Category Archives: Allergy

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How Your Body Talks When You Have Hay Fever or Allergies

allergy-1738191__340Spring is in the air, with lovely flowers and trees blossoming around us. For some of us, the spring fragrances are invigorating and refreshing. But for others, springtime triggers an unwanted cascade of stuffy noses, scratchy throats, infected sinuses and miserable headaches. And then there are some of us who experience these unpleasant symptoms year round, as we are exposed to pet dander, dust, mold, or other allergens.

Why do some people get hay fever and others do not? It’s frustrating to be suffering from allergies when others around you are energized and feel fine, even though the exposure to pollens, animal dander, dust and mold is the same in all people.

What is the trigger that tells the body to mount an allergic response in some people but not others? Although we may not know exactly why that happens, fortunately we now can understand much about the immune system and how it talks in the body. With that information, maybe we can ameliorate some of the unpleasant symptoms that make springtime (and other times) miserable for some of us.

Normal Immune Response

 When a microscopic foreign body enters your body, your white cells identify it as foreign (or the enemy). Foreign bodies may be infectious agents, or food that has not adequately broken down, or chemicals, mold spores or even pollens, animal dander or dust. Your white cells send out signals immediately to get the enemy under control.

 One message goes to the macrophages. Macrophages are like little garbage trucks, but instead of coming once or twice a week they are constantly available on demand. As soon as they get the SOS signal from the white cells, they come quickly and digest the foreign body, thereby rendering it harmless.

 The white cells send another signal to the basophils. These little guys release substances that cause inflammation, including pain or itching, and swelling. We might refer to the basophils as an early warning system: something is not right, or “you just ate (inhaled, swallowed, touched) something that is not good for you.”

If your body recognizes the allergen as a trigger it has experienced before, it will notify the bigger immune system, which we might compare to a spy detection system. Your larger immune system is activated to attract previously formed antibodies (it remembers the previous exposure) and other cells to get rid of the offending ‘foreign body.’ If your body has not seen this particular foreign body before, it may form new antibodies to help fight and get rid of the offending (enemy) agent. (Yay for 007!)

 Allergic Immune Response

 If you have allergies like hay fever or allergic asthma, your body has formed immunoglobulin (which are also called antibodies). The allergy antibody we are most familiar with is called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Each IgE is specific to one trigger, like dog dander or certain tree pollens. You probably have many IgE immunoglobulin, each reacting to a different substance.

Immunoglobulin remembers your previous exposure to the pollen, or animal dander, or even dust and mold in the house. When the IgE receptor is stimulated with the foreign exposure, the mast cells release chemicals that cause an immediate inflammatory reaction, and start to make more of these inflammatory chemicals. The chemical most commonly associated with allergies is histamine, which is the major culprit in hay fever.

 Itchy is a good word to describe the effects of histamine. Histamine causes the eyes to have tears and swell and become itchy. The nose becomes congested, itchy and has a clear liquid discharge. The throat becomes itchy. The bronchioles (small connecting pipes to the lung where air exchange takes place) become smaller and produce mucus. We call this asthma or wheezing.

 Treatment for Allergies

 So what do we do to become allergy free? Or is there such a thing? We have found some things that can help tremendously:

  1. Be healthy
  • good diet
  • basic supplements
  • exercise
  1. Instead of taking anti-histaminics (with their lengthy list of side effects), try
  • Quercetin and
  • Stinging nettle,

both of which reduce the amount of histamine released from the mast cell.

  1. Avoid offending substances, if you can.
  2. Allergy desensitization, through any number of ways:
  • NAET (Nambudripad Allergy Elimination Technique). This technique that I have used successfully for years in my practice involves exposure of offending substances in homeopathic vials while stimulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems, along with tapping of certain acupuncture points
  • LDA (Low Dose Allergen)–low dose exposure of the offending allergens by injection or under the tongue
  • Homeopathic drops that address predetermined allergens by season; otherwise placed under the tongue
  1.  Signaling molecules help the body’s natural immune system to more appropriately respond to allergens: now available as a supplement. Contact my office for details.

