I republish these lines from 2013 now since a situation called “pandemic” intruded our life, a time span of almost two years by now, made the public discourse about this wide-spread illness drown. It became so silent around this huge topic covering the breaking news over decades. It seems allergies don’t exist anymore. The hygiene hypothesis was over years the explanation why so many people worldwide suffer from this chronic illness. Now hygiene is forced on us with masks and disinfectants without considering that the equlibrium among us and the world of microbes gets more and more out of control.
What is going to happen to our microbiome that is of paramount importance for our wellbeing? What happens to all the bacteria in the emerging niches wide open for them to thrive?
January comes to an end and usually the first allergic symptoms arise attributed to the hazelnut being one of the first plants waking up from hibernation. This year things have changed completely. The COVID-19 pandemic is not only overshadowing the allergy, but all other chronic diseases.
When spring is in full swing on the Northern hemisphere, then allergies are too. From LA to Frankfurt thousands of people suffer from the various symptoms connected with allergies. I don’t think that this has changed, even though the problem is not on the news anymore. My thesis may be provocative, but I assume that the pandemic brings us even more allergies.
For this reason I would like to say a few words about the relation between allergies, the immune system and stress, and the allergy as being a chronic inflammatory disease. I think that there exist a lot of misleading views about the cause and effect relation of allergies.
The immune system determines the course of the 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 the pollen were the culprit, would not everybody be suffering from for example a pollen allergy? Don’t you think that this assumption makes some kind of sense?
In the following I shall try in brief to outline why turning things around, namely seeing the allergy as regulatory issue of the immune system, may dissolve a dilemma and contradictions evoked by the pollen-focused thought model and open new avenues of therapy.
This relatively new model suggests that it depends on how engaged your immune system is in keeping the body in balance. There is a tipping point where the immune system starts struggling. This point differs among individuals depending on the genetic outfit and the environment. The genetic background is different for each of us, minimal changes may matter here. Yours may make you susceptible to allergies or other other chronic diseases. Balance is a regulation process involving the body’s inside and its interaction with the outside world.
Immune system, autonomous nervous system and the myriads of hormones care for the overall balance and thus for the inflammation processes in our body remaing within its physiological boundaries – a huge topic, I cannot go into detail here.
All stress factors you are exposed to are part and parcel of the equation of balance and wellbeing.
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 happens that the symptoms do not always display the same intensity nor the same spectrum, nor distribution?
An overload of work induces stress and may aggravate the allergy
Anecdotal stories collected on my way …
Case report: Terenzo Bozzone, he was one of most talented young pro triathletes. 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 Chris McCormack, 2 times IRONMAN worldchampion, call him a workhorse. This may well be the case, but even workhorses have limits. Since Hawaii 2010 things have not been running as smoothly for Terenzo as he was used to. A flu in the beginning of the year, an inflamed 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. It is obvious that the so essential recovery has only a niche place in his life.
Moreover, Terenzo’s personality is very special. He is not selfish at all, the majority of the elite athletes I know are. He is very kind, polite, always supportive with a smile. And believe me, this consumes energy as well.
He tried to recover from his Achilles tendinosis by 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 a robust workhorse like Terenzo.
Does it still amaze you that the allergy symptoms in a case like Terenzo’s become uncontrollable?
Overstressing the immune system makes your waekest spots apparent first. Terenzo finally took a break, he had, he was forced to by his Achilles tendon. His allergy symptoms subsided as healing of the Achilles tendon progressed.
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, when measures that usually were able to control the situation fail.
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. This is the process of differentiating between self and non-self.
Until today there is very little known about when, how often and how many encounters have to happen to induce self-tolerance, and for sure there is an interindividual difference.
But what we know and have forgotten since the pandemic measures are flourishing is that, when this encounter doesn’t happen at all, we may suffer from allergies sooner or later.
The allergy can be ascribed to an immunity weakness, 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 that it can spread out to other organs at any time, especially, if too many stress factor are pressuring the system.
What actually goes wrong in detail during the first weeks after birth we know very little of yet. Unfortunately, it is difficult to correct this immune state later in life, if at all. The allergy is a chronic disease. Increased strain on the immunity can stimulate and aggravate the allergy.