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 Integrative Medicine: Modern Allergies? 

New Zealand Study Confirms This Scenario
Recently a report emerged from New Zealand of a study 1265 children were evaluated for 10 years.

The findings show that children who were introduced to four or more types of solid foods before the age of four months were nearly 300% more likely to develop recurrent eczema than were those children not exposed to early solid feeding.
(Fergusson D Early Solid Feeding and recurrent childhood eczema: a 10 year longitudinal study. Pediatrics 86, 541-546 1990)

Toxicity as Well
In addition to coping with an intolerance or masked allergy the infant in today`s world will be having to handle an increased toxic load in the air it breathes, the things it is in contact with (synthetic carpet for example as well as wall coverings, clothing etc) the water it drinks as well as the presence of pesticides and other toxic products in much of the food it eats.

To cap all this we now know that some of the protective `friendly bacteria` (mainly bifidobacteria infantis) which populate the infant digestive tract have in recent years been severely damaged by among other things the universal presence in breast milk of toxic substances such as dioxin.

This startling finding does not mean that breast milk is dangerous, all alternatives are still infinitely more undesirable, but that we can begin to understand why babies today who are breast fed show the same levels of allergic problems and susceptibility to infection previously only seen in non-breast-fed babies. Until between 25 and 40 years ago babies who were breast fed were far more resistant to infection and had far less allergy than babies who were fed from birth on cow's milk or formula meals.

One solution to this drastic compromising of infant digestive tract protection is to supplement babies with special cultures of these important friendly bacteria (never supplement a baby with adult forms of bacterial flora). A number of brands are available with Natren's Life-Start being recommended.

To understand this vital subject more deeply see my book `Probiotics` (co-authored with Natasha Trenev and published by Thorsons).

Chronic Allergies
As the years go by a masked allergy may not be producing many obvious symptoms but will probably be an underlying factor in a host of health problems which seem 'normal' (they only seem normal because they are so common !) such as general lethargy, odd aches and pains, intermittent headaches and digestive problems, palpitations, PMT, tendency to fluid retention, chronic sniffles, sinus problems and post-nasal drip, mouth ulcers, bladder irritation and many more.

Unmasking Allergies
One way of establishing the presence of a masked allergy or intolerance is to look at those foods and food families which you consume the most.

  • What foods do you actually crave?

  • Is it wheat products, sugary foods, soya products, citrus fruit, cow's milk products, eggs?

By removing all or any of these from the diet in a controlled way, one by one, and observing the reaction of the body/symptom pattern, a lot can be learned. If there is a masked allergy and the offending food is eliminated for at least five days (to allow it to flush completely from the system) symptoms will start to vanish over the next few days.

Warning: There can be severe withdrawal symptoms when such foods are removed from the diet, just as occur when alcohol is removed from the intake of an alcoholic and this sort of approach is best monitored by a naturopath or a doctor who is well-versed in nutrition (ideally a clinical ecologist).

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 About The Author
Leon Chaitow ND, DO, MROA practicing naturopath, osteopath, and acupuncturist in the United Kingdom, with over forty years clinical experience, Chaitow is Editor-in-Chief, of the ...more
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