Wow I haven’t written a blog post since 2019 before my life blew up and my parents got ill and everything turned upside down.
BUT I have a new theory, so I needed to come back here. I haven’t had a theory since 2019 or 2018. Maybe 2017. This is a big one (but I’ve been wrong before so who knows).
We moved to Nashville from Canada in September 2020. Technically I moved to Franklin (just south of Nashville). And immediately I got strep throat I couldn’t get rid of with multiple rounds of antibiotics. I had pretty severe tree allergies in Franklin pretty rapidly after we moved and after a month we moved to Nashville to a condo to escape the allergies. It kind of worked. The allergies improved. My strep throat however, didn’t. On antibiotic round three the strep throat changed into bronchitis and in December I ended up with pneumonia along with Scarlett (my 4-year-old poor thing) and fiance Jordan Fuller (more personal stuff later – a lot happened in the last few years – I went through terrible family illnesses, got divorced and met the love of my life).
Anyway, we all ended up on antibiotics and steroids. It was pretty brutal. Nothing compared to having a full-blown autoimmune disorder and depression… Nothing is that bad. But not good.
We finally recovered in December and I was healthy for December (except covid (for the third time) for a week) and I was healthy for January.. The only two months there aren’t allergies in Nashville. Then as soon as tree allergies started again late February I got “sick” almost immediately and Scarlett got a cough again and it occurred to me I was having an asthmatic reaction, something I haven’t really experienced since I was a teenager, caused by these ridiculous tree allergies. Scarlett unfortunately also has similar allergies. She’s had a chronic cough, and rhinitis since February, poor thing. Can’t wait until we’re out of here.
I’ve been allergic most of the time since late February. Aching body, bronchitis, cough with a tickle that keeps me up at night, hoarse voice, itchy ears, stuffy nose, itchy eyes. Unbearable really. I had to cancel so many podcasts. By April this year (2022) the tree allergy illness had progressed to actual joint pain and my arthritis was bugging me for the first time in years. Nothing like what I’ve experienced before dietary changes but still very scary. To the point of tears multiple times scary. It’s terrifying not knowing if things could progress. Terrifying to think the diet might stop working when it’s kept me in remission for years. Why on earth would I have mild arthritis for the first time since I went on the lion diet? Could tree allergies really be doing this? How!? I thought tree allergies were confined to lungs and itching and eyes and ears. Not joints and mood. What was going on?
So I went to an immunologist who specializes in allergies. The first doctor I’ve been to in years. I did a prick test on my back and as you can see, I am very allergic to trees. So is Scarlett, poor thing.
Then it occurred to me.. What if I am so allergic to pollen, latex, dust, etc., that I’m having allergic reactions to foods that have similar proteins to those allergy proteins? This is something I had considered briefly in 2016 but for some reason forgot about it.
If you have a severe birch allergy for instance, you can have cross-reactivity issues where your body will react to proteins that are shaped like the protein causing the birch allergy. Most doctors would tell you not to worry about this. “That’s just called oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and it’s confined to the lips, mouth, and throat.”
I was up last week at 3 am from this stupid cough wondering why I had pain all over my body including joint pain from tree allergies and I thought… If you can have oral allergy syndrome from foods that have proteins shaped like pollen, pet dander, latex, or dust, couldn’t those similarly shaped proteins induce more of an immune reaction? Not just oral allergies? What if I’m not reacting to the food exactly, but the protein in the food that’s shaped like what I’m truly allergic to? The other crazy thing.. I used to react to cane sugar terribly. But not beet sugar. It made no sense at the time and I did think, “what if this is a grass allergy?” But after the lion diet, I kind of forgot about that because I’m not eating those foods anyway. Now that environmental allergies are triggering my autoimmunity though, it’s back to the drawing board. I’m not nearly as sick as I was but it’s not tolerable with the allergies.
What if consuming those cross-reactivity foods trigger minor allergic reactions that contributed to leaky gut (along with gluten and gut damaging foods) and then that resulted in Type 3 Hypersensitivity reactions (I wrote about those in 2017 here
). That’s worth a read too. It was a theory back then but it turns out Type 3 Hypersensitivity Reactions can cause autoimmunity
so that part of my theory was right. Ha.
