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Allergies: I thought I understood them…until now.

June 1st, 2010
I thought I knew how allergies worked.  My story went something like this…
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“Pollen gets into your nose or eyes, your body reads it as something harmful and overdoes it with histamines and other chemicals which give symptoms of a runny nose and watery eyes to get rid of the supposed invader.”
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I found out that this is only part of the story.
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The whole story actually involves our immune system,  underlying this response, and can effect our health well beyond our seasonal allergies.
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The whole story, starts with your T-Cells.
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A T-cell is a type of blood cell. T-cells belong to a group of white blood cells (WBCs) called lymphocytes. WBCs protect the body from infection.  They are part of our immune system, and they secrete a variety of “cytokins” to attack and destroy harmful substances.
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Have a look at this diagram…
There are different types of T-Cells.  The TH-0 cells circle around the body, and depending on which type of antigen is presented, it magically turns itself into a Th-@, Th3 or TH1.
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These different T-cells secrete different messengers (those “cytokins” I was talking about)
In a healthy body, there will be a small daily oscillation between TH1 and TH2 cells, so that the body is always ready to respond in a a certain fashion.
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So let’s go deeper.
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Why are we prone to allergies?  Clinical trials since the 1920’s have repeatedly shown that it is genetic.
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Those who are prone to allergies, have an immune system that tends to respond to substances with the TH-2 cells rather than the balanced response that includes the TH1 cells.  The T-2 cells secrete cytokins that cause the itchy watery eyes and runny nose.
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The TH3 cells are regulatory.  They secrete a cytonkine called Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-B) which is an anti-inflammatory that facilitates tissue repair.  There is also  evidence that TGF-B  plays a part  to restore the balance between TH1 and TH2.
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So I was right with my understanding of what an allergy is, but missing the vital piece of info that underlying the response is a genetic  tendency of my immune system.
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All I have been doing to date is dealing with the symptoms.
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Here are 7 big reasons why treating symptoms is not enough for your health…
♦ There are 50 million people in the US who suffer from allergic rhinitis, and we have an increased risk of Emergency Department visits and hospitalizaiton for asthma
♦ Treating allergic rhinitis in asthma patients with co-existing allergic rhinitis resulted in 61 percent fewer hositalizaitons.  THAT IS HUGE!
♦Allergic rhinitis interferes with sleep and leads to increased daytime sleepiness.
♦ Allergic rhinitis patients reported difficulty falling asleep, nocturnal awakening, early awakening, non-restorative sleep, lack of sleep and  snoring.
♦ If you treat only symptoms, you continue to have an immune system that is not in balance, therefore not supporting your health to its best ability.
♦ Allergy medicines often have side effects such as  drowsiness, jitteriness, lack of concentration.
♦ You have to make sure you have your symptom related med with you before or whenever you encounter the allergen.
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What the body needs is to do what is called the “T1/T/2 switch.”
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This is where naturopathy comes in.
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I am using Naturopathy remedies by Heel to support my immune system, and encourage the response of the Th-3 cells to regulate the balance of Th1 and Th2.  They also include support for dealing with the symptoms.  I’m still taking some of my  conventional over the counter meds, because it takes time to make the “T1/T/2 switch”, but I need less, and already the side effects are much less.
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Can you imagine not being dependent on prescription or over the counter medicines?
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What would life be like if your immune system no longer responded with massive amounts of histamines, but instead, gently escorted the pollen out of your body without you noticing?
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I’ve started to make the switch, fill out the contact form on this link if you would like to contact me about these products or any of my services. http://www.alteredstates.org/contact.php

4 Responses to “Allergies: I thought I understood them…until now.”

  1. It was certainly interesting for me to read this blog. Thanks the author for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon. Sincerely yours Jaden

  2. Delicious! Thanks a lot. Very nice. Noah

  3. My girlfriend has some bad allergies and I’ve been doing some research about it. Thanks for putting this article together and sharing it with us.

  4. Travis Wallen says:

    I have been struggling from rhinitis for many years and i have yet to discover a natural remedy that works for it. Right now, only anti-histmamines work for my own rhinitis.

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