Michael Wood, Author at Lifelab Testing

How Could Living With Allergies Affect My Relationship?

Moving in together can be such a magical experience for couples, especially around this time of year. February means it’s time to light the candles, to sit down for a romantic meal at home with the one you love most; until disaster strikes! Suddenly, you discover your partner is living with allergies to some of your favourite foods, and you’re left reeling as you adjust to life without these dishes. For people living with allergies, this is a daily issue. Sadly, this is the reality for many couples who fail to adjust to life after discovering an allergy (1), and if you fear that this all too familiar story could become you and your partner, then it’s time to do something about it!

Understanding the basics.

Something that many couples may not consider when making the decision to live together is how each other’s allergies and intolerances may impact the types of food that both are consuming together on a daily basis. For some of the lucky ones, this may never be an issue. However, for others, it may be difficult to adjust to a new way of living without a certain type of food in the house. Especially where the most severe reactions for sufferers living with allergies could experience an anaphylactic reaction just from breathing in a particular substance, such as nuts or sesame seeds. (2) This Valentine’s Day, Lifelab Testing is committed to ensuring that you and your loved ones have the most comprehensive look at your allergies and intolerances possible, so that you can make smart and informed decisions about the food you choose to stock your shelves with to make your home an allergy-safe environment for everyone!

Living with Allergies in the 21st Century.

For some couples, adapting to a new situation such as the discovery of an allergy is a breeze, as you may not have enjoyed the foods causing reactions, or have no trouble compromising on food items for your partner’s sake. For others, though, discovering your partner has an allergy to common foods can be a difficult thing to accept. Especially if it is an item that has been incorporated into your diet for a long time, which makes early discovery absolutely essential. Adjusting to a new way of eating can take time, patience, and communication, but is vitally important for the sustainability of your relationship with your partner, especially if the allergy is potentially life-threatening.

What happens next?

Rarely, both people in the relationship will have the same trigger foods (3), which makes the elimination process far simpler and less stressful for the parties involved. In most situations, however, measures will have to be taken from a non-sufferer to protect the allergy sufferer in the relationship, but all hope is not lost! If the allergy is non-life threatening, there are a number of measures you can take in the home to keep the trigger foods away from the sufferer without losing the joy of enjoying that food yourself, such as:

  • Store trigger foods separately from all other foods.
  • Never cross-contaminate utensils preparing trigger foods when also preparing other foods.
  • Refrain from physical contact (kissing, touching etc.) with the allergy sufferer after the trigger food is consumed by a non-sufferer.

Get tested and live happier

It is always important to consider the needs of the sufferer when making a decision on whether to continue purchasing the trigger food, as well as how possible it is to avoid cross-contamination in order to protect your loved one from the allergen. Getting a Lifelab Test kit is the quickest way to learn what your body can and can’t tolerate. Living with allergies doesn’t need to put the end to your Valentine’s Day plans, so get tested and enjoy your day.

References

  1. https://www.ecarf.org/en/relationships-and-food-allergies/
  2. https://www.gq.com/story/food-allergies-dating
  3. https://www.webmd.com/allergies/features/allergies-romance

Why is it important to get an Intolerance Test?

Your body is constantly changing. Some are evolutionary changes, and some are influenced by factors such as lifestyle, environmental and even more.

Lifestyle is one of the biggest factors, and keeping yourself active is a large part of helping your body to change for the better; it is well known that a moderate fitness regime and a well-balanced diet are associated with positive body changes.

It is these factors which makes food intolerance testing so important as it won’t always be new foods that are causing you troublesome issues with your body, it can sometimes be foods that you are  eating sporadically which could be causing you food intolerance symptoms.

Using an Intolerance test is the easy way to check quickly how your body is responding to particular foods or allergens. A food intolerance test is likely to tell you which foods are causing you symptoms of a food intolerance.

If you can stop yourself suffering a reaction or putting yourself at risk of harm, why wouldn’t you?

Intolerance symptoms tends to happen up to 72 hours after you have eaten the offending food. Not knowing where they are coming from makes food intolerance testing so important and essential to ensure a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes you might be exposed to a potential intolerance if your body is not used to new foods and isn’t able to adapt.

How to pick an Intolerance Test?

The most common test for the detection of food reaction is a blood test, like the ones offered by Lifelab Testing. Nowadays there are multiple home tests available to help you get your results as fast as possible and allow you to act promptly.

