Volume I, No. 8 by Frank Jordan
Allergies, the Immune System and MG Beta Glucan
Read an important Health Disclosure Notice about personal health issues.
What is an Allergy and How Do I Become Allergic?
Allergies are a collection of disease symptoms caused by an overaggressive immune response mistakenly identifying harmless substances in food and the environment and attacking them as if they were dangerous health invaders to our bodies. A hyper immune response causing allergic reactions such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis), asthma and skin rashes is in need of the ability to recognize and distinguish between harmless allergens (house dust, food, pollen, etc.) and dangerous pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi-mold).
Common allergic rhinitis (AR), or hay fever, is an allergic challenge involving excess histamine release and characterized by IgE (immunoglobulin)-mediated, allergic inflammation of the nasal mucosa.
Overproduction of Type 2-T helper cells (Th 2) promote development of IgE-mediated diseases such as allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Overproduced Type 2 helper cells yield overproduction of Th2 cytokines IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 at the site of allergic inflammation. The overproduction of Th2 results in unwanted, excess histamine release, creating many of the allergy miseries.
Type 1 (Th1) T helper cells nutritionally aid the avoidance and reduction of excess histamines and erroneous allergic reactions. To control erroneous allergic reactions there needs to be a balancing of Th1 and Th2 responses for more appropriate immune responses including production of cytokines IL-10, IL-12 and IFN-gamma known to suppress the inappropriate Th2 immune response and release of excess unwanted histamines.
The excessive inflammatory response causing allergy miseries is decreased with Beta 1,3/1,6 glucan, while eosinophils as important effector white blood cells of the inflammatory response, are beneficially decreased. Thus, oral intake of beta-1,3/1,6-glucan nutritionally aids in producing a functional balance between T-helper (Th1) cells and T-helper (Th2) cells. This helper T-cell balancing due to beta-1/3-1/6-glucan contributes to resolving the inappropriately skewed excess Th2 response in allergic reactions resulting in reduced excess inflammation and histamine release . This normalization of the T-helper cell balance better enables the immune system to identify and destroy infectious micro-organisms without, and instead of, mobilizing an erroneous and unnecessary allergic attack involving harmless allergens in food and other sources.
Allergies are suffered by 40+ million people and come into our bodies by exposure of: (1) the respiratory system to dust, pollen, fungus/mold or other foreign particles; (2) skin to chemicals and toxins; or (3) the stomach and intestines to a particular food or food related substance.
The unique factor in allergies is the majority of people do not respond to the symptoms that create havoc in the health of those with allergic reactions. The reason some have allergies and some do not? The exact answer is not known, with allergies recognized to be hereditary in some cases. What we do know for certain is an immune system operating normally at peak condition operates an arsenal of defense against pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi that invade our bodies every second of every day.
Certain white immune cells called phagocytes, (monocytes and macrophages) when at peak condition are able to engulf, and dispose of the antigens (unique protein identifiers similar to name tags) present on every microorganism, including allergens that cause allergies. Macrophages are the “Pac Men” of your immune system that act as vacuum cleaners and disposals for the millions of “things” that enter your body constantly that did not originate in the body i.e. non-self.
As with many of us, the immune system can have impaired vision; often unable to clearly distinguish the good guys from the bad guys. As we age, this non-recognition becomes more prevalent. If the alarm is sounded to attack a good guy mistakenly identified as a bad guy, you have an allergic reaction such as runny nose, tearing eyes, irritated skin or labored breathing. Different immune systems become suppressed or deficient due to different “good guys” for reasons not yet known and thus some people are allergic to pollen; some to strawberries and others to certain cosmetics; while their friends can stand in a ragweed fog, eating strawberries while putting on makeup with no reaction whatsoever!
The best way to conquer allergies is to never get allergies. A sound logic, but how is it possible? The key is to boost your immune response to enable better recognition of what is truly harmful versus that which is not, as these microorganisms enter your body through your skin, lungs or stomach/intestines. Science has demonstrated MG Beta Glucan nutritionally potentiates your immune response to provide better recognition and then sounds the false alarm alert to bring the fire trucks of the immune system home where there is only smoke and no fire. But let’s learn more about what allergies actually are and how the immune response responds to these false alarms.
