Allergies should be considered the early warning sign of health complications yet to come. Arthritis and other even more serious conditions have their roots in allergic reactions. The basis for allergies is nutritional, and the remedy is, similarly, nutritional.
The answer is "cell well integrity" and the main culprit in undermining that integrity is partially hydrogenated oils. (For more on that subject, see Why are Partially Hydrogenated Oils So Bad?)
The good news is that virtually every soft tissue in your body is regenerated every two years. That means you can do something about it. For more details on that subject, investigate The Basis of Nutritional Healing: Why it's Effective, When it's Effective.
In this article, we'll examine the causes of allergies, and methods for attacking them.
Here's what you you need to know to make sense of allergies:
With that understanding in mind, there are several layers to the allergen-defense system:
Although a healthy immune system can fight allergies effectively, keeping allergens and other pollutants out of your system entirely is the best recipe for health. One way to do that is to avoid them. But since you probably don't live in a bubble, the next step is to provide yourself with the proper nutrition to ensure cell-wall integrity.
The first line of defense is the cell walls that make up the stomach lining. A healthy stomach rejects txins, carcinogens, and allergens before the have a chance to enter the system.
The second line of defense is in the remaining cell walls. When cell-wall integrity is unimpaired, the oxygen and nutrients cross over easily. Carcinogens and allergens, on the other hand, are kept out.
But when cell wells are malfunctioning, cells can be starved for nutrition and invaded by foreign bodies. Maintaining the integrity of the cell walls is primarily a function of diet. In particular, it is a matter of:
The omega-3 fatty acids are the most chemically active of the unsaturated fatty acids. They are the foundation of brain and nervous system function. Along with other unsaturated fatty acids (Omega-6 and Omega-9), they are the "active" components in cell walls. In other words, they are responsible for the actions by which nutrients and oxygen are transported into the cell.
The best recipe here is to mix omega-3 fatty acids (unrefined flax seed oil) with sulfur-based amino acids (cabbage-family vegetables and/or cultured dairy products (yogurt, cottage cheese). This powerful mixture does a lot:
In How to Live Longer and Feel Better, by Dr. Linus Pauling writes on page 240:
"In 1971 John R. Vane, a British pharmacologist working in the University of London, made the important discovery that the action of aspirin as an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic agent depends upon its power to inhibit the synthesis of the prostaglandins PGE2 and PGE2-alpha. Aspirin thus reduces the redness, pain, and swelling associated with inflammation of tissues. It is one of the few drugs for which we know the mechanism of its action in the human body. " [Vane won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for it along with two other scientists in 1982]
He then continues:
"Vitamin C has been found to act in a way similar to aspirin in inhibiting the synthesis of some prostaglandins. (Pugh, Sharma, and Wilson, 1975; Sharma, 1982.) This may be the mechanism of the effectiveness of large doses of Vitamin C in controlling inflammation, fever, and pain.
It differs from aspirin, however, in that it increases the rate of synthesis of PGE1 (Horrobin, Oka, and Manku, 1979). Horrobin, Manku et al. (1979) have pointed out that this prostaglandin is involved in lymphocyte function and other aspects of the immune system, in rheumatoid arthritis, in various auto-immune diseases, in multiple sclerosis, and in cancer.
Further studies of the relations between Vitamin C and the several prostaglandins may throw additional light on the complex problem of the remarkable properties of the vitamin [C]. At the present time it is worth while to keep in mind that an increased intake of vitamin C may act in such a way to obviate the need to take aspirin or any similar drug."
So Vitamin C clearly has the potential to lessen allergic reactions. Since it also goes into the making of cellular structure (in the form of collagen -- the lattice of intercellular walls), it may also play a role in maintaining the integrity of cell walls, as does MSM.
Phytochemicals have also been defined as "Vitamin C potentiators". Phytochemicals are formed during the later stages of ripening in fruits and vegetables. To get them, you want very fresh, whole foods--preferably straight from the vine. But if you if live in planet cement like the rest of us, you'll need a good supplement.
Methyl-Sulfonyl-Methane (MSM) has been described as a substance which "paints the stomach lining" making it more impervious to allergens. By the same token, it improves the structure and function of other cell walls, as well. And like Vitamin C, MSM has been shown to be an anti-inflammatory.
MSM is non-toxic, but it is highly volatile. Like Vitamin C, very little survives the storage and processing of foods. As a result, supplementation is desirable.
For more information, see What is MSM?
