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Allergies

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Calvin L. Thrash, Jr., M.D., MPH

What Are Allergies?

That masterpiece of mechanical engineering we have built in that fights disease germs and foreign substances that find their way into the blood and tissues, is termed the immune mechanism.

The person who is endowed with an undamaged immune mechanism is indeed fortunate. The allergic individual, however, finds that his immune mechanism has become overstimulated and has now turned its guns upon itself. Generally the immune mechanism can distinguish between self and non-self, but under certain circumstances the recognition equipment breaks down, or chemicals are produced that unite with the products of the warfare which injure certain specific tissues such as the skin, the joints, the nasal passages, the blood or the gastrointestinal tract. Thus an allergy is born.

Allergies are often more than simply a rash or runny nose, but may lead to faulty thinking and to minimal brain dysfunction in children (Journal of the American Medical Association 212(1):3334, April 6, 1970). Allergies are the number one cause of chronic disease according to the American Family Physician. A large proportion of the physical suffering in the United States is caused by allergies. Yet many are convinced that proper management of the diet from birth to old age could eliminate much of the trouble.

Physiologic Definition: An allergy is a peculiar response on the part of the body, an attempt to protect that leads to an injury. The way it works is this: A foreign substance, an antigen, finds its way into the body, is picked up by special cells called macrophages, which can only partially digest the antigens. When the macrophages have worked on the antigen as much as they can, it is regurgitated into the bloodstream where it is picked up by a second group of special cells called lymphocytes. These cells are designed to prepare antibodies against antigens. Antibodies are capable of neutralizing antigens. When the antigen and antibody unite, a third compound is formed which in some instances turns out to be the villain in allergies. Because the third compound injures the body, the cells in the skin, digestive tract, or nasal passages may release chemicals of injury which act on various target tissues. As a result of injury to the target tissues, a sort of reflexive action occurs - such as spasms, secretions of mucus, swelling of tissue, and inflammation.

Symptoms: Fatigue, poor concentration, learning disabilities, pale face or blotchy skin, dark circles or bags under the eyes, acne, dermatitis, cough, colds, sore throat, sinusitis, asthma, bedwetting, cystitis, leg aches, growing pains, restless legs, backache, arthritis, headache, ringing in the ears, dizziness, blurred vision, mouth ulcers (canker sores), urinary symptoms, indigestion, gas, constipation, overweight, nausea of pregnancy, tremor, recurrent pneumonia, swollen lips and tongue, collapse or weakness, irregular heartbeat, pain in rectum, pruritus ani (itching around anus), loss of appetite or conversely a craving for the offending food (especially milk and its products), itching or burning mouth, hematologic, neurologic, and cardiovascular symptoms.

Lifestyle: The susceptibility to be injured by the "third chemical" described above, often results from improper management of the person in early childhood. During the first six months, the child should receive no food except for breast milk, gradually being weaned during the second six months from the breast to family fare that does not contain a high-protein, rich, or otherwise unhealthful menu, but has plain and simple food. It is well-known that breast-fed infants have less childhood afflictions such as colic, infantile eczema, asthma, runny nose, and other infections and allergies.

A carefully designed environment pays large rewards for babies, especially for those born into families highly subject to allergies. As an example, a type of mold called Actinomycete, found in humidifiers or growing in the bathroom or kitchen, is known to be associated with allergic respiratory diseases. The infant's environment should be as free as possible from airborne pollutants. Dust and insects impart allergens to the air. Furred and feathered pets are famous for their production of allergy producing dust and dander. Routine immunizations should be postponed at least until after the 6th month has passed to avoid overstimulating of the immune mechanism. Some doctors believe the immune system is permanently and irreversibly damaged by immunizations.

To introduce solid foods before six months of life will also increase the likelihood of developing allergies. A baby should not be fed solid foods until he is drooling well and has teeth, evidence that his digestive apparatus is maturing. Foods known to cause allergy should not be fed to a baby during the first year of life, including eggs, coffee, tea, colas, pork, beef, strawberries, tomatoes, citrus fruits, chocolate, nuts, fish, seafood, and especially cow's milk and all dairy products. Food allergies develop in relation to the frequency of their use; a food eaten frequently being most likely to cause trouble.

