Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gluten-Free Diet

My father who practiced internal medicine for 42 years in Taiwan used to tell us “ 90% of what I know about medicine, I learned them from my patients”. The longer I am on this path, the more I agree with him. Gluten-Free Diet is one of the examples.

Since I became open-minded to holistic medicine 15 years ago, I have many children with autism spectrum disorder came to my practice. Their Moms always told me how gluten-free diet helped their children. At that time, I was like most of the other physicians who only knew Celiac disease, but never heard of Gluten sensitivity. After a few years, I started to recommend Gluten-free diet to some patients whom I ran out of treatment options. Miraculously, many of their symptoms improved with some of them had life changing experiences. Some mothers had their own chronic fatigue or thyroid problems improved or even cured after they went to gluten-free diet with their children.

Cases after cases of improvements happened to my patients, I couldn’t help but take a serious look into this situation. I found Gluten sensitivity did not always have digestive symptoms like Celiac disease, but had vague symptoms that mimic many chronic conditions. Diseases that have strong association with Gluten sensitivity include but not limited to ADD/ADHD, Autism,atuto-immune disease, Asthma, Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease,Depression, Diabetes, Infertility, GE reflux, migraine/headache, thyroid diseases. obesity and osteoporosis. On top of this, the regular labs do not have reliable tests to diagnose Gluten sensitivity, Those reasons make Gluten sensitivity diagnosis a challenge.

Unlike peanut allergy which appears within few hours (an IgE response), gluten sensitivity is an IgG response that takes 2-3 days to show up and can be modified by our own immune system. Most of us eat Gluten on daily basis, so it’s almost impossible to recognize the symptoms associating with Gluten. The other reason that makes it hard to diagnose is that we need to stay 100% Gluten-Free for 6 weeks to see the full benefits of Gluten-Free diet. Even a slight amount of cheating will make the results not obvious.

Gluten is a protein very hard to digest. Gluten-rich grains appeared in humans diet only in the past 12,000 years which is a very short time comparing to 2.5 millions of diet consisting mainly fruits, vegetables, meat and fish since our ancestors were on the earth. It’s no wonder many of us can’t tolerate Gluten. One third of our population has Gluten sensitivities. Since I paid close attention to Gluten sensitivity, I found 50% of the patients walking through my door actually have their symptoms improved with Gluten free diet. Many of the changes are dramatic. I believe any patients with any neurological disorders, behaviour problems, any digestive symptoms, any auto-immune disease(include Diabetes), any thyroid conditions and any undiagnosed chronic conditions should give himself/herself a honest 6 weeks trial of Gluten-Free diet.

Gluten does appear on wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, triticale, many of the sauces and processed foods. If making such a commitment is hard for you, we can also order IgG food sensitivity tests through holistic labs to get more definite diagnosis.

safe use of Cortisol

"Cortisol has been a God-send for myself and also my son. I have had an underactive thyroid for years and was treated with a synthetic thyroid medication. However, I rarely felt well, even on the synthetic thyroid drug. Upon consulting with and being treated by Dr. Huang, she discovered I not only had an underactive thyroid (for which she is treating me with a natural thyroid medication, and I feel much better on it); but she also diagosed me with adrenal fatigue. I began feeling better almost immediately once Dr. Huang began treating me with cortisol for this adrenal fatigue. I regained the energy I hadn't had for years, began exercising again (prior to cortisol treatment, I couldn't even think of organizing my home or exercising), and even found the energy to put myself on a healthy eating plan, with Dr. Huang's help. After six months, I am now the person I once was years ago. My son was also diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and treated with cortisol. He was not able to attend his field trips and field days two years in a row due to an ever-decreasing energy level, among other health issues related to adrenal fatigue. He was finally able to attend those school functions after being on cortisol for only a week. Cortisol has proven to be the missing link in most of our health issues, if not all. I am very grateful for this course of treatment and do not know where my son or I would have been without it. Thank you." Karen M.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Effective holistic treatments for high cholesterol

When I started my pediatric practice 24 years ago, I noted very few children had cholesterol problem. It was very scary to see how hypercholesteremia became a common problem in teens and quiet frequently in even younger children.

Statin drugs like Lipitor and Zocor became parts of the most commonly prescribed medications in US. Both have been proved to have lowered the cholesterol, but haven't been consistently proved effective to lessen the death rate. One of the reasons could be that statins decrease our Q10 level which is crucial to our health, especially to our heart health. Patients should definitely take good dose of Coenzyme Q10 if they have to use Statin drugs. The exact dose of Q10 can be monitored easily with blood work from labcorp or Quest.

The common side effects are liver, kidney damage and serious muscle problems from muscle inflammation to rhabdomyolysis (generalized breaking down of muscle)which can result in death. One of the side effects many patients were not familiar with is memory loss. This memory loss could be as extreme as amnesia which lasts for 6 to 12 hours. These types of problems are known as cognitive defects.

