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Allergies and the Missing Link

by Doris Grant(more info)

listed in allergies, originally published in issue 35 - December 1998

It has been recognised for many years that the origin of disease involves agent, host, and environment. Yet the all-important 'host' – the primary cause – is still unknown to our health professionals or largely overlooked, especially in the search for treatments of the many misery-making, sometimes lethal, allergic diseases which are increasingly bedevilling this world today.

The result is that the researchers fail to get to the root of the problem and many allergies are not recognised as such. For instances, asthma, eczema and hayfever are being diagnosed as skin or lung problems and treated with drugs that merely suppress the symptoms, modifying the precious immune system.

As Jennifer Worth points out in her brilliant article in Positive Health (April, 1998): "It is not unknown for a patient to see a dermatologist for eczema, a respiratory specialist for asthma, ...a gynaecologist for PMT, a rheumatologist for arthritis...". It is, therefore, understandable that some patients end up taking multiple, and sometimes inappropriate, drugs. A matter for concern is the fact that the popular hayfever drug, Triludan, freely available over the counter till recently, has been altered to prescription only after being linked to several heart deaths.

It is lamentable that it is not yet widely accepted that most allergies can be successfully, safely, and simply treated without the use of any drugs whatsoever. Years of build-up of 'chemical imbalance' may naturally take some time to disappear completely, but countless people experience a remarkable and immediate improvement, as I did myself.

The primary cause lies almost wholly in what we eat and how we eat it, and in a disturbed body chemistry.

A distinguished American doctor, William Howard Hay, drew attention to these facts at the beginning of this century. He maintained "that allergy is a specific lack of resistance to certain irritants whether of food, pollen, foreign proteins or whatever" but, he affirmed, the cause lies within the individual and not in the environment. The irritants are merely the secondary cause – irritants, here meaning, naturally occurring ones, not man-created environmental poisons in food, air and water – (not forgetting fluoride added to our water supplies) – to which the strongest body has little resistance.

Dr Hay promised that a hayfever sufferer can so change his body chemistry "that he can bury his face in his former 'bete noir', no matter what this happens to be, without a single sneeze".

The strongest possible support for Dr Hay's concept of the primary cause of hayfever came to light in the sixties through the works of Dr John Ott, the inventor of time-lapse photography. In his book, My Ivory Cellar (Twentieth Century Press Inc., 1958) he describes a project to determine the action of ragweed pollen grains. His time-lapse microscopic photography revealed that grains of ragweed pollen placed in nasal secretion from hayfever sufferers immediately started to emit tiny droplets of liquid. These droplets did not form, however, when ragweed pollen grains were placed in nasal secretion from persons not subject to hayfever.

Dr Ott surmised from this that the body chemistry of hayfever sufferers was exactly right to make the ragweed pollen grains give off the droplets of fluid, and that these could possibly be the factor which irritated the nasal membranes, not the mere contact with the outer surface of the pollen grains themselves. He suggests that if this is so, hayfever could be prevented by altering the patient's alkaline/acid balance, instead of merely trying to alleviate the trouble with drugs after the hayfever has once set in – a typical example of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted!

Altering the body's chemical balance can be done quite easily by adopting the guiding principles (known as the Hay System) that Dr Hay began teaching at the beginning of the century. This system is now even better known as 'Food Combining'.

Briefly, the theory behind the Hay System is that concentrated proteins – meat, fish, poultry, cheese, etc., and 'acid' fruits – oranges, apples, pears, grapefruit, etc., should not be eaten at the same meal with concentrated starches – bread, potatoes, cereals, etc., and sugary foods. This is Dr Hay's Rule Number One. His Rule Number Two – vegetables, salading and fruits (the 'plant' foods) should form the major part of the diet. (These should be organically produced as far as possible, DG.) His Rule Number Three – concentrated proteins and concentrated starches should be used in moderation. His Rule Number Four – only whole grains and unprocessed starches should be used, and all refined processed foods, particularly white flour and sugar and all foods made with them, should be taboo. Highly processed fats such as margarine and low fat spreads should also be taboo. (See The Hay System Table of Compatible Foods.)

Following these rules automatically reduces chemical imbalance, and increases alkalinity. It also boosts the immune system; a diet of properly combined meals can produce remarkably quick relief from widely differing allergies and complaints such as asthma, eczema, overweight, migraine, constipation, and duodenal ulcers.

