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ALLERGIES

 

Allergies occur when the immune system reacts to a normally harmless substance. This can be through inhalation, ingestion or even skin contact. The result can be anything from mild discomfort to dangerous and even fatal reactions. Finding out the cause of the allergy is important, and may take an elimination process to do so. Creating a sterile environment can cause allergies, as the body cannot build a successful immune system without light exposure to harmful components including microbes. Living in a toxic soup, which is where the developed world is heading, is the main reason some people's immune systems becomes confused and over reacts.

 

Asthma can sometimes be a symptom of an allergy. Some rare allergies can be particularly dangerous because they can lead to asphyxiation. Urgent medical attention is vital if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Breathing problems.

  • Burning or tingling in the mouth.

  • Convulsions.

  • Dizziness.

  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue.

  • Wheezing.

Common allergens

  • Animals.

  • Antibiotics such as penicillin.

  • Cockroaches.

  • Dust mites.

  • Food additives, colours and preservatives etc.

  • Household cleaning products.

  • Insect bites and stings.

  • Medications.

  • Mould and fungi.

  • Nickel in jewellery and new coins.

  • Perfume, aftershave and air fresheners.

  • Pollen.

  • Preservatives in eye drops.

  • Recreational drugs.

  • Washing powders and fabric softeners.

 

Methylisothiazolinone (MI or MIT and E Number 1223), also known asmethylisothiazoline, is a powerful synthetic biocide and preservative commonly used in a range of consumer personal care products, including cosmetics, lotions, moisturisers, mouthwashes, sanitary wipes, shampoos, soaps, sunscreens as well as dish washing-up liquid and paint. It is a cytotoxin that may affect different types of cells and dermatologists have long been concerned about a rise in the number of people having allergic responses to it. It can cause cell and nerve damage and is lethal to mature neurons in the brain due to its ability to liberate zinc from intracellular metal binding sites. The liberated zinc, in turn, triggers a cell death cascade in neurons. Check labels for this additive, especially if suffering from skin disorders.

 

Lemon balm makes a refreshing tea that calms anxiety, restores depleted energy, enhances the memory and acts as a decongestant and antihistamine, helping with allergies symptoms such as asthma and hay fever. To make a tea, pour hot water onto a handful of leaves in a jar. Screw on the lid and then cool and leave to chill for four hours in the refrigerator then serve with ice. Lemon balm leaf tea with mint or peppermint leaves and a teaspoon of locally produced honey, can reduce asthma and hay fever symptoms and reduce bloating and flatulence. Make the tea as above but include the mint or peppermint leaves then reheat, strain off the leaves, add the honey then sip slowly. Drink one cup three times a day.

A study found that 58% of participants had allergy relief when they consumed stinging nettles. Common in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, stinging nettle can be dried and prepared as a tea or lightly cooked and added to meals like spinach.
NOTE: Benadryl is an antihistamine drug and is used to treat sneezing, runny nose, itching and other allergies, however, recent studies has shown that it may cause memory loss and dementia.
 

 

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Food allergies

Because humans can now consume such a wide variety of foods, from around the planet, it is hardly surprising that the body and immune system have not had time to adjust to these dietary changes which, in some cases, can lead to intolerances causing inflammatory reactions.

There have been many arguments about various fad diets that work well for some and not for others. This is because of the intricate processes that take place within each individual, their lifestyle and genetic factors.

The simplest way to find out if it is a particular food that is causing health issues, that are listed further on, is to completely abstain from these foods individually for at least a week. Usually it only takes a few days for symptoms to subside if it is the food causing the issues, however, more serious health disorders may take up to a month to show improvement. If symptoms return when the food is reintroduced, it is then obvious and equally nutritious alternatives should be found of which there are many.

Common food types that can cause allergies in some people

  • Beans including peanuts.

  • Berries.

  • Corn.

  • Crustacean shellfish (including shrimp, prawns, lobster and crab).

  • Dairy products.

  • Fish.

  • Hen’s eggs.

  • Mustard.

  • Oranges.

  • Peanuts.

  • Soya beans and products.

  • Tree nuts including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts.

Components that cause allergies in some people

  • A1 casein protein in cow's milk and dairy products.

  • Artificial food additives and flavours

  • Benzoates are widely used food preservatives, with an E number of E211.

  • FODMAPS: carbohydrate intolerance

  • Glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids in vegetables from nightshade family.

  • Gluten in barley, rye, spelt and wheat.

  • Isothiocyanate (mustard gas) produced by cruciferous (brassica) sulphur-containing vegetables is known to trigger allergies and outbreaks of pemphigus.

