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The Plague of Autoimmune Disease

Posted By Judith Volpe, MD, Thursday, August 6, 2015
There are over 50 distinct types of autoimmune disease, in which your own immune system attacks and destroys your normal body tissues and organs. Rates of autoimmune diseases, asthma, and allergies haven increased steeply in recent decades, fueled by the ever increasing toxicity of our environment.

An autoimmune reaction is a normal body defense process gone awry. Driven by  the chronic inflammation caused by constant exposure to a food allergen, chemical toxin, pathogenic microbe, etc the immune system, in its attempts to protect the system, sometimes creates antibodies [ substances meant to neutralize the offending substance ] that cross react with normal body tissues and organs. This results in a host of symptoms from fatigue and systemic inflammation to hair loss, major organ failure, and, if untreated, death.

The allopathic medical system has only one approach, and that is to suppress the immune system with toxic pharmaceuticals from corticosteroids to chemotherapy, often with serious side effects including infections and cancer. Increasingly, allopathic medicine is turning to the monoclonal antibody pharmaceuticals, commonly referred to as “the biologics” such as Humira and Enbrel. The use of these products markedly suppresses the immune system, leading to serious infections, and over time, cancers, especially lymphoma.

Alternative practitioners attempt to get to the root cause of the autoimmune reaction with intense environmental detoxification and functional medicine protocols. These approaches sometimes ameliorate the problem, and can cause remission in early cases. However, once the autoimmune reaction is set into motion, it usually can’t be undone by these methods.

What to do, then. There does exist a method of immunomodulation that is restricted to only a few physicians in the United States, and I am grateful to be one of them. It involves using  “antisense peptides”, small chains of amino acids, that are capable of blocking the effects of the autoantibodies and protecting the target tissues and organs from damage. They are injected intramuscularly once every 3 or 4 weeks. Eventually, the immune system gets the message that “the war is over” and diminishes or ceases its production of autoantibodies. Thus, the disease goes into remission or is greatly ameliorated. Symptoms subside and the serum levels of autoantibodies fall.  These products are remarkably safe with no major side effects in over 20 years of use. They are available, not only for autoimmune disease, but for aging [ the frail elderly ], osteoarthritis, allergies/asthma, and atherosclerosis.

Please note that these are not natural products, they are created in an immunology research institute. Proprietary restrictions mandate that detailed information regarding these products can only be discussed face-to-face in an office consultation.

LEARN MORE ABOUT JUDITH VOLPE, MD

Tags:  allergies  allopathic  asthma  Autoimmune  Judith Volpe  toxicity 

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Allergens Lurking in Your Home

Posted By Hyla Cass, MD, Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014

When I moved into my current home in Southern California nearly 20 years ago, I went searching for nontoxic paint, carpeting, and other furnishings. My efforts were met mostly with odd looks and raised eyebrows (ah, the olden days!). So I was overjoyed when I finally found Mary Cordaro, just starting out on her path as a consultant on healthy, green home building and remodeling. She spoke my language! She immediately became my non-toxic home guide, and over the years I have referred her numerous friends and patients: people with allergies or, simply, those interested in green, clean living. Mold, volatile chemicals, indoor and outdoor pollution -- you name it, she has a resource. President of Mary Cordaro, Inc., she works as a healthy home consultant and certified Bau-biologist, lecturing around the country as well.

My latest concern, likely in response to some incessant commercials on the subject, is the existence of disgusting, invisible dust mites that camp out in our mattresses, living off our skin flakes (yuck!) and generally up to no good. I asked Mary what she does for this scourge, and she gave me some great solutions, along with some advice covering the gamut of home toxins, which I'm including here as well. We'll start with the creepy crawlies.