Dr. Gardner works out of his Riverton office, Keys to Healing Medical Center. He can be reached at (801) 302-5397 for appointments.

Allergy hormone hormone replacement therapy hormones HRT

Want to Learn More About Your Body’s System of Communication?

 

Announcing a New Series:

How Your Body Talks:

Estrogen and Progesterone

Stan Gardner, M.D., CNS

Women are different than men (believe it or not!). Some of that difference is related to different levels of messengers called hormones. Two of the hormones–estrogen and progesterone–communicate different things to the same organ. To make matters more complicated, their levels change, depending on the time of month or stage of life.

The Reproductive Years (About age 11 to 45 to 50)

During the reproductive years, most women have regular periods. Part of the purpose of menstruation is to prepare the uterus and body for pregnancy. Of the two hormones I mentioned in the previous paragraph, estrogen levels only change a little during the month. Your body’s hormones are always talking to various tissues. Progesterone levels are quite low from the start of the period until the egg is released from the ovary (ovulation). The scar tissue (corpus luteum) generated where the egg leaves the ovary produces high levels of progesterone until a day or two before the next period starts.

In the uterus, estrogen tells the inside of the uterus (the lining) to produce more cells. When progesterone is produced, it tells the newly produced cells to develop or mature to get ready for a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg loves the newly developed cells, burrows in and starts to divide and divide, becoming a new human being 9 months later.

If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone. It tells the uterine cells to remove themselves from the uterus (through the menstrual cycle) and starts the whole process over again.

Estrogen and progesterone talk to nine other organs, and for the most part they confuse the organs by giving them opposing directions.

In the ovary, estrogen stimulates the maturation of the egg. Estrogen tells the egg to move toward the outside of the ovary as it matures. Meanwhile, progesterone suppresses further egg release. If these two hormones were not giving conflicting information, twins and triplets would be much more common.

Balance and Counterbalance

Here are some other fascinating ways that estrogen and progesterone balance and counterbalance in the body:

  • In the breasts, estrogen stimulates tissue growth, occasionally so much that it causes discomfort. Progesterone provides protection from cancer. Because of high progesterone levels during pregnancy, women with multiple pregnancies have a reduced rate of breast cancer.
  • In the bones, estrogen slows bone loss. When estrogen levels drop at menopause, bone loss (osteoporosis) accelerates as the FSH level (follicular stimulating hormone, another hormone messenger that talks to the ovary) rises. Progesterone stimulates new bone growth.
  • In the thyroid, estrogen interferes with the thyroid hormones, while progesterone talks to the thyroid gland and improves its function.
  • In the brain, estrogen stimulates function and improves mental sharpness. Progesterone helps to calm the brain and acts almost like an anti-depressant.
  • Estrogen increases deposition of fat, especially on the hips and thighs. (Testosterone tends to put fat in the abdomen.) Progesterone tells the fat to break down.
  • Estrogen tells the cells to make more progesterone receptors, while progesterone up-regulates estrogen receptors.
  • Estrogen increases retention of water, including helping to hydrate the skin. Progesterone acts as a natural diuretic.
  • Estrogen decreases libido, while progesterone increases it.

Estrogen speaks exclusively to two organs, without counter-talk from progesterone:

First, it talks to support the lining in the blood vessels.

Second, estrogen increases collagen production. Collagen is the connective tissue in the body. Faster healing and softer, more elastic skin take place when estrogen speaks to the connective tissue.

What happens when Estrogen levels are too high, compared to Progesterone levels?

When estrogen talks too loudly, and progesterone influence is minimized, it is called estrogen dominance. This condition causes some classic symptoms:

  • Water retention
  • Breast tenderness, lumps, cysts
  • Moodiness, emotionally labile, anxiety, depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Heavy bleeding, clotting, and/or cramping
  • Fibroids, endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

What Happens When Estrogen (and Progesterone) Levels Drop?

