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Seasonal Allergies

What causes my seasonal allergies and what can I do to suppress the symptoms?

Many people suffer with seasonal or year-around allergies and know the all-too-familiar feeling of the tightness in your chest, the itchiness around your eyes, and the constant stuffy nose. Many people I’ve talked to have said that their allergies have been worse this season. What causes seasonal allergies and is there a way that you can support your body and suppress the allergic reaction?

With any sort of allergy- pollen, food, medications, etc. – the body has the same reaction. Our body’s immune system is designed to recognize foreign substances known as antigens that it recognizes as potentially harmful. It then launches an attack on that substance by releasing a series of chemicals that result in the symptoms associated with a sickness (fever, cold symptoms, etc.). This is good when we encounter viruses and bacteria that are not welcome. However, when the immune cells in our body mistakingly identify a normal substance as a harmful, foreign invader, it launches an attack when the substance itself may not be harmful. An allergy is an overactive immune response to a substance that it determines is harmful but is not to the normal person. 

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, it is likely due to the pollen released from trees, grasses, and weeds. There are a number of things you can do like monitor pollen counts or avoid going outside or being near plants you know you’re allergic to in order to control symptoms. For mild allergies, doctors will often prescribe antihistamines or nasal decongestants to manage symptoms. In more severe cases, your doctor may give you a stronger medication or give you shots to reduce the severity of the reaction.

What can you do to support your body and improve its immune reaction?

There are a number of nutrients (not limited to the ones listed below) that are essential in a properly functioning immune system. Supporting your body’s own immune system might help to lessen the reactivity that you might be experiencing.

– Vitamin D: Vitamin D plays an important role in many body functions including the immune system. Vitamin D helps to prohibit the action of pro-inflammatory chemicals that are key players in allergic reactions. 
– Vitamin C: While vitamin C is known for its role in the immune system, studies are showing that vitamin C may help reduce symptoms of allergies: decreasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and slowing the release of histamines. 
– Omega 3’s: It’s not surprising that omega 3 fatty acids make this list as we have talked before about their anti-inflammatory properties. However, omega-3’s have also been shown to decrease the risk of seasonal allergies. 
– Vitamin E: Vitamin E also has anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to help suppress overactive immune responses. 

While there are other supplements that are showing promising results for treating and managing allergies, starting with making sure your diet is providing adequate nutrients to supports its systems is always a good place to start. 

Visit to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today! 


Protecting your Skin

It is that time of year again… SUMMER! Warm sun, barbecues, long days at the pool.

Sunshine is very important for our health and well-being. It’s important for waking us up in the morning, lifting our mood, giving us vitamin D, and much more. However, many of us know that too much sun is unhealthy for our bodies. UV rays from the sun are considered a carcinogen, or a cancer-causing agent. Although it also performs beneficial functions, when the skin is exposed to excess UV rays, it can alter the growth and appearance of the skin, decreasing its elasticity, and causing DNA damage which can eventually cause cancer. 

The skin is considered the largest organ in the body, accounting for approximately 16% of your body’s mass. It is also more important than most people give it credit for. It is our number one immune defense. Intact, healthy skin keeps out unwanted organisms from entering. It also plays a part in temperature regulation and helps to prevent dehydration. 

It can be so inconvenient to protect your skin in the summer time, especially if you’re not prone to burning. However, even though you’re not burning, that doesn’t mean that you’re not damaging your skin. Therefore, it is very important to continue taking steps to protect your skin as you age so that it can continue to perform its functions optimally and so that you can prevent skin cancer from developing. 

Here are some tips for protecting your skin and keeping it healthy:
– Limit your exposure: especially during the hours with the highest UV (usually between 10 am- 2 pm) and wear clothing and hats to protect your skin.
– Wear sunscreen: Refer back to our post about clean products (link) to help you choose a cleaner sunscreen without damaging chemicals. Also make sure you’re applying sunscreen in sensitive areas like the top of your ears, your scalp, and your lips which are often forgotten. And REAPPLY!
– Reflective surfaces such as water, cement, and sand can still reflect back UV rays even while in the shade. Being near these surfaces can also increase the risk of sunburn.
– Certain medications can increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, so make sure you’re taking extra precautions.
– Wear sunglasses with UV protection: UV rays can cause damage to the eyes as well, so make sure you’re wearing eye protection when you are outside. 


Exercise and Bone Health

How can exercise improve my bone health and help be age better?

One of the hallmarks of aging is decreasing bone density. You reach your peak bone density around the age of 30, and it decreases a certain amount every year after that. Our bones are always going through a renewal process involving removing old bone cells and regenerating new ones. Both of these processes are going on at the same time, but as you age, the process of regenerating bone decreases resulting in an overall decrease in bone density instead of maintaining or increasing bone density. The cells that regenerate bone make collagen and other non-collagen proteins. The collagen is what provides bone its strength and resistance to deformation. There are also changes in the structure of the collagen in the bone as we age that lead to increased stiffness and brittleness. Lots of other factors such as genetics, hormones, peak bone mass earlier in life, drugs or medication use, other medical conditions, nutrition, and yes, even physical activity can impact bone mass.

We all know that our bones get more brittle and are more likely to fracture as we get older which is why so many people shy away from physical activity as they get older because they don’t want to hurt themselves.

The question is, how do you prevent further excessive loss in bone mass as you age?

You can’t control all of these factors leading to where you are now, but you can do something moving forward!

Exercise is a great way to help increase bone density as you age. Certain kinds of exercise can help to stimulate the generation of new bone cells. Bone responds to something called “mechanical loading” (which is muscle contraction or bearing weight) by increasing bone formation. The increase in bone formation is proportionate to the amount of mechanical loading or strain put on the bone. Furthermore, including rest periods in-between the periods of time where strain is present (more of a dynamic workout situation) increases the bone formation even more. Exercises that induce strain that is unlike normal strain put on the bone (think multidirectional jumping or versus walking or running) induces the formation of bone. Another reminder, like all processes in the body, certain nutrients are necessary for optimal function. Therefore, adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D is necessary to experience the full benefits of exercise for bone health. Furthermore, hormonal status and function is important to maintain good bone health. 

Here are some tips for maintaining bone health as you age:
– Maintain a healthy body weight: a body weight that is too high or too low can negatively impact bone health. Many don’t think about low body weight but that can negatively impact bone health as much as a higher body weight.
– Eat a healthy diet with adequate protein, calcium, and vitamin D. An adequate vitamin D status is required for optimum absorption of calcium in the gut, so it doesn’t hurt to eat both at the same time.
– Incorporate light weight-bearing aerobic activity: jumping, tennis, volleyball, hiking, etc. Remember to always start light and slowly increase.
– Incorporate light weight-bearing resistance training: Grab some small weights or use your body weight and do various exercises to increase your muscle strength and stability. Remember to always start light and slowly increase.
          – Here is a website with some great exercises for increasing strength while maintaining stability:

– Mix up your movement: Like we discussed above, dynamic exercise is best for increasing bone density. Create a workout plan with your doctors that changes up the types of exercises you are performing.

Remember to always talk to your doctor if you have or are at risk for a bone-related disease, are at risk for falling or fractures. It is always a good idea to run ideas past your doctor before trying to implement your own workout or diet plan.


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