Another allergy season is back! By this time, you've survived outdoor molds and tree pollens. Next - grass, then ragweed. Of course there are the on-going issues of dust, dust mites and indoor molds among others. Actually, these environmental substances are triggers - if you suffer from allergies, it's your internal environment that causes the problem rather than the external environment. Food is another source of allergies that can result in a wide variety of symptoms.
Medical doctors would describe an allergy as an abnormal reaction by the immune system to a substance that is usually not harmful. On the other hand, a herbalist or natural health practitioner would describe an allergy as the inability of the liver to neutralize certain substances that build up within the body and eventually trigger an immune reaction. Any substance that triggers an allergic reaction is called an allergen (see common allergens).
Antibodies, called immunoglobulin E or IgE, are formed to fight the allergens, the 'foreign invaders'. IgE antibodies are most commonly found in the nose, eyes, lungs and digestive tract, where allergic symptoms are strongest. They attack the allergens themselves and also signal the immune system to launch an attack. The immune system produces the inflammatory response, flooding the affected areas with extra fluid to wash away the allergens. This can cause swollen itchy eyes, congested nose and bloating in the abdomen. The inflammatory response involves the release of histamine which dilates capillaries, making them release fluid into tissues, and producing swelling.
Antibodies are found in white blood cells, which can have as many as 100,000 available areas, or receptor sites, for IgE antibodies. A person with no allergies will have almost no IgE antibodies, but people with many allergies may have all of these sites filled.
Food sensitivity can involve delayed reactions. This type of food reaction is cause by a different antibody - immunoglobulin G or IgG. IgG is found only in the bloodstream, so a problem occurs only if food molecules reach the bloodstream, typically up to 3 days after the food has been consumed. Therefore it is difficult to associate the food with the eventual reaction, which is similar to that produced by IgE, except that it is throughout the body - that is, swelling or increased fluid is generalized.
Allergic reactions are also called hypersensitivity reactions. An intolerance, for example to a food, is different - it does not involve the immune system and occurs when the body is unable to absorb or digest certain foods or components of those foods. A common example is lactose intolerance (lactose is found in milk and other dairy products) in people who lack the enzyme, lactase.
Allergies commonly cause hay fever and trigger asthma attacks. Underlying allergies to food and environmental substances may also cause:
- memory loss/forgetfulness
- gas or bloating
- frequent night urination
- acne, rash, hives
- abdominal cramps
- bad breath and/or body odour
- itchy scratchy throat
- weight gain or weight loss
- hemorrhoids, and
While the liver's ability to deal with these toxins is extraordinary, once the limits of its function are exceeded, these toxins accumulate in the organ and cause disease. However, the liver has the remarkable ability to regenerate itself. Up to two-thirds of the liver can be impaired, yet the organ can fully restore itself under the right conditions.
- Inhalants - pollens, dust, smoke, perfume, formaldehyde, etc.
- Ingestants - foods, drinks, food additives, medicines, etc.
- Contactants - fabrics, cosmetics, chemicals, etc.
- Injectants - insect bites and stings, immunization, etc.
- Infectants - viruses, bacteria etc.
- Genetics - inherited allergies from parents, grandparents.
- Molds and fungi - molds, yeast, parasites
- Physical agents - heat, cold, humidity, sun, increasing and decreasing barometric pressure.
The Allergy Epidemic
There is currently an allergy epidemic in the Western world that is a major public health problem. It is not clearly understood why the overall incidence of allergic diseases such as food allergies, asthma, eczema and hay fever is increasing so rapidly in relatively well-to-do Western countries. The main theory as to why this is happening is that an overly hygienic Western lifestyle has left many of us with immune systems that overreact when they encounter an "invader" such as milk or pollen. By not exposing our immune systems to key infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, we fail to develop the necessary tolerance for ordinarily harmless foreign substances. In other words, our immune systems overreact when finally given a chance to defend us, no matter how trivial the opponent. This contrasts with people living in developing countries in poor conditions; they are affected by many serious infectious diseases, but have a reduced risk of developing allergies. This also holds true for poverty-stricken areas within polluted urban centres, and in some farming areas where stables typically are joined to the farm house.
Others think widespread antibiotic use is linked to the increase in allergies. The use of antibiotics has increased over the past 40 years, as has the incidence of allergies. In addition, it has been shown that infants prescribed antibiotics during the first 6 months of their lives had an increased risk of asthma compared to infants who were not treated with antibiotics. It is believed that changes to 'good bacteria', or microbes, in the digestive system due to antibiotics may be linked to the way the immune system responds to commonly inhaled allergens.
Current challenges to our immune systems:
- Refined foods - these are stripped of many natural nutrients.
- The increased use of chemical fertilization and decreased composting and crop rotation has depleted our soil chemistry. Consequently many foods are low in essential nutrients.
- Foods contain residues of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.
How Can We Cope with Allergies?
Conventional medicine advocates dealing with the symptoms of allergies, for example, by taking antihistamines. However, this is a temporary measure that does not address the underlying problem.
The holistic approach is to use various herbs and vitamins, cleanse the body, boost the immune system, and supplement with various enzymes to safely and quickly relieve allergy symptoms. In addition, there are approaches that I use that can change the body's response to allergens. Briefly, I use a new set of muscle testing techniques developed over the past 40 years to identify allergic substances that are interfering with the body's energy field. Unlike the traditional allergy scratch test, muscle testing does not require that we observe an actual allergic response. Rather, if the substance has the ability to weaken the muscle being tested, we deduce that energy is being disturbed and that the person is sensitive to that substance. After I determine than an allergy or sensitivity exists, the use of a safe and non-invasive form of electro-acupuncture treatment is employed without the use of needles, to reprogram the body at the cellular level to accept the energy frequency of the substance or substances. If you would like more information, please see our web site (
) or contact me for information or a consultation (
Allergy Symptom Relief What Some Satisfied Clients Are Saying
I have had allergies most of my life. When I visited Ramila and Megs I was cleared of my allergy to smoke along with many others. I am now able to breathe quite normally, taking in deep breaths with no problem. I am happy as I was able to visit my brother who is a smoker. It is amazing.
I do not sneeze any more when cutting the grass.
I no longer get hives when I have chocolate, dairy, spicy food or drink wine - it's amazing.
Thanks again to you and Ramila for the treatment. The pain in my arms and shoulders is completely gone and I had pizza yesterday for the first time since I went off dairy last September. WOW!
For 24 years I avoided chocolate because a migraine was sure to follow. Thanks to Ramila and Megs I am enjoying chocolate again as well as freedom from other allergies. I feel great!
The suggestions and recommendations in this newsletter are not intended to be prescriptive or diagnostic. The information is accurate and up to date to our knowledge, but we are not responsible for any errors in our sources of information.
1. Haas EM, Stauth C. The False Fat Diet. New York: Ballantine Books, 2001.
2. The Merck Manual of Medical Information Home Edition. Berkow R, Beers MH, Fletcher AJ eds. New York: Pocket Books, 1997.
3.Gulli C, Köhler N. The allergy epidemic. Maclean's 2006;119(23):34-39.
These newsletters will help you make better choices for better health. The choices that you make today can either have a positive or negative impact on your overall health. Begin by choosing better. It is a step toward longevity.
Ramilas Healing Arts Clinic