By Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
An allergy results when a person has an abnormally high sensitivity to a normallyharmless substance. This can be broken down into more descriptive terms, such asmultiple chemical sensitivities, food sensitivities, environmental illness or intolerances,but at the most basic level an allergy is simply a reaction to something that doesn'tnecessarily affect other people.
This broad definition is fitting because the causes and symptoms of allergies areextremely diverse.
A person may be allergic to a virtually unlimited list of items such as:
| || Naturally occurring food || || Artificial food additives |
| || Drinking water || || Synthetic products |
| || Perfumes || || Natural gas |
| || Electromagnetic radiation || || Yeast or Fungi |
| || Environmental chemicals such as paint, gasoline and cleaning solvents |
| || Chemicals such as formaldehyde, ammonia or ethanol |
And allergy symptoms, which can be immediate or delayed, include:
| || Rash || || Nasal congestion || || Headache |
| || Nausea || || Coughing || || Dark circles under the eyes |
| || Diarrhea || || Heart palpitations || || Eczema |
| || Fatigue || || Dizziness || || Disorientation |
| || Stomach pain || || Watery eyes || || Wheezing |
| || Joint or muscle pain || || Depression || || Insomnia |
Traditional medicine and natural medicine view allergies in very different ways.The traditional medical view is that the allergy is a result of the patient beingsick or of their body malfunctioning. Natural medicine, on the other hand, viewsallergies as a result of the patient's chemical/allergen exposure and dietary habits.In this way, it is the patient's environment that is sick, not the patient.
Although traditional allergy treatments are one of the traditional paradigm's saferand better approaches, it has great room for improvement. My experience with conventionalallergy testing, whether done through the blood (RAST) or skin, is that only 20percent to 30 percent of patients do exceptionally well with it. It is also highlyinconvenient, as patients need to go to the doctor's office every week for monthsor years. It clearly does not work for the majority of patients.
For the last 10 years I have been using a much-improved version of this testing,which is taught by the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, called provocationneutralization (PN). Provocation refers to "provoking a change" and neutralizationrefers to "neutralizing the reaction caused by provocation." The success rate forthis approach is in the 80 percent to 90 percent range, and patients can receivetheir treatment at home.
During provocation-neutralization, a small amount of allergen is injected underthe skin to produce a small bump called a "wheal" and then monitored for a reaction.If the person is found to have a positive reaction, such as fatigue, headache ora growth in the wheal, then the allergen is neutralized with diluted injections,or drops that go in the mouth, of the same allergen.
Although a course of PN treatment and testing can run about $1,000 to $2,000, thisis less than many patients are already spending on one year's worth of allergy medicines,and it is a long-term solution that will, in most cases, provide a permanent treatment.There are also virtually no side effects with the treatment, unlike with conventionaldrugs. If you are interested in receiving this treatment, which we offer here atThe Optimal Wellness Center, please review our new patient information.
It is important to remember that the PN program is in addition to, not a replacementfor, a comprehensive nutritional approach, as most people's allergies dramaticallyimprove when they follow the nutritionplan.
In terms of diet, avoiding sugar, fruit juices, most grains and pasteurized dairy products is nearly always helpful. Replacing commercialmilk with raw milkfrom grass-fed cows is also usually well tolerated and highly health promoting.
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