  • Lactose in cow's milk and dairy products

  • Lectins in beans, dairy products (when cows are fed grains), grains, some nuts and seeds and vegetables from the nightshade family.

  • Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) found in Chinese food, kombu, miso, soybean milk (naturally high in glutamate and often has hydrolysed vegetable protein added to it) and soy sauces.

  • Nitrites and nitrates are not dangerous, but they can react with other compounds found in food or in the body to form carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines. These reactions are more likely to occur in the presence of protein, which is why preserved meats can be problematical. The formation of nitrosamines is less likely in the presence of vitamin C which is found in vegetables. In early life nitrate-rich foods can cause blue baby disease (methemoglobinemia). They are fine for babies over four months of age, but spinach and beetroot should be fed in moderation until the infant reaches the age of one year.

  • Phenols are used as synthetic preservatives and known to trigger allergies and outbreaks of pemphigus.

  • Pimaricin, also known as Natacyn or Natamycin, is a naturally occurring antifungal agent produced during fermentation by the Streptomyces natalensis bacteria commonly found in soil and has the E number E2325. It is used to prevent mould and fungal growths on some dairy and sausage products in some countries.

  • Salicylates found in many cosmetic products ingredients, medications and fruits and vegetables.

  • Sorbic acid and its salts, such as sorbic acid (E200), sodium sorbate (e201), potassium sorbate (e203) and calcium sorbate (e203) are antimicrobial agents often used as preservatives in food and drinks to prevent the growth of fungi, moulds and yeast in some breads, cheese and meats.

  • Sulphites (sulfites) are preservatives used in many foods, cosmetics and prescribed drugs.

  • Tannins, found in many foods, are known to trigger allergies and outbreaks of pemphigus.

  • Thiols, found in some sulphur-containing foods such as brassicas, beans, nuts and some seeds, are known to trigger allergies and outbreaks of pemphigus.

Nutrient deficiencies caused by food allergies

Iron and the B vitamins and fat-soluble nutrients, such as vitamins A, D, E and K, can become deficient due to consumption of any of the above components in some people, especially wheat, because damage caused to the intestines makes absorption of nutrients more far more difficult and this is especially true for older people and those taking medications many of which also inhibit nutrient absorption. .

When any of these nutrients are in short supply it will have a knock on affect on the efficiency and levels of other nutrients. One example is vitamin B7 (biotin).

Other nutrients that are required for the effective use of vitamin B7 in the body

Therefore, if any of these are in short supply, levels of vitamin B7 will also be affected. There is a substance in the raw egg whites called avidin that is a glycoprotein that binds with vitamin B7 preventing its absorption so extra foods rich in vitamin B7 are required when consuming egg whites or reduce the number of egg whites consumed to two per week.

Highest sources of vitamin B7 in micrograms per 100 grams

  • Chicken livers 180 µg

  • Egg yolk 60 µg

  • Walnuts 39 µg

  • Oatmeal 35 µg

  • Peanuts 34 µg

  • Fish 20 µg

NOTE: One µg is equivalent to one microgram

It is unwise to take supplements, except in extreme cases which have been diagnosed by a blood test and, even then, natural foods rich in these nutrients are better to consume as they provide all the co-factors necessary whereas supplements can cause further imbalances.

One example is taking supplements of vitamin B12. Pins and needles and tingling and numbness in the tips of fingers and toes can develop from vitamin B9 deficiency which can be caused by ongoing high vitamin B12 supplementation or injections. Levels of vitamin B9 must always be checked if high levels of vitamin B12 are taken.

Another example is vitamin C which increases iron uptake which vitamin E inhibits. Vitamin C lowers manganese and zinc, while vitamin E helps increase manganese and zinc absorption. As a result, a very high intake of vitamin C will require an equally high intake of vitamin E or vice versa, to maintain the same ratio.

Deficiencies of any of these nutrients can lead to all kinds of serious disorders (listed below) which is why it is important to discover if the above food allergy components are responsible for health issues by a process of elimination.

The blue links below will take you to the section which has the top natural food sources of each one.

Vitamin A

Low vitamin A levels can adversely affect the bones, digestive system, eyes, hair, immune system, skin and urinary tract. Vitamin A helps move iron from storage in the body, without adequate amounts of vitamin A the body cannot regulate iron properly leading to an iron deficiency.

Iron

Low levels of iron can adversely affect the appetite, brain, heart, energy levels, mood and red blood cell production.

Vitamin B7

Low levels of vitamin B7 can adversely affect the bone marrow, brain, cell growth, hair, mitochondria, nerves, skin and sweat gland functions.

