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by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

The lymph system is a network of lymph vessels, tissues, and organs that carry lymph throughout the body.

Lymph is a colorless, watery fluid that travels through the lymph vessels and carries T and B lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell.

A poorly functioning lymphatic system is associated with the development of chronic disease.

Lymphedema occurs when lymph is not able to flow through the body the way that it should. When the lymph system is blocked or damaged, it builds up fluid in the soft body tissues, causing swelling. This can have significant negative effects on the function and quality of life.

Lymphedema usually affects an arm or leg, but it can also affect other parts of the body. It can cause long-term physical, psychological, and social problems for patients. 

Parts of the Lymph System

There are different parts of the lymph system that play a direct part in lymphedema, to include the lymph vessels, which are a network of thin tubes that collect lymph from different parts of the body and return it to the bloodstream. The lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped structures that filter lymph and store white blood cells that help fight infection and disease, they can be found in many places including the neck, underarm,  abdomen, pelvis, and groin.

The spleen, thymus, tonsils, and bone marrow are also part of the lymph system but do not play a direct part in lymphedema.

You can compare the lymphatic system to the drains in your home. When the drains are clogged, water quickly fills the sink basin; the toilet does not flush; and particles such as food, hair, and bacteria become stagnant in the drain. Eventually, when the source of the problem is unclogged, the water and other substances move freely through the pipes again.

   Just like your pipes, the lymphatic system can become congested and lead to adverse health reactions. These can include soreness of the breast, fatigue, eczema and chronic skin problems, cold limbs, bloating, headaches, body rigidity, and weakened immunity.

The following are some detoxification strategies to improve the health of your lymphatic system.

Care for Your Limbs With Lymphedema

Taking preventive steps may keep lymphedema from developing. If lymphedema has developed, these steps may keep it from getting worse.

Keep skin and nails clean to prevent infection. Bacteria can enter the body through a cut, scratch, insect bite, or other skin injuries. Fluid that is trapped in body tissues by lymphedema makes it easy for bacteria to grow and cause infection.

Use cream or lotion to keep the skin moist, and treat small cuts or breaks in the skin with an antibacterial ointment.

Avoid needle sticks of any type into the limb with lymphedema. This includes shots or blood tests. Use a thimble for sewing.

Avoid testing bath or cooking water using the limb with lymphedema. There may be less feeling in the affected arm or leg, and skin might burn in hot water.

Wear gloves when gardening, and wear sunscreen and shoes when outdoors.

Cut toenails straight across. See a podiatrist as needed to prevent ingrown nails and infections.

Avoid blocking the flow of fluids through the body. It is important to keep body fluids moving, especially through an affected limb or in areas where lymphedema may develop. It is a good idea not to cross your legs while sitting and change your sitting position at least every 30 minutes.

Wear only loose jewelry and clothes without tight bands or elastic. Do not carry handbags on the arm with lymphedema. Do not use a blood-pressure cuff on the arm with lymphedema. Do not use elastic bandages or stockings with tight bands. Keep blood from pooling in the affected limb. Keep the limb with lymphedema raised higher than the heart when possible. Do not swing the limb quickly in circles or let the limb hang. This makes blood and fluid collect in the lower part of the arm or leg. Do not apply heat to the limb.

Studies have shown that carefully controlled exercise is safe for patients with lymphedema. Exercise does not increase the chance that lymphedema will develop in patients who are at risk for lymphedema. In the past, patients were advised to avoid exercising the affected limb. Studies have now shown that slow, carefully controlled exercise is safe and may even help keep lymphedema from developing.

Take Care of Your Lymph System

Exercising daily may be one of the easiest and most effective ways to boost the health of your lymphatic system. Whether you are lifting weights at the gym, dancing around your home with your kids, or going for a jog with the dog, you are encouraging the health of your lymphatic system and improving immune function.

