s worth it by healing the body rather than treating or masking the symptoms. Over the years, I have found that treating the symptoms typically leads to additional conditions or the need for increased medication. In this column, I take common medical issues, show different approaches and offer an natural alternative to conventional treatment. I like to think of it as Expanding Your Options!
TIP: Anxiety is a condition that plagues some 40 million Americans over the age of 18 according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Anxiety can include obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, phobias and panic disorders. Most commonly, patients are prescribed prescription drugs, which usually come with a host of side effects and often just mask symptoms.

When approaching treatment options for my patients suffering from anxiety, I typically recommend a combination of magnesium, theanine, good and consistent sleep, regular exercise, the supplement 5htp and yoga.

Integrative Approach 

  • Magnesium $13  
  • Theanine $20
  • Sleep $ 0
  • Regular Exercise $0
  • Yoga $0
  • 5HTP $ 16
*This column information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any medical condition. Prices are approximate and taken from online industry averages.

Beauty Buzz
Six Steps to Glowing Summer Skin

Two beautiful girls outdoorsSummer is a great time to shine! So whether you will be working in the garden, heading to the pool for the afternoon or taking a beach trip – try these summer sun tips and your skin will thank you!

Follow these six steps to gorgeous skin and put your healthiest face forward! And in case you missed it, now is a great time to go back and read my Top 5 Sun Safety Tips to get healthy sunscreen recommendations and learn how to keep your skin protected.  

1. Exercise. That dewy glow isn’t your imagination. When you break a sweat, not only are toxins released through the surface of the skin, but the increase of blood flow nourishes the skin’s cells with oxygen and nutrients. Exercise also helps regulate digestion, reduces stress and boosts mood – all of these perks are reflected in your skin.

2. Eat fish twice a week, especially wild salmon. Salmon contains a good dose of omega 3 fatty acids as well as a unique combination of antioxidants including DMAE and astaxanthin (which makes it pink). All of these constituents control inflammation and contribute to a hydrated and youthful appearance by keeping skin cells strong and able to hold in water.

3. Drizzle on the extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is an anti-inflammatory fat that is great for skin whether you are drizzle it on your salads or apply it directly to your face! Olive oil (as well as other oils) can deep clean the skin while keeping it moist. Simply massage a quarter-size dollop directly into your unwashed skin (don’t get it wet beforehand). Remove it thoroughly with a wet, warm and very soft washcloth.  You’ll be amazed at how clean and soft your skin feels!

4. Shun highly inflammatory foods such as sugar and refined carbs. Limiting these foods keeps sugar and insulin levels balanced which can greatly improve the appearance of your skin. Focus on good protein, healthy fats and plant-based foods and your skin will thank you.

5. Stay hydrated. During the summer months cut down on heavily salted processed foods and drink plenty of water. Eight glasses a day is the usual recommendation but it varies based on diet, weight, health conditions and activity level. For deeper hydration, try making a lemonade electrolyte drink with equal parts water and coconut water. Just add fresh lemon juice, raw honey and unrefined sea salt to taste. The potassium from the coconut water and the sodium from the salt replenish electrolytes that are lost during exercise, keeping you (and your skin) hydrated.

6. Switch from coffee to green tea. Drinking coffee can raise cortisol levels and, in some, enlarge the appearance of pores. Consider switching to green tea which has a lower caffeine content and will give you a healthy blast of antioxidants that sweep up free radicals caused by sun exposure.

For a delicious recipe to give your skin a boost – try a favorite recipe of mine from Nicholas Perricone, MD, a board-certified clinical and research dermatologist, who I included in my book, What Doctors Eat.

unnamedAsk Dr. Taz MD

Q: Dear Dr. Taz,
My son is 23 and suffers immensely from Ankylosing Spondylitis, Deg. Disk Disease andMalnutrition. Over 20 doctors have not been able to do anything for him, except wanting to put him on Humira. I am so heartbroken to watch my young, smart,sweet son become disabled and lose all hope. He is 6 feet tall and only weighs 123 lbs. He is literally like a skeleton. He hardly complains. Imyself have Celiac Disease. He tested negative through an Endoscopy, which is a poor test for Celiac. He knows he eats badly (no fruits or veggies) but he seems to stay depressed and in horrible pain every single day. God bless you for any help you can give us.

