We all know what allergies are. Millions of people suffer from “hay fever,” Another allergy that is very common is to cat’s or pets’ dander/fur. Some people are allergic to penicillin or latex. But few people really know the full range of allergies, and the many kinds there can be, And we really rarely appreciate the subtle but powerful impact they can have on our bodies. SO…what IS an allergy, anyway?
We can learn about and improve our energy and mental clarity by removing aggravating foods from our diet. But first, we have to understand the impact of food and allergies in general, before we can understand how those sensitivities can affect the brain; Alzheimer’s brain, and general mental clarity. In order to really be successful at minimising the effect of food and brain allergies, we need to understand a bit more about the immune system, and how the body reacts to “invaders.”
So, let’s start with a basic explanation of an “allergic” reaction. Our bodies are exposed to things all the time. It is the body’s job to know friend from foe- in order to keep us alive, and keep us healthy. When the body is exposed to a “foe,”such as a virus or bacteria, the immune system is triggered- calling up its reserve forces. It is important to understand that the immune system, like our military forces, has many aspects, layers and specialties. There are scouts, which keep an alert for “enemies.” There are special forces, that seek to capture (encapsulate) invaders and haul them out of the body. There are killer T cells , which are a bit like ground forces.. that mount a direct assault on invaders. There are clean-up forces as well. And there is the antibody system; the long-term memory built into the immune system… so that future encounters have instant data to identify the invader with the appropriate information to counter the “attack.”
So this explains, in basic terms, what happens inside our bodies when we are exposed, say… to germs. But modern culture has a whole range of non-germ and “foreign” things. Latex would be one example – latex is something our bodies never would have encountered hundreds or thousands of years ago. But maybe, perhaps because the immune system is “hyper-vigilant” (being stressed by overload) it perceives latex as an invader, with the intention of causing harm. So the body sends out its forces, the immune system, to go after it. The end result is a wide range of possible immune-allergic reactions. It could be anything from a mild rash at the area of exposure, to anaphylactic shock, where there is so much excess inflammation, that airways “shut down” etc…. and the body needs a dose of adrenaline, the proverbial epi pen, to counter the body’s over-reaction., because the difficulty lies in the immune system’s “memory.” Once it has defined something as an invader, like latex, it creates anti-bodies that are specifically coded for that invader. So any future exposure will create an immune-allergic response.
Part of the reason we may be having more and more extreme allergic-immune reactions may be connected to the “other” ingredients in vaccines. Some researchers are noting that many of the extreme allergies we experience today are ingredients that are added to many vaccines. Items such as peanut oil are added to vaccines- as adjutants. That means, they are added to INCREASE the body’s response to the actual vaccine- such as the flu, or smallpox. But, there is a theory that the body is now “seeing” these “other ingredients” in the mix as “danger” and while it is creating special coded antibodies to the intended ingredient/threat… it is ALSO creating special coded antibodies to these other items at the same time. THEN, when a child later eats peanut butter, or something else with an “allergic” ingredient- the body has an extremely severe immune response… because that is the level of threat it perceives. But peanuts are not generally- normally- as dangerous as smallpox. But the body no longer “knows” that. Because of the new “confusion” in the immune system, their status has upgraded from “irritant,” to “deadly dangerous.”
This is not to dig into pro and anti-vaccine arguments. But rather, just to illustrate one possibility and example that helps us to understand how the immune system can perceive and react to “false information.”
Gluten is another ever-growing allergy of a slightly different sort – a food-based allergy. And while most people associate food allergies with something that will make you violently ill, or like a mushroom allergy, can cause the extreme anaphylactic shock response. Nowadays, gluten allergies are becoming more widespread, and so there is a little better understanding of this different kind of allergy. Up until recently, wheat contained about 5% gluten (which is the protein in wheat that causes the problem). Today’s wheat has a MUCH HIGHER gluten level- as much as 50% is common. So the body is being exposed to a very high amount of something it didn’t tolerate well to begin with.