Rebounding (a low-impact exercise, which involves jumping on a trampoline) promotes the flow of lymph through the body and can increase the drainage of toxins from organs and muscle tissue.

Stress reduction techniques encourage the flow of lymph through your body. Some of these techniques may involve yoga, pilates, deep-breathing exercises, massage, stretching, and maintaining good posture.

One of the key mechanisms by which our bodies remove toxins is through perspiration. Participating in vigorous activity, including intense exercise, is not the only mechanism by which you can improve lymphatic function. Infrared saunas offer a non-invasive form of light therapy, which heats internal muscles and organs thereby pushing toxins into circulation for their removal from the body. Infrared technology offers amazing benefits for promoting the detoxification of the body.

Some of the best foods to detoxify the lymphatic system are red fruits and vegetables. These include pomegranates, cranberries, beets, cherries, and raspberries. These foods boost lymphatic function and help thin bile, which is a major component to the regulation of the immune response in the gut. Consuming a diet rich in omega-3s is also critical to fighting inflammation and fighting infectious agents from weakening the immune system. Especially as you age, consuming a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fats is required for moderating immune response. Lymphatic vessels contained in the intestines are easily susceptible to dysfunction because of an unhealthy diet.

One very simple mechanism to avoid the restriction of lymphatic vessels, which may hinder the adequate flow of lymph fluid, is choosing your attire appropriately. Wearing restraining, tight-fitting undergarments, such as wired bras, can cause the inability for fluid to drain from the breast, arms, and chest into surrounding lymph nodes. It is also best not to wear tight-fitting clothes while sleeping.

The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is fundamental for the health of the immune system.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107 in Frederick. Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo, Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center

Zinc is a nutrient found in cells throughout the body. It helps the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. The body also needs zinc to make proteins and DNA, the genetic material in all cells. Zinc also helps wounds heal and is important for proper senses of taste and smell.

Vegetable-based zinc sources are not as bioavailable as animal-based sources, which means that the body does not absorb zinc from vegetarian sources as effectively. According to 2017 research, a person eating a vegetarian or vegan diet may need to consume 50 percent more zinc than people who regularly eat animal products.

How Much Zinc Do I Need?

The amount of zinc you need each day depends on your age. The recommended dose for adult men is 11 mg., and for adult women, 8 mg.

What Foods Provide Zinc?

Zinc is in a wide variety of foods. You can get the recommended amounts of zinc by eating a variety of foods, including the following: oysters (which are one of the best sources of zinc), red meat, poultry, seafood, and fortified breakfast cereals. Beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dairy products also provide some zinc. If those foods are hard for you to add to your diet, you can also obtain zinc in supplement form.

Am I Getting Enough Zinc?

Most people in the United States get enough zinc from the foods they eat. However, certain groups of people may have trouble getting enough zinc. These groups include people who have had gastrointestinal surgery, such as weight loss surgery, or who have digestive disorders, such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease. These conditions can decrease the amount of zinc that the body absorbs and increase the amount lost in the urine.

Vegetarians also fall into this group because they do not eat meat, which is a good source of zinc. In addition, the beans and grains they typically eat have compounds that keep zinc from being fully absorbed by the body. For this reason, vegetarians might need to eat as much as 50 percent more zinc than the recommended amounts. Also look into consuming soaked and sprouted grains, nuts, and seeds, as this makes zinc more bioavailable.

Infants over six months of age could have trouble getting enough zinc because breast milk does not have enough zinc for infants over six months. Infants over six months who do not take formula can be given foods that have zinc such as pureed meats.

Alcoholics can have trouble getting enough zinc because alcoholic beverages decrease the amount of zinc that the body absorbs and increase the amount lost in the urine. In addition, many alcoholics eat a limited amount and variety of food, so they may not get enough zinc.

People with sickle cell disease may also need more zinc.

What Happens If I Do Not Get Enough Zinc?

