You asked them and now she's here to answer! This is the last guest-post from my naturopath, Dr. Melody Wong. If you didn't have a chance to read her first posts, find them here and here. Please welcome back Dr. Wong!
First of all, I would like to mention that I am honored to have been invited to post on Against All Grain website and would like to extend my gratitude to Danielle. It’s patients like Danielle and her fans who’s responds make me appreciate, love and enjoy my profession even more. Thank you so much for this opportunity and your generous, gracious comments.
I have compiled the list of questions from my previous post and included answers to this posting. For a more detailed description of each question, please refer to my previous post, ‘Everything goes back to the GUT’.
Adrienne’s first question:
What do you think about NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique)? I have heard of many successful stories but I have also heard that the studies show it is no more successful than a placebo. Can you speak on this?
Before anyone start thinking NAET is some kind of voodoo practice, let me start by sharing that I too came close to considering NAET as hocus pocus. I was first introduced to NAET by a colleague more than 10 years ago. I’ve been and still am a Christian all my life and made sure that I stay clear from anything that comes close to channeling other spiritual dimensions, which I initially attributed to NAET. I probably moldered over NAET for two years before realizing that it’s an energetic acupressure therapy. To better understand what energy is, put your hands together, palm facing palm, and slowly bring them closer together until you feel that warm sensation, stop and concentrate on that warmth. Well, that’s energy, aka ‘Chi’ in Chinese medicine.
Typically, when in good health, chi flows smoothly throughout the body, just like how blood flows to bring nutrients to all parts of the body. However, when the body encounters an allergen (something that the body doesn’t agree with), it causes a blockage and manifest as symptoms. That is why when you are suffering from symptoms, your body will feel this concentrated heat in the area or pain or tenderness just like in IBS or IBD. In NAET, acupressure is applied to release this blockage bringing the body back to balance. In other words, the acupressure therapy desensitizes the body from these allergens rendering the body to accept the allergens without ever eliciting a symptom. This is a safe and painless therapy which can easily be applied to anyone. I get such great success that even patients who receive their routine allergy shots no longer need them. Before NAET, it was always difficult to tell patients that they no longer can eat their comfort allergic food. Since I have incorporated NAET into my practice, I only need to tell patients to avoid the allergenic food until they are treated.
Nowadays, patients usually find me while seeking NAET, which makes up at least half of my practice. I stumbled across a good find, perhaps one not only gives people hope but also an opportunity to enjoy food in life again. In my opinion, I believe NAET is an awesome invention and thanks to Dr. Devi Nambudripad for creating NAET.
Adrienne’s second question:
Do you have a digestive enzyme that you recommend?
I recommend and use Similase by Integrative Therapeutics with great response from my patients. If there is any speculation of an ulcer, make sure to use Similase for Sensitive Stomach because it lacks the protease enzyme, which can further eat into the ulcer causing more pain and bleeding.
Adrienne’s third question:
Do you see that once you do the recommended tests you are able to help the majority of the patients to the point they are ‘cured’? Once ‘cured’, do you mean they can never go back to eating a poor diet?
I like to be comprehensive in my work and rule out any speculated conditions. Thus, I suggest completing the recommended lab tests.
I don’t use the word ‘cured’ in my office because everyone has their own definition of ‘cured’. One may think ‘cured’ is symptom free, while others think it means disease free. However, I am confident to say that I have restored his/her health. And I am happy to say they are experiencing a much meaningful life after going through my regimen.
Majority of my patients who have completed most tests and are compliant to their regimen have the most successful outcome. Once they are well, most choose not to eat a poor diet. However, if they so choose to go off of their diet, whether it’s at a social event or party, it’s not going to have a detrimental effect on them.
Adrienne’s fourth question:
Why is it that many folks eat horribly but doesn’t experience the plethora of issues we have?
Our body works in amazing ways. It is in constant mode of repairing, regenerating and restoring itself. However, when the body is over exposed to daily bad habits, one day the body will be unable to recuperate and thus the disease comes about. There are two types of people; half of them are generally well, don’t get sick much, and if they do, they recover fairly quickly. The other half have a more challenging time, typically, due to being genetically predisposed and when encountering something that may be benign to others, may actually have a negative impact to them.
Kim and Jessica’s questions: (Please also refer to Jeff’s and Jessica’s questions)
How do you treat a patient who has multiple conditions?
I wish I can say, ‘Let’s treat them all at once.’ But unfortunately, each system requires a different treatment protocol. On a brighter side, when treating one system in most cases, it will resolve or improve the other system. Our body functions as a whole. If one system is not working well, one will affect the balance of the other systems.
I typically will address the liver first with a detox while supporting the adrenals and endocrine system such as the thyroid since both imbalance glands can cause fatigue. Treating the GI system comes next and usually takes the longest to recover. Food allergies will be treated while rebalancing the microflora. In the meantime, the immune system will be addressed indirectly via the GI system. Overall, this progress may take between 6 months to 1.5/2 years.
Why doesn’t eczema fully go away with eliminating grain, dairy, and yeast? Can weather affect eczema?
