Hair analysis can help identify several causes of allergies and guide their correction. Toxic metals, an imbalanced oxidation rate and imbalances causing fatigue are common hair analysis indicators for a tendency for allergies.

Allergies In Slow Oxidizers

We define slow oxidation as a condition in which the thyroid and adrenal glands are underactive. This is based on the hair calcium/potassium ratio and the hair sodium/magnesium ratio. Chronic allergies are common in slow oxidizers.

The adrenal glands produce epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol and cortisone. These hormones help control allergic reactions. Insufficient production of these hormones results in the body's inability to respond adequately to allergens. This causes a tendency for all types of environmental allergies in slow oxidizers.

According to research by Dr. Paul Eck, hair analysis indicators for adrenal insufficiency include low hair levels of sodium and potassium, a ratio of sodium to magnesium less than 4.17:1, and/or a ratio of sodium to potassium less than 2.5:1.

Food reactions are also common in slow oxidizers. One reason is that digestive dysfunctions are common in slow oxidizers. These include low levels of digestive enzymes, particularly hydrochloric acid in the stomach. Partially digested food may ferment or putrefy, producing toxic chemicals that cause reactions.

Also, slow oxidizers are prone to improper gut flora, such as an overgrowth of candida albicans. This too interferes with normal digestion and produces toxic substances including alcohol and acetaldehyde. Slow oxidizers generally have sluggish elimination, including constipation. More toxic substances are reabsorbed due to a longer bowel transit time, and the body is less able to eliminate toxins through the liver, kidneys, bowel and skin.

Allergic Reactions In Fast Oxidizers

Fast oxidizers often experience acute allergic reactions such as severe asthma attacks. While slow oxidizers cannot respond adequately to allergic challenges, fast oxidizers may overreact with excessive production of histamine, a chemical that is responsible for many allergic symptoms. Fast oxidizers tend to produce more adrenal hormones, but their reserves for emergencies may not be adequate.

Also, fast oxidizers tend to have greater cell permeability. Calcium and magnesium tend to stabilize cell membranes, while high tissue levels of sodium and potassium tend to increase cell permeability. Excessive permeability causes foreign proteins and other allergens to be absorbed more easily into the cells, leading to more extreme allergic phenomena.

What are called 'true fast oxidizers' in general experience fewer reactions, especially food sensitivities, because their digestion is often better than that of slow oxidizers. We define true or healthy fast oxidizers as those with good ratios of calcium to magnesium and sodium to potassium. However, many fast oxidizers are 'temporary fast oxidizers' or 'slow oxidizers under stress'. These people often have symptoms similar to slow oxidizers.

Fatigue And Allergies

Fatigue and allergies often combine to create a vicious cycle. Fatigue reduces adrenal gland activity. This increases the tendency for allergies, which in turn contributes to fatigue. Hay fever, itching and other allergies interfere with rest and sleep. Adequate rest is most helpful for allergy sufferers. This may mean installing air purifiers or other equipment to help one get adequate rest.

Environmental Factors

Allergic symptoms occur when a critical stress threshold has been exceeded. Dust, molds, pollens, toxic chemicals, food additives and other irritants contribute to the toxic load the body must cope with. Reducing the toxic load requires a review, or better, a visit to a person's home or work environment. Indoor air pollution from dust, molds, dirty air ducts, and chemical exposure from furniture, carpets, office equipment and cleaning products is far worse than most outdoor pollution. Fortunately, there are many methods and products available to help clean up indoor air pollution.

Chemicals found in foods, and foods to which one is sensitive, also contribute to the toxic load. Improving food quality, eliminating problem foods and reducing one's intake of chemical laden foods can alone often make a huge difference in allergy cases.

Nutritional Correction

Occasionally, nutritional correction of allergies is a simple process. Symptomatic remedies for slow oxidizers with allergies include nutrients that support the adrenal glands. These include vitamins A, C and E, manganese, pantothenic acid and adrenal glandular substance. Higher than normal doses may be needed, at least initially.

High histamine individuals and fast oxidizers often need calcium, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients to reduce their sensitivity level. Bioflavonoids in high doses, may help reduce capillary permeability. Selenium, a precursor to glutathione, may also be helpful for allergies.

Other natural remedies include bee pollen and freeze-dried nettles. Homeopathic remedies may be helpful for some people. Various desensitization procedures sometimes help. Conventional desensitization includes the use of allergy shots, while newer methods include NAET, a kinesiological desensitization procedure.

When allergies are chronic, a more complete approach is better. This includes 1) environmental cleanup, 2) lifestyle correction, including diet, rest and sleep, 3) several months to several years on a corrective nutrition program and 4) other natural therapies as needed to correct longstanding adrenal weakness and other imbalances that contribute to allergies.

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