Are Allergies a Problem?
Do Allergies get you down?
Are you sneezing and sniffling all day?
Do you dread the blooms of spring and summer?
Are you allergic to pets?
Have you ever had an anaphylactic reaction?
Do you have food allergies?
Do your “allergies” make you more susceptible to illness?
Have you “developed” allergies as an adult?
Are your eyes itchy, scratchy and red?
Are you tired of sinus headaches and post nasal drip?
Do your teeth ache when you sinuses act up?
Have you tried every OTC preparation and still have symptoms?
Are medications the only way you can enjoy the outdoors?
Do you regularly rely on allergy meds, pills, pumps, sprays or shots?
Did you know your diet can improve or worsen allergies?
If you have seasonal allergies, hay fever, hives and even food allergies improving your nutrition can help.
A simple definition for an allergy is “an inappropriate response to a normal environmental stimulus”.
Most people do not sneeze when the oaks bloom. The majority of people are not allergic to pollen. Only some of us have an allergic reaction to a bee sting. And even fewer people have anaphylaxis – a life threatening reaction. Have you ever wondered why?
The occurrence of allergic disease is on the rise.
Many experts blame it on things being too clean [hygiene hypothesis]. I disagree.
Their theory states that if the environment is too clean there is impairment of the normal development of the immune system. [Does this pass the common sense test?]
Let me say this: Allergic reactions can be very serious. Medications can be save lives and make our allergies more bearable, but they treat the symptoms not the causes.
Inheritance or genetics, environment and nutrition, all three, play a role in allergies – We can’t change genetics [and we prefer not to live in a bubble], but we CAN change our nutritional status.
Trust me, Allergies have a HUGE nutritional component and many people have improvement of symptoms when their nutritional state is optimized.
Nutritional deficiencies can lead to many allergies – conversely, there is a list of nutrients that will improve many if not most allergies and associated symptoms.
The “Essential” nutrients are necessary for optimal health – we cannot make them and if they are not in our diets we have deficiency symptoms.
A little background:
Allergic symptoms range from mild to life threatening – Anaphylaxis.
Humans, guinea pigs, the fruit bat and a few other primates cannot manufacture vitamin C and it must be in their diets.
Scurvy is caused by a vitamin C deficiency.
Most animals can make their own vitamin C – a mule makes about 13 grams per day, a gorilla makes about 4 grams per day, but we make none!
In animals that make their own vitamin C scientists cannot induce anaphylaxis in the laboratory, a life threatening allergic reaction. Repeat, animals that make their own vitamin C do not experience life threatening allergic reactions.
Animals like the guinea pig that cannot make their own vitamin C, if deficient in vitamin C can suffer anaphylaxis – just like us.
Vitamin C is needed for normal Adrenal Gland function [where adrenaline, cortisone and sex hormones originate].
In the adrenal glands there is a 150 times concentration of the blood level of vitamin C or to say it another way – the body creates a gradient in the adrenal glands that is 150 times that found in the blood. If the blood level of vitamin C is 1 the adrenal level is 150 or if the blood level is a mere 0.1 the adrenal level will only be 15. This fluctuation is not seen in animals that make their own vitamin C.
This scenario illustrates how nutrition is at the center of allergic disorders.
There are many nutrients that help reduce and stabilize allergic symptoms and their underlying causes.
Vitamin C with rose hips includes Quercetin, of the C family and a bioflavonoid – it’s helpful with allergies as well. Some do benefit from taking addition bioflavonoids for more severe allergies.
The B vitamins, especially B12, pantothenic acid and B6 contribute to the adrenal gland’s function and help assist in the reduction of allergy symptoms.
Remember, it is virtually impossible to get optimal amounts of B vitamins from food alone.
Simply taking a B complex supplement twice a day will help most allergy sufferers.
Some people will need to take individual B vitamins if their symptoms are severe.
Dr Atkins’ book Vita-Nutrient Solution is an invaluable tool to help direct you.
Natural Vitamin E is best.
Its natural form is d-tocopherol where the synthetic version is d-l-tocopherol – the difference is subtle when written, but the man-made version only has 25% of the activity of its natural cousin. Always use natural vitamin E – d-tocopherol – the natural, more effective and slightly more expensive version.
I take a natural vitamin E with mixed tocopherols that also contains selenium.
Vitamin E can make a big difference in sinus allergies.
Vitamin A and the Carotenes:
Many think of Beta-carotene [found in carrots] as vitamin A.
This is not completely accurate. In our bodies Beta-carotene CAN be, and is converted to vitamin A, BUT this conversion can be a slow.
So, it is a good idea to seek out vitamin A itself from food sources. Cod liver oil and liver are the best sources; Butter, egg yolks, whole milk and cream are decent sources as well, but skim or 2% milk are not good sources.
Beta-carotene and related carotenoids are found in a variety of foods, the more the better.
Many people with a shortage of vitamin A will need to take a supplement [especially those with dry eyes]. I’ll give some specific advice in a minute.
When the topic of vitamin A comes up – I am frequently reminded that it can be toxic.
It is important to be safe when taking vitamins.
Vitamin A is very safe if taken properly.
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has established a tolerable upper limit of 10,000 IU per day.
