Spring is in full swing on the Northern hemisphere, and so is allergy. From LA to Frankfurt thousands of people suffer from the various symptoms connected with allergies. For this reason I would like to say a few words about the relation between allergies, the immune system and stress. In many ways I got the impression over the years that there are lots of misleading views about the cause and effect relation of allergies out there.
The condition of your immune system determines the course of your allergy
What about the scientific thought model, that it is not the pollen that causes the allergy, but that it is the immune system that’s not able to deal with the pollen? If it were the other way round, would not everybody be suffering from pollen allergy? Don’t you think the logic is straightforward? In the following I shall try in brief to outline why this way of explaining allergies does dissolve the contradictions the pollen-focused thought model evokes.
This relatively new model suggests that how successful your body is in controlling your allergy symptoms depends on how many sites your immune system is involved in, and when it starts struggling. Therefore all stress factors you are exposed to are part and parcel of the equation. It may well be that there are more pollen than ever this year. But I believe to remember that those suffering tell me this story every year. So what happened that the symptoms do not always display the same intensity nor the same spectrum?
An overload of work induces stress and may aggravate your allergy
I have just received an email from Terenzo Bozzone, one of most talented young pro triathletes that are currently around. He told me that his allergy is so bad, that not even big amounts of Biestmilch can help him to control the symptoms. Why is this the case? Let’s analyze Terenzo situation briefly. No doubt, he is racing and he is training a lot, his friends, among them MACCA, call him a workhorse. This may well be the case, but even workhorses have limits, and since Hawaii 2010 things are not running as smoothly as Terenzo was used to. A flu in the beginning of the year, problems with his Achilles tendon since several weeks, a huge pensum of traveling, and then the races every other week and the training in between, doing promotion jobs for his sponsors, beside all this, recovery seems to have a niche place in his life only.
Moreover, Terenzo’s personality is very special, very kind, polite, always supportive with a smile. And believe me, this needs energy as well.
Currently, he tries to recover from his Achilles tendinosis, and just got a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) injection into this area, yet another small trauma, and another challenge for his immune system. So if we carelessly count all the stress factors his immune system is exposed to, we may end up with at least 8. That’s definitely a lot, even for robust workhorse like Terenzo.
Does it still amaze you that the breakthrough of allergy symptoms in a case like Terenzo’s becomes uncontrollable?
Overstressing the immune system makes your softest spots apparent first. Terenzo takes a break now. His Achilles forced him to do so. Perhaps his allergy symptoms will subside as healing of the Achilles tendon progresses. Biestmilch works in allergies, no doubt, and it supports healing processes. But there are limits and it may be a sign that your system is over the edge, if things that usually were able to control the situation fail.
In a nutshell “allergies are based on a regulatory disorder of the immune system”
Right from the beginning of our life, and at exactly the right point in time of our development, we have to encounter the substances that should become integral part of our body. Until now we know very little about time, frequency and amounts of this encounter. But we know that, if this encounter doesn’t happen, we can become allergy-sufferers. Thus, the allergy describes a changed condition of activity of our immune system, thus an immune regulation disorder and not a disorder caused by allergens/pollen. If one considers the allergy as a disorder of the immune system, then one will not be surprised about it being able to spread out to other organs at any time, especially, if too many stress factor are pressuring the system. hat actually goes wrong in detail in the first weeks of life is something we know very little of today. Unfortunately, it is difficult to correct this later on in life, if at all. If one suffers from an allergy, then increased strains on the immunity can stimulate and aggravate the allergy.