The Double Expression of Food Allergies

Since there is a double expression to food allergies, a common food will rarely fall under suspicion. The first part of the double expression is an actual relief of some symptoms that the allergic individual is experiencing. This first phase occurs immediately following the meal, but the second phase comes on after a period of some hours, or even days, being characterized by one or more of the allergic symptoms of itching, wheezing, runny nose, nausea, belching, headaches, fatigue, joint or muscle pains, or most other symptoms that a person may have. The first phase can mask the second phase, especially if one has the habit of eating frequently throughout the day. Eventually, however, the first phase becomes less sustained and the second phase the more obvious one.

Malabsorption of nutrients because of diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, or interference with the absorption of other nutrients (especially minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron and other substances) are a result of gastrointestinal manifestations of milk allergy. Ulcerative colitis has been shown to have acute exacerbations with the use of milk. The history of the use of cow's milk from the first month of life is twice as common in patients with ulcerative colitis as in control persons. Abnormalities of the electroencephalogram have disappeared after allergens of any kind were avoided. According to some authors about one-fifth of children with cow's milk allergy have central nervous system disorders. Some psychologists have found double the consumption of dairy products in delinquents as compared to nondelinquent children. Bedwetting has been ascribed to milk allergy along with cystitis and the nephrotic syndrome. Failure to thrive and sudden infant death syndrome have been felt to be due to milk allergies, or to coffee or colas. In adults the tension-fatigue syndrome may be due to milk allergy (Bahna, Sami L, M.D. and Douglas C. Heiner, M.D. Allergies to Milk. Grune & Stratton, 1980, pp. 47, 52, 67, 109.). Substances not native to milk may be present in cow's milk to cause human reactions include wheat, peanuts, linseed, cottonseed, ragweed, bacteria, antibiotics, hormones, and other drugs and chemicals.

Prevention:

Avoid, as much as possible, any chemical that touches the skin (including soaps, lotions, cosmetics, detergents, nail polish, costume jewelry containing nickel sulfate, merthiolate, medicines, dyes, etc.).

Avoid breathing anything that has an odor except fresh natural vegetation odors, including gasoline, aerosols, cosmetics and perfumes.

All drugs and medicinals, vaccines, venoms, molds, fungi, bacteria, and insects can cause allergies. Avoid them as much as possible.

Elastic in clothing, nylon, and other synthetics are a frequent cause of allergies and should touch the skin as little as possible. Cotton clothing is best.

Chilling of the extremities, especially the ankles and backs of the arms, promotes much chronic sinusitis and retards healing of skin rashes. Cool or cold skin anywhere on the body is abnormal and weakens the immune system.

Overeating and evening meals aggravate chronic sinusitis. Chew food to a cream before swallowing to prevent toxic fermentation. Use only two or three dishes at a meal with bread to avoid a "war" inside.

The use of sweets, milk, eggs, meat, and too many concentrated or heavy foods (nuts, wheat germ, even bread) can make sinusitis worse.

The ten food groups that most commonly cause allergies are (1) dairy products (over 60% of all food allergies in all age groups), (2) chocolate, colas, coffee, and tea, (3) eggs, pork, beef, fish, (4) the pea family including peanuts and soybean products, (5) citrus fruits and juices, (6) tomatoes and potatoes, (7) grains including corn, rice, wheat, and yeast, (8) honey, cane sugar, cinnamon and other spices, (9) beer, alcohol, and artificial food colors, (10) strawberries, apples, lettuce, onion, garlic, potatoes, bananas, vitamin preparations, drugs, hormones, and toxic chemicals.

