Allergies



Allergies are abnormal reactions of the immune system in response to otherwise harmless substances such as foods, pollen or animals. Allergic reactions can occur within seconds to minutes or as long as hours to days after being exposed.

 
  • Overview
  • Ask The Doctor
  • Success Stories

Overview


Allergic diseases are thought to be related to genetic predisposition, gut bacterial balance, and dietary differences. This means that even though some people are more likely than others to develop an allergy to a food, pollen, or an animal, for example, there is still something everybody can do to help themselves. Eating high micro-nutrient dense plant foods which naturally have anti-allergy effects and anti-inflammatory effects, along with reducing or eliminating pro-inflammatory foods can produce a much more subdued allergic reaction. Many who follow a Nutritarian eating style report that their allergies fade or go away completely, depending on how severe the allergy may be.

 

Ask The Doctor


The following are sample questions from the Ask the Doctor Community Platinum and higher members can post their health questions directly to Dr. Fuhrman. (All members can browse questions and answers.)

Q.

My son is prone to seasonal allergies. He is currently taking a Claritin daily which doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, as he is still congested with itchy eyes. In addition to your recommended Nutritarian diet, do you recommend any specific supplements? If just starting the diet, how long before we can expect to see some improvement?

A.

Seasonal allergies usually begin to improve within the first year on a Nutritarian diet and can be significantly resolved by the second year of eating this way. I recommend the same supplements that I recommend for everyone (see Vitamin Advisor) to assure no insufficiencies are present and to maintain an adequate balance of DHA in tissues.

 
Q.

Last year, for the first time in my life, I got allergies and my eyes swelled up. I had to take over-the-counter drugs to have the swelling come down, but I’d rather not. What can I do this year to prevent them, and should I get them again, what can I do to get rid of them?

A.

During my clinical experience over the last 20 years, hundreds of individuals have reported that their seasonal allergies have improved or resolved with a Nutritarian diet. In addition to a Nutritarian diet, adequate vitamin D levels and higher omega-3 intake have been associated with reduced risk for seasonal allergies. See below:

https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/Allergies.aspx

 
Q.

What causes an adult to become allergic to foods mid-life? Within this past year, I have developed food allergies to oats, peaches, cantaloupe, turnips, walnuts, cashews, and eggs. I used to be able to eat these foods without a problem, but now I can no longer eat them. They cause my eyelids to swell. What causes this, and is there anything I can do/take?

A.

My procedure is to get the immune system back to normal, check for fatty acid imbalances and Vitamin D deficiency, supplement appropriately (with borage oil and DHA/EPA Purity), and institute excellent nutrition. After a while, usually more than a year, the allergies can lessen if you build up your immune system with lots of raw greens and other G-BOMBS (Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds). Once a year goes by, you could also do oral challenges with a microscopic amount of the food in question, and then increase the amount very gradually to build up tolerance.

 
Q.

My son was recently retested for allergies. He has tested positive for hazelnut, peanut, sesame seed, macadamia, and chestnut allergies. He eats almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews regularly. I have been extremely diligent about feeding him a Nutritarian diet. We provide very little dairy and animal products. He eats some grains, mostly oatmeal and Ezekiel sprouted grain bread. Could these results be false (or falsely elevated)? Does exposure to allergens increase the allergic response in the body? Can he outgrow this with excellent nutrition? Should I try to avoid trace exposures (i.e. produced in a factory that processes tree nuts)? What about wheat? Should I completely restrict dairy (he has the occasional ice cream and may have a food with dairy in it on special occasions)?

A.

The allergy (IgE/RAST) tests give a guide, but are not foolproof. IgG and other food intolerance testing is more inaccurate, and the findings are inconsequential in most cases. Lots of cross-reactions occur, and some 1-2 results may be false positive. If no reaction occurs with eating those foods, it is neither healthier to avoid them, nor harmful if they are eaten. His allergies could still improve in the years ahead as he matures, however, it sounds like he does not have a history of severe reactions to specific foods. It seems that allergy testing was not needed and should not influence his food choices. You should test those foods that he may be sensitive too and that the tests indicate are of concern, but if he tolerates them well without experiencing any symptoms, there is no reason for you to avoid them. Plus, exposure to small amounts of mildly allergic foods may actually aid his recovery and help build tolerance to those foods. I also don’t think the occasional dairy or wheat on special occasions will be significant, unless it is determined to be celiac, allergic or wheat intolerant. If he is already consuming the Ezekiel bread without difficulty it sounds like none of these problems exist.

 
Q.

My one-year-old hasn’t tried any nuts, and I am scared to give them to him. At his 12-month check-up, our doctor told us to avoid all nuts and almond milk until two years old.

A.

Avoiding nuts until age two increases, not decreases, the risk of developing allergies. There is no reason to avoid seeds and nuts, and avoiding them will decrease the health of your child. In fact, eating a variety of foods including seeds and nuts while breast milk is still coming in and the mom is eating the same foods offers the best protection against developing allergies.