What is the root cause of allergies?

Are you struggling with allergies?

I know what it feels like to suffer with the sneezing, itching, post-nasal drip, sinus infections and headaches. I suffered for years with all of this, and all of the common advice for treating these symptoms never brought me lasting relief. In fact, things were only getting worse!

I spent most of my youth on antihistamines, until I learned how they’re linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s

Allergy medications are called “anticholinergic” drugs, because they suppress acetylcholine function. Elevated acetylcholine levels can be neurologically damaging, and thus our body’s have a natural protective response: histamine. 

So, reducing acetylcholine levels will reduce histamine levels, and thus the symptoms of “allergies.” But histamine is a critical component to the body’s ability to heal and reduce inflammation. When histamine is persistently suppressed, so is healing. 

Acetylcholine is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and that’s why allergy medication is also great for helping people sleep. Now we see the connection between histamine, allergies, and even sleep issues.

The question is often “oh what else am I allergic or intolerant to that I can start avoiding?” A better question would be “why am I becoming more and more sensitive despite eliminating what everyone says are the triggers?”

And thus the slippery slope of eliminating more and more triggers and becoming more and more anxious about accidental exposure.

Now you know, the key is actually in helping reduce acetylcholine levels. But why are they so high in the first place?

Well, we can look to Shakespeare for a fascinating clue into what might be happening here. In his stories, deadly nightshades may have been used to murder kings or put forelorn lovers into a death-like sleep. The active chemicals in the nightshade family are of highest concentration in belladonna, which can kill a human with just a handful of its tomato-like berries. These same chemicals are in weaker concentrations in the rest of the nightshade family, including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and every part of the potato plant except the starch of the tuber. 

In fact, after it was declared that lycopene was possibly protective against prostate cancer, it was thoroughly tested, but came up flat. Sometimes increasing the risk! So, researchers tried other compounds and found one called tomatine, that literally dissolves human cells. These chemicals are a major contributor to the heartburn and indigestion that accompanies eating peppers and tomatoes, and the damage that triggers it also stimulates a histamine response. 

But the plot thickens, since some of these chemicals also inhibit the enzyme responsible for breaking down acetylcholine, so it builds up in the brain and gut, further increasing histamine levels as the body tries to protect itself. These chemicals also can paralyze the muscles of the digestive tract, further inhibiting digestion and increasing collateral damage.

Now you know how nightshades may very likely be contributing to your allergies and new food sensitivities, as well as digestive issues. But they can also be contributing to elevated blood pressure and circulatory problems because of this relationship to acetylcholine and histamine. These mechanisms are well understood and so these chemicals are still used today in modern medicine.

What’s not explained, however, is that this chronic elevated histamine is similar to the response desired from a vaccine, or just in general to a pathogen. When histamine levels or chronically elevated, the immune system is easily confused and starts identifying more and more potential threats leading to autoimmune conditions. The body is literally “vaccinating” itself against things that aren’t actually threats! “Histamine intolerance” is a well-known condition in autoimmune patients, and a condition called “mast cell activation” where skin problems become chronic and unresponsive to treatment. Both are directly linked to the chronic elevation of histamine and acetylcholine.

What’s less widely known, is how metabolic dysfunction leads to the buildup of vitamin A in the form of retinoic acid. In the presence of elevated levels of extracellular calcium, this retinoic acid significantly increases the release of histamine![1] In fact, retinoic acid is literally described as a “co-adjuvant” in the development of intolerance to foods like gluten.[2] If someone is consuming foods high in carotenoids and nightshades, which are also high in carotenoids (the plant form of vitamin A like beta-carotene in orange carrots), this is almost akin to self-vaccination to create new or stronger allergic reactions to otherwise benign substances. A diet high in carotenoids depletes B12 and something called NADH, which is critical to your cells producing energy and many other functions. Over time, this is the consistent weakening of the immune system and every other metabolic function, like digestion, detoxification, or of the brain and nervous system. And we haven’t even begun to address why many people may have elevated levels of extracellular calcium, where it’s not wanted and potentially harmful. Let’s suffice it to say that consuming “vitamin” D, which is actually just one form of at least 24 steroid hormones called “D,” is only increasing absorption of calcium in the gut and leaving it to circulate freely without a mechanism to get it into the cells. 

And finally, we have polyunsaturated fats or PUFAs for short. The most popular and widely consumed PUFAs are omega 3 and omega 6 in nuts and seeds, fish and fish oils, “vegetable” oils, and DHA supplements. I can speak from personal experience that my food sensitivities, histamine intolerance, and chronic sinus infections were their worst when I was consuming recommended amounts of omega 3, supplementing with D3, and addicted to hot sauce. But both omega 6 and omega 3, increase extracellular calcium levels and histamine release![3] PUFAs are also proven to decrease thyroid function and thus cause the accumulation of estrogen, which inhibits the body’s ability to eliminate histamine. 

Wow! So, I finally understood why the “healthier” I ate and supplemented according to the current trends, the worse my allergies got.

And now you do, too.

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