But the allergy to gluten follows the same basic principle as with any other “foreign invader.” The body perceives this as an enemy, and harmful…. so it sends out the immune system to “counter” this “attack.” The result is inflammation in the GUT and just like any battle- the battle itself creates a messy and damaged landscape. And there is a direct link, via the vagus nerve, between the GUT and the brain. This is why it is so important to eat healthy foods- research is proving more and more, the connection between what we eat and how we feel, mentally and emotionally- as well as physically.
Many people may not even know that they have an allergy to gluten, or anything else—unless it is severe enough with clear-cut “symptoms” that it is looked for and tested. Many people can have a gluten allergy, or sensitivity, without ever making the connection between what they are eating, and say, the inability to lose weight, or depression, or fatigue. All of these things can be a sign that the body is under “stress,” constantly struggling, like trench warfare, against something that shouldn’t be there. And it may be unique to one person and not another. So allergies such as these are not necessarily universal.
Any time the body is stressed it cannot work at optimal capacity. When the immune system is overloaded our entire body feels it. Just think of the last time you had a nasty cold. You ache, are tired, groggy and cranky. This is because your body, your immune system, is working hard to fight off an infection, cold, or virus. Food allergies and environmental allergies create similar results. The body is being stressed by something it thinks is “foreign.” It may or may not actually be foreign—such as a chemical like latex. But, if the body considers it a problem… the immune system goes into action, regardless. So the body is stressed and has an extra load placed on it—even though it is not physically sick- there is no fever, nausea… or anything else that you would expect to experience. Anyone who has a gluten intolerance/ allergy will attest, that when they ate gluten- they didn’t feel well. Sometimes they didn’t realize this until they removed gluten from their diet… and suddenly had better energy, didn’t feel nauseous, and didn’t have brain-fog issues. Overall, their body was in a less-stressed place- and all its basic functions returned to optimal well-being.
SO, this is the trick- that sometimes, even if we THINK we are eating healthy, and good foods… they may not be good and healthy for YOUR body. In most instances, the body can process and accommodate a degree of added “stress” and food sensitivities don’t really play a factor in health, well-being or mental energy. For example-… using my own allergic reaction to rice.. organic brown rice..I used to live on rice- almost literally. I ate it every day, even had peanut butter, or hummus on a rice cake– for breakfast! Over time, I was building up a slow intolerance to it.. feeling more and more drained, until eventually I was so wiped out and exhausted I was barely able to get out of bed.
I couldn’t force myself to function. I couldn’t think straight, and I felt horrible- as though I had the flu. Since I ate rice every day, it wasn’t until I was out of rice for several days… that I began to feel “better.” The brain fog and crushing fatigue began to lift. Upon eating rice again, I could feel the reaction- as though all my mental and physical energy were being sucked right out of me . The AHA! I try not to eat rice on a regular basis– and so long as I only eat it occasionally, it doesn’t cause any major issues. It is just a matter of being aware and making choices around that awareness.
So, it isn’t that food allergies are causing Alzheimer’s damage, And it isn’t to say that changing diet will automatically cure all the related issues. The point here is that, since the Alzheimer brain and body are ALREADY compromised, it is imperative to search for, and remove, ANY additional stresses on the system. It might be that someone with Alzheimer’s or other mental-clarity impairment has no food allergies that are making their brain-fog worse. BUT, if there is a food allergy or sensitivity– it may profoundly HELP to improve clarity, by removing any aggravating foods.
I am an Education Specialist, Health Coach and Author. I work with aspects of the teachings I have learned from Andean shamanic and cosmology, to health, nutrition and education. Everything is energy. Energy must flow. Like water, when it does not flow, it stagnates and is not healthy. These techniques help your life to flow. I have been initiated into many of the ancient lineages and learned ceremonies, rites of passage and healing techniques. I have worked as a healer and done workshops and taught some of these aspects – passing the teachings on.
Dancing in Your Bubble : ancient teaching, modern healing
Natural Support for Alzheimer’s
Getting a Handle on Happy : find and fix causes of stress and depression
The Naturally Smarter Kid : a parent’s guide to helping kids succeed in school and life
Cafe of the Hungry Ghosts : behind the veil of ordinary – a paranormal-ish fiction book