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Category: Allergy & Immunology

sore throat from cold or allergies

A chronic sore throat is a dry, painful, and itchy throat condition. Dry air, allergies, flu, cold, and other respiratory infections can make your throat sore. However, knowing the root cause of your sore throat will help you receive the right treatment.

Read more to learn how to determine whether a sore throat is due to allergies or cold.

If you’ve ever wondered how to ‘eat healthy’, you’re not alone. And if you’ve been wondering for a while now, you already know that there are many health trends that come and go as theories of nutrition are proposed, adopted, then disproved.

One theory that most of us remember is the theory that a fat-free diet is the healthiest diet. For more than a decade, the orthodox medical establishment said that we should do everything possible to avoid eating any fats. It took quite a while before we started to hear about “good fats” and “bad fats”, and even now there are lots of people who think that they should be completely fat-free except for a bit of olive oil here and there.

If you still have some reflexive guilt whenever you don’t eat fat-free, think about the fact that many nutrients are fat-soluble and are best absorbed by your body when you take them with some food that contains fat. For example, patients of Dr. Lieberman are told to take their Vitamin D supplements with a meal with some fat in it.

Most cuisines seem to combine nutritious foods with some kind of fat- in western cultures, we’ll use butter or olive oil with cooked foods and salad dressings with salads. It’s sort of ironic that dieters were warned to eat salads with no salad dressing for so long, because dressings not only makes salads taste better, but the fat they provide improves the body’s absorption of nutrients in the salad ingredients.

If you make your own dressings from a few simple ingredients you probably already have, you won’t just be saving money on expensive bottled dressings from the grocery store (although saving money is a nice feature). Bottled dressings have a variety of preservatives, dyes, stabilizers, chemicals that have no nutritional value, and may not be all that good for you. If you have food allergies, you’ll need to read your labels carefully to avoid problematic ingredients.

Making your own dressings allows you to decide which ingredients to use & how much to use. You’ll be customizing for your dietary preferences, so you won’t add anything you don’t like or are allergic to, and you control how much- if any- sugars, yeasts and sodium get added to the mix. You can also tweak the spices and herbs for a variety of flavor options, and use different kinds of vinegars & flavored oils. The basic rule of a vinaigrette dressing is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, but some people go half and half, and you can do what tastes good to you. I’m not a measurer- I just eyeball the quantities, then adjust if needed, so if you’re new to making your own dressings, follow a recipe at first to get the hang of things, then do your own thing.

Here’s a link with a few basic recipes: http://allrecipes.com/Recipes/salad/dressings-and-vinaigrettes/main.aspx

A Google search for “home-made salad dressings” will provide you with some more creative ideas that you may enjoy. Remember that if you’re doing yeast eradication, we recommend that you substitute lemon juice for vinegar in your basic vinaigrette, and be careful about what else you add.

The standard oil for dressings is olive oil, but Dr. Lieberman is recommending extra-virgin coconut oil for many of his patients because it is a good source of medium-chain triglycerides. Since coconut is a solid at room temperature, you may want to try keeping the bottle on your refrigerator or another warm spot in your kitchen so that the oil will remain in liquid form. You may find that you really like the flavor that coconut oil adds to your salad dressing.

Salads are a great source of nutrients and fiber, but you don’t want to eat the same exact salad each time. Switch things up with different kinds of greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. and your own home-made dressings.

