Allergy: Immune System on Fire
50 years ago suffering from an allergy was a rare phenomenon. If you google the word allergy now, more than 16 million hits come up where the interested reader finds out that currently allergic rhinitis affects between 10% and 30% of the population worldwide and sensitization (IgE antibodies) to foreign proteins in the environment is present in up to 40% of all people. More than 150 million Europeans suffer from chronic allergic diseases. By 2025 half of the entire EU population will be affected.
An allergy refers to a condition whereby the immune system overreacts to a harmless substance by considering it as hostile and subsequently attempts to defeat it. The widest spread allergic conditions are atopic eczema, allergic asthma, allergic conjunctivitis and hay fever. However we need to distinguish a real allergy from sensitivities which don’t involve antibodies Type E.
It is commonly believed that allergies are firmly anchored in our genes and will therefore be passed on to our children. Yet new research finds that if mum and dad suffer from the likes of eczema and co., it does not automatically mean that the offspring will be cursed with the same fate. More players than just genetics are needed here:
- Component (1) The initial immune system: Starting inside the mother’s womb, different elements modulate the baby’s line of defense with the intestinal microbiological flora as one of the main aspects. If the baby comes into the world via cesarean for instance, or the little one is not breast-fed at all, his or her immune defense will be at a certain disadvantage.
- Component (2) Lifestyle: Toxins, heavy metals, excess hygiene, and vaccinations will acerbate the child’s immune system. A vast number of daily intake such as processed foods, overdose of gluten via wheat, spelt or rye, aroma food additives, food colouring, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides, overstrain our immune system and damage our gut. This happens until one day our immune cells are unable to absorb these damaging substances any more and overreact in the form of allergies. Based on a genetic disposition sneezing, itching or asthma attacks are kicked off.
But guess what, a naturopath’s holistic approach has a lot to offer when it comes to treating or preventing allergic reactions. Our treatments start with the pregnancy and advising mums on how to shape the immune system of their unborn. Integrative medicine adjusts food and works with therapies such as homeopathy, acupuncture or kinesiology (NAETs) to regulate and balance. Because of its massive influence on the immune system, the gut must always be in the center of any therapeutic attention. And every treatment is always case related and must be very individual. With these complementary concepts we will come much further than using symptom based medicines such as antihistamines and corticosteroids.
If you want to know more about the holistic approach to an allergy, please contact our naturopathic doctors and ask for a 15 min free consultation either in person or via phone.
About the author
Dr. Sabine Schellerer, naturopathic doctor, PhD Human Biology, PGDAM Alternative Medicine, MS Pharmaceutical Sciences.
One of Dr.Sabine’s key approaches in her therapy is basic therapy (Detoxifocation, Drainage, Acid-Alkaline Balance). She uses therapeutic methods such as Homoeopathy, Tissue Salts and Biological Medicines.