I do see quite a bit of patients, mostly pediatrics, for eczema. In most cases when I’m able to have the patient stay on a very clean diet such as wheat and dairy free, most cases of eczema will clear up. Food allergies should also be addressed and treated via NAET desensitization therapy. There are always a few patients that don’t respond to this diet change because, ultimately, we can’t defy genetics and weather changes. However, the patient’s allergen load can still be decreased through eliminating environmental and chemical allergens. In such cases, I suggest looking at the patient’s daily encounters within their surroundings. The following potential allergens should be avoided: pollen, dust, pets, down comforters/pillows, laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos, etc. In addition, I would recommend fish oil for its anti-inflammatory and rehydration/moisturizing properties. You may also want to consider running a humidifier throughout the night during dry seasons.
What do you think about the use of chiropractic to help heal the digestive problems?
I do believe that misalignment can interfere with the body’s communication to heal; the same goes with blockage of the acupuncture/ meridian points can cause symptoms creating a condition/disease, hence NAET to correct the blockage (refer to Adrienne’s question on NAET). Chiropractic care probably won’t heal the digestive system directly or alone. But chiropractic care can probably enhance and support the digestive healing process. I would say that it would be best to refer this question to a chiropractor.
Do you know of any good remedies to rid my body of this H.Pylori? Any advice?
Experiencing bloating and flatulence may be signs of unfavorable bacteria (besides H. Pylori) and yeast harboring in your gut. I suggest running a stool analysis. Treat the unfavorable bacteria and yeast if there’s any. I recommend at least 50-100 billion of probiotics while taking healing supplements mentioned in my previous post. You can also take manuka honey, which has healing and antibacterial properties. Also, look into food allergies.
What is your opinion/ experience on/ with alfalfa?
I’ve only used alfalfa for its phytoestrogenic property and thus cannot comment on its usage for the GI tract.
Has history of heart palpitation, anxiety, insomnia, diarrhe , inflamed thyroid and lympoh nodes, and taking H2 blockers, prilosec, and DGL. All serious conditions have been ruled out. Do you have any idea what I should do next?
I couldn’t agree more with Ann that our gut is strongly connected to our brain. Jeff, I hear your adrenals calling out. It sounds like you are having an adrenalin rush due to your body’s manifestation of heart palpitation, anxiety, and insomnia. While you are always ramp up, your GI system suffers from diarrhea, heartburn producing too much acid from stress, and not digesting nor absorbing nutrients for energy and replenishment. I also suspect food allergies now that your diet has become even more limited and possibly hypoglycemia too. If you already had your adrenals checked, GI evaluated, and food allergies tested, then you may also want to consider a detox and running a heavy metal toxicity test. If someone doesn’t have a clear toxicity picture, I usually don’t run a heavy metal toxicity test, unless their symptoms are idiopathic and no longer respond to any treatments, then testing for heavy metals will be my next step.
Could you please tell me when it is best to take probiotics, before or after a meal and also how long before or after a meal? How many times a day? Do you have any you recommend? What do you think of VSL #3?
It is best to get a probiotic that is between 50-100billion CFU taken at 50-100 billion /day. Make sure product is heat stable and viable up to two years. According to Dr. Mercola, probiotic is “one of the best things to take before breakfast to improve your health.” I typically recommend taking it with a meal to avoid forgetting a dosage. I first came across VSL probiotics probably between 3-5 years ago, when my patient was taking it (prescribed by her nurse practitioner) for over a year without any result base on numerous stool analysis. However, recently another patient took vsl #3 for a couple of months during a flare up, showed good flora on her stool analysis. Based on only two encounters with VSL, I don’t think this is adequate information to determine if this is a valid product and thus cannot recommend nor comment on it.
Does your practice ever include food combining.
In my practice I don’t have my patients follow a particular diet. My goal for my patients is for them to eat a well balance diet and make sure they are able to digest and absorb their nutrients to stay healthy. Sometimes just trying to get patients to eat is already challenging enough. Thanks for sharing your positive outcome from the food combining diet. I’ll definitely look into it and pass that along to my patients.
Jessica’s question: (Lynn, your health concerns are similar to Jessica’s.)
Allergies first developed 10 years ago, one year later developed asthma and nasal polyps. I long to smell and breathe again. I have been taking zyrtec and singular for the past 10 years and if discontinues, allergy symptoms return. Any suggestions?
To have developed allergy symptoms later on in life is usually an indication of a lower immune response due to GI inflammation or some would say an overly reactive immune system meaning GI tract has become leaky from GI inflammation (aka leaky gut) causing a development of antibodies to food allergens.
As I always tell my patients, if you get symptoms all year round it’s not just due to environmental allergens, it’s something you are exposed to everyday; it’s your diet. I would suggest exploring and finding your food allergens by doing either a food allergy blood test or muscle test for food allergies. Once you know what foods you are allergic to, avoid them, and you will start feeling better. If avoiding the allergenic food reveals no change in symptoms or is not an option, then look for a NAET practitioner to have your food allergies treated. (For more information on NAET, refer to Adrienne’s question). Also do a complete stool analysis test to evaluate your GI integrity, inflammation, good/bad bacteria and yeast. Any imbalance of the GI microflora can cause constipation. By the way, you may also want to test your thyroid since constipation is one of hypothyroidism symptoms.