When neither estrogen nor progesterone talks to the body, some women have no problems, while others are incapacitated. This time of life is called menopause, and may happen naturally or after surgical removal of the ovaries.

The following difficulties may arise with onset of menopause:

  • Mental fog, forgetfulness
  • Anxious, depressed, mood change
  • Hot flashes, night sweats
  • Dry eyes, skin, vagina
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Palpitations, (racing heart)
  • Headaches
  • Feeling bloated

Is There Any Help?

Yes, there is help, if it is needed.

First, however, let me state that I am opposed to synthetic, chemically changed forms of estrogen. These forms of treatment include a chemical group(s) that has been added to the chemical structure of estrogen the body makes, so it can be patented and sold as a pharmaceutical.

Unfortunately, that extra chemical has caused unwanted side effects. This causes a number of problems, which come from communicating to the wrong organ in the wrong way:

  • Blood vessel clots, causing heart attack, stroke
  • Endometrial and breast cancer
  • Double the risk of dementia
  • Double the chance of surgery to remove the gall bladder

If there is a reason to treat hormonal issues, my first choice is to choose herbs and natural products that function as phytoestrogens and support, or speak to the ovaries.

Some of these include:

  • Angelica sinensis
  • Blessed thistle
  • Licorice root
  • Wild yam
  • Motherwort herb
  • Black cohosh
  • Cramp bark
  • Dong quai

Although these natural products may not be as strong as bio-identical estrogen and progesterone, they may talk to your organs well enough to solve the problem.

Bone Density

Bone loss around the time of menopause is a reason to be aggressive with reducing the FSH level. In treating patients with bone loss, I typically start with progesterone, to see if stimulating the estrogen receptors is enough to solve the problem. If not, then bio-identical estrogen is usually needed.

If, on the other hand, estrogen is talking too loudly in your body (dominating), then bio-identical progesterone is usually needed. I generally prefer that a local compounding pharmacist formulate the progesterone, rather than a pharmaceutical firm, which tends to use unnecessary fillers. Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to pay for pharmaceuticals, rather than healthier, more natural products.

When neither estrogen nor progesterone is communicating with your body, and you need help (sometimes desperately!), I always start with a natural product. If that is insufficient, the next step is progesterone. Everyone likes progesterone—just look at what it does to the body. If more is still needed, I pay attention to symptoms and response to what has been added, and then add bio-identical estrogen until the symptoms resolve.

To your dynamic health and energy,

Dr. Stan Gardner

If you would like more information about Dr. Gardner and his philosophies, please feel free to explore this site. Dr. Gardner’s office is in Sandy, UT. Phone number 801-302-5397. 

Allergy food

What Do the Labels Mean?

You May be Surprised at the Definitions of The Words on Labels!

In order to be healthy, we must learn to read labels (if you don’t grow and make all your food from scratch). Since it is important to know what certain terms mean, here we go:

 Natural: means very little. Although it can’t include synthetic ingredients (colors, flavors), it can be heavily processed. This includes animals raised with antibiotics and growth hormones, and high fructose corn syrup (corn is natural, isn’t it?).

Fresh: means they are using ‘approved’ waxes or coatings, post harvest approved pesticides, applying mild chlorine or mild acid wash or ionizing radiation.

Organic (can mean 3 different things):

  • 100% organic = foods that don’t contain any non-organic ingredients;
  • organic—95% organic ingredients and the other 5 % do not contain growth hormones;
  • made with organic ingredients—foods with at least 70% organically produced ingredients (up to 30% non-organic)

Good Source of/Contains/Provides: food has at least 10 % of USDA’s recommended daily allowance

 High Source Of/Rich In/Excellent Source Of: food has at least 20% of USDA’s recommended daily allowance

Now you know. Garden fresh is still best, and you know exactly what has gone into it. We enjoyed our garden tomatoes for at least 6 weeks past the first frost.  They ripened on the vine in boxes in the garage.  When you grow it, then you know it!

