January 23, 2017

4 Reasons Why Allergies Are Attacking Our Health

by Sarah Stanley

No doubt you know someone with allergies. It seems like everywhere we turn another child is suffering from a peanut, soy or dairy allergy, and one more person has suddenly become gluten intolerant. According to Food Allergy, 15 million Americans suffer from allergies; 1 in 13 children (under the age of 18) suffers from allergies.

So, what is going on? Could there be a connection between our body, the food we eat and the products we use on a daily basis? You bet! Let’s discover the 4 reasons why allergies, and food allergies in general, are increasing in number and most importantly, what we can do about them.

1) Antibiotics

4 reasons why allergies are attacking our healthAntibiotics are being prescribed at alarming rate; it’s no wonder our poor bodies are reacting the way they are. Did you know that 80% of our immune system lives in our gut? Antibiotics not only kill the bad germs in our gut, but they kill the precious good germs, too. They weaken the immune system and make it harder for our bodies to fight infection, illness and yes, even all types of allergies.

One researcher, Gary Huffnagle, has linked the rise of antibiotics to the increase in asthma. While asthma can be linked to a number of causes (such as nutrition and dust), there is a correlation between diagnosing asthma and over-prescribing antibiotics. So as antibiotic use has increased, so has asthma. In fact, asthma has increased 160% in the last 20 years![1]

Another thing to remember is that prescription antibiotics only kill bacteria, but do not work for viral health ailments, including the common cold, flu and even ear infections.

What’s even more alarming is that over-prescribing antibiotic drugs is causing an epidemic of antibiotic resistance. A report from the CDC stated,

“Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection.” This is indeed a cause for great concern.

Additionally, the CDC also states that antibiotics are a concern and parents should work with doctors to treat their children safely and effectively.  Antibiotics do affect our health and could be one of the reasons why we are seeing a massive rise in allergies.

2) Anti-bacterial Products

You most likely used antibacterial products today. You probably think using antibacterial soap is a good thing killing all those germs, right? Well, not exactly. One of the main ingredients in antibacterial products is triclosan. It’s also in many commercial beauty & skin care products.

Triclosan blocks the essential fatty acids in the bacterial cells, effectively killing the germs. Unfortunately, the bacteria that manage to survive the triclosan attack actually mutate into a new strain to resist this chemical. What’s really interesting is what happens next.

How Stuff Works describes it like this:

Some antibacterial agents go after the same physiology of bacteria that prescription antibiotics do. This means that if a particular strain of bacteria develops a resistance to an antibacterial agent in a household cleaner, it will also be resistant to similar attacks from prescription antibiotics. Microbiologists call this cross-resistance.”

Remember, germs aren’t all bad! We need them to survive. However, the immune system needs to keep them in their proper place.  It’s how our body fights fevers, infections and illnesses.

What is the connection between anti-bacterial products and allergies? Glad you asked! From the time a baby is born, they are born into an environmental flora of all sorts of germs. These bacteria, yeasts, and viruses can be found everywhere from dirt to countertops; most of these microbes are harmless.

It’s also important to note that this flora helps us digest food and fight off bad bacteria. Our body has two specific cells (T-H1 and T-H2), which prevent us from dying if someone should sneeze near us or if we cut our toe. To work properly, T-H1 and T-H2 must come in contact with microbes and allergens.  Your immune system coming in contact with the germs is how your body builds its defense so you don’t die when someone coughs on you!

But sadly, our homes are filled with many antibacterial cleaners and soaps, giving our young children no defense to fight off disease and causing our precious little ones to be diagnosed with allergies. Sanitizing our homes, hands and world is not such a good thing and our health is taking a direct hit. Allergies are a direct result.

3) GMOs

It’s not just prescription antibiotics that are causing many food allergies; it’s also GMO antibiotics found in meat and dairy. With genetic modification (basically telling God that what He created is not good) happening all around us, our health is declining and allergies are increasing.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms that have been changed using genetic engineering techniques. Some plants like corn have even been modified to produce their own pesticide. Because these have never been in the human food supply before, diseases and health problems are skyrocketing. From infertility to sterility, to allergies to cancer, the effects of GMOs are dangerous and very scary not just for humans but for the health of our earth, soil, plants, animals, air, and water.[2]

Organic Consumers conducted a few tests on allergies and GMOs and this is what they found:

Soy allergies soared by 50% in the UK, right after GM soy was introduced; GM soy also contains an unexpected allergen-type protein not found in natural soy; the level of one known soy allergen is as much as 7-times higher in cooked GM soy compared to non-GM soy.”

