8 Chapters
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CHAPTER 7: Exercise and Lifestyle Changes

Donning Ph.D., Damien Basic Health Publications ePub

How much exercise do you get? Even if you’ve got a gym membership or a favorite sport, there’s not many of us who get enough regular, steady exercise. According to researchers, 78 percent of Americans do not get an adequate amount of physical activity.1 But regular exercise is what we were built for, except that we used to call it “work.” The human body, with its long, strong legs and a broad back, was designed for walking and running, for carrying, for digging, and for working with tools. This is how humans lived up until recent history. World War Two changed everything, bringing in labor-saving devices, nuclear power, and many of the advances we take for granted now. Since then, our physical workload has diminished and we take in too many food calories as fuel for doing it. That’s why we are all getting fatter.

But exercise isn’t only good for losing weight or improving your body shape—it has a number of other benefits.

• Exercise burns calories, but even if it doesn’t have that effect for you, it can still reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, which in turn helps everything work a little better, including your immune system.

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CHAPTER 6: Nutrition for Allergies

Donning Ph.D., Damien Basic Health Publications ePub

We’ve talked about preventing allergies, but you can’t always do that. What if it’s ragweed pollen that’s making you sneeze, for instance? Moving out of the city, away from the pollution, would seem a good idea, but it might just expose you to more pollen, making you worse off. Or what if you have a chemical sensitivity, but you can’t avoid the chemicals completely and still live in your city and go to your job? In this chapter, we’re going to look at supplements you can take to reduce or even switch off the symptoms you get when exposed to your allergens. I’ll also give you guidelines about how much of each to take and how often.

The simplest way to use this advice is to take all of the nutrients, and this will certainly help most people. But this isn’t always necessary or practical.

• You may not need all of the supplements all of the time. And they don’t come for free, of course. If cost is an issue, or if being able to take something several times a day is tricky, you are free to experiment and see what you can get away with. It’s your body and your symptoms after all. Important exceptions to this are when it’s a serious reaction—never take chances with those (see Chapter 2: Allergies That Kill).

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CHAPTER 8: Desensitization and Other Options

Donning Ph.D., Damien Basic Health Publications ePub

What can you do if none of the previously discussed options work? While it’s my experience with several thousand patients that these natural solutions work, there’s always one person for whom nothing seems to work. Let it not be you, but if it is, here are some other options.

A vaccination is a small dose of something (an infection such as tetanus or meningitis) designed to make your immune system respond to it in future—to sensitize you. Desensitization involves a small dose of something (an allergen such as pollen or milk, for example) designed to stop your immune system from responding—to desensitize you. Whether these small doses have a sensitizing or desensitizing effect, or none, depends on the dose, what other chemicals and molecules are in the shot, and the route of administration.

A good example of the route of administration is what I said previously in the book about babies developing anaphylaxis to peanuts when they had never eaten it but had touched it. Touching it first meant they developed this violent allergic reaction; if they had eaten it first, they would almost certainly have tolerated it fine, as most people do. This shows how simply changing the point of contact with something can have a powerful effect. Making that work for good rather than bad is what both vaccination and desensitization are trying to do.

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CHAPTER 4: Avoiding Foods and Chemicals

Donning Ph.D., Damien Basic Health Publications ePub

In the last chapter, we looked at ways to avoid and remove inhalants in order to alleviate allergies. In this chapter, we will discuss similar strategies for food allergies/intolerances and chemical sensitivities.

With a certain amount of observation and logic, you may well be able to figure out which foods cause you to have an allergic reaction, although there are some pitfalls you need to be aware of, and sometimes you just can’t do it without expert help. Two big caveats, however:

1.   Food allergies can be severe and dangerous—for example, the growing number of peanut allergies may cause serious symptoms—so re-read Chapter 2: Allergies That Kill. If your allergies cause similar problems, follow the precautions.

2.   Food intolerances are not so dangerous, but they are not so quick either. With an allergy, you usually react within an hour of exposure, but intolerances can easily take seventy-two hours to show (in rare cases, as much as a week). Factor in that a food can take forty-eight hours to pass through your digestive system, and it can be very hard to link a reaction to a particular food exposure. Often, the symptoms are just there all the time, or on a daily basis.

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CHAPTER 5: Genes, Pollution, and Diet

Donning Ph.D., Damien Basic Health Publications ePub

Since the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003, we have entered a new era of health care—personalized medicine. The “old” genetics was about telling you, “your baby has Down syndrome” or “you have a 25 percent chance of developing what your father had.” It was based on big changes in your genes, or your DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). The new genomics makes it possible for us to tell you that “your genes give you an increased risk of heart disease or allergies or some other disease, but here’s what you can do about it.”

It also enables us to predict the drugs that will work better on you, which is why the pharmaceutical industry is so interested. Genomics is all about how your genes interact with your diet, your environment, and your medications. It is based on very small changes in DNA known as SNiPs—single nucleotide polymorphisms. Nucleotides are the letters of DNA, the units that spell out the whole word that tells the cell exactly what molecule to build. You may have seen illustrations of a part of the human genome, which is 3,200,000,000 nucleotides long. If stretched out straight, the human genome would be as tall as a person—about six feet. It’s just a long sequence of four nucleotides: adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine. A SNiP happens when one of these nucleotide sequences is changed, and even a tiny change can make a huge difference.

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