The Allergic Response
A little known fact is allergies occur only on the second or subsequent exposures to the offending agent (allergen), after the first contact has sensitized the body to incorrectly respond by producing antibodies for an agent that is not a health threat, but is thought to be so by the immune system. Initially, the macrophage white immune cells, as the first line of immune defense, misidentify the harmless allergens as pathogens, or foreign agents dangerous and harmful to our health.
The macrophages then sound the alarm and send out chemical protein faxes (cytokines) to the Helper T cells and the B cells to produce ammunition to fight back and destroy the allergens thought to be health threats. The ammunition produced by the immune system comes as specific health bullets known as antibodies. Antibodies are produced for real pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, but for allergies the antibody specifically is an immunoglobulin known as IgE.
These IgE antibodies then are circulated in your body and attach to cells in your tissues called mast cells (basophils) which contain granules of histamines. When a specific allergen, which may be ragweed pollen, a food or other agent, comes in contact with the body again, the allergens attach to the mast cells with the antibody and histamine is released into the body. This production of histamines to attack a harmless agent thought to be dangerous is an inappropriate reaction by the immune system known as hypersensitivity. The histamine attack causes what we then experience and call allergy symptoms, which vary according to the allergy.
Histamines cause blood vessels to widen, fluids to leak into tissues, and muscles to go into spasms. Symptoms may be restricted to the skin as a rash or itching that may swell. In the upper airways there will be inflammation or mucus secretion, sneezing in hay fever and spasms accompanied by narrowing of the airways and muscle constriction in asthma. The eyes will show inflammation with redness and tearing, while in the stomach we can experience vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone who has experienced these symptoms knows allergies are a serious condition that can render a person disabled physically until brought under control.
The most common allergies are hay fever (rhinitis) and asthma, endured by 37+ million people. During the spring and summer particularly, ragweed fills the air with microscopic particles that enter the body and trigger the sneezing, runny nose, tearing eyes and overall misery of hay fever. In advanced stages, asthma occurs, with attendant breathing difficulties, weakness and spasms of the chest that can be life threatening in advanced stages.
The most common causes of Type I Hypersensitivity reactions are flowers, grasses, tree pollens, animal dander, house dust, yeast and certain drugs and food, in addition to bee and wasp venom. Of the food allergens, the most common are milk, eggs, shellfish, dried fruits, nuts and certain food dyes. In addition to hay fever and asthma, Type I reactions also include hives (urticaria), angioedema, and anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylactic shock is a rare, severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. The reaction is normally to an insect sting or as a reaction to an injected drug – for example, penicillin. Less commonly, the reaction occurs after a particular food or drink is taken by mouth. Massive amounts of histamine are released and a sudden severe lowering of blood pressure occurs. Medical help should be summoned immediately and those diagnosed, according to the AMA, should always have a preloaded syringe of “epinephrine” that is often lifesaving. Type IV Hypersensitivity reactions are responsible for contact dermatitis which is a rash caused by contact with substances such as elastic, cosmetics or detergents.
Food allergies we easily recognize occur when we have an immediate response after a food is ingested. Rashes and a tightening of the throat are common reactions. Other food allergies are more difficult because they occur hours or days after ingestion. These are known as masked, or cyclic, allergies. Food allergies can also be linked to leaky gut syndrome. This comes from a long period of abuse to your stomach and intestines (gastrointestinal tract). To much sugar, caffeine and refined foods ingested for years regularly creates expansion of the tiny openings in the semi-permeable membrane in the small intestine.
This expansion in turn allows large undigested food particles to pass through and into the body to the tissues and potentially the blood stream. These particles then settle in different parts of the body resulting in skin allergies and possibly a host of other diseases, including chronic fatigue syndrome, epilepsy and attention deficit disorder. Food is at this point harming the body instead of providing nourishment.
