There is an epidemic of allergies going on — inhalant and contact allergies, food intolerances, chemical sensitivities, driven by a number of factors – poor nutritional status, dietary toxins, environmental toxins, stresses, infections. Although it seems that catching the childhood fevers, measles and chickenpox, actually reduces your risk of asthma and eczema.
More and more of us are becoming food-intolerant, often linked to a leaky gut. According to one brilliant study from 2015,
“Glucose, salt, emulsifiers, organic solvents, gluten,microbial transglutaminase, and nanoparticles are extensively and increasingly used by the food industry… all of the aforementioned additives increase intestinal permeability.”
(Transglutaminase is an enzyme used widely to “improve” the texture and appearance of food). The result is that allergens and toxins from food can get into your bloodstream and set off reactions.
Those reactions can be both immune and biochemical, so people who object that “It’s not an allergy it’s an intolerance” do have a point – reactions to foods may or may not involve the “classical” histamine-driven allergies
Allergies tend to show first at the “portal of entry”, where the allergen gets into your body, where it first activates the immune system. Inhalant allergy symptoms are usually in the respiratory tract — the nose, throat, and sometimes right down into the lungs.
Hay fever is more common, and often more severe, in cities than in the countryside, and the reasons are now becoming clear. Pollen grains are very small, around 30 microns (that’s 30 thousandths of a millimetre), and can be carried long distances on the wind. But urban and other man-made pollution, from vehicle exhausts for instance, is even smaller, mostly under 10 microns (known as PM10s, for particulate matter less than 10 microns) and much of it is under 2.5 microns (PM2.5s). When pollen grains are being carried through urban air they tend to get a load of these smaller pollution particles attached to them, especially the PM2.5 size. When a “dirty” pollen grain lands in your nose, these particles are even more irritant to your mucous membrane than the pollen, and can make hay fever worse. What’s more, unlike the pollen they are small enough to be carried down into the lungs where they can set off asthma.
The Avon Study in the UK discovered that using cream or lotion containing arachis oil (which is just another name for peanut oil) on skin with eczema was a major risk factor for developing peanut allergy, including severe anaphylactic reactions. It seems that if a baby’s first contact with something is by mouth, their body tends to trust Mummy, but if it’s through the skin it sets off the immune alarm bells.
Dampness and Mould Hypersensitivity Syndrome (DMHS)
We have lived with yeasts and moulds for ever, and mostly its been a fruitful relationship. But lately lots of people have simply been overwhelmed by moulds and the mycotoxins they produce. It’s what Dr Ritchie Shoemaker calls the Biotoxin Pathway – mycotoxins and others can cause sustained unregulated inflammation, that steadily drains you.
Researchers in Finland have pioneered ways of understanding and addressing DMHS. They even showed that DMHS greatly increases your risk of reacting adversely to a vaccine. And 50% of people who develop DMHS will later develop MCS.
MCS and EHS
Around 5% of people report Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), but in one way they are the lucky ones because they detect the poisons early and can take steps to avoid them. The rest of us just keep getting poisoned. Desensitisation can certainly help with chemical sensitivities, but it also takes targetted nutrition and detoxification, plus reducing your exposure.
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS or ES) is a growing problem, set to get worse with the roll-out of 5G, but the evidence clearly shows that existing levels of EMFs are harmful to humans, to animals, to all biological systems in fact. You can see more about this in the Consensus Statement on Non-Ionising Radiation on the BSEM website.
An important lesson we have learnt about EHS and MCS is that it’s not black and white, not binary. You don’t need to be, and probably can’t be perfect; all reductions in exposure and all improvements in nutrition and lifestyle are worth doing. If you get a good night’s sleep in a “clean” environment for instance, that is well worth doing.
What can we do?
In my book The Vitamin Cure for Allergies (we have copies on sale) I listed these factors that help with allergies:
- Optimising nutrition (obviously, and especially vitamins C and D)
- Avoidance of toxins
- Pure food
- Pure water
- Stress handling
Lack G, Fox D, Northstone K, Golding J; Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Study Team. Factors associated with the development of peanut allergy in childhood. N Engl J Med. 2003 Mar 13;348(11):977-85
Bodner C at al. Childhood exposure to infection and risk of adult onset wheeze and atopy. Thorax 2000; 55(5): 383-7
Rosenlund H et al. Allergic disease and atopic sensitization in children in relation to measles vaccination and measles infection. Pediatrics 2009; 123: 771-8