Surprising Facts About Allergies
Dr. Susanne Bennett, D.C., C.C.S.P., specializes in allergies, clinical nutrition, and environmental and lifestyle medicine, with an emphasis in pediatric and young adult health care. She says, that approximately 55% of Americans suffer from allergies. Most Americans are allergic to something: pollen, dander, dairy products, gluten, and mold are just a few of the most common allergens. In fact, if you don’t suffer from allergies to these or other compounds, you are actually in the minority!
What’s even more important, she says, is that countless people think that their low energy, problems with digestion, or headaches are “normal,” when in fact, they may be the signs of undiagnosed allergic reactions.
People who suffer from one allergy tend to suffer from many, because allergies are a sign of a deeper dysfunction in your system. Only by getting to the root cause of these allergies can you hope to eliminate them for good. Here are some of the most important things Dr. Bennett says people need to know about allergies:
Allergies don’t always show visible signs. Allergens don’t always affect the system you might think. Another common misconception is that respiratory allergies only affect the respiratory system and that food allergies only affect digestion. This is not the case.
In fact, allergic sensitivities to food, such as sugar, can cause joint pain due to inflammation. Gluten sensitivity can produce lethargy and brain fog. Likewise, inhaling mold doesn’t simply affect our breathing. It can also cause headaches and itchy skin. Another huge contributor to headaches are food preservatives like sulfites commonly found in wine and dried fruits. Finally, many chemicals in processed foods, such as monosodium glutamate (MSG), and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, can even affect our emotional well-being, producing nervousness and anxiety.
The environment is loaded with allergens. Allergens are carried in our furniture, our cars, and even the very air we breathe and water we drink. Toxic chemicals and fungi are two very common types of allergens that may be hidden in our every-day environments.
Drugs and creams don’t actually treat allergies.Americans spend over $4 billion to fight their allergies each year. The majority of that money is spent on doctor visits and medications. But drugs and creams don’t actually treat allergies. Every doctor will admit that such medications merely mask the symptoms without addressing the root causes.
While antihistamines and other drugs may provide temporary relief, their use is often accompanied by uncomfortable side effects. What’s worse, by loading the body with even more difficult-to-process chemicals, people who use such medications may actually be making their allergies worse. Your skin is overloaded with allergens.
If you’re using beauty products and soaps with chemicals in them (sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and phthalates, just to name a few), you are wearing your body down with chemical allergens. Your pores are permeable; you will absorb whatever you apply on your skin!
Are you using dairy alternatives? Be careful! You ever wonder why you feel bloated and gassy after that vegetarian meal or cup of dairy-free ice cream? One of the most common allergies is soy. While avoiding dairy is essential for healing your allergies, replacing it with soy can give you terrible digestion and leave you tired. Try almond or coconut options instead.
There are seven types of foods that cause the majority of food allergies. These include: dairy products, gluten products (wheat, barley, and rye), sugar, alcohol, peanuts, eggs, and mold-containing foods (such as many dried fruits, moldy cheeses, and mushrooms). By eliminating or even reducing your intake of these foods, you can help reset your body’s load of allergens and eliminate your allergy symptoms.
Runny noses and itchy eyes can be due to more than pollen. Pollen is often thought of as the only airborne allergen. However, pollen allergies are seasonal and usually disappear once pollen-producing plants stop releasing it into the air. If you have typical hay fever symptoms (runny nose, watery eyes, swelling, and itchiness) that last year-round, you may actually have mold allergies.
Mold is common in any damp area in the home, such as bathrooms and basements. While black mold is visible to the eye, many other forms of mold are not as easy to spot and will build up in humid areas. Mold can also be ingested when we eat certain foods, such as peanuts, dried fruits, green salads, and moldy cheese (Roquefort blue cheese, brie cheese). These should be avoided for mold-sensitive individuals.
We can be allergic to chemicals in our tap water.
Tap water in America is filled with numerous chemicals to which people have allergic sensitivities. The buildup of such chemicals in our bodies over time can wear it down and lead to even more allergic symptoms.
Many people experience itchiness and discomfort after swimming in a chlorinated pool, yet they drink it almost daily in their tap water. Likewise, small amounts of other chemicals, such as arsenic, mercury, fluoride, and even uranium are allowed in our tap water. For this reason, having a carbon-filtered, reverse osmosis water purifier is essential to help deal with allergens in our water.
Faucets and shower heads themselves can be culprits as they are frequently harboring hidden mold. To clean your faucet or shower head, place undiluted white vinegar in a plastic bag. Completely submerge the showerhead and faucet in the bag and attach the bag with duct tape. Leave submerged overnight.
Bad gut bacteria can make you allergic to many foods. There are over three trillion bacteria in your gut, and they help process and digest foods and extract nutrients that your body could not do on its own. However, through improper care of our fruits and vegetables, untidy kitchens, and exposure in our urban environment, we may ingest bad bacteria that hurt our digestive systems.
Bad bacteria in our gut make it more difficult to process what are known as fermentable carbohydrates, the short-chain sugars that are found in countless foods such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, and pitted fruits such as peaches, plums, and cherries. Humans have a difficult time digesting these fermentable sugars because we lack the enzymes to break them down.
The end result is intolerance to fermentable carbs that can produce terrible bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is often the direct result of allergic sensitivities produced by bad gut bacteria.
Our furnishings and cars can trigger chemical allergies. Increasingly, much industrial production depends upon what are known as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These compounds, such as formaldehyde, are found in many glues, vinyl products, paints, fuels, carpet, and plastics that we are surrounded by every day.
For instance, furniture made of particleboard will often use formaldehyde in its glue, while the “new car smell” is actually that of volatile organic compounds in the paint, leather, carpet, and glue. VOCs can produce a host of allergic symptoms, such as itchy throat, headaches, brain fog, and confusion. At higher concentrations, it is especially harmful to human health.
Allergic sensitivities can make you feel hung-over—without drinking a drop of alcohol. If you’ve ever woken up irritable, with poor concentration and low energy, you might be having a “sugar hangover.” If you eat too much fruit and sugar, the yeast and mold that are common in the gut will begin to ferment it. This fermentation produces an autointoxication that is similar to what happens when you drink too much alcohol. Your body has a “brewery” churning in the gut. As a result, you may feel exactly like you do when hung-over, without the fun of getting tipsy the night before!
Allergies can be healed all-naturally. The good news is that allergies can be healed all-naturally, without drugs, creams, or medication. By improving the quality of seven key areas in our lives, we can rid ourselves of the buildup of allergens and toxins in the body. You will restore vibrant health from the inside out!
Dr. Susanne Bennett believes that if you’re dealing with chronic symptoms every day, then you have hidden allergies that are preventing you from feeling good and achieving your optimal state of health.
Her new book, The 7-Day Allergy Makeover, offers clear, easy to understand, and effective strategies for people suffering from allergy symptoms—the obvious ones and the not-so-obvious ones. #