Hacking Food Allergies
Allergies are a nuisance that brings misery to one’s daily life. 4.1 million Australians (19.6% of the population) has at least one allergic disease with 78% of people having allergies aged 15 to 64 years. At the current rate, this will rise to one in four Australians having an allergy by 2050. If your child is at school, you will have noticed the signs banning nuts. Teachers and other administrators are now trained in the use of EpiPens which is an auto-injector that can deliver a life-saving dose of epinephrine to help combat the dangers of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction).
The ‘Magic Bullet’
However, help might be just around the corner according to recent research findings from Monash University where a group of Australian scientist have shown that increased fibre intake in mice protects against allergies. Research by Jian Tan of Monash University has demonstrated that mice bred to have a peanut allergy are less likely to have anaphylactic reactions to peanuts if they are given a high-fibre diet than those with ‘no-fibre diets’. The proposed mechanism is that the good bacteria or probiotics in the gut break down the fibre into short chain fatty acids which boost the number of dendritic cells that control the immune response. These specialised dendritic cells also need Vitamin A which is found in fruit and vegetables. This synergistic effect of short chain fatty acids and Vitamin A help block the immune response. The current study from Monash University has only been carried out mice, but there is evidence the same may be true in humans; De Fillipo et al in their 2010 research revealed that children in rural Africa rarely have allergies. These children eat twice as much fibre as European children and have different gut bacteria that are known to produce more short-chain fatty acids.
There are no conventional medical treatments for Ig-G mediated food allergies and adrenaline, antihistamines, and cromoglycate are administered for IgE – mediated food allergies.
Many practitioners of alternative medicine such as Naturopathy and Ayurveda advise high fibre diets with increased intake of fruit and vegetables that are not immune-sensitive to the client. In Naturopathy a typical treatment regime may include:
- Determining the food sensitivities and then avoidance of those foods e.g. dairy and wheat
- Using restorative supplements such as probiotics, fish oils, quercitin, Vitamin C, Vitamin B complex etc
- Reducing stress through anti-anxiety herbs
- Bio-regulatory Medicine to promote healing
Ayurveda practitioners will mainly utilise yoga therapy including meditation and pranayama. This regimen will be combined with detoxification processes and various herbs which have carminative, digestive, intestinal restorative (e.g. Psyllium which is high in dietary fibre), and immunomodulatory effects. Healthy lifestyle advice and specific diet for the individual will also help in bringing them back into balance.
The value of Integrative Medicine
At Apple A Day RX we use an Integrative medicine approach. If the patient has severe immune response they must adhere to their medications and then they are supported through a combination of evidence-based alternative medicine therapies i.e. an integrative Ayurveda and Naturopathy approach combination of herbs, vitamins, diet, lifestyle measures, basic yoga therapy, simple detox regimes, bio-regulatory medicines and mind-body therapies such as Dr Darren Weissman’s Lifeline Technique. Through selecting some the aforementioned treatments specifically tailored to the individual excellent life-changing results are achieved.