Here at Lifelab Testing we are offering blood intolerance test, using well-known ELISA technology. Our intolerant test offering allows the possibility to investigate those delayed reactions that could be caused by the prolonged consumption of particular food, with the manifestation of intolerance symptoms. In fact, the possibility to test the presence of IgG4 antibodies using our intolerance test could help you and your GP to understand those delayed reactions further and get you back to a healthy version of yourself. Although IgG antibodies are not recognised by scientific boards for the investigation of Intolerances, there are scientific studies showing the use of an IgG elimination diet as a possible solution to manage some of the symptoms associated with IBS and migraines (1,2).  

Armed with all the tools you need to understand your body, try an intolerance test today, to start your journey to find a better, healthier version of yourself.

Reference

1) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23216231/

2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18693538/

What Exactly Is a Pollen Allergy?

By Kristen Stewart

Many people welcome spring with its warmer weather, longer days, and blossoming flowers and trees. For the more than 26 million Americans who suffer from allergic rhinitis including pollen allergies, however, this season can be full of misery.1

WHAT IS POLLEN?

Pollen is a very fine powdery substance that’s usually yellow in colour. It’s generated in a structure on the end of the stamen (the male reproductive part of the flower) known as the anther and its purpose is to fertilize other plants in the same species. In order for pollination to occur, pollen grains must be transferred from the anther to the female stigma of another plant. This process creates seeds with genetic information for new vegetation.2

Pollen falls and spreads mostly in the spring, summer, and fall. You may have noticed this powdery, yellow substance coating your car. The main culprits tend to be grassestrees, and weeds, which have pollen that is small, light, and dry and therefore easily dispersed by the wind. By contrast, plants with brightly coloured flowers (such as roses) have large, waxy pollen that’s transported between plants by bees and other pollinating insects.3 4

SYMPTOMS OF A POLLEN ALLERGY

Allergies occur when harmless water-soluble proteins released by pollen enter the mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth. If you’re susceptible to allergies, your immune system mistakes pollen for invading germs. Your body triggers a complex process whereby it generates chemicals such as histamine to irritate the nerves, which leads to itching and sneezing in an attempt to expel the pollen.5 6

Symptoms of a pollen allergy vary from person to person. You may experience bouts of sneezing. This seemingly annoying reaction helps physically expel the pollen from your system, and it also serves as a red flag to tell you there is a high pollen count and you should leave the area if possible.7 In conjunction with sneezing, you may experience additional issues with your nose and eyes. To learn more about these symptoms, visit Zyrtec’s Understanding Allergy Symptoms page.8

SUSCEPTIBILITY TO A POLLEN ALLERGY

Many people wonder if pollen allergies are genetic. Researchers are still studying this question, but studies suggest that yes, a hereditary component is involved. Having a blood relative with allergies or asthma increases your risk of having one or more allergies — though the specific type is not passed down, just the increased odds. To complicate the matter more, prolonged exposure to the allergen also plays a role in whether or not you develop allergies. Even if you have a genetic susceptibility, you may not develop a problem if you mostly avoid the allergen. Having asthma, atopic dermatitis, and/or allergies to other triggers can also increase your risk.9

If you’ve made it into your 20s, 30s, or 40s without allergies, you may wonder if you’re home free. Not necessarily. It is possible for adults to develop allergies to pollen and other triggers even into middle age. In general, the number of individuals suffering from hay fever is increasing in both the United States and around the world.10

Experts aren’t sure why numbers are rising but speculate more airborne pollutants and dust mite populations coupled with less ventilation in our homes and workplaces could play a role. Unhealthy habits including poor diet and not enough exercise may also contribute. The hygiene hypothesis — the idea that we live and eat in a relatively sanitary environment, so our immune systems don’t have enough work to do and instead overreact to allergens — is another possibility. Other theories include finally reaching an exposure threshold for an allergy to develop, living in a new area with different trees, plants, and grasses, or adopting a pet.11

Once you reach middle age, however, your chance of developing allergies to pollen decreases. The immune system weakens as you grow older, so it’s less likely for it to experience a hyper-allergic reaction.12

TREATMENT OF POLLEN ALLERGIES

The good news? There are many ways you can manage and treat pollen allergies

CHECK THE POLLEN FORECAST

While you can try to guess how heavy the pollen is falling from the weather and time of day, you can also turn to the internet to help determine the pollen forecast. Check out Zyrtec’s allergy tracker tool and app for a local allergy forecast.

PLAN YOUR TIME OUTDOORS

One of the best ways to manage a pollen allergy is to avoid exposure to pollen as much as possible and go outside when pollen counts are lowest.