I have been treating many patients suffering from cholesterol problems by natural means with remarkable results. It’s definitely worth trying before we commit any patients to life long Statin drugs treatment. Here are some of my experiences:

1. Nutrition! Nutrition! Nutrition! Any holistic program has to start with good food to nurture our body. Low fat and high carb diet as preached by authorities is not the right way to go. On the contrary, low carb, and definitely minimal sugar and white carb and good quality of protein and fat are the best ways for our health. Many of my health-conscious patients do not eat enough fats. Healthy fats are necessary for brain developments as they are the building blocks for all sex hormones. I usually recommend virgin olive oil for salads and virgin coconut oil for baking and cooking. Lots of vegetables (6 servings a day) and 3 servings of fruits are a must.

2. Life style changes – moderate exercise 4-5 times a week.

3. Nutrition supplements – Neutraceutical grade omega-3 oil with all pollutants removed is the very important part of treatment It’s very effective when enough doses were used. Patients will ingest too many pollutants if they take the usual over the counter fish oil. High doses of vitamin B complex with Niacin are very helpful with lowering cholesterol. I checked the vitamin levels in patients’ blood to make sure they have enough vitamins and replace them scientifically. The non-flush Niacin does not work as well as regular Niacin. Good levels of Q10, Vitamin D and other nutrients and minerals are also important.

4. Balancing all hormones is a crucial part of cholesterol control. Low thyroid function(addressed in previous newsletters) as well as low sex hormones make it harder to maintain a good cholesterol level.

When order cholesterol test, it's not just the total level that matters, but the proportion of each lipoprotein. Homocysteine is also a good test to evaluate the overall cardiovascular risk for the future. Keep in mind that cholesterol is not the only reason that increases the cardiovascular risk. Inflammation is to blame as well. It is inflammation that damages the vascular wall and causes the atherosclerotic plaque to form. So all the causes and treatments of inflammation also need to be addressed .( Inflammation is the foundation of all chronic diseases which will be addressed in the future newsletter. Hypercholesteremia is just part of a bigger picture called "Metabolic Syndrome". We will discuss all of those conditions one by one in the future.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Fribromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

Wendy Huang, MD

About 2 % of US adult population suffer from this debilitating condition. When I started my holistic practice, I noted this used to be the condition I had problem treating until I found the hormone link between Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue Syndrome.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) share many common features like fatigue, sleep problem, mood disorder, but fibromyalgia has the distinct feature of chronic pain. The pain usually is bilateral, chronic (at least 3 months without other known causes), involving both generalized areas and tender points (at least 11 of the 18 points). The pain is so intense,when tender points were touched, that deep massage becomes a torture for these patients.

Fibromyalgia and Chronic fatigue syndrome also share the most important pathology which is adrenal dysfunction. Adrenal glands secrete Cortisol which helps body handle stress including inflammation. Cortisol levels are supposed to go up with both condition, but they usually decrease after a long time and some people call it adrenal fatigue (please also read the previous newsletter on this topic).

People suffering from any chronic pain often deplete their adrenal gland , and this is a must addressed issue as well as their mental condition like anxiety and depression. Their brain was conditioned to feel the pain all the time, and it takes a lot of effort to change that pathway.

Once I address the adrenal condition, I have much more success treating this difficult ailment. The rehab of adrenal gland usually takes herbal, relaxation skill, mindset changes,nutritional optimization, etc. And most importantly, patients got to be able to have a good night sleep (whatever it takes, we have to make sure of this), and need to stop anxiety and depression from draining their adrenal glands. Acupuncture is very effective to achieve those two goals and also to deactivate the tender points.

Exercise other than gentle walking may be too much for those patients. Many also suffered from low sodium due to low Aldosterone (another adrenal hormone). Drinking warm water with some sea salt first thing in the morning and throughout the day as needed would make them feel better. Patients also need a large amount of vitamin B complex to carry them through the day.

Other hormonal imbalance (thyroid is a common one) and underline chronic infection like E-B virus (Infectious mononucleosis) would also need to be taken care of to get patients completely better. Treating pain symptom of FMS without removing the underline cause will not heal the condition. It is still a long quest to overcome FMS, but we have seen more and more success with these integrated approach.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Dr. Huang is amazing!!

Before my daughter was a patient of Dr. Huang, she use to have terrible allergies and would be susceptible to any of the latest germs circulating the school. She had to be on several medications just to keep the symptoms under control. Her coughing really became exhausting for all of us! I realized we were not getting to the root of the problem. It was also hindering her abilities at school.

Well, thank God for Dr. Wendy. Her wealth of experience and qualifications made us feel confident she could help. It is an understatement to say that we are very pleased. Our daughter is doing very well, and Dr. Huang has educated us on how to help the immune system do its job. Now our daughter is not a slave to medications that are sedating or have other unwanted or even unknown long term side effects.

We are so grateful to have met Dr. Wendy!

Thank you,
Kris B. little silver, NJ

The material provided on this website is for informative purposes only. If you need specific medical advice, please make an appointment with the office. [HIPAA]