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Allergies

Clemens von Pirquet defined allergy in 1906 as: an acquired, specific, altered capacity of the tissues of the body to react to given substances.  This means that our body is over-reacting to a substance that is normally safe.

So what causes our body to over-react in this way? 

In order for any allergy to develop, the body’s digestive system must be impaired with associated poor metabolismm of nutrients, have developed a sensitised immune system and been exposed to infections.  So you can see, that the development of an allergy has multiple causes. Therefore, in order to treat allergies, we need to address all these processes.  That is:

  • improve digestion
  • assist the body to metabolise and absorb nutrients
  • support the body’s detoxification
  • help the body overcome infections
  • treat the actual allergy.

Repeated contact with an allergen triggers an immune response telling the body that a particular substance is foreign and needs to be attacked or eradicated.  When a response to a given substance is immediate, identification of the offending substance becomes easier.  Reactions can be delayed for anything from 12 hours to several days.  These delayed responses often involve a different biochemical reaction within the body and make idetification of the offenfing substance/s more difficult.

Delayed reactions may be triggered by subsances the body is exposed to daily – basic foods, environmental toxins, amalgam fillings or occupational exposure.  Repeated exposure constitutes a large strain on the body.  Unlike acute reactions, repeated exposure may lead to chronic conditions.

Some common symptoms of allergies:

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, palpitations especially after eating, tight chest pain, oedema, vertigo, either low or elevated blood pressure;
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, recurrent middle ear infections, ear ache;
  • Thyroid disturbances, hormonal imbalances, adrenal exhaustion;
  • Abdominal bloating, cramps, burping, colitis, constipation, Crohn’s disease, diarrhoea, flatulence, gastric reflux, haemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, variability of bowel function, candida;
  • Premenstrual tension, menstrual difficulties, frequency or urgency of urination, burning urination, genital itch, frequent night time urination, urinary incontinence, bedwetting;
  • Headaches, mirgraines, pressure, throbbing, stiff neck;
  • Swollen painful joints; aching muscles, musclular spasm, shaking on waking, cramps, fibromyalgia, restless legs;
  • Difficulty thinking clearly, memory loss, word finding difficulties, short concentration span, insomnia, headache, difficulty waking up, cranky on waking, irritability, tenseness, anxiety, panic attacks, overactivity, restlessness, rage, melancholy, depression, withdrawal, lack of confidence, confusion, seizures, persistent fatigue that is not relieved by normal amounts of rest;
  • Asthma, blocked nose, bronchial and chest infections, chronic cough, hay fever, hyperventilation, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, poor respiratory function, wheezing;
  • Eczema, hives, rashes, itching, dryness, blotchiness, pallor, excessive perspiration, chilblains, eruptions from direct contact with irrtiants, dry or oily hair, lifeless hair, brittle nails, blushed cheeks;
  • Metallic taste, mouth ulcers, frequent sore throats, stuffiness, sinusitis, sneezing, breathing through mouth, swelling of mouth lips and eyelids, overproduction of saliva;
  • Being over- or under-weight, fluctuating weight, feeling suddenly tired or chilly after eating, sudden onset of feeling unwell, bad breath.

As with any constant stressor, our body’s defences become exhausted.  It is no different when it comes to allergies.

An allergy can become masked or suppressed causing reactions to alter over time.  Examples are colic in an infant, bronchitis in the young child and sinus infections in the adolescent or adult.  How often have you been told that a child “outgrew” its allergy?  Whereas what really happens is that the target organ shifts as cummulative assaults on the body weaken different organs or systems over time.

Major offenders

The most common substances identified in causing allergies are:

  • foods – wheat, dairy & milk substitutes (including baby formulas), gluten, sugar, genetic modification
  • fungi – moulds, yeasts, candida
  • chemicals – food additives (colours, flavours, preservatives), aspartame, MSG
  • parasites
  • viruses and bacteria
  • vaccinations – thimerosal, phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, aluminium, squalene (preservatives and adjuvant substances)
  • inhaled allergens – aerosols, pesticides, dust, moulds, pollens, grasses, soft toys, animal hair

As you can see from the multiplicity of allergies – causes and effects – treatment must also be multi-factoral and address all areas of the body that are affected.

As a qualified Naturopath, Dagmar is trained and experienced in treating the ‘whole’ body.  So if you are not feeling 100% all of the time, give Dagmar a call on 07 5530 1863 today and arrange a thorough health assessment.

 

Allergies

Many people suffer in silence from allergies but allergies are not something that you simply have to put up with! It is possible to manage your allergies naturally. Common allergy symptoms include sneezing, sinus congestion, itchy eyes, persistent cough, wheezing, asthma, headaches, and skin disorders such as eczema. If you have allergies, as well as looking at symptom relief, the underlying causes such as immune imbalances or nutritional deficiencies need to be addressed in order to give you long term relief. Common causes of allergies include reacting to certain foods, food additives and pesticides, grasses and pollens, dust mites, and chemicals in personal products and cleaning products.

