Control Your Allergies by Strengthening Your Immune System

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the number of Americans living with environmental allergies is rising. Currently, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Allergies estimates that as many as 50 million people have nasal allergies, 26 million struggle with hay fever and 8.3 million suffer with respiratory allergies. However, good news is on the horizon, as a recent study conducted by the Institut of Pasteur and published in Science found that microbiota may have a role in preventing allergies. 

As the Institut Pasteur explains, microbiota, also referred to as gut flora, is the microbe that lives in our intestines and involved with various functions, including immune defense.  Although scientists have speculated for years that microbiota plays a role in allergies, researchers from the Institut of Pasteur believe that this new study demonstrates how a reduced number of microbiota can lower the effectiveness of the immune system and trigger allergies. 

In addition to genetics playing a significant role in environmental allergies, some experts believe the use of insecticides, germicides and antibacterial substances has sanitized our environment and lowered the number of microbiota in our intestines, contributing to the rise in allergies. This is referred to as the hygiene hypothesis, which states that a lack of exposure to parasites and infectious agents during childhood can interfere with the development of the immune system and raise the risk of developing allergies, particularly when combined with antibiotic overuse.

Allergies occur when your immune system mistakes a harmless substance as a germ. To protect your body from the irritant or allergen, your immune system produces IgE antibodies (chemicals designed to react to allergens) and trigger histamine. Histamine is the same chemical released when you have a cold. The longer the exposure to the allergen, the longer the symptoms last. Common allergens that produce cold-like symptoms include dust mites, pollen and mold spores. Allergies are not contagious, and they are sometimes nothing more than an annoyance. Other times, they can lead to complications, including upper-airway breathing obstructions. 

For relief, many people rely on prescription and over-the-counter medications, but some foods can also help manage allergies. For instance, researchers have evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may help improve gut health and alleviate bronchial inflammation and allergic disease. Different types of fish, fish oil, nuts/seeds and green leafy vegetables are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Learn more about omega-3 fatty acids by reading this article on MDVIP Connect » 

Over the last few years, probiotics (good bacteria that help control harmful bacteria) and prebiotics (carbohydrates that can't be digested and function as food for probiotics) have received a great deal of credit for their gut health benefits. While studies have concluded that probiotics and prebiotics can influence gut immune response, investigators have not found a connection to alleviating allergies, except for one small study that suggested Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is found in yogurt and sourdough, might help control pollen allergies.

Additional immune boosting tactics:
  • Exercise, per your doctor’s advice. 
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Control blood pressure.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to two drinks per day for women and 3 drinks per day for men.
  • Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Wash hands throughout the day.
Lastly, the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America recommends the following tips to help control the amount of known allergens, like pollen, dust mites, mold spores and animal dander in your household:
  • Use area rugs, as opposed to carpeting.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum, and dust and vacuum at least once a week.
  • Keep windows closed, even while the temperature is warm; use an air conditioner instead.
  • Change air condition filters regularly. To learn more about maintaining good indoor air quality, read this article on MDVIP Connect »
  • Keep bedroom doors closed if you have a pet.
  • Use allergen-proof covers on pillows and mattresses and wash linens weekly.  
  • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Limit the number of house plants.Remove mold from surfaces. For some eco-friendly tips on removing mold, read this article on MDVIP Connect »
For more information on allergy control, continue reading this article on MDVIP Connect »

If you suffer with allergies, be sure to have a discussion with your MDVIP-affiliated physician. He or she is your best resource to help you prevent or better manage allergies and their potential complications, as well as other issues that you may be at risk of developing. Further, the unique relationship you share with your MDVIP-affiliated doctor makes it easier for him or her to recommend the most effective course of action to help control your specific allergies. Don’t have an MDVIP-affiliated doctor? Find one near you by clicking here



6 Comments
Rowan G.
Sep 16th, 2015
Since joining MDVIP several years ago, I've appreciated the benefits provided to me and my doctors over and above what conventional medical practices do. I also enjoy the connectivity provided by the regular Living Well newsletters. Usually the content is relevant and well-founded in science and medicine.

However, in recent issues I've noted a trend to including some articles that border on 'pseudoscience' (or perhaps even 'popular quackery') - whose conclusions have little scientific foundation - or worse, have scientific facts mixed in with inference, assumptions, speculation, or popular myths. Case in point: the latest edition included an article on 'Brain Fatigue' (which is what, exactly - there's no medical definition I'm aware of) - and a long-winded text that covers symptoms from memory loss to cardiomyopathy to 'poor stimulation balance', mechanisms from poor blood sugar control to 'leaky gut' (again - which is what, exactly?) - but don't worry: some good belly breathing, cleaning the house, and a few drum circle sessions will fix you right up.

Seriously?! This sounds awfully like some new age hocus-pocus, not at all something I expect from MDVIP. As a life scientist, I'm aware of the rapid pace of change and the need to inform the public and stay up with the trends, but I'm also well aware of how much misinformation (and sadly, disinformation) disguised as science is out there, and it tends to become 'fact' the more it circulates. Apparently, the aforementioned article's source was www.wellnessresources.com, a website that markets supplements ... Hmmm, supplements: that all contain the asterisked statement "*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease." In fact, the website has an additional disclaimer: "Note: the asterisk mark following a paragraph and linking to the above FDA disclaimer applies to any or all statements in that paragraph."