Vitamin B9

Low levels of vitamin B9 can adversely affect the bones, brain, digestive system DNA synthesis, cell division, foetal development, haemoglobin production the mood and the nervous system. Vitamin B9 is vital for pregnant women as low levels can cause spina difida (spinal defects) in the unborn foetus.

Vitamin B12

Low vitamin B12 levels can adversely affect the appetite, growth, hearing, red blood cell production, the brain and the nervous system.

Vitamin D

Low levels of vitamin D can adversely affect the bones, colon, eyes, gastrointestinal tract, hearing, heart and the teeth. It can also cause serious immune system disorders which adds to the immune system disorders already being cause by a leaky gut and, if this is compounded with a deficiency of vitamins A and/or E, the result can obviously be disastrous. This is especially true of older people and may be a reason why there are more mortalities during the winter when vitamin D levels are often low anyway because of lack of sunshine.

Vitamin E

Low levels of vitamin E can adversely affect the brain, bones, fertility, gallbladder, immune system, lungs, muscles, nerves, skin and the veins

Vitamin K

Low levels of vitamin K can adversely affect the arteries, blood, bones, brain and heart. Vitamin K deficiency is especially detrimental for pregnant women as it can seriously affect the development of the foetus.

Because vitamins and minerals work together in teams with each other any deficiency can cause disorders, and if prolonged, result in devastating illness which is why it is so important to remove the root cause and not just treat the symptoms with medications. If the root cause is a food allergy, it will cost nothing to remove the possibly offending component from the diet to see if health issues are reduced and in some cases eliminated entirely. Many medications cause even further nutrient deficiencies which only adds to the problem.

Disorders that may be caused or worsened by food allergies

All the following have been connected to food allergies at some time and therefore, if any are present, it is worth eliminating the food allergy components one at a time from the diet for three months to see if there are any improvements.

  • Alopecia

  • Alzheimer's disease

  • Anaemia

  • Angina

  • Anxiety

  • Apathy

  • Asthma

  • Atherosclerosis

  • Arthritis

  • Atrial fibrillation

  • Attention deficit disorder

  • Autism

  • Auto-immune disorders

  • Autoimmune haemolytic anaemia

  • Autoimmune hepatitis

  • Back pain

  • Bladder and kidney stones

  • Bloating and flatulence

  • Blood pressure disorders

  • Cancer

  • Cardiomyopathy

  • Carpel tunnel syndrome

  • Cerebella ataxia

  • Chloestasis

  • Chorea

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Cirrhosis of the liver

  • Colitis

  • Constipation/diarrhoea (alternating)

  • Coronary artery disease

  • Cryptogenic hypertransaminasemia

  • Dementia

  • Demyelinating diseases

  • Depression

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis

  • Dermatomyositis

  • Diabetes

  • Down's syndrome

  • Dysbiosis

  • Eosinophilic oesophagitis

  • Epilepsy

  • Exercise-induced anaphylaxis

  • Excessive breast milk production

  • Facial palsy (facial paralysis)

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Flatulence

  • Gastroesophageal reflux

  • Glomerulonephritis

  • Granulomatosis with polyangitis

  • Graves’ disease

  • Guillain Barré syndrome

  • Gynecomastia

  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis

  • Headaches

  • Heart disease

  • Hepatitis

  • Huntington's disease

  • Hyperamylasaemia

  • Hypocalcaemia

  • Hippocampal sclerosis

  • Hypogammaglobulinemia

  • Hypoglycaemia

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

  • IgA nephropathy

  • Indigestion

  • Infertility

  • Inflammation (anywhere in the body)

  • Insomnia

  • Lane-Hamilton syndrome

  • Leaky gut syndrome

  • Lethargy

  • Lichen planus

  • Liver disease

  • Loss of balance

  • Ménière's disease

  • Metabolic syndrome

  • Migraines

  • Miscarriage

  • Multiple myeloma

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Myasthenia gravis

  • Myelopathy

  • Myocarditis

  • Neuromyelitis optica (Devic's disease)

  • Neurological disorders

  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

  • Nutrient deficiencies

  • Obesity

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Palmoplantar pustulosis

  • Pancreatitis

  • Panic attacks

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Pemphigus/pemphigoid

  • Peripheral neuropathy

  • Pernicious anaemia

  • Pituitary gland disorders

  • Polyarteritis nodosa

  • Polymyositis

  • Primary biliary cirrhosis

  • Psoriasis

  • Recurrent miscarriages

  • Restless leg syndrome

  • Rett's syndrome

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Schizophrenic tendencies

  • Scleroderma/systemic sclerosis

  • Serotonin disorders

  • Sjögren’s syndrome

  • Skin rashes (eczema, hives, uticaria)

  • Stroke

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

  • Thrombosis

  • Thymus dysfunction

  • Thyroiditis

  • Tinnitus

  • Tooth enamel defects

  • Uveitis

  • Vitiligo

Common symptoms of a food allergy

Food allergy symptoms may sometimes be immediate and specific but because most food allergy symptoms can be caused by other health problems, it is advisable to see a qualified nutritionist to evaluate the role of food allergies when investigating symptoms.

