Treating, not Masking
Allergies are not just an inconvenience; they indicate an immune-system overreaction. Just taking antihistamines all year long is not an answer. Over-the-counter antihistamines treat symptoms like a runny nose and itchy eyes, but they simply mask a problem that could have serious ramifications.
The food we eat influences our reactions to environmental allergies. Some foods protect us, and some leave us more vulnerable. We help patients to determine what foods might be a problem. Also, antioxidants can keep histamine from being released, and it's helpful to know if extra support is needed during spring, fall or both. Being able to clear histamine faster is also important. There is an enzyme for that.
Allergic reactions use immune system resources leaving you unable to protect yourself from invaders like viruses and pathogenic bacteria.
More Testing Than Allergists Do
Classic allergists test based only on IgE reactions (a scratch or blood test). Examples of IgE reactions are a tree-pollen allergy or a child who immediately swells up after eating peanuts. The problem is that IgE reflects only 23% of our immune system.
Our testing is more thorough; it detects all three types of delayed food and chemical hyper-sensitivities by Lymphocyte Response Assay. Our IgA immune response occurs where mucus membranes encounter the outside world. IgA is made in the bloodstream and gets secreted into our mucus membranes - areas like our eyes, nasal passages, lungs, etc. If our IgA is low, it's a poor barrier to defend us from outside irritants. If a patient's overall IgA is out of range low or high, she is more likely to have inappropriate immune-system reactions.
The IgG part of the immune system has a long-term memory, so to speak. Vaccines us IgG. Our IgG reactions help us not to get most infectious diseases twice. If a food causes an IgG reaction, that food needs to be avoided for a period of time until the reaction is lessened. This avoidance doesn't solve the underlying problem, which is a damaged digestive system.
Depending on a patient's needs, we have a wide variety of tests available from technically superior labs. An example of a targeted test for wheat, it looks at 24 indicators (far more than allergists or gastroenterologists do) to see if there is an IgA or IgG reaction to wheat. There is also an intestinal-permeability screen, checking for a "leaky gut". Permeability results in an allergic reaction from food particles that escape the digestive tract and get into the bloodstream. Therefore, whatever a person is currently eating may elicit an allergic response.
More involved tests measure an immune reaction to either 90 or 150 different foods. There is also a test for an autoimmune reaction to 24 different tissues. The value of this test for anyone with an autoimmune disorder is that one condition may be followed by autoimmunity involving another organ. Yet another test measures an immune reaction to a variety of common food and environmental items.
"I was embarrassed about how my face was always broken out. I had consulted dermatologist after dermatologist, and the only thing that they did was to sell me all manner of creams and continue to fill prescriptions for antibiotics. My face was no better, and my digestion was off. I went to Dr. Carrick, and after doing several tests, she determined that I had food allergies. After eliminating the offending food, the difference is amazing! My skin is dramatically better; my digestion is back to normal; and I'm not taking unwanted medications any more." D.S., Raleigh, NC*
*Your results may vary
Environmental Allergy Testing
Available tests include immune-system reactions (LRA) to pathogens such as:
- environmental chemicals
We can also measure the metabolites or presence of chemicals, heavy metals, mold & yeast in the urine. These environmental items may be causing problems, such as pain fog, aches and pains and fatigue.
Asthma is characterized by labored breathing. Tubes that carry air into the lungs maybe compromised from either a lack of glutathione, allergies or adrenal fatigue. If asthma is caused by a lack of glutathione, having an adequate amount of antioxidants will not only facilitate better breathing but will preserve the youthful vitality of cells.
Combat Chronic Inflammation with the Right Foods
Inflammation is an immune-system tool to help heal an injured, infected or irritated part of the body. Inflammation should be temporary, not chronic. Chronic inflammation injures the body and my lead to disease. Foods that promote inflammation are refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, excessive alcohol, processed meat (smoked meat and Jerky) processed and refined carbohydrates and seed oils. At Natural Healthcare & Diagnostics, I assess each patient’s level of chronic inflammation and help them to add enjoyable anti-inflammatory foods to their lives.
Below is a list of foods that fight inflammation and should be part of everyone’s diet. One caveat is that some of these foods are high in oxalates, which can form calcium-oxalate kidney stones. (Not all kidney stones are this type; some are calcium phosphate stones.) Sufficient hydration is key in avoiding kidney stones, so drink plenty of water throughout the day.
A diet that is too salty or contains too much meat may produce kidney stones, as well as too much inflammation. The plant sources of calcium oxalate, however, are anti-inflammatory. Kale, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, almonds and cashews are high in oxalates; but for long-term health, chronic inflammation needs to be avoided, and these plant foods are protective in the fight against cardiovascular disease and cancer. Unless you have a family or personal history of calcium-oxalate kidney stones or have reason to believe you are at risk for kidney stones, choosing to eat a variety of the following foods is important:
1) KALE: contains glucosinolates, which may help prevent cancer; has lutein and zeaxanthin, to help avoid macular degeneration or cataracts; is a good source of Vitamins C, A and K.
2) SPINACH: contains lutein, too; provides iron, folate and Vitamin K.
3) BROCCOLI: high in glucosinolates, which are cancer-fighting antioxidants; is a good source of potassium, calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
4) SWEET POTATOES: orange-colored, so are high in Vitamin A and beta-carotene; high in fiber; good source of potassium, B-complex vitamins, C and K.
5) SWISS CHARD: a good source of minerals and Vitamins K and A.
6) CARROTS: rich in beta-carotene, a good antioxidant, which may prevent cell damage; also contains zeaxanthin and lutein for eye health.
7) AVOCADOS: contain monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, antioxidants and Vitamins C, E, and B-complex.
8) WALNUTS: contain healthy fats and fatty acids, like omega-3; high in calories but aid in feeling full longer; a good source of protein, minerals and Vitamin E.
9) ALMONDS: contain healthy monounsaturated fats, manganese, magnesium and Vitamin A;
excellent source of plant protein; associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease; high in calories but produce lasting fullness.
10) SALMON: contains the most omega-3 fatty acids of any fish; good for the heart and for reducing dry eyes; contains astaxanthin, an antioxidant.
11) DRY BEANS (kidney, black, navy and pinto): full of fiber; may reduce high-blood pressure, and heart disease; high in protein and a good source of B-complex vitamins and minerals.
12) BLUEBERRIES: help to prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer and to repair cellular damage caused by free radicals.
13) STRAWBERRIES: high in fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants.
14) ORANGES: rich in fiber, folate, potassium and Vitamin C.
Ask me, Dr. Karen Carrick, for ways to assess your level of inflammation and for help in making anti-inflammatory foods and lifestyle choices a part of your life.