Treatment:

At any time one recognizes an allergy, simplification of the diet, especially the elimination of animal products may assist in getting rid of allergies. To reduce one's exposure to various chemicals and to a wide variety of foods at one time can also decrease the likelihood of having allergies. That means: do not eat more than two or three dishes at a meal and allow no more than three eating experiences per day, a hearty breakfast and lunch, and a tiny supper if one is eaten at all. Avoid between meal snacks.

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, usually associated with food allergies. Except for the acute sinusitis which is generally caused by a virus, most cases of sinusitis are allergic in nature. Even if an airborne allergen is known to be involved, always start identifying the cause of sinusitis by eliminating milk, as more than 75% of sinusitis is due to milk in some form. If merely eliminating milk has not been successful, the next step is to simplify the diet even further. Often such things as irritating spices (cinnamon, vinegar, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) may be at fault. Nice-smelling flavoring agents are often allergens. Citrus fruits, strawberries, corn, eggs, the pea family (especially peanuts), tomatoes, wheat and other small grains, and many additional foods may be culprits.

Next to cow's milk the most common cause of food allergy is chocolate and its relatives - coffee, tea, and colas. A good substitute for chocolate in the diet is carob. One can easily learn to make "chocolate" foods by simply substituting carob powder for cocoa in recipes. The inconvenience is minimal and the result may be most gratifying.

The ideal treatment of allergic individuals should, of course, include avoiding any foreign substance; antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline, erythromycin, and furadantin; other drugs, aspirin, tranquilizers, antihistamines and iodides; local anesthetics, stinging insects, etc. If a food is suspected, one should try a "mono diet" for five to ten days. The diet consists of only one food at a meal, taking a sufficient quantity to satisfy hunger. The mono diet allows the liver to be more active in detoxifying antigens, and also assists in identifying antigens in food. A short fast is beneficial in that it allows the liver to have a reprieve from its usual duties so that it may deal with the antigens more effectively.

For hay fever or allergic sinusitis, hot and cold compresses alternating to the face can be very helpful. Apply the hot compress for 3-6 minutes, followed immediately by an ice cold compress for 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat the alternation three times, giving the treatment twice or three times daily. Ragweed hay fever has often been associated with a sensitivity to melons (especially cantaloupe) or bananas, two foods which should be omitted during ragweed season. It should be remembered that tiny cracks can very easily occur in the lining of the nose which will allow more ready access to allergenic materials. The allergic individual should therefore avoid vigorous blowing, rubbing, picking, and cleansing of the nose so that there will not be the slightest trauma to the lining membrane of the nose.

