Allergies are a widespread health issue, and most people pass them off as relatively unimportant when it comes to evaluating their overall health. However, when you consider that an allergy is the result of a weakened immune system, then it become apparent that the root cause of the problem is a bit more serious than runny eyes and a stuffy nose. There are 3 main reasons a person has allergies, and most of the triggers are very common.
Imbalanced immune function
One of the main causes of allergies is an imbalanced immune system, which will increases your odds of an allergic reaction. Many factors contribute to this immune dysfunction, including:
~ Increased toxic burden due to pollution in our air, food, water, and personal care products.
~ Disturbance of immune system function through repeated childhood and adult vaccinations and immunizations.
~ Over prescribing of antibiotics and steroids, which cause damage to intestinal flora (especially birth control pills).
~ Hereditary problems that are reflected in the gastrointestinal tract, which causes malabsorption and sets a person up for food allergies.
~ Nutritional deficiencies.
~ Repetitive and monotonous diet, which is rooted in grains and all forms of sugar.
~ Chronic intestinal yeast overgrowth (candidiasis).
Once the immune system becomes overwhelmed and confused about what is an invader and what is not, a "reset" needs to take place to properly orient it to harmful and safe substances.
Barrier function default
Barrier functions are in place to keep a person from having a negative response (sensitivity) to substances that are considered "normal". For example, the barrier function for food sensitivity is digestion. If a person is able to properly assimilate and digest normally, they do not become sensitive to foods. Inadequate digestion for any reason (infection, inflammation, malabsorption) can result in digestive barrier default, which allows undigested food particles into the bloodstream, that in turn creates allergies.
The second barrier, for inhaled substances (dust, pollen, molds, dander) is mucus that covers the sinus membranes and respiratory tract. This mucus is in place to trap any irritants so they do not reach the membranes and can be removed.
The third barrier is the skin, and any break in it (cut, scrape, laceration, rash) compromises the barrier and sensitivities can occur.
Leaky gut, or excessive permeability in the digestive tract, is a major cause of allergies as the immune system reacts to undigested food particles that leak into the bloodstream and are seen as foreign invaders.
As our environment becomes increasingly contaminated with various pollutants and chemicals, our detoxification system can't keep up with the onslaught. This overload on our allergy barrier systems (intestines, skin, respiratory tract) weakens the barrier function and can lead to sensitization.
According to William Rea, M.D., an environmental physician, when key detoxification organs are unable to properly detoxify the body, a pattern of chronic allergies can develop in which the immune system attacks its own unprocessed toxic load. An overburdened immune system ultimately becomes overly sensitive, and allergies to food, airborne agents, and chemicals develop.
Common allergy triggers
With allergies becoming more severe, the list of allergy triggers is growing. However, these still remain the most common:
~ Foods such as sugar, milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, pork, soy, tree nuts, corn, fish, and shellfish.
~ Medications such as antibiotics, birth control pills, and anti-inflammatory drugs (ie. aspirin).
~ Inhalants like plant pollen, animal dander, dust mites, mold spores, tobacco smoke, car exhaust, and chemical products.
~ Contactants like poison ivy, sumac, oak, jewelry, latex gloves, and beauty products.
~ Injectants like insect stings and some medications (i.e. vaccines).