Death to Dust Mites According to the Mayo Clinic, the average bed is home to 100,000 to 10 million dust mites (and you thought a snoring mate was a problem!). Along with their favorite food, our skin particles, mites thrive on warmth, moisture and darkness. So, before making the bed, pull back the covers and air your bedding, reducing moisture. When it's sunny, air your bedding outdoors. Wash sheets in hot water weekly if you are dust mite-sensitive. You'll itch if you are. Unless they are filled with organic or chemical-free wool, which is naturally mite-resistant, encase mattresses, pillows and comforters with nontoxic dust mite barrier covers tightly woven to at least 4.91 microns. Seek barrier covers that are free of PVC and antimicrobial, stain- or wrinkle-resistant treatments. No more dust mites!

Now for the other invisible threats within our castles.

Allergies on the Rise. They've doubled since the 1970s, according to a 2005 study by the National Institutes of Health. Some of that increase may be because most of us spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, meaning we are almost constantly exposed to airborne allergens in our offices, homes and cars.

The most common home allergens are particulates and chemicals. Particulates include seasonal pollen, mold, dust, dust mites and animal dander. Indoor chemicals associated with allergies include formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (chemicals that outgas from products such as plywood and fiberboard), conventional paint and finishes, and permanent fabric treatments. By improving air flow and reducing sources of particulates, chemicals and moisture, we can reduce our homes' levels of typical airborne allergens. Here are some strategies:

Allergenic Particles. Many of the chemicals in our homes are tracked in from our shoes and on pets' feet. One of the easiest ways to reduce our homes' particulate and chemical loads is to remove shoes upon entering the house. They do it in Japan and Hawaii, and I've instituted it in my own home as well. And make bedrooms off limits to pets.

To control allergens that do get in, vacuum frequently, including upholstered furniture, with a HEPA vacuum independently certified to capture at least 99 percent of particulates (e.g., Miele, Nilfisk). This is especially important if you have wall-to-wall carpet or pets. If you don't have a HEPA vacuum, open windows while vacuuming and for 30 minutes afterward, as non-HEPA vacuums can stir up allergens. You might also invest in a HEPA air cleaner that filters particulates such as dust, pollen, dander and mold. The best HEPA cleaners contain carbon for chemical filtering as well.

Moisture Patrol. Moisture helps create an ideal environment for mold and other allergens. One of the most common sources of indoor moisture is condensation from bathing and cooking. Run exhaust fans when cooking and for 30 minutes after bathing, even if your bathroom has a window. Make sure exhaust fans vent to the outdoors. While fans are running, it's wise to crack a nearby window to provide a source of makeup air (see "This House Doesn't Suck" below). Outdoor moisture may also lead to indoor mold. Make sure your home's drainage directs water away from foundation walls.

In basements, avoid materials that mold thrives on, such as drywall and carpet. Instead, choose hard materials such as concrete, ceramic, tile and stone. Keep moist basement air out of living spaces by installing an airtight seal around the basement door and caulking holes where plumbing and electrical wires pass from the basement to the ground floor. Also install weatherproofing around attic doors.

Carpet cleaning and humidifying increase indoor moisture. If carpet doesn't dry quickly after cleaning, you may end up with low levels of mold you can't see or smell. Use chemical-free cleaning methods that require the least water and only clean carpets when humidity is low and you can open windows. If you hire professionals, ask them to extract as much moisture as possible. If you use a humidifier, use filtered water and clean the reservoir with 3 percent hydrogen peroxide before refilling to prevent mold and bacteria.

Increase Air Flow. Unless you have seasonal pollen allergies or live in a highly-polluted area, open windows whenever weather allows. Fresh air and sunlight are great remedies for high levels of particulates, mites, moisture and chemicals. For fast relief, open windows and turn on all exhaust fans. Whole-house fans ventilate your entire home. If you install one, make certain its exhaust is mechanically vented to the outdoors, not into the attic.

This House Doesn't Suck. When you turn on your furnace, air conditioner or exhaust fans, your home may become negatively pressurized, an effect that causes indoor air to suck in pollutants from basements, wall cavities, attics and crawl spaces. To prevent this, keep all interior doors open and crack one window on each floor when furnace or fans are running. Change furnace filters when you see grime buildup or once every six months.

