Allergies Inherited or Acquired?
Fateh Srajeldin, BSc, ND
Allergies are hyperreactive and adverse responses of the body (systemic or total) to a stimulus or multiple stimuli (antigens). These antigens are harmless to most people, but others show hyperreaction when allergens gain access to their body. This hyperreaction is a response from the body and a message to inform us of changes in the general status of the body. It is also one of many attempts of the body to free itself from the invading stimuli. The reaction is a protective measure from the body to reduce or nullify the effects of such stimuli. Many patients presenting with an allergic reaction will claim that they have never had allergies before. While such a statement may be true, I also hear that a patient presenting with diabetes “did not have diabetes before” and a patient presenting with hypertension “did not have hypertension before.” Therefore, the claim that “I have not have allergies before” does not hold water anymore and is insufficient to deem a patient as being an allergy-free individual.
Blood tests, skin tests, and food elimination or rotation are not diagnostic tools for allergies. The only factors that determine a patient’s allergies are his or her history of symptoms and their duration and periodicity. Allergy testing confirms or denies a practitioner’s suspicion of the presence of allergies. History and symptoms come first, followed by allergy testing.
Inherited or Acquired?
During history taking, the most effort is directed to finding out whether the patient’s allergies are inherited (ie, from parents or grandparents) or acquired after birth (ie, from the patient’s lifestyle, eating habits, work environment, or medications). Acquired allergies arise from an altered body ecology due to an unhealthy lifestyle, an improper diet, or the use of medications,. Allergies caused by factors other than inheritance must not be treated as allergies. These types of allergies are considered “allergy-like symptoms,” not true allergies. The lymphatic system in this case may be congested owing to medications, yeast, or toxins. Furthermore, the liver may be weakened and unable to meet the body’s detoxification demands. In this case, the cause of the problem (not the allergy-like symptoms) is addressed during treatment.
Inherited allergies are intrinsic to the body genetically and are identified by an extensive history taking during the first visit. A blood sample is then obtained to evaluate the level of allergens in the sample. A blood sample can identify sensitivity to 200 different foods plus 40 inhaled allergens.
Types of Allergies
There are 4 types of allergies. They are classified according to the allergic response.
Type 1 is an IgE-mediated allergic reaction. This type includes drug reactions, urticaria, anaphylaxis, angioedema, and insect stings.
Type 2 is a complement-dependent allergic reaction and involves IgM or IgG antibodies, whereby the antibody is fixed on the circulating blood cell and then destroyed by cytolytic and cytotoxic means. This type includes the following disorders that are caused by drug interactions: systemic lupus erythematosus, lupoid hepatitis, autoimmune hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenic purpura, and agranulocytosis.
Type 3 is an immune complex disease and involves IgG antibodies, whereby a drug reaction is demonstrated by serum sickness. This type includes arthralgia, arthritis, urticaria skin eruption, lymphadenopathy, and fever. The reaction may last for up to 2 weeks or until the offending drug is eliminated by the liver and kidney.
Type 4 is a cell-mediated delayed hypersensitivity with immunoglobulin cell–type lymphocytes, which occurs 24 to 48 hours after exposure. An example of such a reaction is contact dermatitis due to topically applied substances such as a drug or poison.
What Are Allergens?
A teaspoon will hold approximately 1.4 million pollen or ragweed microspores. Only 4 microspores are needed to trigger an allergic reaction in a susceptible patient. Allergens include dust, ragweed, pollen, drugs, mold, grasses, animal hair, and animal dandruff.
Reduced digestive enzymes or coenzymes may be due to poor digestive function and/or malstructure. Enzyme reduction may also result from hereditarily induced IgA and gamma globulin.
Some vaccines destroy immunoglobulin-regulatory cells that are produced by the thymus. These cells help reduce allergic effects. Vaccines, chemical exposure, and some drugs reduce the effects of the immunoglobulin-regulatory cells or destroy them. Most vaccines are based on the introduction of bacteria, virus, or their antigens into the bloodstream. Such bacteria, virus, or antigens comprise proteins that are foreign to the body. Most allergic reactions after a vaccination are related to the body’s reaction to that protein. Some individuals develop allergies shortly after vaccination.