  • Bloating and flatulence.

  • Constipation and diarrhoea alternating.

  • Depression.

  • Eczema.

  • Fatigue.

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances.

  • Headache and migraine.

  • Hives.

  • Hyperactivity.

  • Itchy eyes.

  • Insomnia.

  • Light headedness.

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Pain and inflammation anywhere in the body

  • Runny nose and sinus problems.

  • Skin rash and itching.

 A1 casein protein sensitivity

A2 milk is cow's milk that contains only the A2 type of beta-casein protein rather than the more common A1 protein commonly found in normal. These two proteins digest quite differently from each other and, for some people, the presence of A1 protein can result in discomfort after drinking milk. It was thanks to Dr Corran McLachlan in 1997 in New Zealand that the impact of this difference in proteins was discovered. Read more

FODMAPS intolerance

Carbohydrate intolerance or sensitivity can be to the whole group of carbohydrates known collectively as ‘FODMAPS’ which includes lactose. These are fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols which are sugars that draw water into the intestinal tract. They may be poorly digested or absorbed and become fodder for colonic bacteria that produce gas and can cause abdominal distress. Read more

Gluten intolerance

Although wheat is a highly nutritious grain, many people do not realise that they are sensitive to its gluten content and could be suffering from non-coeliac gluten sensitivity or the less common coeliac disease. Gluten sensitivity is not the same as a wheat allergy, a far less common problem with symptoms like itching, nasal congestion, skin rash, swelling and tingling or burning of the mouth. The signs of gluten sensitivity often mimic those of coeliac disease as well as lactose intolerance or even Fodmaps (carbohydrate) intolerance. The reason wheat should be eliminated from the diet first, when trying to find out which food is causing reactions, is because it has three components which may cause problems. Read more

Glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids

Vegetables of the nightshade family contain cholinesterase inhibiting glycoalkaloids and steroid alkaloids including, among others, capsaicin in peppers, nicotine in tobacco, solanine in aubergines and potatoes and tomatine in tomatoes. The glycoalkaloids in potatoes are also known to contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and negatively affect intestinal permeability which can also lead to an over reactive immune system. Read more

Lactose intolerance

Lactose intolerance means the body cannot easily digest lactose, a type of natural sugar found in milk products from cows, goats and sheep. This can begin at birth or develop at any age. It is caused by a reduced or non-existent level of active lactase, an enzyme which splits lactose into two sugar molecules called glucose and galactose. The splitting of lactose helps a person to digest and absorb the lactose they consume. Dogs cannot digest milk or milk products which can cause them digestive distress and skin irritations as they lack lactase in their digestive system. Read more

Lectin intolerance

Lectin is a type of glycoprotein found in many plant foods. Seeds of the grasses such as rice, rye, spelt and wheat have exceptionally high levels of this defensive glycoprotein. It is used as protection by the plants against the bacteria, fungi and insects which use N-Acetylglucosamine to build their cells walls. All animals, including birds, fish, humans and even worms, use N-Acetyglucosamine as a foundational substance for building the various tissues in their bodies, including cartilage, joints, bones and tendons. Read more

Lectin and its affect on the leptin hormone

The lectin from wheat also often ends up circulating in the body and in the brain, where it can cause leptin-resistance which causes effects similar to insulin-resistance. Those two factors could be a cause or promoter of obesity as leptin and insulin are the two most important hormones to properly regulate in order to maintain a normal weight and energy balance. Leptin is a hormone that is produced by the body’s fat cells and is often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or the “starvation hormone.” The level of leptin in the blood, that reaches the hypothalamus in the brain, indicates to the brain the level of fat stored and available energy and, when there is enough fat stored, there is no need to eat and that calories can be burned at the normal rate. It also has many other functions related to fertility, immunity, brain function and others. Read more

Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG)

Excitotoxins are formed due to too much glutamic acid which is necessary in small amounts but toxic when present in high amounts. Combine the glutamate amino acid with sodium and it becomes mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) which is often used in Chinese foods as a flavour enhancer and may lead to headaches and other allergic reactions due to the over consumption of glutamic acid. Read more