  • Fast one to two days per week. Drink eight to ten glasses of water on fast days.
  • There are several very effective simple remedies employing heat that can be used for sinusitis. The first is a hot foot bath. Put the feet in hot water for about twenty or thirty minutes, followed by a brief cold water pour over the feet to prolong and intensify the action of the heat. This treatment may be done several times daily, or once daily for several days or weeks as long as the sinusitis lasts. The nasal passages can often be opened up in a matter of five minutes with the hot foot bath.Another heat treatment used to open up the nasal passages is that of a hot compress applied directly to the face. Squeeze a towel from hot water and apply it directly over the sinus areas for five minutes. At the end of that time, place a towel that has been squeezed from ice cold water or cold tap water over the area for thirty seconds. Continue alternating hot and cold for three changes, ending with the cold. After each simple remedy the person should lie in bed 30 minutes to allow the treatment to "react". The reaction time insures that the full benefit will be obtained from the treatment. Repeat the treatment four times daily for the first week and once daily thereafter until sinusitis has cleared.An ordinary table or shop lamp can be used to open up the nasal passages. It is a good treatment for night time, as it takes little effort to switch on the lamp, put two bottle caps over the eyes and hold the lamp 1-2 inches away from the nose. Keep it up for about 20 minutes.
  • Avoid chilling the extremities, especially the ankles and backs of the arms. Cool or cold skin anywhere on the body is abnormal and generally prolongs chronic sinusitis. This is especially true in children.
  • Eat three to four olives with each meal for about three weeks.
  • Six charcoal tablets (or 3 capsules or 1 heaping teaspoon of charcoal powder stirred in a glass of water) taken three times daily in the mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and at bedtime for approximately two weeks will often do wonders for chronic sinusitis.
  • Take a one hour walk daily, head up, shoulders back and down, breathing deeply. Take regular deep breathing exercises. If you prefer, you can make exercise to be very practical. It should be out-of-doors, and done daily. It can include gardening, lawn care, etc.
  • Eliminate emotional pain and bitterness from the thoughts. Train the mind to dwell on heavenly themes.
  • For eczema, take a hot foot bath at 104-106 degrees for twenty minutes. If sweating occurs, turn on the shower to 65 degrees for fifteen to thirty seconds. Before drying with a towel, take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of unscented Vaseline and rub lightly and quickly between the palms to mix the Vaseline and water still on the palms to form a milky emulsion. Spread a very light coat evenly over the eczema, moving the palm in the direction the skin lines go to avoid pulling open any microscopic cracks. It is best to allow the skin to dry without toweling, but you may gently blot the skin if necessary.
  • Several double-blind studies have shown that breathing heated air for 20-30 minutes 1-3 times daily can give significant relief of nasal and sinus congestion, whether due to viral infections or allergies. An expensive machine that provides aerosolized heated air is the Rhinotherm. An inexpensive one that gives only air heated to a constant temperature, without moisture, is called the Viralizer, and seems to be about as effective. It can be purchased in most discount stores.
  • In serious cases, a fast of one or two days per week may be tried with good success. Initially, symptoms are often worse because of released toxins; but improvement follows.

Supplements: For prevention of severe asthma and certain other persistent allergies, use the antioxidant supplements. The following are often quite helpful:

Quercetin (a potent bioflavonoid) with C, 2 capsules daily; for asthma, increase to 2-3 times daily until relieved then gradually decrease to 2 a day (available from Twinlabs).

Vitamin E 400 units (mixed tocopherols) morning and noon.

Selenium 200 mcg a day for adults and children over 12. There has been some talk of possible selenium toxicity, apparently only in the West in high selenium soil areas. The reports are not confirmed. To be on the safe side, do not take any supplements over long, several year periods; never exceed 200 mcg a day; and take a "vacation," leaving it off 1 month after being on it for 3 months.

For acute hay fever-type symptoms, stinging nettle capsules, 2-6 every 4 hours as needed may be quite useful.

TREATMENT ROUTINE

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

May be useful for complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome, other digestive disorders, seizure disorders, learning disabilities, poor concentration, fatigue, depression, arthritis, neuroses, asthma, hay fever, coughs, sore throat, migraines, skin rashes, dark circles or bags under the eyes, acne, disorders, bed wetting, cystitis, headaches, and dizziness.

NUTRITION

See "Elimination and Challenge Food Sensitivity Diet" list, at the end of this article, for list of "Foods Allowed" and for list of "Foods to Avoid."

Read labels in stores for foods to avoid.

Omit foods listed in the "Stomach Irritants" list at the end of this article.

Remove all foods "to avoid" from your diet, plus others that you suspect are problems. Omit these for 6 weeks at least and up to 6 months. (Be sure to omit them until all or most of your symptoms are gone). If all of your symptoms are gone or much improved in 6 weeks, start adding one food back into your diet every 4 days. Do not add food items back more frequently. Take rice, for example: I return it to my diet. I may have it on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. If symptoms return or intensify, 1. I omit rice again. 2. I place it on my list of suspected problem foods. 3. I add no new food until my symptoms resolve or settle down again. In some cases, one meal of a "returned" food item will be offensive enough to trigger symptoms. In other cases 3-4 days of it are required to produce warning signs and symptoms. As to which foods to add back first; this is up to you. Pray for guidance.

