Dr Charles Forsyth

Ecological Physician

 
 

Allergy has become remarkably and worryingly common since the 1950’s in developed countries, both in adults and children.  To quote from the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology report on Allergy published in October 2007:  “In the United Kingdom the incidence of common allergic diseases has trebled in the last twenty years, to become one of the highest in the world. Recent estimates suggest about a third of the population will develop symptoms due to allergy at some point in their lives. No comparable increases in prevalence have been observed in developing countries, but although many hypotheses have been proposed, the true reason for the "allergy epidemic" in the westernised world has yet to be found.  The pattern of allergic diseases in the United Kingdom, as in many other developed countries, has also changed over the last 50 years. An increasing number of people suffer from food allergy, allergic rhinitis and atopic eczema, and new allergies have emerged such as oral allergy syndrome and latex allergy. The involvement of multiple organs is now seen more frequently and certain allergic conditions appear to be more severe or potentially life-threatening. As an example, peanut allergy is now increasingly common in young children.” 


Allergic Diseases

Some of the most common allergic diseases are:

  1. Allergic rhinitis (both seasonal and perennial)

  2. Asthma

  3. Atopic eczema (dermatitis)

  4. Urticaria (hives) and angioedema

  5. Anaphylaxis

  6. Food allergy

  7. Drug and chemical sensitivity

  8. Insect sting allergy

  9. Oral allergy syndrome


Allergens

Almost any substance may trigger a hypersensitivity reaction, from elements such as nickel, chemicals and drugs, plant and animal products, micro-organisms, even sunlight and other electromagnetic radiation.


Allergen Exposure

The main routes are:

  1. Inhalation - aeroallergens - such as pollens, animal fur, moulds, dust mite, chemicals, etc.

  2. Ingestion - food allergy - such as peanuts, strawberries, fish, milk, egg, wheat, corn, yeast, etc.

  3. Contact - with skin or mucus membrane - such as nickel, wool, latex, substances in cosmetics, shampoos, washing powders, cleaning agents, etc.

  4. Injection - such as insect bites, drugs & vaccines, etc.


Mechanisms

The mechanism underlying most of these reactions is an unusually vigorous reaction of the immune system, primarily via immunoglobulin E (IgE) - when it is called atopy.  Not all hypersensitivity reactions are immune mediated, there is a large group which we tend to call ‘intolerance’ that is due to enzyme deficiencies (digestive or metabolic) and then there are yet other mechanisms.  In ecological medicine we tend to use the term Type A allergy for where there is a relatively clear immunological mechanism.  Type B allergy is the term we use mainly for food reactions that are quite different from classical IgE mediated food allergy and much less clearly understood. 


I think it useful to think of hypersensitivity reactions as a disturbance in the way the system defends, protects and preserves itself - of which the immune system is just one, but a very major part.  The integrity of our interface with our environment (our skin and mucus membranes) is vital.  They form a barrier between us and the world outside.  They have to keep inside what should be inside and keep out what should be outside - and let in (actively or passively) what we require (nutrients, water, oxygen, light) and let out what we need to get rid of (waste products, toxins).  If the functional efficiency of these barriers is reduced, the consequences are very far reaching.  The defence systems have to be able to recognise accurately and reliably what is considered by the system as a whole to be okay, non-toxic, non-pathogenic, friendly from what is potentially not okay, toxic, pathogenic or enemy.  If it is too tolerant of it’s environment, toxins and organisms invade and have their play, while if it is too intolerant, hypersensitivity in one form or another results.


It is not yet clear what the cause is for the huge increase in allergy and sensitivity, but it is almost certainly a combination of environmental factors, as it is still peculiar to the developed world.



Management of Allergies

In practice we find that allergies tend to improve when you address the predisposing factors:


Self Help - General

  1. Diet - make your diet the best it can possibly be -  fresh, natural, wholefood, organic, vegetable dominated, satisfying, broad and varied - see Nutrition for more info.