Zinc deficiency is rare in North America. It causes slow growth in infants and children, delayed sexual development in adolescents, and impotence in men. Zinc deficiency also causes hair loss, diarrhea, eye and skin sores, and loss of appetite. Weight loss, problems with wound healing, decreased ability to taste food, and lower alertness levels can also occur.

Many of these symptoms can also be signs of problems other than zinc deficiency.

Some Effects Of Zinc On Health

Zinc helps activate T-cells, which control and regulate your immune response and attack and destroy infected cells. Zinc plays a role in several bodily functions; let us review:

Growth: People require zinc for physical growth and development. Zinc deficiency can result in impaired growth in children and adolescents.

Immune system function: Our bodies use zinc to build immune system cells called T lymphocytes. Older people and children in developing countries who have low levels of zinc may have a higher risk of getting pneumonia and other infections. Some studies also suggest that zinc lozenges or syrup help speed recovery from the common cold and reduce its symptoms if taken within 24 hours of coming down with a cold.

Enzyme function: Zinc plays a pivotal role in triggering chemical reactions in the body. These include helping the body use folic acid and creating new proteins and DNA.

Eye health: Zinc deficiency can contribute to the development of eye conditions, including macular degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that gradually causes vision loss. Research suggests that zinc might help slow AMD progression. In the study, people at high risk of the disease who took dietary supplements containing zinc and dietary supplements containing only zinc had a lower risk of getting advanced AMD than those who did not take zinc dietary supplements. 

Wound healing: Zinc helps promote healthy skin and mucous membranes, which boosts wound healing.

Can Zinc Be Harmful?

Yes, zinc can be harmful if you get too much. Signs of too much zinc include nausea (nausea can also happen if you are taking zinc on an empty stomach), vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. When people take too much zinc for a long time, they sometimes have problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).

Are There Any Interactions With Zinc That I Should Know About?

Yes. Zinc dietary supplements can interact or interfere with medicines that you take, and in some cases, medicines can lower zinc levels in the body.

Zinc and Healthful Eating

People should get most of their nutrients from food. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and other substances that benefit health. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may provide nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less-than-recommended amounts.

If you are struggling with health issues, call the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center at 240-651-1650 for a free consultation. Dr. Lo uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.

jEanne Angleberger, Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life

We know that a strong immune system can help us stay healthy during the upcoming cold, flu, and COVID-19 season. The purpose of your immune system is to protect your body from harmful invaders: germs, viruses, bacteria. The immune system plays a vital role in your health. If it’s not working properly, your body will let you know it.

How can we be assured that we have a healthy immune system? There are many measures we can take to strengthen our immune system and stave off illnesses, one being taking supplements.

Shaklee offers a Sustained Release Vita-C (500 mg.). A Chewable Vita-C has a sweet, lemon cream-flavor, suitable for children or adults. We know that a strong immune system starts with Vitamin C.

Vita-D3 plays a major role in protecting your health and immune function.

Shaklee’s Defend & Resist Complex is my choice for supercharging the immune system. It contains echinacea, black elderberry, larch tree, and zinc. It helps stimulate the body’s natural resistance during seasonal changes.

Consult with your health provider for his/her advice in getting a flu shot. It is very important to understand why you should get it, as well as when the best time is to do so.

We are going into the time of the year when we, like never before, need to continue to keep our immune system as strong as possible. And to stay clear of people who are sick or not feeling well.

Support your body with the nutritional needs year-round.

Keeping your immune system strong is crucial to your good health, not only in fighting off illnesses, but also fighting fatigue, improving digestion, increasing energy, and much more.

Jeanne Angleberger, Shaklee Associate for a Healthier Life

Keep Your Immune System Healthy

Why is it so crucial to keep your immune system healthy? How can you maintain healthy immunity?

Maintaining a healthy immune system helps to protect the body against infection and disease. It is truly the healing power from within. This complex network of cells is your front-line defense system against viruses, fungi, and bacteria. So, it is vital to our overall health that we keep our immune system healthy and strong.

