Category:Allergies, autoimmunity and infections

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Allergies, autoimmunity, inflammation and infection all have to do with the immune system. The immune system has a difficult job to do. It has to recognise those things which are safe for the body and allow them to enter the body, where they help us survive. This, of course, is what digestion and absorption of foods is all about. Indeed, 90% of the immune system is gut associated. It also has to decide what is dangerous to the body, such as infection with bacteria, viruses, yeasts, or parasites and what is safe such as food. Having established that there is a threat, it then has to determine the level of reaction against it, i.e. just the right amount of inflammation to control that threat because too much will simply damage the body.

So all the immune reactions that we see in infection we also see in allergy, autoimmunity and conditions associated with inflammation.

We now know that most autoimmunity is driven by infection with microbes - most commonly viruses, but bacteria, yeast, parasites and vaccination also implicated. Not everyone developes autoimmunity - there may be a genetic susceptibility. Furthermore where there are pro-inflammatory forces the chances of developing autoimmunty are greater. The same principles are likely to be true for allergy.

Problems with allergy arise when the immune system has got its wires crossed and starts to react against things which it should not. When it reacts, it produces inflammation and it is this that gives us symptoms. Autoimmunity is all about allergy to our own body material, it is a completely useless reaction and, of course, destructive.

One can be allergic to anything under the sun (including the sun!), for example to foods, biological inhalants, chemicals, micro-organisms (bacteria, yeasts, parasites, etc) and other things.

In treating allergies and autoimmunity the lines of attack are:

  1. Avoidance (see Stone Age Diet, chemical clean up, Housedust and Mites – how to avoid them).
  2. Treat the upper fermenting gut - see Fermentation in the gut and CFS
  3. Reducing the allergic load (for example by improving digestion of foods – see Hypochlorhydria and Malabsorption of food).
  4. Immune programming (see Probiotics).
  5. Damping down inflammation - vitamin D, nutritional supplements, good antioxidant status, probiotics. See Inflammation
  6. Desensitisation - see Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation (EPD).
  7. Avoid switching on allergies: Chemical clean up – chemicals are very good at switching on allergies, especially pesticides. See Chemical Poisoning and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) - how to reduce your daily exposures
  8. Avoid vaccinations if possible - they are good at switching on allergies for the same reason that they are good at switching on immunity! See Travel and immunisations
  9. Avoid the worst aspects of the Western lifestyles (and we all know what they are!)

Indeed there is now good evidence to show that the presence of autoantibodies are a strong predicter of disease. Treatment should start before clinical symptoms arise. The presence of antimitochondrial antibodies guarantees that primary biliary cirrhosis will begin in the sixth decade.

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