Oral Immunotherapy: Freedom From Painful Shots

Oral Immunotherapy: Freedom From Painful Shots

I write this article in hopes that the warm weather will remember us and return gently in the very near future. To those who dread the impending bloom of the flowers and spread of the pollen, I offer you solace. There is an answer to your allergy prayers (and no, it doesn’t involve shots!).


Why a seasonal change triggers Allergies?

There are many reasons why one may develop late onset seasonal allergies. During periods of significant stress in our lives, our bodies and immune systems are not functioning optimally. Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your vitamin C is rapidly used up in the production of cortisol and related stress-response hormones. As vitamin C is also very important for our immune function, our bodies are less likely to ward off invaders. When the acute stress subsides, our immune systems are free to utilize the vitamin C and often go overboard in their attempt to play catch-up. That is when you see symptoms like a runny nose, post-nasal drip, and cough. They are the body’s way of expelling foreign bodies.


Immunization without painful Shots:

Until recently, allergists and immunologists believed that freedom from seasonal allergies, venom allergies, and mold allergies existed only after enduring a long series of allergy desensitization shots after being subjected to painful skin prick testing. Recent studies have shown that oral immunotherapy has proven to be effective for sensitivities to food, bee and insect venoms, as well as seasonal allergies. To the benefit of the former patients of Dr. Barbara Solomon, and my current patients, this method has been helping free people from their allergic prisons for over 30 years. It wasn’t until funding for studies became available that it received the proper attention and recognition.


How does Oral Immunotherapy work?

Oral immunotherapy consists of a crude extract of the allergen and a diluting substance. In some allergy practices there is a standard beginning dose and the patient is moved through a series of oral administrations. Although this is beneficial to some, it can still elicit an allergic reaction in others if they are extremely sensitive and cannot tolerate the same level of allergen as others. There is a solution for this as well. If the degree to which the patient is sensitive can be determined, the allergen, or antigen, can be diluted to a potency that the patient can tolerate while the immune system still processes it similarly to the way it processes a higher potency. Using specific technology, we can determine what the most effective “endpoint” or potency would be for each particular patient. At that time we can begin to reduce the inflammatory response that is set in motion when there is exposure to the allergen. Over time, the degree to which the symptoms are experienced is decreased and eventually elimination of symptoms occurs. This is all done without a single needle!


For those who are afraid to go outside for fear of a bee sting, or those who can no longer eat their favorite food, EAV allergy testing and oral immunotherapy is a wonderful option. For those who have been through the ringer with allergy testing, only to find that you’re not allergic to anything but shellfish yet you get headaches every spring, EAV or electro dermal screening may detect the delayed hypersensitivity reaction that skin prick testing and blood testing will not reveal.


Keeping your Gut Happy:   

Because many of our defense mechanisms are in our gut, or gastrointestinal tract, people often exhibit GI disturbance as another sign of allergic response to both environmental allergens and foods. Over time if we are exposed to high mold levels, high pollen count, or the same foods over and over again, our gut immune component starts to become impacted. This can also lead to symptoms of depression as 90% of our serotonin stores are found in our GI system. It is very important to desensitize our systems to potential allergens that we encounter both daily and rarely. We must also repair both our gut lining and adrenal function in order to prevent further deterioration.