An allergy is the inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful. The immune system is the most highly complex defense mechanism that helps us to combat infection. It does this by identifying “FORGEIGN BODIES” and mobilizing the body’s white blood cells to fight them. In some people, the immune system wrongly identifies a nontoxic substance as an invader, and the white blood cells overreact and do more damage to the body than the invader. Thus, the allergic response and become a disease itself. Common responses are asthma, eczema, and hay fever. The substances that cause allergies are called allergies. Almost any substance can cause an allergy to someone somewhere in the world, but the most common allergens are grass pollen, dust, certain metals (especially nickel), some cosmetics, lanolin, some animal hair, insect bites and stings, some common drugs (e.g., penicillin, aspirin), some foods (e.g., strawberries, eggs, shellfish), some additives (e.g., benzoic acid, sulfur dioxide), and chemicals found in soap and washing powder. Mold Allergies Many people are allergic to mold. Molds are microscopic living organisms, neither animal nor insect, that thrive where no other life form can. Molds live throughout the house, under sinks, in bathrooms, basements, refrigerator, in any damp or dark place. They also flourish in the air, in the soil, on dead leaves, and other organic material. They may be destructive, but they are also beneficial. They help to make cheese, fertilize gardens, and speed decaying of garbage and fallen leaves. Penicillin is made from molds. Mold spores are carried by the wind and predominate in the summer and early fall. In warm climate they thrive year round. Cutting grass, harvesting crops, or walking through tall vegetation will provoke a reaction. Those who repair old used furniture are also at risk. Keep rooms free from dusk and use a dehumidifier in the basement. Use mold free paints and disinfectant on walls and furniture. Food Allergies Food allergies and food intolerance are not the same. Those with an intolerance lack certain enzymes needed for digestion, and therefore do not break down the food properly. Undigested food can enter the bloodstream and cause a reaction. A food allergy occurs when a person has an antibody response to the ingested food. A few foods may provoke a reaction as soon as one starts chewing. These are easy to identify and eliminate from the diet. A delayed reaction is harder to detect. An irritating cough or tickle in the throat is most often in food sensitivity. Food Allergy Self-Test If you suspect that you are allergic to a specific food, a simple test can help you determine if you are correct. By recording your blood pressure after consuming the food in question, you can reveal if you are having an allergic reaction. Using a watch with a second hand, sit down and relax for a few minutes. When completely relaxed, take your pulse at the wrist. Count the number of beats in a sixty-second period. A normal pulse reading is 52-70 beats per minute. Consume the food that you are testing for an allergic reaction. Wait fifteen minutes to twenty minutes and take your pulse again. If your pulse rate increases more than ten beats per minutes, omit this food from your diet for one month, and then retest. CONSIDERATIONS Allergenic persons should rotate foods. A different group of foods is eaten for each of four days and then the cycle is repeated. There is an abnormal immune globulin called IgE, which is an antibody that is formed in a allergic response to a food substance. When this substance is found in your lung tissue, it frequently causes a reaction such as shortness of breath or asthma. It can cause hives if found in the skin. Many intestinal problems commonly occur because IgE is most often found in the wall of the intestine tract, often resulting in severe pain, gas, or bloating. IgE can be located anywhere in the body, causing severe problems. Even natural health foods can adversely affect the immune system. Stemming from a reaction to food pollutants, a cerebral allergy causes a swelling of the lining of the brain. Entire food families will cause allergic reactions. Schizophrenic, violent, and aggressive reactions could be an indicator. Foods such as corn, wheat, rice, milk, chocolate, and food additives may produce violent reactions in those suffering from allergies. From Prescription for NUTRITIONAL HEALING by JAMAS F. BALCH, M.D. – PHYLLIS A. BALCH, C.N.C.