Dr Atkins would use 200,000-500,000 iu per day for a few months in patients with acne without any side effects.[with medical supervision and lab tests]. He also used 100,000 iu per day with patients with psoriasis, again under medical supervision.
Synthetic vitamin A may contribute to birth defects, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Pregnant women should not take high doses and should talk to their doctors about vitamin A.
Natural Vitamin A may also cause birth defects as well but it is less likely.
Avoid the “acetate” version of Vitamin A – it is synthetic, not natural.
Although synthetic or man-made the “palmitate” version mimics our body’s way of storing vitamin A and it is probably ok. [especially for vegetarians and vegans]
BTW Beta-carotene is 100% non-toxic.
I use a product that is 25,000 iu per capsule [containing 60% beta-carotene, 40% fish oil/retinol plus vitamin D3 – This is about 10,000 iu of vitamin A per pill]
Selenium, a trace mineral, is important to avoid inflammatory situations like asthma and psoriasis.
Glutathione peroxidase is a selenium dependent enzyme.
When glutathione levels are low there is a 6 times increase in asthma incidence.
Selenium is also important for Thyroid function and even those taking thyroid replacement medication.
Magnesium, the mineral center of chlorophyll – the green pigment of plants – prevents and reduces some allergic activity.
Another reason why eating your vegetables is a good idea.
If you are not keen on greens there are supplements of concentrated fruits and veggies available.
Calcium serves as our main acid “balancer” in the body – keeping us a healthy, slightly alkaline pH of 7.2-7.4 – if we are acidic illness is near, including “allergies”.
Take a quality MCHA based calcium supplement [MCHA is derived for bovine sources of bone meal and is 40-60% absorbed vs calcium carbonate aka limestone being 3% absorbed]
Other minerals are important as well – zinc, potassium, sodium and a long list of trace minerals. This is another reason to take a plant derived colloidal mineral product – from humic shale.
~ Oils and Fats
Allergies improve as we optimize our fatty acid balance and consistently avoid bad fats.
Margarine or hydrogenated oil [Trans Fat] sabotages our bodies. It literally “gunks up” our blood vessels, impairs our endothelial function – sinuses, intestinal lining and lungs and displaces the “good” fats.
Make an effort to read labels and choose products that do not contain Trans fats.
Use real BUTTER.
Use Olive oil – it is an omega 9 – although not “essential”, it gives benefit by displacing the inflammatory omega 6 oils [found in other vegetable oils]. Olive oil is also heat stable where other cooking oils are not.
Borage oil is 27% GLA, known for its anti-inflammatory qualities, can make a big difference with allergies.
Taking 1,000 mg of Borage oil once or twice a day can be helpful.
Omega 3’s should comprise around 3% of your daily calories – or 7-10 grams.
The Omega 3’s come from animal and plant sources; fish oil, krill oil and flax oil supplements.
A proper omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is vital to avoid an inflammatory environment in the body. [read about it]
The omega 6:3 ratio is an interesting topic; Omega 9 oils, although not essential, help out by displacing the plentiful Omega 6 oils [corn, sunflower and safflower are loaded with Omega 6’s]
I take a concentrated fish oil capsule along with flax oil capsules.
You can also get liquid versions or combination products that contain Borage oil [27% GLA]
Saturated fats are rendered harmless when adequate amounts of the omega 3 oils are present.
Final thought- Taking a comprehensive digestive enzyme supplement can help reduce food allergies.
There are many products to chose from; so let’s look at a sample label of a multi-enzyme product:
Betaine (as Betaine HCI) (from beets and molasses) 200mg Pancreatin 4X 200mg Supplying: Amylase 20,000 USP units Protease 20,000 USP units Lipase3,400 USP units Papain (2M USP units/mg) 50mg Cellulase (1M FCC units/g) 10mg Ox Bile Extract (45% Cholic Acid) 100mg Pepsin Enzymes (NF 1:10M units) 50mg Bromelain (2400 GDU)(from pineapple) 50mg Papaya Powder 45mg
Take home message for allergy sufferers:
Make sure you are getting extra vitamin C.
Take a B complex supplement.
Get a good multiple vitamin mineral product that includes selenium.
Consider taking extra vitamin A and vitamin E.
Take quality omega 3 supplements.
Look into sources of GLA – Borage oil is my favorite.
Avoid Trans fats. [Margarine or hydrogenated oil]
Consider taking supplemental digestive enzymes.
Finally, get some sunlight every day – 20 to 30 minutes [Vitamin D]
To achieve full spectrum nutrition we all need to supplement our diets.
Supplements to consider:
1) Get a good multiple vitamin/mineral product. Versions with “Chelated” minerals are best. I also like those with some plant based vitamins.
2) Take a quality Calcium product. Look for MCHA as the calcium source and one that includes Magnesium, vitamin D and some assorted trace minerals.
3) Take Omega 3 oils. Flax oil is the best to start. Adding Krill or fish oil later [BTW – Krill oil in the container has a distinctive odor – if you place 3-4 desiccant packs in the bottle and refrigerate it, the odor is gone in 12 hours]
4) Find a good Colloidal mineral product for trace minerals. Make sure it’s from Humic shale and NOT ionic minerals. Humic shale is the “fossilized” remains of the dinosaur days. Plant based colloidal minerals are 98% absorbed.
As always, feel free to comment or message questions or concerns.