Read more about effective ways to manage allergies and asthma

Allergy or Intolerance?  

The identification of food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances is an area in which complementary medical practitioners (CM) play a pivotal role. It has been the CM Practitioners over the past 30 years who have appreciated the scope of Food Intolerance and developed clinical guidelines for the successful management of a very wide range of disorders. It is also a complex and challenging part of modern clinical practice.

Currently there is a great deal of interest in identifying Food Intolerance and the baffling array of symptoms such reactions can cause, in fact Food Intolerance may well be present in the majority of clinical disease states if great care is taken to identify its presence. There are a number of conditions associated with food reactions, including fatigue, migraine headache, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, gallbladder disease, arthritis, asthma, rhinitis, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), enuresis, epilepsy, eczema, psoriasis, aphthous ulcers, otitis media and recurrent infections. [1] In fact, many conditions that involve pain and inflammation may be aggravated by food Intolerance. Many if not most patients suffering from psychological symptoms or psychiatric disorders will respond to an elimination diet and the correction of specific nutritional deficiencies.

Classical Allergy

Type I immediate hypersensitivity reactions are mediated by IgE antibodies, and are characterized by the release of histamine and other chemical mediators upon exposure to an allergen. Type I reactions are responsible for “immediate-onset” allergies, such as eczema, allergic rhinitis and acute asthma. The exposure to the antigen triggers mast cell degranulation and release of several mediators, including histamine, platelet-activating factor, leukotrienes and prostaglandins, which evoke allergic reactions. In its most extreme form, this type of response can result in anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening and most often requires an emergency intervention with injectable adrenalin. [3]The foods which most commonly cause anaphylactic reactions are cow’s milk, hen’s eggs, nuts, fish, seafood and pollen-related fresh fruits and vegetables. [4] According to the current medical literature, immune mediated food allergy accounts for as little as 2 – 5% prevalence in adults and 5 – 10% prevalence in children, whilst non-immune mediated food intolerances account for 15 – 20 % of all cases. [4]

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is best characterised as Type III immune-complex delayed hypersensitivity reaction. As the term conveys, food intolerance characteristically has a more delayed response following exposure to a particular dietary antigen. Type III reactions are mediated by mixed immunoglobulins — primarily IgG. Complexes composed of antigen and antibody activate complement and cytokines in the body, resulting in an inflammatory response. Symptoms are delayed because of the time required for the formation of complexes to occur. “Although not life threatening like food allergy, food intolerance should never be underestimated as its impact on sufferers can be significant, severely impacting on their ability to live normal healthy lives.” [5]

In those with a family history of allergies (such as asthma, eczema or migraines), hyper-sensitive reactions are often set in train by ingestion of whole foods – most commonly dairy products, gulten and wheat, corn, cereals and caffeine (in chocolate, cola drinks, tea and coffee). 

With an immune system that tends to over-react, a second round of sensitivities can develop towards the naturally-occurring chemical constituents of foods – the main ones being amines, MSG, phenolics and salicylates.

A third class of triggers for food sensitivities are artificial additives, such as colourings and preservatives. 

Environmental triggers

Inhalation allergens are any inhaled substance which triggers a hypersensitive reaction.  Exposure can occur at home or in the work place.  In both locations, exposure is often chronic with repeated contact over a prolonged period often leading to acquired sensitivities.  Asthma, hay fever and sinusitis are common outcomes.

The main inhalation allergens include animal hair and epithelia, chemicals – especially aerosols, pesticides – dust mites, fungi, pollen, grasses, trees and flowering plants.  Other environmental allergens include insect bites and stings, latex and jewellery.

Mention any allergy issues you may have when booking your appointment on 0468 774 633.

References
1.         Gaby, A.R., The role of hidden food allergy/intolerance in chronic disease. Altern Med Rev, 1998. 3(2): p. 90-100.
2.         Isolauri, E., S. Rautava, and M. Kalliomaki, Food allergy in irritable bowel syndrome: new facts and old fallacies. Gut, 2004. 53(10): p. 1391-3.
3.            Herman, P. and L. Drost, Evaluating the Clinical Relevance of Food Sensitivity Tests: A Single-Subject Experiment. Alternative Medicine Review 2004. 9(2).
4.         Zopf, Y., et al., The differential diagnosis of food intolerance. Dtsch Arztebl. Int., 2009. 106: p. 359-369.
5.          
http://www.food-detective.com.au/what-is-food-intolerance/