Lastly, do detox since you have been taking allergy medications for 10 years. The liver is your filter where it metabolizes medications, hormones, cholesterol, etc. When the liver is not working efficiently, toxins will be backed up in the liver causing liver congestion or sluggish liver.
I’ve seen too many patients bringing in 20+ bottles of supplements into my office and not feeling that much better taking them. Inadequate dosing, not dosing long enough, nor not knowing the quality of supplement brands can cause confusion creating invalid doubts on natural medicine. With so many different health conditions, I strongly advise to find a licensed practitioner to get tested and treated appropriately.
How long should I be taking L-Glutamine, zinc, enzymes, etc? How do you alleviate constipation when taking vitamins and supplements but when discontinued my symptoms return?
How long should someone be on supplements before they start to feel better is determined by severity, frequency, and duration of their symptoms. Generally, patients should stay on a therapeutic dosage of supplements for about 6-12 months, and then switch to maintenance dosage when free from symptoms for at least one to two months or so. When experiencing constipation while taking supplements, it may be an indication of GI flora imbalance. Typically, taking enough probiotics and fiber will do the trick to rebalance the bowels. If this still doesn’t work, then I recommend seeking a holistic practitioner to have your GI tract evaluated and treated appropriately.
How do I tell the difference and how would you define healing crisis?
The best way to understand healing crisis is to compare it with disease crisis.
|Healing Crisis||Disease Crisis|
|Origination||self provoking like detox, positive health change||daily bad habits leading to toxic overload|
|Onset of symptoms||abrupt||gradual|
|Severity||worsen then gets better||continues to worsen|
|Frequency||repeat reverse order of symptoms=Herring’s Law||new symptoms come and go.|
|Duration||short & quick||long|
Are the supplements that you recommended for GI conditions suitable for my 6 year old to take? Can these supplements be introduced during a flare up or should her stools be somewhat normal?
I couldn’t agree more that it is challenging to get a child to take supplements. Since your daughter was diagnosed for UC, it is more of a reason to start her on supplements to heal the gut especially during a flare up. All supplements recommended are also suitable for a child. However, do keep in mind that children 6 years old and above take ½ of an adult dosage. Self prescribing is never recommended. Seek a holistic practitioner for appropriate evaluation of condition and guidance on supplement intake.
Can FOS in probiotics trigger yeast overgrowth?
I believe any sugar, including FOS, will encourage yeast to grow. I generally will recommend probiotics without any FOS.
What is the comprehensive nutritional panel you use?
I use comprehensive nutritional panel by Spectracell. I find that not only is it reasonably priced, it also evaluates levels of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
How to get your love ones to accept natural medicine? Are eczema and black sticky stools caused by food allergies and related to gut issues?
I hear you. My patients frequently express how much trouble they have convincing their love ones the benefits of holistic natural medicine. I used to nag my husband and extended family members about their health but I learned planting the seed is the key. Setting an example is the best way to introduce our love ones to the idea of holistic medicine. One must first realized that they indeed have a health concern, become open minded and have a will to seek and accept help from others before starting their healing journey.
Ultimately, we are what we eat! The cause of eczema is multifactorial from genetics, what we eat, to what we are exposed to. I do see that eczema runs in the family. While we can’t defy genetics or weather changes such as temperature and humidity, there is still plenty we can do when we understand some of the mechanisms that indirectly cause eczema. GI inflammation caused by GI disorder can lead to leaky gut and thus food allergies. Most histamine is produced in the GI tract. Food allergies can trigger histamine release and thus the eye swelling, inflammation, and itchiness on the skin. Imbalance GI flora cause by bad bacteria or yeast can interfere with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Some say that our skin is a reflection of our GI health.
Where can I find a Naturopathic Doctor (ND)? Any suggestions on how to find a good Naturopath?
So far 17 states are licensed for NDs. Here is the list of states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington, United States Territories: Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. If you see that your state is licensed for NDs, then you should refer to the state’s specific website for ND association where there will be a list of licensed NDs. For example, you may refer to this link for California NDs. http://www.calnd.org/
If your state is not licensed for NDs, you may still be able to find NDs in your state. You may refer to the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians site:
Some NDs like myself offer a free 15 minute phone consult. Do take advantage of it since this will be a time for you to get to know your potential health care practitioner and ask as many questions as you need to assure you that this ND is a good fit for you. Some questions you may want to ask are: how long they have been in practice, if they are licensed, and their specialty and treatment approach, etc.
Thank you again for all your enticing questions. It’s been fun and stimulating to be writing on a topic that I feel so passionate about. I wish you all the best in your continual journey to a better and refreshing health.
~Dr. Melody Wong~
About Dr. Wong
Upon graduating from the renowned Naturopathic Medical School, Bastyr University, I returned to California and have been in practice for ten years. I believe the body has an innate ability to heal itself with the proper natural guidance. Most common conditions I treat in my practice are food and environmental allergies, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and asthma/ eczema in pediatrics. Please refer to my website, www.banmc.com, for more information.