We are pleased to have you visit our website and request you to check back regularly and participate in the discussions.
Our first blog is about the types of people who come for treatment at COEM. While the center is based in Charleston, SC our patient population actually comes from all over the world!  There are several reasons for this:
1. Reputation of Doctors
2. Quality of Care
3. Value
4. Personal Attention
COEM believes in looking at the “total body stress load” for every patient that comes to our center.  We compare the human body to an elevator:  an elevator may have a maximum capacity of 2,500 lbs.  The elevator does not know who gets on and who gets off, it just knows that after it reaches 2,500 lbs it cannot function the way it would like to.  Our bodies respond the same way;  allergies, exposures, diet, work-related stress, and depression are just a handful of the many ‘passengers’ that get on our elevators.  We work to eliminate some of the ‘passengers’ through allergy testing, chelation therapy, dietary supplementation, nutritional counseling, and other techniques.
COEM prides itself on the sincerity we take with our patients. We know that you have
choices and can seek care anywhere. What sets us apart is the attention to detail and the attention to the individual. We genuinely care for our patients and that shows in the numerous personal referrals we get of friends, co-workers and family members. It is not uncommon for us to treat 3 generations of one family!  Here are just a few comments from patients that we have received:
“Everyone was pleasant, helpful and knowledgeable” – Columbia, SC
“So full of information, took time with me, I felt like everyone truly wanted to help you.  I was not pushed out the door in 30 minutes with a bag full of medicine that would not help.  I feel I have found the right place to help with my problems.  Thank you” –  Walterboro, SC
“Exceptional value” – Hilton Head Island, SC
“My experience at COEM was very personal.  My historian and Dr. Lieberman were great listeners and showed concern for me personally” – Lyman, SC
“I have renewed faith in doctors.  Not only are you thorough- you actually listen” – Charleston, SC
Would it surprise you that we see patients from the far East, Middle East, Europe, and all over North America?  What is the farthest distance you would be willing to travel to seek help for you or your loved one’s conditions?  What do you most value when you visit physician offices?
Our approach to medicine is more holistic and we try to help your body heal itself.  Do you want to take a more holistic approach to healing?
The purpose of this blog is to get both current and prospective patients to interact with us.  Tell us what you want from a doctor, tell us what you already like about the Center, share with us news articles pertaining to what we do or medicine in general.
TELL US what you want to see from this blog!
Become a fan on Facebook- search Center For Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Follow us on Twitter- search COEMhealth
Check back regularly under the “What’s New” section of our website, as well as be on the lookout for web alerts we send to your email.
Thanks for allowing us to be a partner in your healthcare.
COEM Staff

Testing can be a little frightening for children at first, and the experience can be as hard, or harder, on the parent as it is on the child. Children behave like children—most are resistant at first, but resigned and somewhat cooperative eventually. If the parent is firm but comforting when necessary, the child usually has an easier time accepting the idea of being stuck. Young children usually have a lower tolerance for testing than adults have, and I recommend that a young child not be expected to test for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. They generally let you know when they’ve reached their limit. All cooperation ceases and each stick becomes a battle. Sublingual testing can be done if we are looking for specific symptoms, but this type of testing requires the parent to be very alert to changes in the child. Skin testing and waiting for delays is usually more accurate. We don’t want the child to remember his visit to COEM as a traumatic experience, so we’d rather leave a few things for a later time if the child seems to have used up all his tolerance. Most children on a return visit remember the location of the play room with all the toys and head straight there, dragging Mom with them. That’s the way we want them to feel, that this is a fun place to be. I understand that when patients travel long distances to get here, they want to accomplish as much as possible, but there is a fine line sometimes between necessary pain and cruelty where young children are concerned. To ask a child to endure testing past the point where he seems able to tolerate it is not usually advisable. After consulting with the doctor, decide what things are most important to test at this time in case some things have to wait until later.

Sometimes it seems to be an efficient use of time for a parent and child to test at the same time, but it doesn’t usually work out as a good thing for either one. It is difficult for a parent to monitor their own symptoms, and be attentive to what’s going on with the child (or children). Testing can affect concentration, mood and rational thinking, as well as the body. We often provoke symptoms not usually considered allergy related. Young children cannot always tell us how they feel. It takes a parent who knows her child to pick up on some of the signs of distress children exhibit while being tested. It takes an alert parent to monitor a nonverbal child, and a parent who is being tested is not always alert. Even if a child can tell you what he feels, sometimes he is not a reliable witness. Usually Mom knows how much confidence can be put in what her child tells her. Children are often eager to please, and if they think they are supposed to be symptomatic, they may complain of something they are not really feeling. Again, it takes a parent who knows her child, and a parent who is concentrating on the child and not herself to let the tester know what is going on with the child. And the parent who is primarily concerned with the child’s symptoms may not let the tester know what is going on with her symptoms. We rely on both whealing (skin reactions) and symptoms provoked during testing. Both the parent and the child may get inaccurate testing results if they test at the same time.

If several family members come to the office at the same time, it would be advisable to spend a little time before the visit planning how to make sure everyone gets maximum benefit from the time spent at COEM. In the long run it may be best to schedule separate times for some of the family members.