All allergy sufferers know the amount of pollen falling varies by the season. However, the weather can also affect it. Dry, windy, and hot days can result in pollen being carried over long distances. On the other hand, you may find relief when the weather is humid and rainy because pollen is more likely to stay on the ground when it’s damp. Days without wind can be better too since pollen is not as easily spread when the air is still.13

Even the time of day can affect the amount of pollen in the air; typically pollen counts are lowest before dawn, rise throughout the morning, and peak around the middle of the day. By late afternoon and early evening, the numbers decline again. City dwellers should note that pollen count arcs often go up and down later in urban areas than in the suburbs as it takes time for the wind to transport the airborne particles from more rural places. 14 15

AVOID UNNECESSARY EXPOSURE

In addition to trying to stay inside as much as possible when pollen levels are high, you can take steps to protect yourself in other ways. Wear a dust mask when working outside, or better yet have someone else do the gardening and yard work for you. 16

It’s also wise to keep pollen out of your living area. Close all doors and windows and use air conditioning in your home and car. Wash any clothes that have been worn outside and attracted pollen as soon as possible. Be sure to dry them in the dryer and not outside on a clothesline. 17

Keeping the air and surfaces of your house clean can also help. Look for portable air filters and vacuum cleaners with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters for best results. 18

CHOOSE YOUR OUTDOOR GREENERY WISELY

While you can’t control the world, you can decide what trees and plants populate your garden. Trees produce pollen earliest in the season, and poplar, willow, and cottonwood trees are some common culprits.19 Try to identify which trees trigger symptoms and consider replacing them with a different type. Similarly, populate your garden with trees and plants fertilized by insects, such as pear and cherry trees and roses, in order to reduce pollen-heavy vegetation. 20

Weed pollen can also be problematic for allergy sufferers, especially in the late summer to early fall. Pollen can come from a variety of weeds with ragweed, the worst offender, generating 1 million grains each day from just one plant. Sagebrush, tumbleweed, pigweed, and more can also cause plenty of misery. To reduce the pollen count in your garden, try to keep up with weeding and brush removal and use rocks or plastic gravel to prevent weeds from growing. 21 22

CONSIDER MEDICATIONS AND OTHER ALLERGY REMEDIES

With some effort, most allergy sufferers can reduce their exposure to pollen — but it is very difficult to avoid it completely. That’s where medications and other treatments come in. Antihistamines can help manage many allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes by blocking the effects of the histamine released by an allergy sufferer’s overactive immune system. 23

Taking good care of your sinuses can play a helpful role to reduce pollen allergies as well. Use nasal saline sprays to keep your nose moist and a Neti pot or squeeze bottle to flush pollen out. 24

For people who have tried pollen avoidance, medications, and home remedies yet still suffer, allergy shots may help. With this treatment, an allergist can administer a series of injections with gradually increasing amounts of pollen or another allergen to modify the immune system response and thereby reduce symptoms. 25

CONCLUSION

Life with allergies is miserable but instead of waiting for pollen to stop falling to resume your activities, try some of these suggestions to take charge of your life today. Maybe you’ll find spring isn’t so bad after all.

Check out the original by Zyrtec here.

[1]https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts/
[2]https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/pollination
[3]https://www.aafa.org/pollen-allergy/
[4]https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/pollen
[5]https://www.ecarf.org/en/information-portal/allergies-overview/pollen-allergy/
[6]https://www.zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/understanding-allergies/types/why-pollen-causes-sneezing
[7]https://www.zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/understanding-allergies/types/why-pollen-causes-sneezing
[8]https://www.ecarf.org/en/information-portal/allergies-overview/pollen-allergy/
[9]https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hay-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20373039
[10]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829390/
[11]https://acaai.org/news/rise-spring-allergies-fact-or-fiction
[12]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362176/
[13]https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/pollen
[14]https://www.zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/outdoors/best-times-low-pollen-count
[15]https://www.zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/understanding-allergies/types/weed-pollen
[16]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5423906/
[17]https://www.aafa.org/pollen-allergy/
[18]https://acaai.org/allergies/allergy-treatment/air-filters
[19]https://www.zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/understanding-allergies/types/weed-pollen
[20]https://www.aafa.org/pollen-allergy/
[21]https://www.zyrtec.com/allergy-guide/understanding-allergies/types/weed-pollen
[22]https://www.aafa.org/pollen-allergy/
[23]https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000549.htm
[24]https://blogs.bcm.edu/2014/06/25/ten-tips-to-avoid-sinus-infections/
[25]https://acaai.org/allergies/allergy-treatment/allergy-immunotherapy/allergy-shots

MORE ABOUT UNDERSTANDING ALLERGIES

Allergy Friendly Summer VacationsCan Allergies Cause Jaw Pain?

