Allergies are a reaction of the immune system to common substances we all encounter in everyday life, such as certain foods, dust, pet dander, or pollen. Although these are generally harmless, in some people the immune system treats such allergens as harmful invaders and launches an inflammatory defense mechanism that produces uncomfortable symptoms.
Common symptoms include hay fever, wheezing, or coughing; red, itchy, and watery eyes, known as conjunctivitis; patches of itchy, dry skin; or hives.
Food allergies that affect the digestive system can trigger nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or digestive discomfort. They can also affect how the brain operates, often leading to such problems as difficulty concentrating, mental fog, and even depression and anxiety.
Allergies can be life threatening when they manifest as anaphylactic shock, usually in reaction to a food, medication, or the venom in bee stings. In such situations, blood vessels can dilate to such a degree that a severe drop in blood pressure leads to fainting or shock.
Swelling of the tongue or throat and blocked breathing passages can be deadly without treatment.
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Food intolerance or sensitivity, to gluten, for example, is a different, delayed reaction of the immune system, which can manifest in a variety of ways that add up to discomfort, fatigue, or a general feeling of being unwell. Because manifestations may not occur immediately and symptoms can vary, such intolerances can be difficult to diagnose. However, they are not immediately life threatening.
While in some cases, exposure to even a very small amount of the substance can cause problems. In most instances, symptoms depend on the frequency and amount of the offending food that is eaten. Ironically, people may crave the very foods that are causing problems.
An immediate allergic reaction triggers overproduction of the IgE antibody. When an allergen is suspected, skin and/or blood tests may be done to diagnose the allergy. Treatment varies depending upon the diagnosis.
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In some cases, such as contact with latex, avoiding the allergen may be the most practical solution. In others, medications, such as eye drops or nasal sprays for airborne allergens, may be prescribed or over-the-counter forms may be recommended. In some situations, immunotherapy may be done during a period of several years, with injections of purified allergen extracts. Or, other medications may be prescribed.
The most important thing is to avoid offending allergens. This is easier to do with foods or food additives than with airborne allergens, but even with those, high-quality home air filters can make life much more pleasant.
Additives with glutamate, such as MSG, and foods naturally high in glutamate, such as mushrooms, tomato paste, tomato sauces, red meats and cheeses, can activate and worsen immune-system reactions and should be avoided. Nutrient-dense vegetables protect against and reduce allergic reactions because they contain powerful anti-inflammatory substances, including magnesium, which reduce glutamate-induced immune reactions. Magnesium even reduces anaphylactic reactions.
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Magnesium Malate & Citrate: These are two forms of well-absorbed magnesium.
What to do: Ongoing, take two slow-release tablets of Magnesium w/SRT twice a day with food. To calm acute reactions, use a magnesium citrate or malate product in capsules, which is not slow-release. Empty the contents of four capsules into six ounces of water, stir well, and drink.
Vitamin C: High-dose vitamin C powerfully inhibits histamine release from mast cells, the main immune system cells that cause allergic reactions, and reduces the inflammatory reactions of allergies. It can be a great help for sinus-related and other symptoms. Always take vitamin C without food, as it increases iron absorption, which can lead to iron overload.
What to do: Take one packet of Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C three times a day without food. For more severe allergies, take two packets — 2,000 mg of vitamin C — three times a day on an empty stomach.
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