If you are underweight, add back the higher caloric foods such as nuts, seeds, tubers, and legumes. But remember always to eat even good foods in reasonable portions. Remember to use nuts, seeds, spreads, gravies, sauces, and butter sparingly. Remember to eat vegetables freely. Don't eat tubers, legumes, olives, and avocados freely. These, like grains, should be taken moderately. Grains are cereals, breads, and pastas. It would be a good idea to add wheat back into your diet. If wheat is tolerated well, try honey on your wheat. If these are tolerated well, try bread made of wheat flour, water, yeast, and honey (and salt if desired). If the yeast is tolerated well then bread is an acceptable item for you. Remember to eat fruit generously. However, don't eat dried fruit or fruit juices generously. These should be taken sparingly because they are easily overeaten and because they are more concentrated than raw.

When reintroducing corn; remember corn meal, corn oil, corn grits, corn in kernel form, corn syrup, corn sugar, and corn starch. Watch labels so you don't use these products until you are purposely reintroducing corn to determine if it is acceptable as a food item for you.

If you lose weight rapidly while on only the foods listed in the "Foods Allowed" list of the "Elimination and Challenge Food Sensitivity Diet" list, use olives, avocados, winter squashes, and the permissible grains, thickeners, and dried fruits regularly for calories.

Occasionally, people will continue to have serious problems even on this diet. If so, your symptoms may be caused by (a) some of the foods listed on the allowed list or (b) non-food items in your life.

Shop at health food stores and produce markets.

Cook at home. Experiment.

Use these anti-oxidants at mealtime:

400 i.u. Vitamin E daily200/mcg Selenium daily

500 mg Vitamin C daily - Non citrus source! Take at a different time from other supplements.

Quercetin 2 caps (500 mg total) daily (if it contains Vitamin C, omit the C above). Available from Twinlabs (health food stores)

Twinlabs' "Allergy Fighters" contain all the above anti-oxidants in 1 capsule, but there is the disadvantage of having the vitamin C with the selenium. Absorption of selenium may be impaired. The dosage is 2 capsules twice a day.

One level teaspoon of powdered activated charcoal at mealtimes may help also.

If you determine that you have no citrus allergy, eat the white part of the skin each day.

Once you have established a list of food items that especially give you trouble or that you suspect are causing problems, avoid these items. Now, in a year or so if you want to challenge your body with these items, do so one at a time, 1 per week. It could be that months of careful health reform will prove to have strengthened your constitution to the point that you can have items that once offended you.

Animal products - meat, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, butter, or commercial products are not good foods. They should be reintroduced and used rarely if at all. They may not produce unacceptable symptoms overtly but they are bound to produce disease of one nature or another.

WATER

6-8 cups daily and not at meal times.

May drink 2 cups Echinacea tea daily as immune system stimulant.

Nettles may be used as a tea (1 cup) or capsules (2) as needed for nasal congestion and mucous.

Do not use fluid foods at meals generally. These include soups, juices, and beverages. Now, some may use a light 3rd meal in the evening. If so, a grain beverage and grains or a glass of juice a bowel of soup or a large slice of melon may be acceptable and enjoyable.

Daily bath is essential.

SUNSHINE

A 20-60 minutes sunbath daily would be healthful. Expose at least face and arms.

TEMPERANCE

Alcohol, cigarettes, snuff, chewing tobacco, cigarettes, coffee, tea, chocolate, other sources of caffeine, overeating, eating junk foods or rich foods, secretive eating, other substance abuses, and impure thoughts and practices, etc., are to be left behind "forgetting those things which are behind."

God will help you; expect temptations to assail you. But look away; run away. Look at Him; run to Him. The Holy Spirit will supply power once we say no!

It is impossible for us to do many of these things listed on these pages in our own strength. Like leopards, we cannot change our spots. But "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

AIR

Pure air in bedrooms and workplace, summer and winter (no cigarette smoke).

Avoid dust, molds, mildewy areas, smog, pets (cats, dogs, and birds).

Deep breathing exercises.

REST

Regularity, routine, and regimentation with some flexibility.