Our method of allergy testing is called Provocation-Neutralization because we sometimes provoke symptoms with the “wrong” dose and turn them off with the “right” or neutralizing dose. Dr. Carlton Lee is credited as the discoverer of Provocation-Neutralization. He, with the help of Dr. Herbert J. Rinkle, developed this method for testing food allergies. Their work was published in 1964 after the death of Dr. Rinkle. Dr. Joseph Miller, a conventional allergist, heard Dr. Lee deliver a paper on the method. Skeptical at first, he tried the technique and found it to be effective in treating food allergies. He refined the method, and also found it could be used in treating active viral infections and hormonal problems. Dr. Miller’s book Food Allergy, published in 1972, is our textbook for allergy testing.

We call our skin testing intradermal or intracutaneous because we inject a small amount (usually 0.05 cc) of an antigen just under the skin. A wheal (bubble) is formed, which we measure with a little card marked off in millimeters. When examining the wheal we also note certain characteristics such as color, hardness, shape and whether or not the wheal is raised above the surface of the skin.

Not only do we consider the appearance and size of the wheal, but we also take into account any changes in the way the patient feels. In our method of testing the kind of symptom changes and when they occur can be useful in determining whether a dose/dilution is right or wrong. Sometimes the patient experiences the same symptoms with testing that they noticed when they were exposed to the antigen. This experience can be exciting for the patient and the tester because a mystery has been solved and questions have been answered.

Our method of testing is more time-consuming initially than conventional allergy testing, but we believe it is more accurate, and it seems to bring relief of symptoms faster because there is no build up process. We find the dose the patient’s body tolerates for each antigen tested, and it is safe for the patients to administer their own extracts as shots or drops.

Phosadyl is a foundational supplement that Dr. Lieberman has carried in some form or another for nearly 20 years. This supplement supplies essential phospholipids, which are unique substances that form all cell membranes in humans, as well as the membrane around the nucleus of each cell. Phospholipids are fascinating in their structure: they aren’t true lipid or fat molecules because they have an extra phosphate group replacing one of the fatty acids, but that is what gives them their unique properties. The phosphate head of the phospholipid is hydrophilic or attracted to water, and the fatty acid tail is hydrophobic or repelled by water. In the presence of liquid, which is 90 percent of what we humans are made up of, the phospholipids all naturally line up in a double layer, with all their phosphate heads in one direction and all their fatty acid tails in another, towards the inside of the layer. This double layer of phospholipids is what forms the basis of the cell membrane. We tend to think of our cells as these very distinct little spheres with strong walls around them, but actually human cell membranes are more the consistency of heavy olive oil and are a constantly moving mosaic of phospholipids!

This double layer of phospholipids helps give cell membranes what we call “selective permeability,” meaning that substances beneficial to the cell are able to diffuse through or be actively taken up by the cell membrane, and harmful substances or pathogens are usually not. Many beneficial substances are biochemically suited to make it through both the hydrophilic end of the phospholipid layer and the fatty acid end within the layer. Other beneficial substances such as hormones are actively attached to the cell membranes via receptor sites on the outside of the cell, and still others such as sodium and potassium ions are actively pumped across the cell membrane to control how much fluid is inside the cell. The cell membrane is made more rigid by the presence of cholesterol molecules. But overall, the cell membrane still remains a dynamic solvent surface made up largely of phospholipids.

When we are born, we have abundant essential phospholipids such as phosphatidylcholine, which comprises up to 90 percent of the cell membrane. As we age or injury from free radicals or pathogens takes its toll on the cell membrane, that percentage of phosphatidylcholine can decrease down to as low as 10 percent, which is why researchers studied how to make supplements to replace phospholipids. They successfully isolated phospholipids from naturally rich sources like egg yolks and soybean lecithin. Good amounts of phospholipids are also found in sunflower seeds and rapeseeds. Our Phosadyl supplement that we carry is derived from soy lecithin.

Phosadyl supplies 420 mg of that most essential phospholipid, phosphatidylcholine, as well as 100 mg of phosphatidylethanolamine, and 30 mg of phosphatidylinositol. Although many people take soy lecithin as a source of phospholipids, the actual content of essential phospholipids varies in lecithin, so many practitioners, like Dr. Lieberman, prefer standardized supplements.

Uses: Essential phospholipids have been especially helpful in overcoming liver damage and elevated liver enzymes associated with fatty liver. Phospholipid supplements such as Phosadyl, combined with changes in diet and avoiding alcohol, can be surprisingly effective in overcoming elevated liver enzymes and helping to heal the liver. Other uses for phospholipids are to improve cardiovascular problems by reducing the amount of dietary cholesterol that is absorbed by the body, and to supply extra phospholipids for repair from chronic illness or injury. Erectile dysfunction in males has also been helped by phospholipid supplementation. Researchers hoped that phospholipid supplementation could help reverse dementia, since the brain and nervous system are especially rich in phospholipids, but this has not proven to be true, at least not as a single therapy.

