Your Weekly Dose of Health Inquiries (Week 3)

Food for Life hopes to inspire and provide tools for a holistic lifestyle. Hence, we are collecting and answering different health inquiries every week. 

Here is the health inquiries for this week:

Question 1

running nose

Q: My son is 16 years ago this year. I realized that he is sneezing frequently and having nasal discharge built up inside his nose in the morning. He does not like to get his nose clean. What type of supplement would you recommend to help with this situation? Thank you. 

A: If your child is sneezing frequently and having nasal discharge built up inside his nose in the morning, and it does not happen all the time, it could be seasonal allergic rhinitis. In general, the two recommendations for supplements to improve allergic rhinitis are recommended below:

  • Quercetin: It inhibits inflammatory hormones and this help inhibits the process of the allergic reaction
  • Vitamin C: Enhance immunity

It is also recommended to drink plenty of water to maintain the antioxidant function of vitamin C. This also helps the body to get rid of toxins faster.

Having a running nose for a long time will cause dryness in the nasal cavity. Using a humidifier indoors to maintain the humidity of the nasal cavity can help prevent nasal mucosa to become susceptible to foreign substances after having a running nose for a long time.

Question 2


Q: What are the benefits of DHA and how do I know I'm deficient? 

A: DHA is part of the omega 3 family and is predominantly known to benefit brain and cognitive function. It has some other benefits such as : anti-inflammatory, eye health and heart health. 

Very high levels of DHA are found in our brains and our eyes, however every single cell in our body requires omega 3 & 6 - the only two fats that are essential for life. Without these two nutrients, our body does not function, which means a deficiency in these two nutrients can lead to suboptimal health. 

What are some of the signs of deficiency? 

  • dry eyes 
  • dry skin
  • poor memory and concentration
  • dry hair 
  • constipation
  • low energy

Just a note that it is important to take omega 3&6 together as they work together. Taking only DHA is not enough. This is why I like the Udo's Oil 3.6.9 blend with DHA. This provides a base of omega 3 & 6 with added DHA from algae.

Question 3


Q: What would you recommend for growth spurts as in wanting to be taller

A: About 70% of one's height is predetermined by your genes, however science has shown that proper nutrition also plays a role. 

The most important stage of growth is obviously during growing years and this is when you want to ensure proper nutrition is sufficient, protein, calcium and other minerals together with adequate sleep can contribute to a healthy growth in height. 

Beyond growing years, it is important to keep your spine flexible to avoid over compression. Hanging upside down, reformer pilates and simple lying down stretches can help.

Question 4

Iron food

Q: how to absorb iron to our body?

A: Iron enters the stomach where it is exposed to stomach acid and changes into a form that allows it to be absorbed. The small intestine is the main area where iron absorption takes place.

Absorption of iron is critical with many factors affecting absorption. 

Several factors affecting absorption: 

  • ferric acid vs ferrous. Ferric acid cannot be absorbed or utilized and must be changed to ferrous which can be used.
  • phytate which is a compound found in plant-based diets inhibit iron absorption
  • polyphenols found in black and herbal tea, coffee, wine, legumes 
  • calcium 
  • oxalic acid found in spinach, chard, beans, and nuts and acts to bind and inhibit iron absorption

Enhance absorption: 

  • take ferrous iron supplements 
  • take iron or iron rich foods away from calcium rich foods 
  • don't rely on iron rich plant based foods as most of these are low in iron absorption 
  • take iron supplements with vitamin c 

Question 5

can you take iodine without thyroid issue?

Q: Can you take iodine without thyroid issue?

A: Iodine is not just good for the thyroid though it is mainly concentrated there. Iodine deficiencies are very common, increasing fourfold over the past 40 years. 74% of normal, “healthy” adults may no longer be consuming sufficient quantities.

Iodine can be lost or insufficient if :

  • you have high heavy metal, chlorine, fluoride (often found in our tap water) 
  • sweat often 
  • vegetarian/ vegan 

Iodine can: 

  • balance out estrogen dominance 
  • strengthen the immune system : antimicrobial, antiviral
  • found in the brain it can affect learning ability, IQ and general intelligence
  • help with sinuses with anti mucus properties 

RDA 100ucg 

However daily doses for optimal health of 3,000-6,000 mcg have been used without side effects. In comparison, the average daily Japanese consumption of iodine ranges from 5,280 to 13,800 mcg of iodine, with no harmful effects and a host of benefits.

Question 6

How to handle kid's eczema?

Q: How to handle kid's eczema?

A: Eczema in children can be a variety of reasons, however often times it can be related to two main reasons that are worth looking into. 

  1. Food Intolerances 

Often times, food intolerance like gluten, dairy and eggs are creating an immune response that is coming out in the skin as inflammation. We highly suggest taking a food intolerance test to decipher which foods the child is intolerant to and follow an elimination diet. 

  1. Overload of Toxins 

Unfortunately many babies who are born toxicated. Sometimes mothers forget to detoxify before pregnancy and it is unfortunately passed onto baby. Our skin is one of the largest organs in our body and so a toxic body will often be reflected in the health of our skin. 

In short, I would recommend 

And if we know it is a toxins issue can consider doing a very gentle detox with Flor Essence herbal tea which is nice and gentle. 

Topical relief can use :

Question 7

What should I pay attention to when I want to buy collagen supplements to improve my skin?

Q: What should I pay attention to when I want to buy collagen supplements to improve my skin?

A: As we age, our body's natural production of collagen will decrease accordingly. Many people would be bothered in having characteristics such as sagging skin, dry skin, fine lines and thinning hair by their middle age. They choose to eat collagen supplements hoping to restore the body's collagen content, but not any kind of collagen can help improve our skin.

One should pay attention to the source and the ingredient of their collagen supplements. The source of collagen and the size of its molecules determine the type and the absorption rate of proteins taken up by the body. This directly affects the benefits of these proteins have for your skin.

Ingredients: Collagen Peptide vs Collagen

Collagen is a macromolecule that is not easily absorbed by the skin. Collagen peptides have a smaller molecular weight and are easier to be utilized by our body.

Source: Marine Collagen Peptide vs Poultry's protein & Trotters' protein

Marine collagen peptides are rich in the type of proteins that improve the elasticity of the skin. These proteins also provide support for skin structure. Marine collagen peptide also is a smaller molecule and can be largely utilized by skin tissues.

Written by: Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist

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