A: I feel for you and have seen so many patients in your situation. May, ironically, is National Arthritis Awareness month as well. My first steps with the many patients battling an autoimmune disease is to start an anti inflammatory diet which includes lowering, if not eliminating, gluten and dairy. Watching sugar, but increasing calories through amino acid supplementation and foods that are easily digestible help to add calories. Again, I have not seen your son, so all advice is based on experience with past patients. You might considering trying to start him on a few protein shakes per day, you can try Metagenics Ultraclear Sustain or UltrainflamX.

Click here to Ask Dr. Taz MD your questions!

Living Healthy Tip
How can you Support your Liver?

There are several ways that you can keep your liver functioning at its best. Try these tips! 

1.       Reduce your toxic load. Eat organic when possible, use nontoxic cleaners, avoid using medication unnecessarily and keep alcoholic beverages to 3/wk for women and 6-7/wk for men. If you can manage the escape, spend some time at the beach, mountains or countryside, breathing in the cleaner air.

2.       Eat liver supporting foods. With 80,000 chemicals approved for commerce and thousands more being added each year2, it’s impossible to create a pristinely nontoxic environment. Food to the rescue! Greens, dandelion root tea, apples, beets and turmeric are examples of foods that support your liver in today’s imperfect environment.

3.       Know your food sensitivities. One man’s food is another man’s poison. When we are sensitive to a food, it is like a toxin to our body adding to the liver’s workload.

4.       Try juicing! To get a concentrated dose of liver-boosting compounds, try this refreshing ruby-colored detox juice.

Liver Detox Juice
Serves 1

  • 1 beet, scrubbed One handful of greens, washed (dandelion greens are very good for the liver if you are ok with the bitter taste)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • Juice all ingredients, stir and enjoy!

 Check out more tips on my blog! 

Food Allergies Explained

Flour SackThis month, food allergy awareness is highlighted nationally, so let’s take a moment to brush up on this increasingly prevalent and potentially fatal disease.

Food Allergies Fast Facts:

  • 15 million Americans are affected, including 1 in 13 children. 
  • The number is growing rapidly – between 1997 and 2011 there was a 50% increase. 
  • Food allergies are much more common in the “developed” world. In “developing” countries, food allergies are rare. 
  • The “Top 8” food allergens make up 90% of cases – peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish. But virtually any food can cause a reaction.1 
  • A food allergy can develop at any age. Some food allergies can be outgrown (this is more common with milk, eggs, soy) while others tend to be lifelong (peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish).

Food Allergies Q&A What are the symptoms?

  • Food allergies come on quickly – within a few minutes to an hour of consuming the food. 
  • A reaction can be initially felt as a tingling in the mouth, tightness in the throat and difficulty breathing & swallowing. As the food is digested, gastrointestinal distress such as vomiting and diarrhea is possible. As the allergen particles make their way to the skin, hives and eczema are common. A person may also feel weak or dizzy.2
  • Anaphylaxis is an acute, potentially fatal reaction that affects the whole body. Symptoms can include all of the above plus low blood pressure, wheezing, confusion, a rapid pulse and swelling.

What should I do if I suspect I have an allergy?

If your reaction is acute, seek emergency help immediately (call 911). But even if you are experiencing some of the less severe symptoms shortly after eating, call your doctor or an allergist. They will work with you to diagnose the allergy, through testing. There is no cure, but you can take precautions to prevent a reaction.

Read labels diligently.

  • If you are being served by someone else, ask twice. People unaffected by allergies are naturally not as tuned in as those at risk. 
  • Beware of cross contamination. Sometimes an allergen isn’t listed as an ingredient, but traces of it exist due to shared equipment in the food factory. 
  • Be prepared for unintended exposure, especially if the allergy is severe. Wear a medical bracelet, carry an epinephrine auto-injection device (“epipen”), and seek medical help immediately.

What is the difference between an allergy and intolerance?

  • Food allergies come on quickly and occur consistently – every time the food is ingested, even if it is just a small amount. Food allergies can be life threatening. 
  • Food intolerances come on gradually and may not happen every time the food is consumed or if it was only a small quantity. They are not life threatening.

To find out why food allergies are on the rise read my blog.

Goal of Dr. Taz MD’s Living Healthy, Naturally

The goal of this guide is to inform you about current and topical health issues. To ensure that you have the best available information, our research team at our Atlanta Center of Holistic and Integrative Medicine is aboard to help vet our material from a broad group of established and reliable sources.

If you like what you’re reading, I encourage you to send this newsletter to a friend or family member so they too can enjoy living healthy, naturally.

With gratitude, 
Dr. Taz Bhatia MD