We’ve always said that Dr. Lieberman is on the leading edge of medicine, and his interest in new ways to combat neurocognitive deficiencies, such as in Alzheimer’s and less severe forms of age-related memory loss, is no exception.

Much of the earlier research on Alzheimer’s Disease centered around the role of heavy metals, especially aluminum, in increasing the production of excessive amounts of amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles in brains of people with Alzheimer’s. More recently, the role of insulin resistance and poor glucose metabolism have been linked to the development of neurocognitive symptoms and dubbed “Type III Diabetes.” Research along these lines has been carried on since at least the late 1990’s, when the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation started educating the public on the effect of poor blood sugar control on the brain.

Newer research, as reported from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is centering around actually building brain synapses. Research has progressed to the clinical trial stage with Alzheimer’s patients and has been very encouraging, as reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, July 10 online issue. A nutritional protocol is used in this approach, based on supplementing the nutrients Uridine, Choline, and the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA. The combination, when used for six months in the clinical trial, was shown to improve both verbal memory recall and performance.

Here at COEM, we now carry all three components of this protocol. The first and newest addition to our supplements, Uridine, 300 mg, is a nucleoside, meaning that it is one of the four building blocks for forming ribonucleic acid (RNA), found in every cell of the body. Another nucleoside, Cytidine, has also been carried by COEM for over 10 years in the form of Cytidine Choline. Choline was specifically used in the above clinical trial with Alzheimer’s patients. We also have carried a very high quality DHA supplement, which is extremely popular on its own for boosting memory, mood, and anti-inflammatory benefits.

If you would like to order any of these supplements from COEM (orders@coem.com), you can use the following guideline to determine how much to order:

Uridine 300 mg, 1 capsule daily

Cytidine Choline (CDP Choline), 1 capsule 2 times daily

DHA, 2 softgels 2 times daily for the 500 mg softgel size, or 1 softgel 2 times daily for the 1000 mg softgel size.

Abracadabra! Bippity boppity boo! Vitamin D is for you – and you – and you! Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, Vitamin D has so very many health benefits that it almost seems magical. However, it should first be noted that Vitamin D isn’t technically a Vitamin, though we do call it one. Responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphate, Vitamin D can be synthesized by mammals exposed to sunlight. An organic compound is only classified as a Vitamin when it cannot be naturally synthesized by an organism. Vitamin D is produced photochemically in the skin and 10,000 to 20,000 IU’s can be produced in 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight. If you are one to enjoy sun-bathing, time at the beach, or gardening, it is likely that you are getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D when exposed to the sun for a minimum of 20 minutes a day. Good to know that your health is benefitting from that leisurely time you are spending in the sun! Maybe more of a reason to spend a few more minutes doing so.

Vitamin D3 is an essential vitamin for prevention of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression. Though it can often be found in various foods and dairy products, we recommend that our patients get 5,000 IU’s a day of Vitamin D. Dr. Lieberman has been suggesting Vitamin D to our patients for years, often saying that it does wonders for the prevention of disease and helps patients to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Finding out your personal Vitamin D level will help you to better understand how much Vitamin D you should be taking. Here at COEM we offer Vitamin D level testing, and we of course offer Vitamin D supplements. Our Vitamin D is available in liquid form in 2,000 IUD (which is often best for children!), 2,000 IUD softgels, and 5,000 IU caplets. Please feel free to contact us here at COEM with any questions about Vitamin D – we would love for you to add this supplement to your daily supplemental routine and benefit from its many abilities to assist in healthy bodily functions. . When supplementing Vitamin D3 at higher doses, be sure to re-test your Vitamin D blood levels within 6 months.

Alpha Lipoic Acid is an anti-oxidant, which works like other more familiar anti-oxidants such as Vitamins E and C. The difference is that Alpha Lipoic Acid is even more powerful because it dissolves in both the body’s water-based fluids (like blood) and in fatty tissues (like the brain and nervous system). That’s why Alpha Lipoic Acid is called a “universal anti-oxidant”, because it can function throughout the body. In addition, Alpha Lipoic Acid helps recycle other anti-oxidants and helps boost the product of L-Glutathione, another very powerful anti-oxidant used throughout the body.

