About 20 million South Africans are affected by allergic respiratory diseases and they are commonly triggered by pollen and fungal spores also known as aerospora. Depending on the geographical area and time of blossoming these aerospora are more prevalent in the environment. Then we also need to consider food allergies, globally in the past few decades they have grown worse, with the food we are eating continuously, so depending what we are choosing to eat repeatedly we are impacting our immune systems daily. In the consulting room, we can agree that we are both treating more and more patients with allergy related problems.
So how do we look at allergies? …Allergies are often times a chronic condition where you experience an abnormal reaction to an ordinarily harmless substance that is referred to as the allergen. These mild or severe abnormal reactions often represents a form of immune system dysfunction, the immune system is allowing for an “over” reaction to the harmless substance.
We need to ask questions, in order to look for the root cause, as we are interested in health and lifestyle modifications to continuously improve our health and well being. By taking an anti-histamine and or a corticosteroid (which are oftentimes highly effective) we are not necessarily treating the root cause but suppressing the symptoms. In some cases it is not possible to avoid antihistamines, we would also like to inform you that there are natural products that have good antihistamine properties, for example, quercetin, bromelain and homoeopathic remedies(these are dependent on the individual patient’s symptoms).
Questions to consider:
- What in my life is contributing to the creation and continuation of my immune dysfunction?
- What interventions do I need to consider to normalize and then optimize my immune system functioning?
5 Influences needing consideration in Allergies:
- Psycho-emotional Influence – Emotional and mental stress has been shown to influence the immune system, many of us can bear witness to experiencing the onset of an allergic episode following a period of stress in our lives. In order to best help ourselves, we need to consider our home and working environments and implement changes to help us reduce stress. Techniques that have shown to be of significance: Prayer, meditation, abdominal breathing, and good sleep.
- Gastrointestinal Influences – Impaired digestion and increased mucosal membrane permeability (also known as leaky gut) has a negative impact in the microbial population in the digestive system, this impacts our immune function and can lead to systemic inflammation (worsening our allergies). The 4R program is often used to heal the digestive system…Remove (areospora – keep windows closed, wash hands regularly; food – reduce or eliminate wheat/dairy/sugar), Replenish (digestive aids), Reinoculate (pre and probiotic supplements, or the foods in our diet that increase our natural probiotics to thrive) and Repair (L-glutamine / omega 3).
- Environmental and Xenobiotic (synthetic chemicals) Influences – The environment where we find ourselves living, working and sleeping needs assessment. We need to consider our exposure to the following: food allergies and intolerances; ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; microbial toxins from the environment such as mould from water-damaged buildings; insufficient sun exposure resulting in vitamin D deficiency; heavy metals such as mercury; xenobiotics such as pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals and industrial chemicals we are exposed to. We need to enhance our ability to detoxify and find out if we have genetic SNPs that prevent us from detoxifying these chemicals efficiently. (This is more complicated and will need another blog on detoxification and another on genetics…)
- Endocrine (Hormonal) Influence – Several hormones in our bodies have an ability to regulate our immune systems assisting us with good health. It has been seen in patients with immune system dysfunction they often have lower levels of certain hormones, in the case of allergies, lower levels of cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and testosterone. It has also been shown that patients with increased levels of oestradiol (oestrogen the dominant hormone present in women)or exposure to oestrogen-like compounds(xenoestrogens) may suffer with immune related dysfunction. It is important to have the hormonal aspect assessed and consider natural ways of re-establishing the balance, a tip is to assist the liver to detoxify the excess oestrogen and once again learn to relax to keep your hormones in balance, avoiding an oestrogen dominant situation
- Histamine Influence – Patients with too much histamine may also struggle with allergy-like symptoms. The body usually has two enzymes that are responsible in breaking down the histamine, our natural antihistamines, this ensures that the excess histamine does not cause troubles. The two enzymes: n-methyltransferase(HMT) and diamine oxidase (DAO). Most of the problems we experience are from DAO and the reasons can be that there are gastrointestinal issues resulting in decreased DAO levels, certain foods and medications block the action of DAO. There are natural supplements to also help increase this enzyme else we need to look at healing the digestive system and restoring natural function already mentioned.
Our 5 Top Steps to healing from Allergy
- Remove the most common offenders for starters: Wheat, dairy sugar.
- Eat a diet high in whole natural foods, plenty of vegetables, some fruit and nuts, a little protein (1gr per kg body weight usually), and a fair amount of clean water.
- Heal the gut with nutrients as mentioned….l-glutamine, pre and probiotics, omega 3…
- Make prayer, meditation, and abdominal breathing part of your daily morning routine
- Get 7-8 hours of good uninterrupted sleep every night.
Yours in health
Drs Dos Ramos