Anyway, one of the major symptoms my dad and I both have that make whatever reactions we get (and have mostly avoided with diet) horrifying, is an impending sense of doom. The only place I’ve really found scientific literature on an “impending sense of doom” was during anaphylaxis
. A severe allergy attack. Dad had an anaphylactic reaction to a bird when he was young. He gets pain all over his body when he’s exposed to down. I had an anaphylactic response to a spider bite when I was 17 (right in between my hip and ankle replacement – great summer). But neither of us has had full-blown anaphylaxis since. However, we’ve been plagued by these stupid “reactions” if we eat anything that isn’t ruminant meat, and now I’ve had similar symptoms around long exposures to tree pollen.
I actually do get most of those above symptoms without the obvious lip and throat swelling and tightness in the throat. Everything else is there (except vomiting and loss of consciousness). So could these reactions actually be allergies? Seems like it.
I also get a majorly not cute puffy face (see here when I was having tree allergies vs. when I’m not – crazy eh?). The left side is no allergies and the right side is when I do have allergies.
You know how frustrating podcasting with a face that randomly puffs up with trees is? It’s frustrating.
When I eat something I can’t tolerate I get itchy everywhere too. That hasn’t happened for years since I’ve been on the lion diet but before the diet when I reintroduced soy prior to that I had a full body itch. And before I started any diet I was constantly itchy. Itchy enough that I used to scratch my legs in my sleep until they bled.
So this seems like an allergy but every doctor I spoke with said “you can’t be allergic to everything”. And fair enough. But I’ve had severe environmental allergies since I was a kid and it makes more sense that I’m having allergies to similarly shaped proteins in almost all plant foods than having allergies to the actual foods. (All plant foods that I know of and most animal foods too – I haven’t been able to reintroduce anything successfully other than wild salmon, sardines, and a specific brand of honey is okay-ish). Still can’t eat dairy, eggs, pork, or chicken either. That theory is at least more logical than an allergy to all foods.
SO what if I’ve just had severe environmental allergies the whole time? And because I was in an allergic state since forever, and eating the wrong foods on top of that, (that contributed to leaky gut
, gluten, etc.) which made the entire situation and the allergies worse. Then I had proteins from foods shaped like proteins from trees I was allergic to leak into my body and that triggered a type 3 hypersensitivity reaction where antibodies surrounded these proteins to protect me from them? But because I was producing too many of these complexes I couldn’t get rid of them fast enough and they started building up in tissues and caused tissue damage (resulting in tissue damage and therefore joint replacements). See my post on type 3 hypersensitivity reactions from 2017 here.
Great. Finally a logical explanation behind the inability to eat anything that isn’t lamb. Kind of. Doesn’t exactly explain the inability to eat aged meat… That could be a mold allergy though so maybe that’s the explanation there. Maybe the inability to eat aged meat is more of a mold allergy than a histamine intolerance, but the verdict is still out on that.
This theory almost explains everything.
So, more importantly, what to do about it?
Well I’ve started taking low-dose naltrexone at 1.5mg per day. It’s only been two days but I’ll write an update on this soon. People see amazing changes with this and so far I don’t seem to be reacting to it (unlike almost every other medication out there other than opiates). So I’m going to give LDN a good shot and also do allergy shots too.
It’s been used to treat chronic fatigue
, autoimmune disease
, potentially cancer
, and allergies. It seems like a miracle cure but miracle cures don’t generally exist, so… who knows. So far it isn’t giving me side effects too, that’s fantastic. It might actually be making me feel good but stay tuned because sometimes it feels good at first and then WHAM a problem.
If you have severe allergies you can get allergy immunotherapy shots where doctors will mix a tiny bit of the allergen in a concoction and inject you with it. The point of this is to expose yourself to a very low dose of an allergen so you can desensitize your immune system. It’s a pain though you have to do it twice a week or once a week for years. I wanted to do this a while ago when I was 18 but I was told that I was so allergic to trees that the doctor was worried about inducing anaphylaxis. And at that time I could still tolerate antihistamines so we didn’t do allergy shots.
However, I haven’t been able to tolerate medications since I stopped taking all of them in 2015. Antihistamines make my skin crawl terribly and give me that horrible impending sense of doom. The only medication I can take without horrifying side effects are opiates without sodium metabisulfite. So morphine or codeine basically.
So it would be interesting if naltrexone – which almost works in the opposite way opiates work – would help. Plus allergy shots.
