Are allergies an Autoimmune condition? An allergic is an immunoglobulin response to an external stressor, as in the case of food allergies or environmental stress response from exhaust fumes or cigarette smoke. Over the last decade, food allergies have nearly tripled in the United States as well as many westernized countries. As healthcare professionals, we ask ourselves why would that be and the answer is the health of the GI system, specifically the microbiome. The microbiome is the increases collection of microbes that live in and on your body, and those that have an optimized digestive system health have a longer and healthier life. These are a community of organisms that work together in unity to be able to defend our bodies from harmful bacterias. Bacteria cells actually outnumber our human cells.
In our western culture, we have become almost obsessed with cleanliness. Showers many times a day in chlorinated water (which strips away bacteria cells from the surface of the skin). Our children play in sterilized environments with readily available hand sanitizer at a moment’s notice. Infants and children often have fewer allergies if they are exposed to bacterias and allergens at a younger age, and indeed the first thousand days of life is critical to the overall health of the microbiome. Many researchers hypothesize the reason we have so many difficulties with our microbiome is as a result of our systems actually being too clean or rather our environments being too clean.
Many underdeveloped countries as in the case in Africa and many third world nations actually have fewer incidences of allergies and autoimmune diseases. Also, those children growing up on farms have even lower incidences as they are exposed to various bacterias and other assorted pathogens. Ensuring we are not overcleaning and that we allow our children to play in the dirt can actually be helpful rather than harmful to our gut microbiomes. Consequently, sterilizing agents although can be helpful to prevent the spread of germs, care should be taken to what point do we allow a little bacteria to grow. Restricting the urge to run to the doctor for antibiotic everytime we get sick can also provide to be helpful as we do not expose the body to too many microbes and continue to do the antibiotic, probiotic cycles. Even still, understanding which probiotics are helpful and for what age can also prevent various microbiome imbalances as more microbes may or may not be better, depending on the health of the person, the age, the current microbes, etc.
As we continue to further understand the microbiome and its effects many tests can help determine the health of the body and its assorted microbes. Comprehensive Stool panel testing can determine which bacterias are in the system, which ones are imbalanced, which ones are growing, and or which ones are dysbiotic (or diseases). Food allergy testing can be helpful, yet understand is not definitive as the health of the microbiome shifts, so does the bodies response to certain foods. Avoiding certain foods may or may not heal the microbiome conclusively, so working with a practitioner who is skilled in healing the digestive system can prove to be a valuable asset. Removing various pathogens that may be currently present such as bacterias, viruses, parasites, and fungus can also reduce the bodies immune system responses. Detoxification practices and elimination of toxic elements such as heavy metals can also play a part in repairing and healing the bodies ability to heal itself. As a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner practicing in Virginia Beach since 2009, I am trained to uncover the root causes of imbalances, travel down the windy mazes of building health in the body, with a deep understanding of not only biochemistry but also laboratory diagnostics to further ensure that a family creates optimal health that can last a lifetime.
All information contained in this blog post is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is neither intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical treatment nor for professional medical advice relative to a specific medical question or condition.