November 13, 2009 @ 11:19 PM

What is the “Allergy Capital of the World?”

Brad moved to Austin from Chicago and experienced seasonal allergy symptoms as he drove into town. For the next ten years, Brad took allergy medications. At the suggestion of a friend, Brad got a food sensitivity test which showed he was highly sensitive to milk, whey, broccoli, sweet potatoes and black tea. As long as Brad doesn’t eat the foods he is sensitive to, he does not experience seasonal allergy symptoms.

Many people living in Austin, Texas say it’s the allergy capital of the world because they experience chronic seasonal allergies. Symptoms most frequently described as runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus pain and pressure, headaches, colds, and flu-like symptoms are all representative of seasonal allergy symptoms. 

But are Austin’s trees, bushes, grass and molds really the culprits behind seasonal allergy symptoms? The answer is “Yes” and “No.”

Let’s explore.

First, pollen is in the air we breathe and removing it is not really an option. Like dust, we touch pollen then unthinkingly rub it into our eyes or mouth. We do this dozens of times each day. 

If you could gather all that pollen, would it equal the size of one Tic Tac a day? Probably not.

Now imagine your body’s immune system is like an army with a set number of troops at any one time. A few troops are engaged when an invading pollen enters. The more pollen you encounter, the more troops that are called into action. As long as the troops out number the invaders, your army is effective and stealthy—you never notice a thing.

Seasonal allergy symptoms can be created by another ‘invader’ particle — food. Even “healthy” foods like broccoli and lettuce can be perceived as a harmful invader! This phenomena is called Food Intolerance or Food Sensitivity. Don’t confuse these phenomena with food allergies– food allergies are life threatening overreaction by one’s immune system.

Here’s the mind bender, you encounter far more food particles everyday than pollen.

Think about that.

When you eat a food your army thinks is harmful, many more troops are activated than when you encounter pollen (to handle the larger number of invader particles.)  The more frequently you eat the ‘invader food’ the longer period of time your troops will be on duty at any one time. More troops, engaged for a longer period of time, possibly 24/7 for a week, a month, or even a year, creates a suppressed immune system. A suppressed immune system is like an army that is spread too thin—resulting in invaders getting away.  

When your army is spread too thin to begin with and then you move into heavy pollen geography, you are more likely to experience symptoms of the ‘war’ within: runny nose; itchy eyes; sinus drain, pain and pressure; foggy brain and more.

What is the good news?

You can remove offending foods from your diet. When you do, your immune system will have more troops available, and rested, for fighting the invading pollens, and they’ll do it without you even noticing. Just ask Brad.

Any doctor can order a food sensitivity or food allergy test for you, but not all doctors offer it. Most certified clinical nutritionists (CCN) along with a few chiropractors, naturopaths, and wellness centers routinely offer food sensitivity testing.

For the best health results, request a test that includes 100 (or more) food panels using a sample of your blood. The most common food allergy tests that use blood are named Elisa, MRT (mediator release test) and Alcat. My test cost $275 and completely changed my health, and my life.

Nerissa Oden