Are allergies undermining your health? When we have allergies, it means that our immune systems have incorrectly identified something as a dangerous substance. That may be food or something in the air. However, it isn’t always an immune response. Food allergies are more and more common and create a serious health issue in America.
Allergies are considered one of the most difficult areas of medicine to understand. The causal factors are so varied that finding the reason for the allergy (much less the offending substance) is very difficult. Every test available is fraught with inaccuracies, flawed understandings, and subject to so many variables that a true picture is often difficult to obtain.
Despite the inaccuracies, there is no doubt that people feel better when they adhere to a diet free of the foods that are listed as probable factors in any of the many tests. But sometimes it isn’t enough. Sometimes the tests show food sensitivities that are not real, while not showing sensitivities that are. In other words, you know you have a reaction to a particular food, and despite that, the test shows it is okay.
The variables involved in why someone has allergies takes some maneuvering through. Part of why food tests are so inaccurate is that several factors affect the food itself. How the food is grown (pesticides, herbicides, soil health, chemicals which force-ripen the plant, etc.), how the food is processed (how it is harvested, what is removed, what chemicals are used, what is added to stabilize, fortify, thicken, emulsify, etc.), and even how the food is prepared once it is at home – how it’s cooked (or if it is cooked) and even what foods it is eaten with. All of these factors alone complicate the identification of allergies.
Most people assume that the immune system is the culprit in an allergic response. That is true in a large majority of the population. Our lifestyles today tend to weaken the immune response by over stimulating it or by not eating properly in such a way as to support good immune health – a topic all of its own. However, immune involvement isn’t always the case. There is what is referred to as “Total Load”. In other words, there are things that occur in life that accumulate in such a manner as to pre-dispose one to allergies. Food or toxin accumulation, emotional/psychological stressors, physical stressors, stress itself when it gets to a certain point – if it crosses the person’s threshold (total load) they can have an allergic response to something they previously had no problems with. Total body load is affected by both foods eaten and foods omitted from the diet.
To complicate things even more, there are immediate reactions and delayed reactions. Delayed reactions can take as long as 4 days to show up! Foods that are grown commercially generally are poorer in nutrients and the lack of all the essential co-factors could trigger an allergic response, which doesn’t occur in the same food grown on rich, composted soil. The bottom line, is when food is out of balance – when it is altered, denatured, depleted, and defiled – bodies become out of balance too.
Food is chemistry. Certain foods eaten in combination may cause an allergic reaction, while each food eaten independently of the other doesn’t. The reverse is also true. Allergies can be caused by inadequate digestion, by damage to the gut lining, by improper gut flora, or toxic overload. There are apparently many other causes such as genetic tendencies, deficiencies, organ or gland or system dysfunction, exposure to poisons, and more.
Getting to the source of allergies – airborne or food – is complicated but worth the effort. Good comprehensive testing that looks beyond just the immune response is essential. It is possible to eliminate allergies forever! It takes work on both the part of the practitioner and on the part of the patient, but fortunately, the body is remarkable, ready and willing to fight back, to repair and heal itself.
© 2009 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.