Allergy

The Sugar Industries campaign against research

Allergy

One way to reduce soda consumption

Sara Bleich from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provides an interesting insight into recognizing the partial impact of caloric intake and the amount of exercise needed to ‘burn’ those calories.  One can of coke equals 50 minutes of running.  When that information was placed before people where ordering of soft drinks took place, the amount of soft drinks ordered decreased.  Although she correctly points out that ‘a calorie is not a calorie,’ anything that changes the behavior of drinking soda pop is a good thing.  Just a reminder of the 5 things wrong with soda pop: 1) the sweetener, as bad as sugar is aspartame is worse 2) acid content (coke does make the best cleaner of chrome and grease spots) 3) phosphorus added so carbon dioxide (the fizz) does not become carbonic acid [unfortunately phosphorus is matched with calcium in the body, so the calcium is taken from the bones contributing to osteoporosis] 4) many sodas have caffeine, which is addictive, is a stimulant and is a diuretic 5) some people think drinking soda replaces the amount of water they need to drink (wrong).
For a more complete look at Sara Bleich’s insight and research, read the article by James Hamblin [The Atlantic].
Allergy

You should eat more fat

Here is another article (from mensjournal.com) with strong scientific support for what we have been saying for the last 20 years–low fat, high carb diets cause obesity and bad health.  There was none to little scientific support 50 years ago for the ‘recommendation’ (that became tradition and later law) that fat causes fat, and therefore should be avoided.  Multiple strong scientific studies (and the observational data is also strong) have gone against the ‘recommendation,’ but it still lingers on.
Because nutritionists follow the ‘party-line dogma,’ I would never hire a traditional nutritionist to counsel my patients.  They even teach the food pyramid as truth, when it is more lobbying and political than science.
Read the article and send it to your friends.
Dr. Gardner
Allergy

On Orange Juice

This is a fascinating article (from the New Atlantic)about the history of orange juice production in the U.S.  Anything in a can or box has most likely been processed, which means we have lost control of our ability to easily know how it was made, what was removed and what has been added back into the product.  If you juice your own oranges you will know exactly how it was made.  When you juice an orange, the fiber is separated from the juice, thus reducing its nutrient value.  Also, and glass of orange juice has the fructose content of several oranges, thus making it a sugar drink without fiber.  When you eat an orange you typically eat only one and eat the fiber with it.  Eating an orange is the best way to ingest oranges–orange juice is a ‘sugar drink.’

Allergy

Two Speaking Engagements Coming Up

Dear Healthy Thinkers,

Many of you have asked where to catch me speaking live about health issues, and two are coming up in the near future.  I’d love to meet you in person!

1.  On Saturday, September 27, I’ll be speaking about two topics: Energy Medicine, and Vaccines, at the Healing Energy Conference at Utah Valley University, and here’s the link:

http://www.oremenergyhealingconference.com

2.  On Thursday, October 2, I’ll be speaking for the Health and Wellness Meetup group at the ASEA production facility meeting room, 601 W 700 S in Pleasant Grove at 7:00 p.m.  Topic is: The Habits of Highly Healthy Humans.

To reserve a seat, contact Scott at swgard@gmail.com.  Seating is limited, but attendance is free 🙂

Hope to catch you at one or both of these events!

To your dynamic health and energy!

Dr. Stan

Allergy

The man who believes sugar is poison

Another great interview/article with Robert Lusig on why he thinks sugar is poison:  http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/aug/24/robert-lustig-sugar-poison

Allergy

Soda Pop

From Pacific Standard on new psychological research provides clues as to why consuming such drinks can actually lead to weight gain:

A body that believes it is getting an energy boost (as the sweet taste of the soda implies) and then does not may react by going into WTF mode (Where’s the Fructose?). This translates to cravings for the next high-calorie option that crosses our path.