There are many reasons why we can have a decline in immune system activity. Causes can be a poor diet, chronic stress, exposure to toxins in food and water, the environment, sleep deprivation, and having bad habits like smoking and using tobacco.

Even some household cleaners contain chemicals that compromise our health. There are some additives in our food we eat and also the air we breathe that all place a strain on the immune system. Stress is another factor that adversely affects our immune system.

Start by taking care of your immune system. This means getting the right nutrients, providing a healthy environment, and avoiding things that tend to depress immunity. Take an inventory of the factors that may be compromising your immune system. Consult your healthcare provider to discuss how you can correct and improve your resistance.

Shaklee Immunity Defend & Resist Complex can help stimulate the body’s natural resistance during seasonal changes when it needs that extra defense. Email me at healthjeanne673@yahoo.com for details.

Believing you can is the first step. Create a plan and execute it. Your new health will pay dividends well into the future.

Cold and Flu Season Upon Us

Winter seems to be the season for colds and flu viruses. The thought may have crossed your mind more than once: How can I boost my immune system?

There are many healthy ways in which you can strengthen your immune system, including supplements, exercise, and eating healthy.

There are several dietary supplements that can be effective at enhancing your immunity. One of my favorites is Black Elderberry. It is available in a syrup or packaged as a drink mix and add water. Black Elderberry contains vitamin C and zinc. Most health stores will have it or can be ordered online.

Physical exercise is also an important step to a healthy immune system. Exercise may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways, thus reducing your risk of contracting a cold, flu, or other illness.

Eating a nutritious diet is also a must. You can try adding a multivitamin and mineral supplement, which can create a boost to your immune system. FYI: Shaklee has four different formulas. They are based on clinical studies and packed with essential minerals, plus 100 percent daily value of all vitamins.

It makes sense to consume extra Vitamin C. You can accomplish this when eating lots of fruits, such as oranges, watermelon, grapefruit, and cantaloupe. Orange juice is a favorite, too.

Probably the best advice to avoid colds and flu viruses is to wash your hands frequently. Be sure to keep a distance from people who have a cold or some type of virus.

If you do not feel well, staying home will be a good decision for you and for everyone else. What is the sense of spreading what you have?

I hope these ideas are worth trying so you can have a healthy winter.

Remember to always consult with your health provider when making changes to your diet.

Feel free to email yours truly at healthjeanne673@yahoo.com with any comments or questions.

by Dr. Thomas K. Lo

Food allergies happen when your body’s defense system, called the immune system, triggers immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to bind with a food protein (the allergen). This activates cells throughout the body to release large amounts of chemicals such as histamine. Allergic reactions can occur throughout the body: the respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, eyes, ears, throat, or cardiovascular system. Reactions usually occur within a few minutes to an hour after eating the offending food. You may first feel itching in your mouth as you start to eat the food. Other symptoms include stuffy, itchy nose; swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, or other parts of your body; vomiting; diarrhea; sneezing; itchy, watery eyes; stomach cramps; red, itchy skin; or a rash. True food allergies usually begin in the first or second year of life; childhood allergies may be converted into other “allergic” conditions like eczema or respiratory illnesses. About four percent of adults and up to eight percent of children have a food allergy.

What Foods Commonly Trigger Allergic Reactions?

The foods that most often cause allergic reactions in adults are the same for women and men. They include shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, milk, eggs, wheat, and soybeans.

Food Allergies Can Be Life Threatening

For some people, an allergic reaction to a food is uncomfortable but not serious; for others, an allergic food reaction can lead to death. A life-threatening reaction caused by an allergy is called anaphylaxis.