Tags:  allergies 

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Sublingual Desensitization for a Sniff-Free Spring

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

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by Allan Magaziner, DO

It’s nothing to sneeze at: 54 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Until now, many have either wearily resigned themselves to the watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives associated with the condition, or have opted to try to combat these symptoms with allergy shots that can be costly and inconvenient. That’s been the bad news. The good news is that a recent study of more than 60 patients allergic to pollen, dust mites and cat allergens has shown that an approach known as sublingual desensitization is indeed a safe and effective alternative to traditional immunotherapy injections. The study findings have prompted researchers to strongly recommend its use, especially in children. In the study, the practice was shown to significantly reduce the symptoms of hay fever and nasal allergies, as well as the need for medication, compared to placebo.

The study finally validates what we’ve been practicing at the Magaziner Center for Wellness with great success for more than 24 years. During this time, we’ve found sublingual desensitization (which is defined as immunotherapy using drops or pills) to be:

  • Safer
  • Less invasive
  • More convenient – as it can be self-administered by the patient
  • Without risk of anaphylactic shock, a potential side effect of immunotherapy injections.
  • Less taxing mentally and physically

This last bullet has been an important one for our patients who are children whose parents wisely sought a natural therapy. Sublingual desensitization is great for kids – it’s the difference between taking a drop or a pill orally versus being stuck with a needle. And, let’s face it, how many children do you know that aren’t a little upset at the sight of a needle?

Like all treatments at the Magaziner Center for Wellness, our patients first undergo a thorough evaluation. We test patients’ reactions to common, as well as unexpected, allergens, including:

  • Food
  • Smoke
  • Cat/dog dander
  • Pollens (grass, trees and weeds)
  • Dust/dust mites
  • Chemicals (perfumes, paint, carpets, etc.)
  • Mold

Why? Because, simply put, allergies are additive. If a person suffers from seasonal allergies, what he or she eats and breathes throughout the year affects his or her reaction during the documented allergy season. In fact, we have found that food allergies and food sensitivities have more to do with chronic complaints than almost any other factors.

After patients’ reactions are tested, we use injection therapy to place tiny amounts of the allergen into the bloodstream to assess clinical symptoms and behavioral reactions (i.e., change in frequency of headaches, even handwriting samples). When we get to the point that triggers a response, we give successive dosages until the symptoms that have been created disappear. Once the level is identified, we make up a vial of antigens that patients place as drops under their tongue on a daily basis.

In the simplest terms, we are naturally treating the immune system and getting it to respond appropriately to the allergens. This takes time, of course, so it is recommended that anyone who suffers from seasonal allergies receive treatment in mid-March so that the immune system’s response can be built well in advance of the blossoming of trees and flowers between April and October.

Tags:  allergies  prevention 

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Allergies: More Than Meets the Eye

Posted By Administration, Monday, August 24, 2009
Updated: Friday, April 18, 2014

by Jeffrey A. Morrison, M. D.

 

Allergy2pic The beginning of fall means more than just changing leaves and walks in the park to many allergy sufferers. This is the season that many people with known allergies begin to suffer the typical symptoms of itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing due to inhaled allergies. However, food allergies are frequently a hidden and overlooked cause of these symptoms.
 
Studies in the medical journal, Lancet, show that some foods cause a wide spectrum of "non-typical" disabling symptoms in people who are sensitive to them. Unlike conventional reactions such as skin rash, the patient is usually unaware of the food to which he or she is sensitive. They may even be unaware that the symptom is due to food sensitivities, especially if the agent is a favorite food eaten on a daily basis in large quantities. The foods which are frequently implicated include wheat (78%), orange (65%), eggs (45%), milk (37%), and sugar (33%).
 
If you feel you may be suffering from food sensitivities that have previously gone undiagnosed, an excellent program to explore is "Dr Morrison's Detox Diet" where the foods that are mostly likely causing symptoms are completely eliminated from your diet for at least 10days and then re-introduced to determine which is the offending agent. A non-allergenic protein shake is used to facilitate the process.  If symptoms reoccur when the foods are reintroduced, that is a sure sign that sensitivities to the food are present.  For more information on the plan, please visit, www.dailybenefit.com.

Tags:  allergies 

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