Most important of all, these rules ensure that proteins are sufficiently digested. This fact is of the highest significance; in it lies the missing link responsible for many of the allergies and other complaints which appear to defeat the most complex medical theories and often time-consuming and expensive treatments.

When proteins are incompletely digested they split up into intermediate or large protein molecules which are toxic. It appears that these molecules are absorbed from the gut into the circulation and are one of the major contributing factors in undermining the body's defence system. This undermining, if not arrested, could in time result in serious disease.

This fact should be widely known, but I have only come across one medical reference to the possible role in human disease of incompletely digested proteins: in a letter to the Lancet of March 27, 1976, Dr W A Hemmings (ARC Immunology Group, Zoology Dept., University College of North Wales) drew attention to the fact that it has been known since the first decade of the century that small quantities of dietary protein are absorbed from the gut in sufficient amounts to give rise to immune reaction. He further explained, however, that much larger quantities of dietary protein have been shown to be absorbed into the circulation after only 'partial cleavage' of the molecules. He questioned the toxicological significance of these incompletely broken down proteins as well as their "logical role in human disease".

Incompletely broken down proteins spell similar trouble for plants and animals. In the early years of this century, Sir Albert Howard, distinguished agricultural scientist and pioneer of organic farming and gardening (Farming and Gardening for Health or Disease, Faber & Faber, 1945) tumbled to the connection between incompletely broken down proteins and virus disease during his work at the Research Institute at Pusa in Bengal. He wrote: "Foot-and-mouth disease is considered to be a virus disease. It could more correctly be described as a simple consequence of malnutrition due to the fact that the proteins have not been properly synthesised, or some obvious error of management."

During his work in Pusa, he several times observed with keen interest his healthy, properly fed and 'inoculations-free' oxen rubbing noses over a low hedge with foot-and-mouth infected cases. Nothing happened. His animals failed to react to the disease – suggesting good corroboration of Dr Hay's protein/starch rule which prevents the formation of these harmful proteins.

According to a press report in February, 1995, researchers at the Bristol Royal Infirmary have found – in the largest study of its kind – higher-than-normal levels of dietary protein in the blood of osteoarthritis patients. Their findings provide confirmation of Dr Hemming's fears expressed in his letter.

Children are very vulnerable to allergic diseases, particularly to asthma, the incidence of which has increased fourfold in the past two decades. It is now estimated to be the most common chronic childhood disease and doctors are more and more concerned to identify the cause of this markedly increased incidence. And many widely different contributing causes are blamed – or are mistaken for the primary cause – such as house dust mites, cat's fur, particulate matters from diesel fumes, environmental chemicals, even aggressive behaviour, mood swings and hyperactivity.

There are also a number of mainly unsuspected dietary causes: excess consumption of sugar-high foods and drinks, and of highly processed and refined white flour products, chemical food additives, insufficient mastication (vital for starches), residues on food of agricultural pesticides and growth promoting hormones, and overeating with its inevitable creation of overweight, now fast becoming endemic both here and in the U.S.

The primary cause of all allergies, however, could lie in the fact that infants today are being weaned far too early, at 6 months and under, onto concentrated animal proteins, before their digestive systems can produce the necessary medium to cope with them. The resulting undigested proteins could lay the foundation of all kinds of trouble for the infant, and could be the 'missing link' revealing the main cause of the great increase in childhood allergies and illnesses during the past two or more decades.

Dr D P Davies, in the British Medical Journal of 10 May, 1973, refers to the latest of a number of recent research studies about bottle feeding. This warns that the physical effects of bottle feeding are increased when cereals and other solid foods are fed to young babies too early: "Cow's milk plus cereals and other solid foods create a very concentrated urine which immature kidneys are unable to deal with." And what about the warring starches and proteins?

This brings us back again to Dr Hay's Hay System; it involves no gastronomic hardships, costs no more than any other health-giving diet, and is the most delicious way of eating for health. As Dr Walter Yellowlees wrote in Food Combining for Life (Thorsons, 1995): "If the healing power of Food Combining was confirmed and achieved wide acceptance in the NHS, the relief of suffering and saving of wealth would be incalculable."


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About Doris Grant

Doris Grant has been an advocate of healthy eating as a path to good health for more than sixty five years. In 1931 she fell ill with a severe rheumatic condition that failed to respond to conventional treatment but improved dramatically when she began to follow Dr Hay’s system. She is the co-author of the phenomenally successful Food Combining for Health and many other books.

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