Schedule mealtimes, sleep time, worship and prayer, and devotional time.

Simplicity, back to basics.

Enter into the blessings of the weekly 7th-day Biblical Sabbath.

TRUST IN DIVINE POWER

Pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Rededicate your life to Him.

Pray through the day. He's your unseen friend.

Keep your joys, your wants, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children.

Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every heart touches His heart. Each cry for aid reaches His ear. He came to call all men unto Himself. He bids them "follow me" and His Spirit moves upon their hearts to draw them to come to Him.

Read Alone with God from Pacific Press Publishers. Written by Matilda E. Andross (1961).

Read Allergies Made Simple by Doctors Thrash, Uchee Pines Institute.

ELIMINATION AND CHALLENGE FOOD SENSITIVITY DIET FOODS TO AVOID:

Dairy products*, Wheat, Bananas, Chocolate, Oatmeal, Seeds, Colas, Onion, Lettuce, Coffee, Yeast, Garlic, Tea, Cane sugar, Nuts (all kinds), Eggs, Legumes (beans, peas), Pork, Citrus fruits and juices, Beef, Beer (all alcoholic beverages), Artificial colors, Fish, Strawberries, Apples, Rice, Corn (cornstarch, corn products), Cinnamon (irritating substances, spices), Nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tobacco)

*Dairy is responsible for over 60% of all food allergies.

FOODS ALLOWED:

Grains

Amaranth, Buckwheat, Millet, Quinoa

Thickeners

Tapioca, Cassava root, Arrowroot

Herbs

Basil, Dill, Sage, Bay leaf, Parsley, Thyme

Vegetables

Artichoke, Cauliflower, Pumpkins, Asparagus, Celery, Rhubarb, Avocado, Collards, Rutabaga, Broccoli, Cucumber, Spinach, Beets, Honeydew, Brussels sprouts, Kale, Sweet potatoes, Cabbage, Melons, Swiss chard, Cantaloupe, Okra, Turnips, Carrots, Parsnips, Watermelon, Squash (acorn, zucchini, butternut, hubbard, summer)

Fruits

Apricots, Grapes, Pear, Avocado, Kiwi, Persimmon, Blackberries, Mango, Pineapple, Blueberries, Nectarines, Plums, Cranberries, Olives, Pomegranate, Currants, Papaya, Raspberries, Figs, Peach

Dried Fruits

Currants, Dates, Figs, Pineapple, Prunes, Raisins

STOMACH IRRITANTS:

Hot pepper (black or red), and spices (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg).

Vinegar and anything made with vinegar (pickles, mayonnaise, catsup, mustard, etc.)

Foods having a fermenting, putrefying, or rotting phase in processing, such as sauerkraut, cheese, soy sauce, and similar products.

Baking soda, baking powder products, all commercial crackers, cookies, doughnuts, and other bakery products.

Caffeine (coffee, tea, colas), nicotine, theobromine (chocolate).

Drinking with meals. Digestion and stomach emptying are both delayed. Beverages, soups, juices, and milks should all be avoided. Stagnation in the stomach is one of the commonest causes of ulcers and gastritis. Further, milk contains much lactose, the milk sugar that produces fermentation and production of irritating toxic chemicals. Milk is the cause of more food sensitivity than any other food item.

Late evening meals.Eating too much. Most people could get by very well with one-half to two-thirds less than they presently consume.

Chewing too little. Eating too fast. Bites too large; use one-third forkfuls or one-third spoonfuls.

Foods rich with refined sugar, refined oils, vitamin and mineral preparations, or concentrated proteins such as heavy meat substitutes and dried milk products. The more concentrated the food, the more likely to irritate the stomach.

Eating fruits and vegetables at the same meal. Foods that contain combinations of milk and eggs, milk and sugar, or eggs and sugar.

Unripe or overripe fruit.

Foods that are taken while they are too hot or too cold.

Crowding meals closer together than five hours.

For more information, contact:

Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875

Tel. 334-855-4764

www.ucheepines.org