Have you ever felt so awful that you thought about seeking emergency treatment, or became worried that an unspeakably, serious event was about to occur? Have you ever experienced an uncomfortable wheezing or tightness in your chest, been nauseous for no reason, had a headache that just wouldn’t quit, heard ringing in your ears, suffered frequent sore throats, unusual rashes, hives, or swelling? Do you know what caused these symptoms?
Many such unsettling symptoms are caused from allergies. What appear to be unknown foreign invaders from the environment cause your body to start taking extreme measures, starting a cascade of events. Like many people, you may be confused about why your body begins to react this way. Allergy symptoms are often similar to symptoms that arise from other respiratory problems, which is why many people think they have the flu or a cold instead of an allergy. Symptoms often include fever, body aches, and bronchitis. Even if you’ve only experienced the annoying sniffling and sneezing of an allergy, don’t wait for an emergency to find out what you’re dealing with.
Allergies are caused from a hyperactive response of the body’s immune system to substances that are viewed as something foreign to your body. In a reaction, your body is telling you that something’s wrong, and is taking steps necessary to eliminate what’s causing the problem. This is a good system, except that when allergens are involved, your body may overreact. Think about how smoke detectors provide protection by alerting you to signs of a fire. If a smoke detector were too sensitive, it would produce an alert every time the stove is used, every time a candle is lit, or when the furnace is turned on for the first time in the fall. Although smoke detectors save lives, a smoke detector that’s this sensitive is annoying.
When an allergen enters your body (known as a foreign protein), the protective mechanisms within your body get set to remove it. When an allergen enters your nose or throat, the first stage of the reaction is irritation and the secretion of mucus. This secretion of mucous is due to an antibody called secretory IgE, the special imunoglobulin for air passages, blood and skin. The secretory IgE triggers mast cells to release histamine, causing your eyes to water and your nose to run. When your body identifies the offending substance, it dislodges it with mucous (because your body knows it’s trying to implant itself there), and shoves it off with a 600 mph sneeze. This sneeze is designed to knock the offending substance out of your body before it causes a bigger problem. Your mucus is also full of white blood cells that attack any bacteria within it, and expel it to keep debris out of body tissues. What an amazing body you have!
When you eat, food goes into your stomach where it mixes with a very strong hydrochloric acid solution. This has two functions. First, any bacteria, virus, protozoa, fungus, or other yeast, such as Candida albicans, will be rendered harmless, turned into short chain proteins, and then turned into more food for you. This is actually a protective response of your immune system. Next, long chain food proteins are broken down into short chain proteins, which are used to supply your body with building materials. Sophisticated cells scan any suspect proteins and send specific immune system cells after them if they appear to be a problem.
Food allergies arise when the lining of mucus in your stomach is repeatedly irritated by an allergen, something that has been identified as a problem. An antibody called secretory IgA causes the release of even more protective mucus. When your stomach lining is not as healthy as it should be, often caused from ingesting substances, such as antibiotics, alcohol, NSAIDS, and processed foods, leaky gut syndrome may result. Smoking also damages the lining in your stomach. This means that although your stomach is attempting to do its job, partially digested foods, viruses, and bacteria escape through the stomach walls into the bloodstream as long chain proteins, instead of turning into short chain proteins. The immune system is trained to profile for these guys and starts a reaction, as this could be an invader with a plan to take over. Your body is armed to survive all threats, and will respond. Unfortunately, sometimes the attack does more harm to your body than the invader would have done.
What can you do to help your body respond more appropriately to the influences in the environment that cause allergies? Keeping a proper ph in your body is one of the first things you can do. When the acid base balance changes in your body, you become more susceptible to allergies. Clinically, I measure ph with a very sensitive ph paper using salivary ph. Urine ph is too variable because it is based on what you ate most recently. Your ph should be at 7, which is neutral. I find that in the cold months, people tend to become alkaline, and need to be acidified. In the warm months, they tend to go acid, and need to be alkalized. A normal, seasonally appropriate diet helps keep the proper ph in your body, but you may still need help choosing healthy foods, or adding supplements to aid digestion, and help you obtain optimal nutrition that will assist your body in healing. It is possible to alleviate, or even eliminate most allergy problems by avoiding harmful substances, obtaining proper nutrition, and balancing the ph level. Omega 3 oils, enzymes, Glutamine, Quercetin (a very important anti-inflammatory), Vitamin A, B-complex, C (a natural antihistamine and immune builder), zinc, selenium, and local honey are especially indicated for allergies. Other nutritional support may include specific nutrients for Leaky Gut, and Adrenal Glands.
The bottom line is that allergies are not just seasonal. Allergies are interfering with the quality of life for many people and need to be handled before they turn into bigger problems. No one wants a false alarm to turn into a real emergency!
By Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.