So What is an Allergy, Anyway?

SO WHAT IS AN ALLERGY, ANYWAY?natural allergy

Allergy is derived from Greek words meaning “altered reaction.” The immune system tags a substance (a.k.a. the allergen) as an invading organism and overreacts, provoking a chain of defensive reactions in the body. Symptoms can be immediate when the body produces Immunoglobulin E antibodies (IgE), and may include tingling of extremities, wheezing, coughing, tightening of the throat, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. Some of these reactions can be so potent that potentially life-threatening anaphylaxis can occur. When the reaction is mediated primarily by Immunoglobulin g antibodies (IgE)-as is the case in the majority of allergic reactions-symptoms can be delayed for up to three days. Delayed food reactions have been linked to not only specific physical problems such as hives, headache, and sinus and bronchial problems, but also to less obvious yet insipid conditions such as vague, chronic body pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

Immediate reactions are fixed in an individual; when the offending food is ingested, an immune response is always provoked. Delayed reactions are not fixed but are cyclical, with symptoms varying as quantity or frequency of ingestion of the offending food varies.

THINK YOU DON’T HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES? THINK AGAIN…

Chances are you actually do; studies estimate that at least 60% of the American population suffer from food reaction symptoms, but most people remain unaware that their symptoms are food related. And no wonder, since the majority of food-related allergies produce symptoms as much as 3 days after eating the offending substance and symptoms can be a vague conglomerate of aches and pains, even the most diligent detective may never be able to correctly link the allergen with the reaction.

Nevertheless, over time untreated allergies place a cumulative stress on the immune system, which can lead to a host of secondary, more serious conditions such as migraines, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, a bevy of new studies have strongly linked the body’s inflammatory response-which is entwined with our allergic response-to cancer and heart disease. Identifying and treating allergies is crucial to long-term health.

“SO I’LL JUST TAKE SOME CLARITEN AND CALL IT A DAY…”

Sure, it sounds great. Take a pill, stop the body’s allergic response in its tracks, everything will be just fine…or will it? Unfortunately, conventional allergy treatment is almost as toxic to the body as the allergy itself. Chronic use of antihistamines and other drugs dampen the immune system, placing the user at risk for developing infections and malignant tumors. Hypertension, weight gain, diabetes, and most recently, certain birth defects, have been linked to chronic use of prescription and over the counter allergy remedies.

COULD YOUR GUT BE LEAKING?

One of the most common causes of chronic illness is decidedly unglamorous yet extraordinarily common and debilitating: Leaky Gut Syndrome. In short, leaky gut syndrome occurs when the epithelium of the small intestine becomes irritated, allowing absorption of metabolic toxins. These toxins overwhelm the liver leading to toxic accumulations in the lymphatic fluids and connective tissue. The result: fatigue, fibromyalgia, headache, poor concentration and certain skin conditions. It has been estimated that Leaky Gut accounts for 50% of chronic illness in modern clinical practice.

“SO HOW IS THIS ‘LEAKY GUT’ TIED TO FOOD ALLERGIES?”

Leaky Gut can severely complicate acquired food allergies. As the intestinal lining is irritated, foods are absorbed before they are fully digested. The body tags these long chains as foreign, and the inflammatory response is initiated. The inflammatory response keeps the intestinal epithelia irritated, which keeps Leaky Gut from healing, setting the body up for chronic illness.

“OKAY, SO HOW DO I FIND OUT IF MY GUT IS LEAKING, IF I HAVE ANY ALLERGIES, AND IF SO, WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?”

Glad you asked. Allergy testing and treatment was once associated with needles, extensive and expensive testing, and more needles. Today, we routinely perform allergy testing-for both immediate and delayed reaction allergies-quickly and inexpensively using noninvasive in-office procedures. Occasionally lab work may be in order, but this typically requires a single stick blood test. In treating your allergies, we use a variety of allergy elimination techniques, which are also noninvasive and relatively fast. Leaky Gut Syndrome can also be detected and treated in this manner.

If you have questions about allergies, call our office to set up a no-charge consultation.

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