Over the last fifty years allergy has emerged as one of the major public health problems in developed countries. Allergic diseases are among the fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia, affecting approximately one in five Australians. Food allergy induced anaphylaxis has doubled since 2008. One in 10 infants now has a food allergy. Delayed access to medical care and long waiting times for management of allergic diseases in all areas (rural, remote and metropolitan) is a major problem, due to the high number of diagnosed patients and low number of appropriately trained health care professionals. Australia and New Zealand are world leaders in the prevalence of allergic disorders. In 2018, 4.1 million (19.6 % of the population) Australians were medicated for at least one allergy. In Australia 20% of the health care budget is directed towards allergy medication and prevention. In a study reported in the Medical Journal of Australia, 47% (697/1489) of all children under six seen in a private medical practice from 1995 thru 2006 had food allergy, with 11.7% having food–associated anaphylaxis. It is interesting to note that the introduction of smooth peanut butter to children between 4-11 months of age can reduce peanut allergy in high risk infants by 80%. The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA), as the leading medical and patient organisations for allergy in Australia, have developed the first National Allergy Strategy for Australia.
WHAT IS ALLERGY
Allergy is a condition of the immune system marked by a reaction to normally harmless substances. While avoiding or reducing exposure to the symptom-producing substances is the obvious best way to manage allergies, one’s response to allergens can often be reduced by simply cleaning up the body. Food allergy disorders make up the greater part of all allergic reactions. Wheat and other grains, milk, seafood, peanuts, soy, eggs, fruits and food additives are just a few of the common foods to which many are hypersensitive. Australia has seen a rapid growth in the allergy industry, with the development of new drugs, desensitisation technology and a number of unproven or ineffective treatments.
Digestion of a substance to which one is allergic will generally result in an acute immune response characterised by the excessive activation of certain white blood cells. Although an acute immune response can be a healthy reaction to a potentially harmful substance, it will cause temporary discomfort as the body attempts to neutralise and eliminate the allergen. Symptoms may include itching, burning and swelling around the mouth, runny nose, sneezing, skin rashes, eczema, hives, joint pain, digestive disorders, headache, fatigue, diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, breathing difficulties including wheezing and asthma, vomiting, nausea, brain-fog or even anaphylactic shock to name just a few. In cases of non-fatal symptoms, it is often best to identify the allergen, cease exposure if possible, and then let the immune system carry out its work. Continual exposure or suppression of the symptoms using drugs can result in a chronic or unremitting immune response ending in serious disease.
ALLERGY v INTOLERANCE
It can be difficult to tell the difference between the symptoms of food allergy and food intolerance. Symptoms of food allergy develop very soon after consuming the injurious food. Those caused by food intolerance can take up to 24 hours to develop. Food intolerance reactions are mostly related to the amount of dubious food consumed and may not occur until a certain amount is eaten. Individual threshold levels vary. An acute immune response to a certain food is not necessarily a bad thing. It is simply the body’s way of rapidly eliminating the offending substance. My grandfather was intolerant to cow’s milk. Whenever he consumed it, he suffered with a violent sneezing episode that would last for up to ten minutes. If he consumed lots of milk, his sneezing would start fairly soon. However, small amounts would take up to 24 hours to bring on the reaction. He was healthy in his 90th year, while still consuming milk and sneezing every day. He never suppressed the symptoms with the use of medical drugs. Maybe the sneezing strengthened his heart.
COMMON CAUSE OF FOOD ALLERGY
The most common cause of food allergies is poor intestinal function. An adult small intestine is more than six meters long. This is where fats, proteins and carbohydrates are finally processed, before the resulting nutrients are absorbed through the mucosal lining and transferred into the blood. Mucosa is the protective tunic of the intestinal wall accommodating over 500 different types of micro-organisms, providing a barrier so that only extracted beneficial nutrients can enter the bloodstream. Mucosa can be damaged or eroded by antibiotics, certain medications, mercury from dental fillings, excessive alcohol, nutrient deficient diets and a variety of destructive lifestyle habits. If this happens, proteins and other food components can penetrate mucosa, initiating an immune response in the intestinal tissue. With a continual barrage of partially digested particles crossing the normally impenetrable barrier, the white blood cells in the gut tissue become hyper-reactive. They mobilise armies of antibodies that trigger an inflammatory response in mucosal membrane. These inflammatory responses may prompt immediate digestive disorders. Mucosal membrane located in the skin, nose, throat, eyes, mouth, lungs, genitalia, anus and central nervous system can also be affected by food allergens.
DEALING WITH FOOD ALLERGIES
In dealing with food allergies, the most important action is to repair the gut and settle mucosal membrane. Golden Seal is a wonderful super-herb that soothes irritated mucosal membranes in the eyes, ears, nose and the throat while providing a mucilaginous tonic to the gut. Another powerful agent involved in gut repair is L-Glutamine. This amino acid can repair Leaky Gut and improve the structural integrity of the intestines. A good quality Vitamin C is also recommended when dealing with food allergies. We use Bio Vitamin C from Nutrition Diagnostics as it contains the anti-inflammatory citrus bioflavonoids along with the amino acids, Lysine, Glycine and Proline, along with powerful antioxidant catechins from green tea. It is also important to alkalise the small intestine by consuming citrates from lemons and limes, malates from apple cider vinegar and lactates from soft cultured cheeses such as Camembert and Brie. Good fats such as organic butter, eggs, olive oil, coconut oil and sour cream also provide a protective, nutrient-rich environment in the small intestine that is extremely beneficial to mucosal membrane, provided the sufferer is not allergic to any or all of these foods.
THE BEST APPROACH
As many allergies can be complex in nature, it is best to see a health professional to help ascertain the cause, and to introduce an effective recovery program. I believe the human body is made by design to win. When interference is removed and favourable conditions established, the immune system can reprogram itself. Many food allergies can disappear. Living Valley provides personal, structured detoxification and health recovery programs. Powered by a team of professional and caring staff, this wellness retreat not only offers solutions for allergies, but for a multitude of other chronic health problems. Each day is dedicated to therapeutic and educational empowerment. If you have been before, I invite you to come back to reach even greater heights in your health. If you have food allergies, or any other ailment, and have not yet experienced this retreat, please call us today to talk with Cathy, Sarah or Chantelle. We wish you the very best in health! – 1800 644 733