Hope you guys are well! I will solve this one day. I’m also moving to Miami where the tree allergies aren’t going to plague me as badly. Can’t reduce my productivity with autoimmunity again! I have too many great things going on.
Stay well fellow sickies, I’ll figure this out yet. So far at least I have a diet that works to keep me in remission, and others in remission, just need an actual cure now. Let’s see what LDN and allergy shots do.
Why not try the gaps diet, stage by stage
I have allergies and so did my young children. I had us all tested by a kinesiologist.
This worked very well.
Only 3 things have helped my seasonal allergies: fasting, keto and zinc. What are your zinc levels?
Went through a much milder version of same with my wife. We were living near the coast in NorCal and she had many and varied symptoms. Some blood test plus speculation by her very alternative MD lead to systemic mold infection and mold allergies. Doctor said, “The only patients I’ve had that look like you who get well, do so by moving away from here.” Yeah, when you walked on the soil etc outdoors you could smell the spores wafting up….
In searching a place to relocate to we learned an important lesson. Places like New Mexico and I suspect Arizona, that are very dry so you’d think nearly mold free, have the highest number of mold remediation lawsuits due to contaminated buildings. The reason is that for indoor climate control, they build very “tight” and use AC in the hot summers. Works great until you get even a small, undetected water leak. Mold blooms and once it’s started it’s nearly impossible to get rid of.
We did move to semi-rural AZ for a couple years and her health improved dramatically though we did find mold under the kitchen sink (tiny water leak) and hired someone to mask up and clean it out. Now living in Western Rockies at about 6000 feet; it’s pretty dry and mostly mold free. All’s well.
So much of this sounds so much like what my wife went through.
Many of her symptoms were nearly identical to yours (the leg scratching at night was particularly resonant). This was exaggerated even further when she visiting Kentucky, right next door to Tennessee.
Noticing your allergy triggers is good. But I think that ultimately you’ve really got to uncover the CAUSE of the chronic inflammation that in turn caused these allergies to manifest in the first place.
It’s good to discover your environmental triggers. But I’d suggest it’s not quite enough to say “what if I have environmental allergies”? You are just treating symptoms that way.
You have to ask WHY you’d even have those allergies to begin with.
In my wife’s case, once she started properly treating her chronic Lyme (and other tick borne illnesses) these problems started to go away to a very significant degree.
The cornerstone of the treatment was hyperbaric oxygen therapy and proper anti bacterial and anti parasitic supplements that actually target the bugs hiding in the central nervous system and joints. Then, using oral exposure therapy for her environmental allergies.
So many of the symptoms you described were lessened or went away because the underlying CAUSE of the chronic inflammation was identified and addressed.
Ultimately, I believe that there is good evidence that an allergic reaction (or an autoimmune reaction) is the body getting into an inflammatory state and then wrongly identifying an environmental factor as the culprit that needs to be attacked.
This makes sense as this is almost identical in principle to how vaccination works: by causing an inflammatory state that encourages the body to attack an otherwise benign disabled virus that it would not ordinarily respond to.
(Note that I am not saying that all allergies are caused by vaccination. Though there is evidence to suggest that it could be a contributing factor for some allergies for some people. Of course one might reasonably argue that in many cases the disease being vaccinated against would be far worse than the possibility of initiating an allergy, but I’m not here to debate either side of that can of of worms! I find this up only to demonstrate the general principle.)
In any case, I think it’s important to identify not only what you’re allergic to, but also what caused the inflammatory state that would lead you to develop the allergies to begin with, and then to ensure that you addressing the underlying cause of that inflammation.
Your diet may keep your systemic inflammation on check, so it is a good treatment option, but it may not be eradicating the ultimate cause.
I hope some of that is helpful in you solving these issues for yourself Mikhaila! Best of luck to you and yours. We’re rooting for you.
How did your wife figure out the underlying cause? I think mine maybe have been triggered by an IGG shot that was give as a result of a possible Hep A exposure.
Mikhaila I would love to have a call with you and share my story. But it’s very interesting you write this as I think ive had this and have been searching for answers. The impeding doom was terrifying in February up here in Alaska. My dr recommended your diet in 2019 and I finally made it to lion diet may 2021, and it’s been a year. I have Ankylosing spondylitis; three joint replacement and one cataract surgery due to this inflammation. I would love you be able to speak you to about my experiences.
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