For these people, even the smallest amount of exposure—eating a food or even touching someone who is eating the food—can be dangerous. If you have anaphylactic reactions to certain foods, your doctor may give you a prescription for injectable epinephrine. You need to carry this medicine with you at all times so that you or someone you are with can give you an emergency injection, if needed. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hoarseness; throat tightness or a lump in your throat; wheezing; chest tightness or trouble breathing; rapid heart rate; dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting; tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp; and clammy, grayish, or bluish skin.

Should I Stay Away from Certain Foods During Pregnancy?

Avoiding peanuts or other highly allergenic foods during pregnancy is not necessary, unless you are allergic to these foods. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, avoiding certain foods in pregnancy does not prevent food allergies in children, though breastfeeding may prevent or delay food allergies. Also delaying the introduction of solid foods beyond four to six months of age does not prevent food allergies. Some people have also thought that food allergies can be prevented if parents delayed giving their babies certain solid foods (such as fish, eggs, and milk). However, current medical research does not support this idea.

Babies can have a reaction to a mother’s breastmilk, but this is due to something the mother is eating. Babies who are highly sensitive usually react to the food within minutes. Babies who are less sensitive may still react to the food within 4 to 24 hours. Symptoms may include diarrhea; vomiting; and/or green stools with mucus and/or blood; rash, eczema, dermatitis, hives, or dry skin; fussiness during and/or after feedings; inconsolable crying for long periods and sudden waking with discomfort; wheezing or coughing.

These symptoms do not mean your baby is allergic to your milk, but rather to something you are eating. If your baby ever has problems breathing, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

Are All Symptoms a Food Allergy or Could it be a Food Sensitivity?

You could be experiencing food sensitivities. Some health problems cause the same symptoms as food allergies, but are really food sensitivities. This can make it hard to know for sure whether you have a food allergy.

Food sensitivities can cause symptoms similar to allergies, but reactions are slower and milder. It can take hours or even days before symptoms appear. Immunoglobulins A, G or M (IgA, IgG, IgM) are often involved. Sensitivities may contribute to chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, depression, sinusitis, GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, attention deficit disorder (ADD), rashes, lactose intolerance, and more. Inadequate digestion or digestive disturbances like inadequate digestive enzymes or damaged intestinal walls with increased intestinal permeability are often involved.

What is Food Intolerance?

If your symptoms come from a food intolerance, it means the immune system is not directly involved and reactions are not life threatening, though health and quality of life are usually affected. The symptoms of food intolerance can be indigestion, bloating, fatigue, migraines, memory problems, toxic headache, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome. Digestive symptoms usually predominate. A common intolerance is lactose intolerance: difficulty digesting milk sugar, resulting in symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Insufficient lactase, an enzyme needed to digest lactose, is involved. Some people do not produce enough lactase. Pasteurization of milk destroys lactase and changes milk sugar into another form. Some intolerances are due to food additives rather than a food. Common culprits are sulfites (inducing asthma in some people) MSG, aspartame, other artificial sweeteners, preservatives, yellow dye No. 5, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. Reactions always arise from individual susceptibilities. While an allergic reaction is triggered by small amounts of a particular food, a food intolerance may occur only with a large amount of frequent consumption. Symptoms can be chronic or delayed by hours or a couple of days. Addiction to “offending” foods is common, as they sometimes relieve symptoms for a while. Far more people have food intolerances than true allergies. Most allergies involve the eight foods mentioned above, but intolerances can involve any food.

Do You Think You Have a True Allergy?

A study from Bastyr University has shown that a single person’s blood sent to a number of laboratories for food allergy testing had very different results, depending on the lab the blood was sent to. Unfortunately, this kind of testing can be inaccurate. Dr. Lo, at the Advanced Chiropractic & Nutritional Healing Center, uses Nutritional Response Testing® to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health. Call 240-651-1650 for a free evaluation to see if you have a true allergy or not. We also offer free seminars held at the office on rotating Tuesdays and Thursdays. The office is located at 7310 Grove Road #107, Frederick, MD. Check out the website at www.doctorlo.com.