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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

ALLERGIES: ONE EXPLANATION

ALLERGIES: ONE EXPLANATION

Although as a young child I suffered from bronchitis, I did not appreciate it until I was about 31 years of age when I developed asthma. At the time I still did not appreciate what was going on biologically within my body. You have heard of the doctors telling young children with asthma that they will grow out of it in time. But, I apparently grew into it. What a bummer!

I was working at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the time when I developed a severe allergy to both cigarette smoke and almost every animal you can think of, especially laboratory animals with which I had to work. I was most sensitive to guinea pigs. I thought that very strange because I was Italian!

I remember one day lying on a reclining chair in the back yard when I awoke wheezing. As I looked around there was a cat perched besides me on the patio. So I knew my sensitivity was not psychological. At the allergy clinic when the allergist gave me a test dose of about 1:50,000 dilution of the allergen for guinea pig, I developed an asthma attack. That was sensitivity.

Intrigue at the NIH occurred when one day when I had to examine guinea pigs I was using for an experiment, I developed an asthma attack which required me going to the clinic for treatment. Upon investigation, someone who was upset at my advancing progress as a research scientist stuffed a wad of guinea pig in the front of the respirator which I had to use to protect me from the danders of the laboratory animals. Some day I hope to write about “the rest of the story,” and describe scientists in their habitat.

During my years as a practicing Pediatrician, I saw many children in Frederick, Maryland, a place I used to call being within “the bronchitis belt of Maryland.” They were a great source of income for with every change of weather – and there were many and constant – these children would get URI’s and persistent bronchitis which required them to visit me in the office. I, as others had before me, noticed that even though bronchitis was caused by viral and bacterial infections, milk seemed to exacerbate the situation. I know that there are many Pediatricians who still do not accept this association, I with others believe we are correct. So removing milk from the diet, although probably too late to affect a present infection, did decidedly prevent or lessen future bouts.

I had believed for some time, and have written about this in other areas of my web site, that the problem with milk and the reason why milk allergy is the most prevalent food allergy is because of the practice of feeding infants cow’s milk formula at so early a time in life that because the infant’s stomach is unable to completely digest the foreign protein of cow’s milk that the protein finds its way further down the gut where it crosses into the system undigested setting the body up to develop the bad type of antibodies causing allergy. This could be prevented if we delay feeding milk and milk products later when the stomach and intestines are sufficiently mature to be able to digest the cow’s protein. This may be related to a baby’s capacity to make stomach acid as I will discuss below.

This can also be said of the practice of feeding solid foods very early in life. Fortunately, most baby foods are vegetable in nature and vegetables are poor proteins for inciting allergy. But the practice of feeding meat containing baby foods is yet another problem. Have you ever wondered why so many individuals are allergic to foods now when in the past such allergy was not as common? I believe this is partly, but not fully, a cause. I will get to other causes later.

I saw a bulletin today on dysbiosis – that condition where the body has lost many of its good bacteria and replaced by bad bacteria. The article suggested that this was due to the overuse of antibiotics and I agree. The article also stated that “gas, belching, and bad breath due to dysbiosis may seem more socially-threatening than health-threatening...

“But what happens when those symptoms give way to autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, or even cancer of the colon or breast?...” – Russell Blalock, M.D.

A good question. But I would like to address another aspect of a related problem – lack of stomach acid and how this might relate to allergy.

It many individuals take and are addicted to antacids. This I believe is a very dangerous practice. It seems strange that as we get older almost all of our bodily functions begin to deteriorate slowly but for sure. But, why not the stomach and its ability to make acid? We are being led to believe that of all our organs as we get older the stomach begins to function better. One of the major functions of the stomach is to make acid and the Ph of the stomach is extremely low. When individuals experience regurgitation and belching I believe it is the alkaline contents of the duodenum which gets regurgitated. Alkaline fluids are much more caustic than acid. Taking antacids is the worst thing one can do. Many holistic physicians and nutritionists have believed this for many years but we are at a loss to convince our conventional medical cohorts. I have had many patients who have thrown away their antacids for “acid” (taken in the form of Betaine Hydrochloride) pills which correct the situation better.

Another aspect of this problem is the fact that many individuals harbor in the pyloric end of the stomach – that portion where the stomach ends and the duodenum of the small intestine begins – a bacterium called Helicobacter pyloris. The presence of this bacterium is associate with stomach ulcers and cancer. I believe this bacterium thrives in an alkaline environment because when I treat people in my practice with acid capsules, the bacterium disappears.

A corollary to this is related to what stomach acid does. It is required for the hydrolyzation of carbohydrates and proteins, the first stage in the digestion process. When the hydrolysis process is inefficient and not complete, complex carbohydrates and partially digested proteins advance further along in the gut to present problems there.

Beans and other complex carbohydrates: when beans are not completely digested, complex carbohydrates arrive in the lower area of the intestine where bacteria ferment these carbohydrates. A by product of fermentation is gas, and there you have the gas associated in some people with the ingestion of beans. Several months ago a friend of mine living in my hotel was complaining of gas when he ate a particular type of beans. With the ingestion of Betaine hydrochloride, the gas production stopped.

Proteins: The problem with partially undigested protein is allergy. Also in my experience, individual’s allergy to many foods are corrected with the addition of acid capsules. This is not the complete answer for there are other causes and ways to correct food allergies.

nicola michael c. Tauraso, M.D.
Director, Tauraso Medical Clinic

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