Surprisingly, wheat causes a slow degradation of intestinal function in as much as a third of the population who aren't showing any symptoms at all. For people who experience digestive upsets (gas, heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation), the number is about half. And if any your immediately relative has ever been found to be gluten sensitive, then the odds approach 100% that you are, too--because it's the genetic inability to digest the gluten in wheat--as well as rye and barley--that starts its harmful chain-reaction.
The long term effects of gluten are such that it makes you allergic to everything. After a while, many things in your diet cause "allergic" reactions, because your body is no longer digesting them properly, either. But since the foods were never a problem before, they go unsuspected. So you start blaming "delayed contagion" for the summer flu and other illnesses you get out of season, until you finally wind up blaming tree pollen for your "allergies", because that's the only thing left that makes any sense.
When a woman who is intolerant of gluten is breast-feeding, any gluten she ingests can get passed on the baby, producing a variety of digestive disorders.
There are blood tests and saliva tests that can help you determine whether you are gluten sensitive. Or you can try eliminating wheat, rye, and barley and see if you start feeling better.
For more information, see What's Wrong with Wheat?
Long before I understood that wheat was causing my dairy senstivity, I knew that dairy products led to a stuffy nose, post-nasal drip, and a constant cough. So it's clear that dairy products can create symptoms that look like allergies in susceptible individuals.
When you remove gluten is removed from the diet and the intestines are functioning properly, dairy products don't cause problems in many people that would otherwise find them troublesome. So if you're having allergy problems, by all means eliminate dairy products and see if that helps. But if you've found that removing gluten from the diet also helps, give yourself three or four months and then try dairy products again. You may find that your digestive product now handles them comfortably.
Much of the undesirable effects of allergies stem from the prevalence of trans fats (TFAs) in the western diet. The trans fats and other degenerated fatty acids that result from commercial refining methods [Erdmann, pp. 66-69, 76-79, Erasmus, pp. 328-330] have been shown to act as "decoys" that the body uses in place of CIS fats it needs.
Because they are not chemically active, and because they have never existed before in the history of man's evolution, the body does not how to recognize and avoid these decoys. So they act as metabolic poisons.
They have three main effects. First, as part of the cell membrane, they reduce cellular integrity. So the lungs, digestive tract, and internal cells wind up "admitting allergens, undigested foods, viruses, and even potential carcinogens" [Erdmann, p. 78]. Undigested proteins can then cause antibodies to form that attack similar proteins native to the body in autoimmune disease [Erasmus, 373], in addition to various forms of allergy and inflammation.
Second, the saturated fat sources the trans fats come in (hydrogenated margarine, fried foods, and partially hydrogenated anything) cause you to eat 6 times as much as you ordinarily would [Budwig 22], presumably as a result of the body's need for chemically active EFAs in cell membranes, eicosanoids, prostaglandins, hormones, brain cells, and the central nervous system. That leads to obesity.
Third, if cellular integrity is damaged so much that the cell membranes do not interact chemically as they should [Erdmann 76-77], then it is not too farfetched to suppose that the immune system no longer recognizes them. "All cells have protein and lipid projections on their outer walls that serve as identifying markers to the immune system" [Fuhrman 145].
The identification process may well be impeded by the TFAs, along with other chemical activities. There is evidence that the hardening and closing of the arteries comes, not from cholesterol directly, but from free radical damage to cholesterol. And where are free radicals produced? One place is in the mitochondria, where free radicals are a normal and expected byproduct of energy metabolism. Another place is in the eyeball, as the eye reacts to X-rays and ultraviolet light. Finally, free radicals are generated by the immune system itself, as a means for destroying invaders. So it is easily possible that TFAs incorporated into bodily tissues render them unrecognizable to the immune system, and that the free radical damage this situation invites contributes to various forms of heart disease.
The best thing you can possibly do for your health is to stop the intake of the dangerous TFAs found in margarine, fried foods, and partially hydrogenated anything. In this case, taking supplements is like putting on band aids while repeatedly hitting yourself in the head with a hammer. The first step and most important step is stop hurting yourself.
The basis for allergies is primarily nutritional, and the remedy is, similarly, nutritional. Ensuring adequate intake of essential fatty acids, Vitamin C, and MSM is necessary for prevention and cure, as is the elmination of trans fats, partially hydrogenated oils, and gluten from the diet.
Copyright © 2002,
by Eric Armstrong. All rights reserved.
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