Over the past few years I have seen increasing number of people with Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS). Conventionally, sufferers are just advised to avoid the foods which cause them allergic reactions, but it is possible to reduce the severity of OAS symptoms too.
Most, but not all, OAS sufferers are also hayfever sufferers too, with symptoms which begin in early Spring, with the pollen from the Birch trees. Symptoms are usually a tingling in the mouth and on the tongue when eating certain foods (often only raw; they may be tolerated better when cooked). In severe cases you may experience swelling of the tongue or throat in which case you should IMMEDIATELY attend your nearest A&E Department, and take anti-histamines. If you have an epi-pen, use it but also get along to A&E.
The foods which cause problems to OAS sufferers vary, but these are the most common:
Fruit: Apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, kiwis, strawberries, melons, watermelons.
Vegetables: Carrot, celery, potato peelings, soya milk, tomatoes, peppers.
Nuts: Hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, peanuts.
Other foods such as some spices, seeds and herbs can also cause a reaction, and an allergy to latex may also be part of OAS.
Conventional treatment is to perform allergy testing, usually using the skin-prick method, or via a blood test, and then advise avoidance of the affected foods, alongside use of prescribed or over the counter anti-histamines.
I prefer to examine the CAUSE of someone’s allergy. The analogy I use with people is that we are like a bucket. It begins empty but over our lifetime it fills up each time our mum has some medication during her pregnancy; when we have a tricky birth; with every medicine or vaccine we take; each trauma that occurs; with our less than healthy diet. And then one day, WHOOSH! the bucket overflows and that’s when we develop symptoms.
But I am interested in all the layers that came before the WHOOSH so we can begin to clear them from the body, which is why I ask people to write a time-line of health and life events when they come to see me.
The most common triggers that I see are frequent use of antibiotics; use of steroids (creams, inhalers, tablets); vaccinations; a traumatic birth; a series of traumatic life events, especially before the age of seven; a poor diet, high in sugar and refined carbohydrates; several operations under general anaesthetic; a family history of allergy (this is less of an issue than you might expect).
There are various ways of clearing these triggers, but the main requirement is always to improve the health of the digestive tract, and increase absorption of nutrients. This can involve taking supplements and remedies to heal the gut and improve the diversity of beneficial bacteria. It may also involve removing foods which the body dislikes from the diet (just to give you a clue, these will usually be the foods and drinks you “cannot live without”. I’m sorry about that. But you CAN live without them, trust me.)
If you are experiencing the symptoms of Oral Allergy Syndrome, the two best self-help things you can do are to take a good quality probiotic, to improve the diversity of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and to clean up your diet, and cut out processed and sugary foods.
My preferred course of treatment for OAS is a course of NAET treatment, which has the double effect of clearing intolerances AND improving absorption of essential minerals and vitamins. This is why so many people who have had NAET treatment tell me that they feel somehow stronger, healthier and far less prone to everyday illnesses. If you’d like to discover more about NAET treatment, please get in touch.