Phenols

Phenols are a broad class of aromatic organic compounds manufactured by plants that can be strong systemic poisons for organisms including animals, bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Phenolic compounds are stored in the tissues of plants to deter plant browsers and are released when plant material decomposes or is damaged. Various polyphenols are antioxidants and provide the colours of ripe plums and berries and the intense colours of geraniums and delphiniums. Read more

Salicylates

Salicylates are chemicals found naturally in fruits and vegetables and are a major ingredient in aspirin and other pain-relieving medications as well as in many common health and beauty and other cosmetic products. Those who are sensitive to salicylates find that an excessive amount first stimulates, then depresses the central nervous system. This can lead to many different kinds of symptoms, including some that might seem incompatible. For example, both hyperactivity and lethargy are associated with salicylate sensitivity. Read more

Sulphites

Sulphites (sulfite USA spelling) are added to foods, cosmetics and drugs as a preservative and work by releasing sulphur dioxide gas and, because it is an irritant, it can cause the airway to become inflamed and constricted. It is thought that, in most individuals sensitive to sulphites, the gas is released when sulphite-containing foods interact with acid in the stomach. Read more

Tannins

Tannins are water-soluble polyphenols that are present in many plant foods and affect the nutritional value of foods or beverages because they bind to proteins. Most plants contain tannins however algae, fungi and mosses contain very little. Read more

Thiols

Thiols, also called mercaptan, are a class of organic chemical compounds, similar to the alcohols and phenols, that contain a sulphydryl group that is composed of a sulphur atom (in place of an oxygen atom) and a hydrogen atom attached to a carbon atom. Some foods that contain sulphur also contain thiols but not all. Read more

Health issues that may mimic food allergies

When allergies to foods has been ruled out, by a process of elimination, there may be other issues causing the symptoms such as:

The symptoms could also be caused by something more serious like a tumour so do need to be investigated by a medical professional. See also Gastrointestinal Tract.

Reducing allergic reactions

Many allergies are caused by an upset to the beneficial bacteria that live on and within the human body and therefore it is important to address the alkaline balance in the body. Check the pH of saliva with a pH strip. If the saliva pH is below 7.2 it is too acidic and this can cause imbalance of the bacteria flora in the intestines. To increase the oral pH to the normal 7.2, drink a half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in 60 ml of water or a glass of milk.

NOTE: People with high blood pressure should not consume bicarbonate of soda due to the high sodium content.

Other health issues that can be worsened by an acidic environment

Cleaning teeth with bicarbonate of soda mixed with a little cold-pressed coconut oil and avoiding commercial powerful chemical-laden toothpastes and mouthwashes containing alcohol can also help to readdress the balance.

Chewing some parsley, coriander, mint or spearmint leaves or some cloves can also neutralise the bacteria that can cause bad breath after eating.

Modern households are full of pollutants from chemicals used in the manufacture of everything used in a home including furnishings, floor and wall coverings, electronics and other gadgets, glues, paints and varnishes etc. The move to become energy efficient means that the home environment has little ventilation or air flow and so toxic pollutants can build-up leading to allergic reactions. Reducing the use of chemical laden household cleaning products and cosmetics can help to reduce the toxic overload.

See Hygiene and Health for ways to make powerful cleaners from natural herbs.

Try to use only natural products as much as possible on the skin because, if a product cannot be swallowed because it would do harm, then it certainly should not be touched as the skin absorbs molecules of toxins too. Toxins are easily breathed in as well. One way to reduce pollution in the home is to fill it with air-purifying house plants. NASA studied some common houseplants to see if they could help with removal of pollutants in an enclosed environment in space and discovered they could. See their list of top toxin-removing plants and how to care for them here: Air-purifying House Plants.

It is best to try eliminating possible causes of allergies one by one for at least two weeks each. Obviously if pollen is the cause this will be impossible in which case see Hay Fever for natural remedies.

NOTE: Psyllium husks are highly effective at resolving many intestinal and excretory system disorders and they can restore the natural balance of flora in the intestine. One teaspoon of the husks should be taken with a large tumbler of filtered or bottled mineral water every day or sprinkled on foods.

Natural remedies to reduce allergic reactions

Allergy remedy 1

  • One large carrot juiced

  • Half a medium cucumber juiced

  • One medium beetroot juiced

Combine these three juices and drink once a day.

Allergy remedy 2

  • Glass of warm water

  • The juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon

  • One teaspoon of pure locally produced honey

Stir well and consume on an empty stomach.

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