What Is An Allergy?
Allergy means “altered working.” Watery eyes and a runny nose are great when your body is fighting off a virus to help wash away the offending germs. But when there’s no actual threat to the body, these uncomfortable symptoms serve no purpose.
Immune cells, called IgE, are created by the body in response to specific allergens. Once created, they can last for months, immediately releasing histamine and causing symptoms whenever the offending substance is eaten or breathed in. Anti-histamines suppress allergy symptoms, because histamine is the chemical responsible for them.
Environmental allergies can be caused by pollen, animal dander, smoke, or chemicals such as air fresheners or pollution. Pollen is the egg-shaped male reproductive cell of flowering plants. It is typically smaller than the width of a human hair and often carried by the wind from one plant to another. Each species’ pollen is slightly different, so it’s possible to be allergic to the pollen from one specific plant but not another, or to be allergic to many of them.
Food allergies can cause hives, digestive problems, eczema, and respiratory reactions. Food sensitivities or intolerances don’t create IgE cells, but can still cause digestive or mood problems, and can increase the body’s allergic response to other substances. True food allergies usually cause symptoms within 2 hours — sometimes in under a minute. This is why an epi-pen is carried by many with severe food allergies – in case accidental exposure to an allergen causes the throat to start closing up.
Extrinsic asthma, also called atopic asthma, is directly related to allergens and IgE reactions. Intrinsic asthma is caused by cold air, infections, inhaled irritants, exercise, or emotional upset. Atopic asthma is more common in children, but most asthma sufferers have a combination of the two types.
Allergies can lead to complications like sinusitis, asthma, or ear infections. Sinusitis can occur when excess mucus in the sinus cavity is not properly drained, and harmful bacteria or fungi grow out of control. Ear infections can occur when the Eustachian tube is not properly drained, and pathogens take root. Both of these conditions are worsened when allergies increase mucus in the nose.
How Your Blood Type Affects Your Body’s Allergy Response
The body’s response to allergens can be mediated by reducing overall stress on the body. This is how the Blood Type Diet can help. Red blood cells have chemicals called antigens on the outer surface, which vary by blood type. Many foods contain natural chemicals called lectins, many of which interact with blood type antigens. Often times the body can handle the effects of dietary lectins or environmental allergens, but the combination causes symptoms.
Blood type also affects how efficiently we can digest carbohydrates or red meat. “Leaky gut” is more likely to develop when eating foods we have trouble digesting, or that have too many harmful lectins. This is a type of GI damage where there are tiny holes in the walls of the digestive system, which allows larger food molecules to be absorbed. More lectins and allergens get into the blood stream where they can cause problems. A healthy GI system will break down foods into smaller particles before they’re absorbed, reducing the chance of reactions. Lectins can bind with IgE molecules and make them release histamine. A diet high in harmful lectins can also increase overall inflammation.
Type O individuals tend to have higher levels of overall inflammation. Dietary lectins interact with IgE cells, making inflammation and allergic reactions worse.
Type As have higher levels of a substance called selectin, which can increase inflammation. Eating large amounts of animal protein can increase selectin production, while soy intake reduces it. Type As often produce a lot of mucus making ear and respiratory infections more likely. Too much meat can lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome, and excess dairy can increase mucus production.
Type Bs are more susceptible to lung inflammation, including asthma. They are also prone to viral infections. A diet low in harmful lectins can reduce both of those tendencies.
Type ABs have the greatest resistance to respiratory allergies of all the blood types, although they do suffer from the weaknesses of As and Bs to some extent. They also have lower overall immunity.
So, it is important to follow your Blood Type Diet and incorporate into that any foods that you may have allergic reactions to. This is particularly important during peak allergy seasons so you can provide the optimum support for your body and manage those pesky allergy symptoms.