Doesn't give one a lot of confidence, does it? My recommendation to MDVIP: please fully vet the content you include in any broad distributions, or you may risk harming your brand equity and/or alienating your customers over time. And that would sadden me a lot.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Sep 24th, 2015
Greetings Rowan,

Thank you for your feedback. We apologize for the delay in getting back to you.

This consumer-level health article, written by the late Byron Richards, a board certified clinical nutritionist, explains the reasons one may be experiencing brain fatigue, also commonly referred to as brain fog, mental fatigue and mental exhaustion. Brain fatigue is not really a new age topic. Although causes of extreme, unexplainable fatigue, particularly chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) were derided in the past, medical and public health professionals have become more accepting of chronic fatigue syndrome; in fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed a working definition of the condition.

To control brain fatigue, it is important to understand the underlying cause. It can be related to CFS and fibromyalgia, in which case, treating the CFS or fibromyalgia may help relieve the brain fatigue (often referred to as brain fog among fibromyalgia patients). However, mental fatigue can be a symptom of a wide range of other causes. For instance, extreme brain fatigue is a common and very important symptom of issues that can cause lower oxygen levels in the brain like sleep apnea and heart, lung and blood conditions. Brain fatigue also is a textbook symptom of low blood sugar caused by hypoglycemia or a diabetic taking too much insulin. Lastly, and obviously not nearly as serious as the aforementioned problems, chronic overstimulation from digital devices, noise pollution and substances like caffeine can also lead to brain fatigue.

The suggestions at the end of the article are intended for those who are overstimulated. We agree with you that they would not help someone who is brain fatigued from severe anemia caused by hemophilia/von Willebrand’s disease; medical intervention and medications are necessary. However, for the student who is either reading or plugged into a digital device on a regular basis or financial professional who is stressed and constantly checking information online, finding a relaxing activity like yoga, meditation or gardening could help.

Although the reference that was used by the author may have information about supplements on its website, it is not promoted in this article nor do we suggest that people self-treat brain fatigue with supplements. We strongly advise those who are mentally exhausted to consult with a physician.

For more information, this article from Medical News Today covers mental fatigue and the article from WebMD article explains leaky gut. Please let us know if you need further information.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248002.php
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/leaky-gut-syndrome


In Good Health,
MDVIP


Bubba
Aug 14th, 2015
Roger, I was an asthmatic for most of my life. I take a preventing medicine called accollate. It works and I haven't used an inhaler in years. I did another thing that I believe helped also. I consume absolutely not milk products except some grated cheese on some foods. No beer, trust me that was hard, but I learned to enjoy vodka. I personally think the whole yogurt things is BS and I won't take a probiotic. I believe they interfere with antibiotics. Skip aerobics and go straight to the weights. Trust me, this came from years and years of trial and error. Good Luck!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Aug 18th, 2015
Greetings Bubba,

Thank you for offering your suggestions to Roger and the rest of our MDVIP readers. We’re glad to hear that Accollate is controlling your asthma symptoms. And, it makes sense that switching to vodka has helped, as there are studies that suggest drinking beer and wine can aggravate asthma. Although whether or not dairy foods trigger asthma has been debated for years, if it seems to work for you, you can easily get calcium from other sources including green leafy vegetables – such as collard greens, broccoli rabe and kale – edamame, figs, oranges, canned fish – such as sardines and salmon – tofu and almonds. Take care.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Linda
Aug 13th, 2015
Have you tried a neti pot?
Jim Gibson
Aug 13th, 2015
Can you recommend a good probiotic to take?
1 Reply
MDVIP
Aug 18th, 2015
Greetings Jim,

We’re guessing many other readers were also wondering about which probiotic they should take – so we appreciate you asking the question for everyone. After discussing probiotics with your doctor, we suggest that you read this article from WedMD that explains how to find, choose and take a probiotic. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/best-probiotics-use

In Good Health
MDVIP

Dorene P.
Aug 13th, 2015
I am 55 years old and My IgE level is at 18000 and no one knows how to reduce it. I have chronic upper respiratory infections and generally feel lousy most of the time. I take Allegra Flonase and use an inhaler ....iwhen ii affects my throat I take antibiotics. It all started 1 year ago and I'm tired of being sick. I have been to every specialist in my area. I have been tested for every disease related to high Ige levels. I already use fish oil and eat nuts greens and yogurt... Nothing helps. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Aug 18th, 2015
Greetings Dorene,

We’re sorry to hear that you are experiencing chronic upper respiratory infections. Because there are so many factors involved when developing a treatment plan for a patient – personal medical history, family history and lifestyle – it is really best to work with your MDVIP-affiliated physician to control your IgE levels. It is important when living with chronic conditions that you keep your immune system strong, which involves eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, getting seven to eight hours of sleep, exercising regularly per your doctor’s guidance and avoiding substances. We hope you feel better.

In Good Health
MDVIP
Rogers Dennis
Aug 12th, 2015
Would like to make a copy of the message text on allergies.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Aug 18th, 2015
Greetings Mr. Dennis,

Would you like us to send you additional copies of the newsletter?

In Good Health,
MDVIP

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