Naturopath Case Study (Hives, Sinus, and Sleep Problems)
Our bodies are entirely made up of what we put in our mouth, and so how things work in our bodies is almost completely dependent on what we eat and drink. How well these ingredients are absorbed, how well they are formed into the different compounds and hormones the body needs, the reactions between these compounds, and how well all these processes are controlled determines our health (or health problems).
Naturopathy involves the use of natural medications and diet to improve how all these processes are taking place, and to resolve health problems and diseases. While this may sound like simply giving someone a few vitamins and a some diet changes, the human body is incredibly complex, and so naturopaths need to have a highly detailed understanding of
- How the body functions (what chemical processes take place in the organs, brain, etc)
- How things go wrong if it doesn’t have the right chemical ingredients
- How to provide the correct nutrients or herbal compounds to restore the correct chemical balance in the body, so that it is able to repair any damage, get the organs working correctly again, and have the cells of the body performing the way they are meant to.
As you would expect, this takes a very high level of scientific and medical knowledge and experience. To register as a naturopath, you must have completed a four year full-time degree. You must also belong to a professional association, and complete additional Continuing Professional Development training every year.
(For more information, please visit our naturopathy page.)
Sarah (not her real name) came to the clinic with bad hives on her neck, arms, back and thighs. The hives had a significant impact on her appearance, and were causing her a lot of discomfort and distress.
Sarah had received an allergy skin-prick test, which showed she had sensitivities to 5 different foods. She had eliminated these from her diet, but this made no difference to her symptoms.
Her health history included a continual sinus infection, and she took four courses of antibiotics for this in 2019, which did not get rid of it.
Sarah took advantage of our free Comprehensive Assessment offer, and also had an Organ Function Test. The Test showed that her digestive functions were low, it was likely she had food intolerances, her liver was congested, and her adrenaline levels were high.
The Assessment also established that she had excessive inflammation in her digestive system, and that the congested liver was causing a build-up of toxins in her system. The food intolerances seemed to be the result of the weak and inflamed digestive system. As digestive issues, food intolerances, and skin conditions all usually respond well to naturopathy treatments, it was recommended she have a consultation with one of our naturopaths. Acupuncture treatments were also recommended to help reduce the inflammation in her digestive system.
At the initial session, her naturopath conducted further testing, including iridology (examining the irises of the eyes), examining her nails and tongue, checking her acidity levels, and testing her zinc status. From this she determined that Sarah’s digestive system was not breaking down and processing her food correctly. The partly-digested particles of food were entering her blood stream, and causing a reaction by her immune system. The constant triggering of the immune system in this way was the major cause of her hives. Her stress levels and liver function were also factors (itchy skin conditions are often related to the liver not functioning well).
A treatment plan was created for Sarah, to
- improve the breakdown of food by her digestive system
- address the over-reaction of her immune system
- help her (and her body) deal more effectively with stress
Three practitioner grade, prescription-only supplements were given to address each of these areas.
The first product contained ingredients that
- Reduce histamine levels
- Help healthy immune regulation and function
- Improve digestive immune functions
- Improve the natural liver detoxification processes
- Here’s the technical details in case you are interested (just skip if not)
- Helps to make the body more tolerant to allergens and reduce allergic reactions by addressing the underlying causes of allergies, such as immune dysfunction, inflammation, detoxification processes, and gut barrier function.
- Supports control of the immune system and healthy immune function. The product includes Glutamine and Shiitake mushroom, which increase secretory IgA secretion to prevent antigen adhesion and translocation through the luminal epithelial surface. Also contains Baical skullcap and Reishi to help to regulate T helper 1 (Th1) and T helper 2 (Th2) balance. Baical Skullcap also exerts an anti-allergic effect by regulating T cell-mediated responses (including decreasing IgE and increasing IgG2).
- Reduces intestinal permeability and inhibits allergen permeation. Baical Skullcap, glutamine, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D act upon the tight junctions of the intestinal epithelium. Baical Skullcap helps prevent allergic responses to foods by inhibiting allergen permeation.
- Symptomatic relief of allergies via anti-inflammatory and mast cell stabilising mechanisms. Baical Skullcap, Milk Thistle and Reishi inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells. (In a randomised controlled trial, Perilla Frutescens leaf extract was shown to suppress immunoglobulin response and inflammation in mild allergic rhinitis.) Choline intake leads to an increase in membrane phosphatidyl cholinexv and helps relieve urticaria and allergic rhinitis symptoms. Vitamin D also has an anti-inflammatory effect due to suppressing the production of Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs).