Food and Food Additives
Some foods contain elements that the body is not familiar with and is unable to digest. Gluten, milk protein, and milk sugar (lactase) are proteins that the body may be unable to digest and consequently reacts to them by ingestion. In the event of inability to digest a protein, its presence leads to malabsorption of any food that contains the protein in question. At the first attempt to ingest such protein, the intestine reacts to its presence by flattening its villi. Such an intestinal reaction leads to abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, or indigestion by the following means: (1) by expediting the transit time of unwanted food to prevent its absorption, (2) by shortening the exposure time in the intestine to lessen its adverse effects, and (3) by the body’s absorbing other material present in the intestine that it would otherwise not absorb.
Organic Weakness Due to Lifestyle
Allergies can result from organic weaknesses due to an unhealthy lifestyle. These can manifest as weakness of the lymphatic system, thinning of the intestinal walls, and a weakened liver and thymus.
Allergies can also result from chronic infections. These include ear infections, tonsillitis, digestive tract abnormalities, mononucleosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, premenstrual syndrome in women, and hepatitis.
Antibiotics, birth control pills, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy set the stage for fungal infections by altering the bowel’s flora. In the case of Candida albicans, this once-controlled fungus in women may invade the intestinal mucosa, creating fenestrations in the flora and exposing the blood system to the species. Once in the bloodstream, C albicans invades uterine and vaginal cells, among other organs and tissues. Allergies may develop over time in these patients due to the presence and overgrowth of fungus. Stress may destroy cellular enzymes, which leads to cellular distress.
Improper Weaning During Infancy
In the span between birth and a child’s first birthday, many parents make improper dietary choices for their infant that set the stage for allergies to settle in the young body. Early weaning of an infant may lead to the introduction of certain by-products and toxins into the liver. Their presence congests and weakens the liver, which is unable to break down these toxins. As a reaction to allergens, the body produces histamine, and the liver’s role is to remove it from the body. Because of its weakness and congestion, however, the liver struggles to remove it, and histamine consequently builds up in the body, leading to more allergic reactions. The best place to begin allergy treatment is with the liver.
Foods Associated With Allergies
Diet contributes to the histamine level in the body. Hives, itching, stuffy nose, and watery eyes result from excessive amounts of histamine being released due to allergies, fungus, medications, and improper diet. Allergies will not dissipate based on medication treatments only. Medications tend to nurse the symptoms and relieve them for a day or so; however, the patient must take more medication within a short while.
The following table shows the effects of food on allergies and histamine release, especially when complicated by the presence of fungus in the body.
Diagnosis of allergies includes a medical history (physical and psychological) and a family history (parents, maternal and paternal grandparents, brothers, sisters, etc). Included is a history of signs and symptoms (in-uterine history, infancy, childhood, teens, and adulthood). Foods to eliminate include sugar (including all its names, shapes, forms, and disguises), milk, wheat, gluten, eggs, coffee, tea, citrus fruits, and monosodium glutamate.
Order of Tests
The order of allergy testing is as follows: (1) food rotation, which is the simplest method of elimination; (2) IgG, IgE, and detection test of 260 food serum allergens; (3) radioallergosorbent test; (4) cytotoxic allergy test; and (5) cardiovascular test (complementary).
Allergy remedies include the following: (1) hypoallergenic vitamin A, vitamin E, glutathione, quercetin, echinacea, and zinc; (2) homeopathic Lyphosot drops, Chelidonium drops, and coenzyme drops; and (3) intravenous treatments.
Fateh Srajeldin, ND has been a leader and educator of his field for over 20 years. He completed his pre-medical at the University of Toronto and joined the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1985. Upon graduation, Dr. Srajeldin traveled abroad to work with some of the best and brightest naturopaths to gain valuable experience. His advanced approach to enhancing body immunity has led him to be one of the most sought out naturopaths in treating patients worldwide. He is the director of 2 multidisciplinary clinics located in Etobicoke and Caledon East, where he oversees a staff of qualified professionals who possess collectively 55 years of natural health experience. Dr. Srajeldin’s specialty is examining, diagnosing, treating, and detoxifying a patient’s ailment correctly the first time. He has written several articles and completed his first 2 books on chelation therapy and naturopathy. He has expanded his horizon of knowledge by both attending and lecturing at naturopathic and medical conferences around the world. His commitment to achieving optimal health and wellbeing for all patients motivated him to continue a lifelong journey in further educating himself by utilizing the latest and most innovative approaches in naturopathic medicine.