Bt toxin is the primary GMO antibiotic and used in corn, soy and potatoes. It is now known that the Bt toxin gene can insert itself from your food into your own gut bacteria, making you a Bt toxin factory.  While the company that makes this has assured us that it isn’t toxic to humans, recent studies indicate that Bt toxin can affect our red blood cells and immune system.[3]

The hormones found in milk may also play a role with allergies.  Robyn O’Brien, founder of Allergy Kids, writes:

 “[rBST & rBGH] seems to be hazardous to the cows. The package itself warns of such bovine problems as ‘increases in cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus’, ‘decreases in gestation length and birth weight of calves,’ and ‘increased risk of clinical mastitis.’ Mastitis is a painful type of udder infection that causes cows to pump out bacteria and pus along with milk, requiring treatment with antibiotics and other meds that can end up in the milk.”

And how much of this “milk” (if you can call it that!) is poured into glasses without much thought? More than I care to imagine. So not only are antibiotics being over prescribed, but we’re drinking them on top of it. No wonder why we’re in an allergy crisis!

Our bodies were not created to digest foreign genes, which ultimately alter our DNA!

4) Processed Food-like Products

How else is our food supply attacking our health? By hiding in processed, food-like products.

Now that you know a little bit about GMOs, you understand just how important it is to eat real (organic food). Processed products (generally known as Big Food) are filled with GMO ingredients: corn, HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup), soy, MSG, and countless other additives that don’t have to be labeled as GMO ingredients.

Which brings us to ask this question, so what can we do to prevent allergies? Or if you currently have them, what can you do to help your body fight them?

Here Are 7 Anti-Allergy Tips to Remember

7 Anti-Allergy Tips

1) Eat organic food.

If you consume meats and dairy, choose organic. The best way to avoid GMOs is to always buy organic foods (and also look for the non-GMO label). Some raw milk drinkers have lower ranges of allergies and asthma.

2) Use regular soap (not anti-bacterial).

Also, avoid foaming soaps (even some natural ones contain toxic ingredients). Dr. Bronner’s is a good choice.

3) Avoid any products that say “antibacterial” or “sanitizer” on them.

This includes all forms of hand sanitizer (gels, liquids, sprays, etc.). Again, Dr. Bronner’s is a wonderful option.

4) Switch to eco-friendly household cleaners.

A few I recommend are Eco-Me, Seventh Generation, Vermont Soap Company and Dr. Bronner’s has so many wonderful uses!

5) Commit to using only natural beauty & skin care products.

Nourish Organics, SKINourishment, and Balanced Guru are some of my personal favorites.

 6) Take probiotics.

It’s no surprise our immune system is under attack, so taking daily probiotics will help build a strong immune system! You can start the day with a morning elixir and eat plenty of pre & probiotic real foods such as kefir, raw sauerkraut (refrigerated, not shelf stable), kombucha, spirulina or chlorella, blue-green algae, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar (important note: do not use commercial ACV).

Bananas, garlic, chicory root, dandelion greens (all in raw, organic form) are fantastic sources of prebiotics. Garden of Life has a complete line of digestive enzymes and probiotics.

 7) Eat what God made.

Bottom line to take away, if God didn’t make it, then don’t eat it! This means avoiding not just food and drink, but also skin care and household cleaners. Be extra diligent about reading labels and if an ingredient doesn’t make sense, avoid it.

Allergies of all kinds don’t have to be a part our life and especially future generations to come. This is why prevention is so important! By being a little more relaxed about “germs” and more careful about we eat, drink, clean our homes with, and slather on our skin, allergies can be prevented.

The 7 tips above are a great place to get started in living a lifestyle of prevention. By being proactive with preventative measures, allergies might not plague you unnecessarily anymore! And future generations will thank you for preventing allergies for them.

 

 

SarahStanleySarah Stanley is a wellness educator, endurance athlete, speaker, author, and founder of #wellnesschat & {wellprint}. Passionate about healthy living Sarah lives what she speaks about, practicing a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle that fuels her ultrarunning adventures. Her goal is to empower others to be knowledgeable about what they put in & on their body so they can live healthy, disease-free and happy life. She’s been featured in SELF, SHAPE, Ladies’ Home Journal and Washingtonian. Find Sarah on Twitter (@SarahStanley)G+ (+SarahStanley) and visit SarahStanleyInspired.com to start your wellness journey today

 

 


[1] http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn5047-antibiotics-linked-to-huge-rise-in-allergies.html#.U0SBG61dXjN
[2] http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11361.cfm
[3] http://www.gmoevidence.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/JHTD-1-104.pdf

 

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