- Milk thistle helps the liver’s natural detoxification processes, which helps to remove immunologically active materials, reducing immune reactions.
The second product was a combination of two immune-correcting and anti-inflammatory probiotic strains, designed to
- Maintain healthy immune system control in the body
- Reduce the occurrence and severity of allergy symptoms
- Again, here’s the technical stuff in case you are interested
- Regulates the immune system: Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG and lactobacillus paracasei (LP-33TM) help to promote immune regulation by interacting with dendritic cells within the gut associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), stimulating the production of regulatory T cells and increasing production of regulatory cytokines such as IL-10 and TGF-beta. LGG also promotes a shift towards an enhanced anti-inflammatory response by a heightened secretion of anti-inflammatory cytokines and decreased secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
- LGG has bi-directional immunomodulatory effects – stimulatory when an increased response is needed and down-regulatory when attenuation is appropriate. 20 billion CFU of LGG daily has been shown to reduce immune hyper-reactivity by strengthening the gut mucosal barrier integrity.
- LP-33TM modulates inflammation and immune reactions by interacting with these cells and, together with LGG, inducing development of regulatory T cells which can down regulate IgE, a Th2 cytokine involved in allergy. A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial on 425 subjects with allergic rhinitis compared the effects of LP-33TM or placebo over a five week period. The LP-33TM group demonstrated significant improvements in their Rhinitis Quality Of Life (RQLQ) score, nasal and ocular symptoms.
The third product was a herbal formula to
- Calm her nervous system
- Reduce the effects of nervous tension and stress on her body
- Improve relaxation and sleep
- Relax her muscles
Sarah was also given a Diet Plan to help identify and eliminate any specific dietary triggers for her hives.
At her second consultation in 4 weeks, Sarah was excited to report that the hives had cleared up completely. Her sinus infection had also improved significantly, and she no longer had to use a nasal spray for it.
As her hives and sinus infection were virtually eliminated, we turned to another health issue she had. For many years Sarah would wake up at 2 am, and most times couldn’t get back to sleep after that. This was affecting her energy levels, her mental function and clarity, and her mood.
On investigation, we found that Sarah’s Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) was over-active. The SNS is associated with the ‘fight or flight’ response, and keeps the body from relaxing and going to sleep properly. It also increases the body’s stress response, disrupts the digestive system, causes muscle tension, increases blood sugar levels, puts additional strain on the heart (possibly raising blood pressure), and many other impacts on health.
Again, Sarah was prescribed a high-potency practitioner level supplement to address the underlying cause of her problem. The ingredients
- Help the body to have a more normal, healthy stress response
- Help the metabolism and synthesis of the body’s important neuro-transmitters, including the calming neuro-transmitter GABA2
- Technical bits
- Provides highly bioavailable magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc, which are all nutrients required to be able to cope with stress effectively and may be depleted in chronic stress. The adrenergic effects of stress induce a shift of magnesium to the extracellular space, increasing urinary excretion and depleting body stores. Magnesium deficiency adversely affects excitatory neurotransmitters such as serotonin and acetylcholine and is associated with stress.
- A double-blind, placebo controlled trial using 6.0 g of taurine per day investigated its impact on stress symptoms and biochemistry. This study showed taurine to inhibit the stress-induced release of adrenaline. Magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc are required to regulate the stress response as co-factors in neurotransmitter synthesis.
- Zinc is essential in modulating the stress response. Zinc levels have been found to be deficient in people with generalised anxiety disorder. Exposure to acute stress increases serum glycocorticoids and induces metallothionein synthesis which consequently decreases serum zinc.
At her next appointment 3 weeks later, Sarah was overjoyed to report that she was now sleeping through the night and getting 7-8 hours sleep each time.
It is important to note that every person and their conditions are different, and each case requires careful individual diagnosis of what is causing their problem. Sarah had a very quick improvement for several conditions she had endured for many years, but each person’s body improves at a different rate, and so improvement may take longer for another person. However, with the correct assessment, diagnosis, high-quality supplements or herbs, and/or dietary advice being followed, there will be good results in the vast majority of cases.
If you have health problem you would like to get rid of, please consider booking in for a Comprehensive Assessment. We can then look at what is going on in your body, what is causing the problem, and the best way to sort it out. (The Assessment is a completely free service, with no obligations whatsoever.)