What is allergy?

While many people call their health problems “allergy”, few really know what exactly it means. Let’s discuss what allergy is.

Traditionally doctors consider the inflammation that is caused by ‘sensitization to protein’ in the body an allergy, when the Mast cell releases histamine. This may seem as too simple of a process to a top notch Allergist who spent many years studying thick books about allergic cells. However, there is no consensus what are root causes of the inflammation and doctors from many other specialties may have no idea about a bodily response to a trigger. And it is no surprise, people attribute the word ‘allergy’ to many things.

What are the allergy symptoms? It depends pretty much on what is causing the symptoms. For example, a person who is allergic to a cat will most likely experience:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Scratchy throat
  • Swelling of the eyes, tearing
  • Itchy face, or parts of the body that came in contact with a cat
  • Wheezing and coughing

Are symptoms always the same? No, they can vary from sneezing to severe asthma attack and hives. Why would your symptoms be different from time to time? Indeed, the more time you spend with the cat and the more the cat is shedding, the worse your symptoms will be. Also, it depends on your state of mind. Imagine that! The symptoms can be much worse if you are upset, stressed out, or too excited.

Why did I suddenly develop an allergy?

Is allergy contagious?

Many of our first-time patients ask this question. Sure, it is easy to understand what causes a cold this is when you get a bug from an infected person. Is allergy contagious? Not at all. However, it does run in the family. But an explanation for that is genetics – some people carry a gene that makes them ‘atopic’.

Atopy is the condition of the immune system that is just more reactive and aggressive. So instead of a normal “tolerance” that allows us to tolerate so many proteins around us, a baby with atopic immune system will react to the new pet or food with allergic (attacking) reaction.

As we discussed, allergy is a symptom of the immune system dysfunction. That means that people even with completely normal immune systems can develop allergy later in life. Only in this case it does not happen without a cause. Usually, there is something that throws our immune system ‘out of balance’. What are possible culprits? Here are a few examples:

  • Severe viral infections known to mess up with immunity (Mono, CMV, possibly COVID-19)
  • Poisoning or exposure to known immune toxins (pesticides, herbicides, cleaning chemicals, medications etc.)
  • Severe acute stress. Stress itself does not cause an allergy, but it affects the immune system function dramatically.
  • Hormonal changes. Thyroid problems and adrenal dysfunction frequently cause a change in immune reactivity so the allergy develops. The most common connection is between hormones and hives (allergic urticarial).
  • Stomach infections and parasites. Both can change the gut immunity and cause food allergies
  • Gluten sensitivity. While gluten intolerance has a different mechanism and is not an allergy, it can affect the immune cells so much that new severe allergies and sensitivities will develop. Most common – food sensitivity, hives, nickel sensitivity and chemical sensitivity

Our Allergists are the best “detectives” who always want to go to the roots of your health problem because if you can find and avoid the allergen, all problems will stop! As you can see now – if your immune system does not ‘meet’ the allergen, it will not fight it and you will not show any symptoms.

Knowing what exactly triggers your sudden allergy also will help you in the future to avoid any exposure f to the harmful environment or develop stress-reducing techniques.

Eye allergy

Red eyes can be a symptom of many diseases from negligible to severe. If your eyes suddenly start itching, it does not mean you need to rush to a doctor immediately. Most often, the redness and itchiness of the eye means you got something in it. It can be a small particle of dirt or a piece of hair. The eye instantly activates a protective mechanism of getting rid of the foreign body:

  • Tearing
  • Itching
  • Swelling

So, if these symptoms happened just once and do not come back, you have nothing to worry about. Even if you got some irritating chemical (such as cream or shampoo) into the eye, it can cause irritation for a day or so. After a while, it will not continue to bother you.

But what if every morning you are waking up with red eyes and crusted together eyelashes and these occur for a few months? These symptoms can be a sign of an eye allergy.

Here are signs that will help you to tell between the allergy and infection:

  • One eye vs both eyes (allergy affects both eyes)
  • Fever and cough or congestion (that is a sign of a viral infection, and possibly COVID-19 in children)
  • Sneezing and runny nose, itchy throat (it is all parts of the allergic reaction)
  • A known contact with pink eye (more likely it is an infection)

There are many other considerations and possibilities, such as systemic autoimmune disease, Sjogren syndrome etc., that an expert Allergist will detect or rule out.

