What is your experience? Does there seem to be more or less people with allergies these days? Do more or less children – and adults – seem to have asthma these days? Most people recognize that the prevalence of allergies and asthma is on the rise… and health statistics confirm it.
What are the causes of allergies and asthma? Why are we seeing so many more people suffering from these conditions? How can we find relief from these common conditions?
Antecedents, triggers and inflammation
We say we have allergies when we experience a certain set of symptoms (watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, etc.) in response to a trigger such as pollen or dust. We say we have asthma when we experience breathing difficulty related to constriction in our airways and inflammation in the immune system of our respiratory tract.
Antecedents – Certain people have allergies while others don’t. And certain people experience asthma while others don’t. The difference between those of us with symptoms and other people is found in antecedents (literally “what comes before”). Antecedents may be:
· Genetic (rare)
· Trauma from smoke, chemical burns, etc. (more common)
· Emotional distress (far more common)
· Toxins from the environment that permeate our air, water and food (the most common antecedent for allergies and asthma)
Triggers – Triggers are the myriad products or processes in our internal and external environment that create symptoms. For one person, wheat triggers symptoms. For another person cat dander triggers symptoms. Almost everyone reacts to ragweed! Your symptom triggers are unique because of the way your personal, internal chemistry interacts with the antecedents that come before allergies and asthma.
Inflammation – Inflammation is the final reaction in this chain. The symptoms we experience are all related to inflammation. Examples of inflammatory mediators are histamines, prostaglandins and leukotrienes. These are strange and difficult words that are all too familiar to people that suffer from allergies and asthma.
We protect ourselves through the process of insulation and isolation. It is very important to isolate ourselves from trauma, stress and toxins. It is also imperative to insulate ourselves with anti-allergy nutrients.
Vitamin B-12 helps your body reduce histamine formation. Betalains help your body reduce inflammation in the soft tissues of the respiratory tract, digestive tract and pretty well all other tissues! These represent the best strategies for symptom relief.
Triggers (allergens) are sharp, jagged proteins that are like shards of broken glass in your system. The cells lining your airways (and pretty well all other tissues) are like delicate balloons that pop when allergens attack. Fortunately, we are able to resist most of these allergens. However, the ones we cannot neutralize create real misery. Essential fatty acids (EFA) toughen up the balloon-like cells and make them much more difficult to pop. You will likely need two to three times the normal amount of EFA every day for several months to achieve lasting relief from allergy triggers.
Antecedents are more difficult to address because genetics, toxins and stress are pervasive: they don’t go away. With patience, though, we can develop strategies to minimize the impact of antecedents. For example, we can breathe deeply to de-stress our mind and body. We can drink pure water and eat nutritiously to cleanse toxins from our body. This can also help protect against new poisons setting us up for allergies in the future. And we can modify our sensitivity by exercising appropriately (and safely) as well as sleeping peacefully to balance our immune system.
Allergies and asthma are more prevalent now than ever. We can prevent much misery by addressing the antecedents that come before these reactions, by strengthening our cells to resist triggers, and by reducing the inflammation that creates so much misery!
Understanding Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal Allergies: In Full Bloom
More and more people are experiencing allergies and suffering with related symptoms. In past Weekly Wellness Reports we have discussed how histamine receptors trigger inflammation in the four tissues they populate: The airways The digestive/reproductive tract Our brain Our immune system
Histamines are triggers for runaway inflammation.
If we are to combat the rise in allergy symptoms we must first understand them. How are histamines produced? What effect do they have on the four receptor sites (H-1, H-2, H-3, H-4)? These important questions require answers from anyone experiencing symptoms. The four sites
We are all familiar with H-1 site (airways) symptoms: watery, itchy, inflamed eyes and nose, throat and lungs. The same signs of inflammation we experience in our respiratory tract with H-1 inflammation occur in the three other sites:
· H-2 sites (digestive/reproductive tracts) inflame and we experience: acid indigestion, gastric reflux, dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and inflammation of the reproductive tract.
· H-3 sites (the brain) inflame and we experience: anxiety, agitation, insomnia, depression, attention deficit/hyperactivity, autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.
· H-4 sites (the immune system) inflame and we experience: autoimmune symptoms associated with chronic fatigue, body aches and pains, rapid aging and hormone disruption.
The root of the tree may be the same (histamines) but the fruit on the tree (symptoms) depends on our genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle choices. It also depends on timing. For example, an explosion of histamines in the brain may manifest as hyperactivity in the young and anxiety in the elderly (and insomnia in everyone).Important for growth
Histamines are not “bad” chemicals – just misunderstood. We sometimes need histamines to protect us from poisons. When we have hay fever, our body misidentifies a harmless pollen grain as a toxic poison. Histamines actually flood the area to remove the pollen. However, these histamines are critically important in other ways.
Our body uses controlled inflammation to accomplish good things. For example, we make histamines to facilitate the process of puberty. Just imagine the physical changes little boys and girls have to experience to become young men and women. These physical changes are caused by the controlled inflammation of histamines. Our ability to stay awake and alert is dependent upon histamines as well. However, when these become imbalanced we may experience symptoms such as PMS and hyperactivity.Histamines form.