  2. Exercise - take plenty of regular physical exercise - see Exercise for more info.

  3. Sleep - get plenty of good quality sleep.

  4. Stress Management - good self pacing, realistic and appropriate expectations, rest periods, holidays, relaxation exercises, etc - see Psychological for more info.

  5. Toxins - minimise toxic exposures - chemicals and other toxins in your environment, food, cosmetics, water, etc, minimise medical and social drug usage, EMF/EMR, etc.

  6. Psychological - be actively working towards resolving emotional, personal, occupational, relationship and life goal issues.

  7. Nutritional Supplements - take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement, an omega 3 essential fatty acid supplement, extra magnesium, vitamin C, flavonoids and also vitamin D in the winter months (and summer if you don’t spend much time outdoors bearing some skin to the sun) - see Nutrition for more info.


  8. Self Help - Specific

  9. Avoid or reduce exposure to your allergens - how easy this is will depend on whether it is clear what the allergens are and how easy it is to avoid them.  For example the presence of house dust mite can be reduced greatly by regular use of a high quality vacuum cleaner, damp dusting, keeping carpets and soft furnishings to a minimum, using a special bed mattress cover, occasional steam cleaning of carpets, etc. 


  10. Medical - General

  11. The aim should be to try to identify and treat the causes and contributing factors that have brought about the allergic process.

  12. Nutrition - identify and correct all nutritional deficiencies and their causes and optimise nutrient status.

  13. Bugs - identify and eradicate all pathogenic organisms, correct dysbiosis, and treat their causes.

  14. Toxins - identify all toxins and their sources, avoid further exposure and reduce tissue levels to an absolute minimum.

  15. Psychological - identify and resolve all causative, predisposing or limiting factors on the psychological level - emotional, personal, occupational, relationship and life goal issues, etc.

  16. Homeopathy - constitutional prescribing to progressively strengthen the core control systems - the inner nature, plus specific local and miasmatic prescribing when appropriate.


Medical - Specific

  1. Identify the Allergens - a good clinical history can often identify the allergen when it is not immediately obvious - and there are many tests available, which ones are appropriate will depend on the type of allergy and allergen.

  2. Desensitise - if avoidance is not easy or practical, or the degree of sensitivity is not reducing despite ones best efforts, or if a rapid solution is required.  There are a variety of methods available:

  3. Neutralisation - Miller series 1:5 dilutions - see Neutralisation

  4. Enzyme Potentiated Desensitisation (EPD)

  5. Homeopathic

  6. Bio-electrical:  eg. Mora, Bioresonance



Further Allergy Topics - some of these to be added to this website very soon:

  1. Type B Food Allergy

  2. Exclusion Diets

  3. Neutralisation Desensitisation

  4. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity



Resources

  1. www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_s_t_select/allergies.cfm - The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology report on Allergy published in October 2007


  2. An Alternative Approach to Allergies. Randolph TG, Moss RW.  Revised edition.  New York:  Harper and Rowe. 1989.


  3. Environmental Medicine in Clinical Practice. Anthony H, Birtwistle S, Eaton K, Maberley J.  BSAENM Publications 1997  IBSN 0-9523397-2-2


  4. Effective Allergy Practice - a Document on Standards of Care and Management for the Allergy Patient. BSAEM/BSNM Subcommittee 1994


  5. Allergy. A practical Guide to Coping. Maberly J, Anthony H.  Crowood Press 1989 ISBN 1-85223-172-6


  6. Practice Information Sheets:

  7. Type B Food Allergy

  8. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

  9. Latex Allergy

  10. Fungal Spore Allergy

  11. House Dust Mite Allergy

  12. Electromagnetic Radiation & Fields

 

Allergy, Sensitivity & Intolerance

  ECOLOGICAL MEDICINE:  Overview   Nutrition   Allergy   Bugs & Dysbiosis   Toxins  EMR

  Allergy:   Allergy Overview    Food Allergy