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March 15, 2007
Allergies come in all varieties. The term allergy often brings to mind the individual with the red dripping nose that can’t stop sneezing. Another allergy that comes to mind is the obvious food allergy where you need to avoid a food that when eaten can cause your body to swell up and in some cases can even restrict your breathing. This type of allergy can be life threatening if not identified and respected.
Well, a whole different line of allergies are those that are less perceptible in an immediate sense but none-the-less affect our lives in a big way. To explain what I mean we need to establish a common language of immune response. First off the guy with the runny itchy nose as well as the life-threatening allergy sufferer are experiencing a reaction mediated by antibodies and their related components that act primarily in an immediate fashion. One of those commonly identified is the IgE antibody. This can be generated in response to a substance in the form of pollen, food particles (like peanuts), dust, latex, or just about anything.
Another line of antibodies such as the IgG family can cause what is termed a delayed hypersensitivity. This is the antibody family that initiates a gradually increasing response over several days after the initial exposure. This type of response might go unnoticed since its symptoms might be sore joints, headache, brain fog, or fatigue. These antibodies might be reacting to the exact same substance mentioned above but it does so in a much slower insidious fashion that steals your health away inch by inch such that over the course of time you actually forget ever being truly healthy!
Someone reading this might say “well I’ve got all those things” and you very well may! Many of us walk around year after year suffering inexplicable symptoms that seem to come and go but never quite leave us completely. Whether it be the urgent need to find a restroom after a meal due to inflamed bowels or chronically sore joints they have stopped us from doing what we love because we always hurt.
It’s strange for some to think that they have been “poisoning” themselves slowly overtime and possibly with foods that would be considered “good for you” in general. This however is the case for many unwitting allergy sufferers.
Symptoms provoked by food sensitivities occur when our immune system begins perceiving foods in the same way it perceives things which are truly harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, etc. This mistaken identity leads to the release of toxic chemicals called “mediators”(such as histamine, cytokines, and prostaglandins) from our immune cells. It’s the inflammatory and pain-inducing effect of the mediators that give rise to symptoms making us feel sick. Food sensitivity symptoms are often chronic. This is because the mediators are released every time you eat reactive foods. And it doesn’t matter what drugs we take to try and get better - if we have food sensitivities and don’t figure out which foods we SHOULD be eating, getting better and staying better becomes a long-term losing struggle.
There are a variety of medications both prescription and over the counter as well as botanical that can mask many of these symptoms but for most folks it seems that as time progresses higher dosing is required to achieve relief and this slippery slope never seems to stop.
Fortunately we now have a variety of testing possibilities to specifically identify allergens and the degree to which they are affecting us as well as the ability to design personalized dietary protocols that can allow us to regain our health that was stolen through chronic long term inflammation. Some of the tests allow us to identify the foods or environmental substances that we react to and others show us the degree to which we are reacting to these elements. The bottom line is knowledge is power and the sooner we gain the knowledge of what is adversely affecting us the sooner we can make the changes necessary to regain our health.
If you have concerns in this area give us a call and we will take the time to comprehensively evaluate your particular situation, perform the necessary laboratory testing and provide you with a game plan to get your life back. Don’t let allergies immediate or delayed steal your life away. There are answers out there you may just need to ask a different question.
Best of Health to You,
Dr. Dave Marquis, DC, DACBN
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