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Dairy Alternatives

Donkey’s Milk; Drink Like An Egyptian’

There are a lot of dairy alternatives on the market if you’re looking to avoid cow’s milk: Soya, Almond, Cashew, Hazelnut, Hemp, Pea to mention a few. People with cow’s milk intolerances or people who are vegan rely on them for their replacing their consumption of milk and dairy products. Thankfully, those new dairy alternatives are now very common and you can find easily in the every supermarket, but we have one you won’t have heard of: Donkey milk! That’s’ right, you heard us, donkey’s milk has a combination of health benefits and due to the similarity to human milk in structure, can be used as cow’s milk dairy alternative for people with Cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA).

Donkey’s milk has been around since the Egyptian era. It is reported that the Queen Cleopatra was bathing in donkey’s milk to keep her skin beautiful and soft! Imagine what it’s doing for your insides…

Dairy Alternatives

This milk has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antitumoral, antiproliferative and antidiabetic activity. In addition, it stimulates the immune system, regulates the gastrointestinal flora, and prevents inflammatory diseases.

Several types of milk (goat, dromedary, donkey, and horse) are known to have lower allergenicity than cow milk, and it has been suggested that differences in nitrogen distribution and digestibility of milk proteins play an important role in determining the allergenic capacity of milk(1).

The amount of Donkey’s milk components, such as whey protein, lactose, and caseins, are similar to that of human milk, although they differ significantly compared to cow, goat, and camel milk(2). For this reason, it can be used for people with CMPA, whilst it is not recommended for people that are lactose intolerant due to the higher concentration of lactose that could accentuate symptoms as bloating and digestive problems. Several studies have revealed that donkey’s milk is an adequate alternative to children suffering from CMPA(3), due to its low composition of caseins, which constitute the main allergenic components of milk. Sarti et al. (2019)(3)have shown that DM has no negative influence on infants and children and have assessed its ability to manage the ‘Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome’ (FPIES) caused by cow’s milk.

Donkeys are great storytellers; they always have the best tales!

Several scientific studies showed that donkey’s milk has an anti-bacterial property against a wide range of pathogenic bacteria such as: Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Listeria monocytogene, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus faecalis, Shigella dysenteria, and against some yeasts(2). A study comparing the donkey’s milk, cow milk and donkey’s milk powder in terms of antioxidant activity has shown that DM has a higher antioxidant capacity than cow milk. It has a high ability to remove anionic superoxide radicals and to eliminate hydroxyl radicals, which are free radicals generated by body metabolism(4). Anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-diabetic effects were also reported in literature(3,5).

Other positive effects were also observed in the skin care showing that the retinol present in donkey’s milk gives your skin a youthful appearance. A rich source of vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, the milk has skin therapeutic properties that are incredibly beneficial for the skin. Regular applications can help you with luminous youthful skin.

So, after all that, Queen Cleopatra was right! If you would like to boost your immunity, switch to dairy alternatives and get all the benefits reported in this article you need to start drinking like an Egyptian!

Here at Lifelab Testing we are providing you with all the useful information and scientific advancement in the field of allergies and intolerances. Hope you enjoyed that reading and please keep an eye on our website for news and updates.

“Written and edited by Dr Enzo Fornari PhD, MSc trained as Scientific Researcher in the field of Pharmaceutical Science, Biophysics”

References:

  1. Fantuz, F.; Salimei, E.; Papademas, P. Macro- and micronutrients in non-cow milk and products and their impact on human health. In Non-Bovine Milk and Milk Products, 1st ed.; Tsakalidou, E., Papadimitriou, K., Eds.; Elsevier Academic Press: London, UK, 2016; pp. 209–261.
  2. Vincenzetti, S.; Pucciarelli, S.; Polzonetti, V.; Polidori, P. Role of proteins and of some bioactive peptides on the nutritional quality of donkey milk and their impact on human health. Beverages 2017, 3, 34.  
  3. Sarti, L.; Martini, M.; Brajon, G.; Barni, S.; Salari, F.; Altomonte, I.; Ragona, G.; Mori, F.; Pucci, N.; Muscas, G.; et al. Donkey’s Milk in the Management of Children with Cow’s Milk protein allergy: Nutritional and hygienic aspects. Ital. J. Pediatrics 2019, 45, 102.
  4. Li, L.; Liu, X.; Guo, H. The nutritional ingredients and antioxidant activity of donkey milk and donkey milk powder. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 2017, 27, 393–400.
  5. Simos, Y.; Metsios, A.; Verginadis, I.; D’Alessandro, A.-G.; Loiudice, P.; Jirillo, E.; Charalampidis, P.; Kouimanis, V.; Boulaka, A.; Martemucci, G.; et al. Antioxidant and anti-platelet properties of milk from goat, donkey and cow: An In Vitro, Ex Vivo and In Vivo study. Int. Dairy J. 2011, 21, 901–906.