Can vitamin problems cause eye allergy?

vitamins are healthy

Many people know that vitamins are healthy and even take One-daily. But do you know what vitamins are? From our experience, we find that people misconceive the amount and usefulness of vitamins. In fact, many believe that they will have a better health if they take lots of vitamins. That is why some people take triple or even 10x the dose of the recommended daily value. Vitamins overdose can lead to severe health problems.

Vitamins are chemicals synthesized or absorbed by our body from the food we eat. These molecules function in our body as regulators of normal cell function. Each vitamin has its own role and can be distributed through the body or only in certain tissues. There are 2 main types of vitamins:

  • Essential – that means if we do not get them from the diet, we can develop significant vitamin deficiency because we cannot synthesize them. There are 13 essential vitamins — vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate).
  • Non-essential – we can make these vitamins from other nutrients, so the deficiency is rare.

Why minerals are important?

Minerals must be present in the body

Minerals are molecules that must be present in the body cells and body fluid at certain concentration, so our tissues can function properly. A mineral deficiency is a significant problem as we get them only from a diet. If you live in the area where a certain mineral is deficient, you will also lack it in the body. And the opposite – too much of certain minerals can cause many health problems.

Mineral imbalance has been recognized for centuries by the doctors. You hear about certain minerals often on the internet or from your PMD. Unfortunately, many people do not discriminate between a real deficiency (which is very rare) and the imbalance of minerals in the body. In fact, there are so many mechanisms involved in the self-control on homeostasis (balance).

An example is calcium. You know that if there is not enough calcium in your bones, you will develop osteoporosis. This information makes many people buy and consume mega-doses of calcium. The truth is, a normal diet contains plenty of calcium, as it is one of the most abundant minerals on Earth.

Indeed, we also have plenty of calcium in the blood. So, what is the problem then? There is a very fine mechanism that works to help calcium enter the bones to make them strong enough, but also flexible. Too much calcium – bones will break, too little calcium – bones will also break. The true mechanism of osteoporosis is not calcium deficiency – it is an inability of the bone to sustain the right level.

The same is true about vision problems that can be caused by mineral deficiency. Our clinic provides people with individual evaluation of vitamin and mineral problems. We have a highly trained team of nutrition specialists that will help you learn about your body. We start with education. Then we move to your personal goals and create the individual nutrition plan.

Good for you or good for me. A personalized diet plan.

your nutrition needs some fix

You don’t need to avoid foods if you don’t have to. You don’t need to take supplements if you have a diet that is right for you. It is not possible to track all the “Good for You” recommendations on the internet. And most of them are far from being good, and far from being good for you! If your gut works well, and your overall health is great, you do not need us. If you are reading this and thinking about your stomach pain, poor vision, fatigue and congestion, then most likely your nutrition needs some fix.

Our team has years of experience in identifying and treating the health problems originating in incorrect diet or eating habits. We believe that “you are what you eat”.

Years of research demonstrate that we all have different gut that does not want to read internet blog about health choices. It is our genetics that tells us which foods will provide our body with the best nutrition. Why? Because in order to digest food into tiny ‘building blocks’ that will be absorbed and incorporated by our organism, we need enzymes! Yes – we need to produce a digestive juice that will break down carbs, proteins, and fats.

What is involved? Each part of our digestive system produces a variety of chemicals that create this process, and if there is a deficiency of the enzyme (that is usually genetic) instead of a nutrient there might be a poison. This is the basis of food intolerances that create a myriad of health problems.

What is a connection between immunity and diet?

Immune system is very sensitive

Immune system is very sensitive to the wrong levels of vitamins and minerals. A person can develop multiple immune and allergy problems due to nutritional deficiency or overdose.

There are multiple specific signs that an Allergist can recognize and test for in nutritional deficiencies. Some nutritional problems also can be caused by inflammation that is not allergic. Many vitamin and mineral problems develop common symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite or food craving, food intolerance
  • Smell problem and taste problem
  • Slow wound healing, fragile skin
  • Red goopy eyes, eyelashes falling out
  • Dry brittle hair, baldness
  • Back pain, joint pain
  • Dry eyes, dry mouth
  • Muscle cramps

Our clinic specializes on helping people to identify and treat nutrition and immune problems. Our team includes a Nutritionist and specialists who can test you for an allergy, food intolerance, and nutrition problem. We help you to restore your balance by:

  • Creating an individual diet plan
  • Providing information on foods that will help you fix the problem
  • Devising a long-term health plan that will prevent the problem in the future
  • Making shopping lists of healthy food
  • Developing a personalized weight control plan
  • Comprising food allergy avoidance lists (after the allergy test results are reviewed by the doctor)

treat nutrition and immune problems