Like all anti-oxidants, Alpha Lipoic Acid prevents free radical damage that occurs when we breathe, eat, and exercise, meaning we need free radical protection every minute we live. A really, really simple way to explain free radicals is that they are unpaired electrons that go around the body looking for somebody to pair with and thus create a lot of damage stealing electrons. They’re kind of like single guys up to no good, and everyone hopes they’ll get hooked up with some good woman who will get them out of circulation. Without a good supply of anti-oxidants to mop up free radicals, our bodies age faster, run out of energy, and we can’t detoxify toxins very well. If we are sick, free radicals are created at an even faster rate.

This is where Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), with its powerful anti-oxidant and other capabilities, comes to the rescue, helping especially in diseases like:

• Peripheral Neuropathy, which is a disease of the nerves often accompanied by pain and burning, later numbness, in the affected area. If you’ve ever seen a person walking who looks like every step is agony, chances are they have peripheral neuropathy in their feet. One of our lovely patients whose history I happened to take had neuropathy not only in her feet but throughout her body. She cried throughout the history-taking process because she had so much constant, burning nerve pain. Alpha Lipoic Acid was prescribed at the rate of 300 mg 3 times per day (1 tablet 3 times daily with meals), which is a normal dose large enough to be effective, and within 2 weeks it didn’t hurt her to walk anymore. She was thrilled.

• Diabetes and Insulin Resistance, since ALA helps convert blood glucose or blood sugar into energy. In fact ALA is so helpful in converting blood sugar into energy that diabetics may need to have their diabetes medications changed as the blood sugar reduces. Normal individuals without diabetes have to be sure to always take ALA (whether in supplement or intravenous form) with food so as to not get hypoglycemia.

• Diseases where Detoxification is needed, including Chronic Fatigue and Anti-Aging Programs: Alpha Lipoic Acid is one of the few substances that is capable of crossing the brain-blood barrier and removing heavy metals from the brain, especially mercury. It also helps remove toxins from fatty tissues of the body and Dr. Lieberman has used it for many years in the Biodetoxification Program for that reason. Whenever the body’s main organ of detoxification, the liver, is diseased or sluggish, ALA is often supplemented.

Cautions: Increase Vitamin B1 when large doses of ALA are used; monitor thyroid function, especially if supplemental thyroid hormone is already needed. Diabetics need to monitor their blood sugar levels.

There were two little girls about the same age in the testing room a while back. One had been coming for several months. She lives nearby, so she was able to come in once a week until we had tested enough to give her a fair amount of treatment in different areas. She was pretty allergic, so her testing took quite a while to complete. At first, she was a little anxious, but she soon settled into the routine of “pinch”, wait 8 minutes while playing with her DS , then another pinch. Her mom usually let her test about 2 hours at a time. Some of our patients come a long distance and it is not practical to test only 2 hours at a time, but to push a child beyond his or her level of endurance is often counterproductive.

The other little girl, a new patient, was pretty typical of children who test. She was frightened—there were needles involved! Her dad brought her, and he was loving but firm. No matter how many tears she shed, she was going to be tested, “or else.” I think this dad was using a combination of firmness, threat and reward. The formula, whatever it was, seemed to be effective and eventually, the little girl let me stick her. She wasn’t happy about it, but we settled into a routine. With each stick she put up less resistance, and I even heard her laugh a time or two. I never tell a child that testing doesn’t hurt. I’ve been tested, and sometimes it feels like a bee sting. Some children really don’t seem to mind the sticks, but they are in the minority. The pain doesn’t last long, and when we neutralize patients to enough of the antigens which may be a problem for them, it seems to have a calming effect, which allows the child to test with less anxiety and discomfort.

Trying to reason with children doesn’t seem to work when fear is in control. Even threats of losing a privilege, or missing out on an anticipated treat don’t always work. Money? The child often agrees to a bargain before testing begins, but a delayed reward doesn’t seem so appealing when the reality sets in. If the parent brings a pocketful of quarters (or singles) the immediate reward system may work if the child can be persuaded to try the first stick.

Sometimes it seems as if the child is in charge—a bad situation for all concerned. I believe children should be allowed to choose in some situations, but when it comes to their health, probably not. If the parent is anxious about the process, the child often picks up on the parent’s attitude, and this situation makes things harder for the child and the tester. Loving firmness from a parent who is in control of the situation seems to work better than anything else.