Sunday, July 26, 2009

Allergy what causes them and how to fight them.

If you read the newspapers or listen to radio you should know that chronic diseases are on the rise. While Asthma is the number 6 on the chronic disease list, it is the number 1 chronic health condition for children!

As many as 1 out of 3 people are allergic to pollen, dust, animal hair, etc or sensitive to synthetic compounds in our food, clothes or the air. This is not surprising considering that our bodies are constantly challenged by nearly 50,000 synthetic compounds daily. Compounds such as pesticides, food additives, industrial and household cleaners , medicines, and exhaust fumes from our cars, trucks and buses.

Fortunately if we understand allergies we can help to reduce or alleviate the symptoms or even eliminate them.

Allergies- Why do we get allergies?

An allergy is an abnormal sensitivity or reaction of the immune system in our bodies to a substance that you eat, inhale or touch. Although everybody is exposed to allergens only susceptible people tend to experience a reaction.

These susceptible individuals have an overactive immune system that will overreact to these allergens by producing antibodies. These antibodies attach to the allergen that then bind to special cells of the immune system, which release histamine.

It the Histamine that increases the blood vessel permeability which results in the swelling of the affected area causing inflammation. It is this excessive release of histamine by the overactive immune system that produces allergic symptoms that are experienced with:
  • Asthma: excessive mucus is produced and histamine contracts the muscles surrounding the airways, restricting air flow thus causing shortness of breath.
  • Eczema: characterised by redness, skin swelling and itching resulting in dryness, flaking, cracking, blistering and even bleeding of the skin.
  • Food Allergies: mainly caused by partially digested food that enters the body and triggers the immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies don't always have an immediate reaction, but tend to show after a few hours or days. Celiac disease or Wheat Gluten intolerance are food allergies.
  • Hay Fever: expresses itself as a stuffy or runny nose, sinus headaches, itchy and watery eyes, repeated sneezing or coughing
  • Hives: an intensely itchy rash of red bumps.
  • Insect bites or Bee stings: excessive swelling of the specific area
In severe cases such as allergies to shellfish, peanuts or medicine like penicillin, so much histamine is released that the face or throat swells and can cause anaphylactic shock due to a sudden drop in blood pressure and the restriction of airways which can cause death.

How do we manage Allergies?

Well, it would be great if you could avoid whatever causes an allergic reaction, but sometimes that is not possible. So you could get rid of your pets, you could use products without fragrances, you can use gloves when using cleaning products, you could stop eating the food that causes you the distress and you could move to the desert to avoid pollen.

Okay, but only a few of us really want to live in the desert but some people have to because they have become allergic to everything, this is better described as environmental illness.

It is difficult to avoid allergens in the air as you breath, or what you touch, but you can control what you eat! The most common allergy causing foods are:
  • Cow's Milk also cheese and yogurt. It is actually the milk protein casein that causes the allergic reaction
  • Gluten, the sticky protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats that irritates the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. This can cause skin allergies as well as serious intestinal and blood sugar problems
  • Yeast found not only in bread, but also in beer which is fermented with brewers yeast, and to a lesser extent wine.
  • Alcohol, which irritates the digestive tract making it more permeable to digested food proteins.
  • other typical allergens such as nuts, coffee, tea, shellfish and chemical food additives
The Key characteristic of all these allergic conditions is that the skin, bronchial tubes or gastrointestinal tract have become porous. which allows allergens to enter the body and trigger an excessive immune response by the already overactive immune system.

Okay, so now that we touched on the the causes of the allergic reaction, what can we do to reduce the allergic response potential?

It is important to heal your body's barriers and restore your digestive system and protect your lungs.

Managing and alleviating allergies is achieved by taking these steps:

Eat a diet high in Complex carbohydrates with plenty of vegetables and fruit for all it's vitamins, minerals, phyto-nutrients and fiber. Eating properly is essential in overcoming allergies!
  • Eliminate Simple carbohydrates like sugar, junk food, refined carbohydrates ans stimulants (caffeine) from your diet. No more coffee shops for that espresso boost!
  • Eat Lean meat and fish. A high protein diet balanced with natural whole foods provides all the required nutrition for optimal health.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils. Use olive oil instead.
Supplement your diet:
  1. Whole-leaf Aloe Juice - is vital to help restore the digestive system and protect the body from potential allergens. It also calms the overactive immune system by modulating its response.
  2. Omega 3 - is critical to reduce excessive inflammation caused by an overactive immune system. It also helps heal the digestive system.
  3. Body Basics replaces the necessary minerals and vitamins that allergy sufferers are typically deficient in.
  • Zinc is essential to allow the immune system to function optimally. It is also required for the production of stomach acid and protein digesting enzymes.
  • Magnesium helps the airways to relax thus improving breathing difficulties
  • Vitamin B6 works in conjunction with zinc and magnesium.
  • Vitamin C is essential to restore the digestive system since it is the main building block of every cell. Vitamin C is also an important anti-oxidant that is vital to protect the lungs ans relieves bronchial spasms
Alleviating Eczema

As you probably know by now that your skin is the largest organ of the body. Your skin is the barrier that protects your body from bacteria, chemicals and radiation while insuring the body has a stable temperature by preventing the loss of body fluids and chemicals.

Your skin is impervious because your skin cells are held tightly together, just imagine if you took a bath and you just leaked out! However when you suffer from eczema these cells loosen causing the skin to become porous.

This allows soap and solvents to penetrate the skin and dissolve some of the natural oils and protein that forms part of the natural barrier, resulting in loss of the body fluid. These compounds cause an already overactive immune system to trigger an abnormal immune response and causing inflammation. The condition is aggravated when the area is scratched or rubbed and can become infected. Besides the previous products mentioned you can try the following products:

  • Liquid Body Wash Bitter - wash the affected areas to clean and disinfect the skin
  • Whole Leaf Gel - apply to the eczema to reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process.
  • X-Balm - a specially formulated product to improve the functioning of the immune system and assist in the healing process.

These products are not known to cause or aggravate any allergic reaction.

I hope this information helps to educate you about your Allergies and how to reduce or alleviate the reactions to allergens.

If you wish to distribute our product in your store or purchase our products at a retailer. Here is a link to Aloe Ferox Products if you wish to purchase any of our products.

Aloe Ferox US

Be healthy and safe.


* this article was written with information provided by Ronnie Ambachtsheer (BSc,dip Clinical Nutrition) of Aloe Ferox Africa

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