Avoid or Calm Allergies
We have come full circle to the point the key to avoiding allergies is to make the immune system more responsive. To strive to bring the immune system back to peak and able to identify what is truly harmful and what is not, the white immune cells known as macrophages can be nutritionally activated and potentiated with MG Beta glucan in microparticulate form (a substance – not a product name).
If the immune system does not improperly respond because the allergen is recognized as harmless, in immune error allergies, there is no allergic reaction. If the immune system is already hyper in the midst of an allergic response, the MG Beta glucan will nutritionally modulate, or calm down the immune response and return the immune system in many instances to normal to modify or alleviate the allergy symptoms.
The second most effective method in treating allergies is to avoid contact with the allergen causing the allergic reaction. This is not difficult with foods, but can be very difficult with pollen and environmental allergies. Filters, special mattresses and air conditioning all help in this regard.
Anti-histamines and corticosteroids are common over-the-counter agents, or drugs used to alleviate allergy symptoms. While often yielding calming effects and providing much needed rest, these are too frequently over-used and can have unwanted side effects including drowsiness. A much better approach is ingestion of nutritional MG Beta glucan which enables your immune cells to inhibit or stop the allergic response before happening, instead of responding afterward. In other words, it is much better to never have a fire than to have to try to put one out after reaching a dangerous blaze.
Immunotherapy to build up antibodies is also effective in which allergens are injected slowly over time to build up antibodies to an allergic reaction. This treatment is often successful, but can take months or years and is generally very expensive.
Supplements, Herbs, Minerals and Vitamins
Certain supplements, herbs, minerals and vitamins can also provide help in fighting allergies nutritionally and naturally, with the following suggested subject to professional health care provider review:
* Microparticulate (MG) Beta glucan: (extracted isolate from yeast cell wall) is a nutritional normalizer of the immune cells to contribute to establishment of a proper response to harmless allergens to minimize an inappropriate allergic reaction.
* Vitamin C: 1-3,000 mg per day in divided doses is an effective immune system booster.
* Zinc: An essential mineral, particularly for alleviation of food allergies from undigested food particles.
* Quercetin: 100-200 mg per day. Increases strength of mast cell membranes; thus reducing bursting and release of histamine that causes many of the negative allergic reactions.
* Selenium: an essential mineral that enhances resistance to infection and boost the immune system. Vitamin E protects and makes selenium more effective.
* B vitamins: Pantothenic acid (B5) is a building block of cortisone, a basic defense mechanism for allergies. Also, vitamin B12 is beneficial for the immune system.
* Magnesium: A mineral that helps relax muscles related to the airways to enhance breathing and also a potent anti-inflammatory.
* Garlic: a natural antiseptic and an outstanding all-around herb for health and allergic reactions.
* Wild Cherry Bark: helps hay fever by healing irritated mucosal surfaces, including the lungs.
Diet is also a major player in both creating and resolving allergies. Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates and caffeine. Don’t eat the same foods every day if you are having allergic reactions, but vary your diet daily with a minimum four day rotation. Other ways to fight back are to add green plants and a good filtration system to your home and office area. Take supplements, nutrients, minerals and herbs that strengthen the immune system, including the micronized dietary ingredient, MG Beta glucan.
Avoid both emotional and physical stress to the extent possible. Both are known to trigger and aggravate allergic reactions. Get adequate rest with moderate exercise. Allow 10 to 45 days for signs of alleviation. If your allergies persist or you have severe reactions, seek professional health advice, as you may have a pathogen that is not an allergic reaction causing your personal problem. Delayed allergies can also be detected by your health care provider by the Alcat Test and be aware gluten intolerance may also be an issue after testing.
Your immune system is the key to not only resolution and avoidance of allergic reactions, but to fighting back and conquering the preponderance of pathogens that assault our bodies daily as ill-health invaders. Current medical school research also indicates an imbalance in the Helper T-Cells function could be indicated. With an immune system at or returned to peak condition, you can enjoy both a quality and quantity of life manifested by longevity in good health.
Reprinted by permission from Immunition Reports
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