To make histamines we need protein amino acids and the B vitamins folate and B-12. One important amino acid in forming histamines is methionine. A sign that our methionine metabolism is impaired is elevated homocysteine levels.
Many people have a hard time digesting Vitamin B-12 [Super Sublingual]. For example, people with any digestive irritation will be unable to absorb B-12. When B-12 levels go down, histamines go up! This is because normal, healthy levels of folate quickly become unbalanced and begin converting proteins to histamine. These histamines attach to any available receptor site.
Here is an important reason why people can experience different symptoms from the same basic cause (too little B-12): One person may be born with more H-1 receptors, so they experience allergies in the airways. Another person may be born with more H-3 receptors, so they experience insomnia. One person may simply be born with more receptor sites than another.Restoring balance
To bring balance back into the system we need Vitamin B-12. Please note: How much B-12 is in the bloodstream is not important in deciding how much B-12 you can use! Vitamin B-12 exits the blood system quickly and we may get a false impression of our actual need for nutrient balance by viewing B-12 this way. It is better to look at the end results if we are to truly determine the benefit of taking B-12. For example, elevated homocysteine levels tell us we need a high level of folate and B-12. Elevated histamine levels in our blood (or signs of excess histamines in our body) tell us we need extra Vitamin B-12, but less folic acid.
This is why I formulated Super Sublingual B-12 with large amounts of B-12 (both methyl- and cyano- B-12) and low amounts of folic acid. It is also why I formulated HCY Guard® with a closer ratio of the two nutrients and why Dr. Libby used a similar strategy.
Super Sublingual B-12 helps restore balance to people troubled by signs of high histamines. Regardless of your specific symptoms, Super Sublingual B-12 may be the relief you need from the inflammation of elevated histamines.
Take Control of Your Health
· Reduce your exposure to toxins – go green!
· Increase deep breathing
· Maximize water consumption
· Get adequate sleep and reduce stress
· Take B-12 to help slow histamine formation
Help Stop Allergies Before They Stop You
On the cusp of the new millennium we saw an explosion in allergy suffering. Since 1991 numerous studies inAllergy Newshave cited the following increases among children and adults worldwide:
Hay fever increased from 9.8% to 10.1% Eczema increased from 13% to 16% Asthma increased from 18.4% to 20.9%
These increases were global: from North America to Western Europe; from South Africa to Iran; from the UK to New Zealand. Everyone everywhere is becoming allergic, sensitive, or reactive to almost everything!
What are allergies? At first, allergies may just seem like an annoyance. However, over time this irritation becomes chronic inflammation; inflammation may turn to infection. People that suffer from respiratory allergies have an increased tendency for ear infections, sinus infections, frequent sore throats, lung infections, and bronchitis. Additionally, people with allergies suffer from increased headaches, fatigue, and irritability. Similar outcomes affect people with skin reactions, food allergies and intolerance, and chemical sensitivity.
Allergies occur when a plant or animal protein or a synthetic substance contacts your mucous membrane and your immune system reacts to reject this irritant. These irritants can include: Mold, Pollen, Dust, Animal dander, and many other irritants.
A normal, healthy immune system may react very little when exposed to these irritants. A form of barrier protection called “passive immunity” prevents irritants from getting inside of you and triggering your active immune system.
There are small hair-like structures called cilia that form the protective aspect of passive immunity. These move the irritant away from the contact area. Imagine tall stalks of wheat blowing in the wind. This gives you a mental picture of the gentle way your body should deal with irritants. Allergy problems begin when this ciliary action fails and the irritant requires a more persuasive approach to leave the area. Your active immune system is summoned and an allergic reaction results.
When your immune system senses one of these irritants it creates an antibody. The antibody protein is rushed to the site of irritation by your bloodstream and lymph system. It immediately “pops” a balloon-like mast cell in the region of this irritation. Mast cells contain histamines that cause your body to flood the area with liquid. This excessive liquid attempts to wash the irritant from the area. This is why you get watery eyes and a runny nose and other symptoms; your body is attempting to wash away an irritant.
Boost your immune system to help reduce allergies Many medications exist to block histamines and the irritation, discomfort, and damage they cause. But, think about this: Is it the histamines that need to be corrected or your immune system? Put another way, the histamines are like the fruit on a tree. You will never get rid of the tree by simply picking the fruit. You must attack the tree at the roots if you are to rid yourself of the fruit. In the same way, you must address allergies at the level of the immune system if you are to be successful in resolving the problem of seasonal allergies.
Health only comes from healthy habits. A healthy immune system is built moment by moment from the choices you make. One of the choices you make is the food you eat. If you eat healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and low-fat sources of protein, you will build a healthy immune system. The same goes for: Breathing deeply reduces stress and strengthens your immunity Drinking pure water flushes your system of toxins and encourages the delivery of nutrients to your cells. Peaceful sleep is very important in correcting allergies, as the kind of immune cells that inappropriately trigger allergies are higher in people that do not get enough sleep.