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Is there a link between allergies and ME/CFS?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Fungi, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Fungi

    Fungi Established Member

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    Having read this article on Allergies, The scourge of modern living I found it fitted in with my line of thinking about ME/CFS.


    I hope I don’t lose the excellent value of the article by summarising it as follows;

    Food allergies are on the increase in the modern world. Why might something as small as a sesame seed kill a human?
    But apparently our air has become cleaner but our allergen symptoms are spreading more widely. A study in Australian shows the large numbers of children with food allergies.
    The article goes on to suggest
    They speculate about the reasons for the increase in food allergies and suggest 3 reasons;

    1. Delayed introduction of allergens e.g. not giving children peanuts until they’re 5.

    2. Human microbiome which is the sum total of the of the array of “bacterial life” that the body comes into contact with us and help create a healthy gut. The result of this depleted microbiome is that
    3. Food allergies are linked to the availability of sunlight …
    can make an infant three times more likely to have egg or nut allergies. Modern living means we spend more time indoors with children on games or TVs and when outdoors their skin is often covered to protect them from the sun.


    Maybe the genome of those affected by ME/CFS contain
    How many of those affected have allergies/hay fever/astma/eczema? From my admittedly small enquiries, those ME/CFS sufferers I asked have one or someone in their immediate family has one or more of these. A lot of ME/CFS sufferers were very busy before the onset of their illness which may have resulted in them being indoors depleting their vitamin D reserves. (I wonder for how many ME/CFS sufferers, the onset of their illness was in the Autumn or following a prolonged period indoors due to work/school?) They may also be more tired due to being busy. They get a virus which leads to lack of sun for a further week or two due to being ill. This could further deplete their already diminished vitamin D reserves and potentially push them into the danger zone where the body is maladapted and misreads an otherwise innocuous virus as a severe threat or perhaps the virus is perceived as a foreign agent which triggers a sort of ‘allergic’ response. This deleterious response is ME/CFS. They now remain indoors for an even longer period of time due to being ill which further depletes their already low reserves of vitamin D and reduces their chance of recovery.

    (Is the body shutting down energy output perhaps in order to force the body to rest to aid recovery from the attack?) The virus finishes, but the host has already set in motion a chain of events – it is now on high alert and cannot reverse its position. Just like in a time of conflict, an army sometimes moves from fighting an external enemy to fighting its own people who are now seen a threat. These ‘enemies within’ weren’t necessarily seen as an enemy before. Could this be similar to the way in which some ME/CFS sufferers develop intolerances for foods which they could tolerate before the onset of their illness? For ME/CFS sufferers, the triggers may be numerous (?) but the response is pre-programmed into their genes so when a certain number of factors come together it leads to the onset of the illness. It is the specific combination of these factors which results in ME/CFS in these individuals.

    Biotics and the biome: According to my son’s osteopath, 7 out of 10 patients with ME/CFS are first born. If this is true, could it be that parents are much more vigilant with first born infants, use more disinfectant in their surroundings and on their children (wipes). This prevents these children getting the essential bacteria to populate their gut. This is less likely with second born infants as parents are more relaxed or just too busy. In addition, there are fewer opportunities for children to play outdoors particularly in cities. Even if they do go to parks, there are often ‘play areas’ separated from the natural environment like grass and trees where they might find more natural bacteria. The stage is now set so that if they have not come into contact with these bacteria early in life but then do ‘meet’ them at some later stage the body perceives them not as an ‘old friend’ but as a foreign agent which triggers the massive response.

    I wonder what anyone thinks of these ideas or if it fits in with their experience/understanding of ME/CFS?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2018
  2. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    In my case, I am the youngest rather than the first born.

    I have had problems with allergies all of my life. Another reason allergies may be more prevalent is that modern medicine makes it more likely for people to survive. In my first couple of years of life, I am told I was rushed to A&E ( would have been casualty in those days - the ER in the states). Without medical intervention I wouldn't have survived, if people like me have kids do we pass on susceptibility?

    As for delayed introduction to allergens, I was given the same food as my siblings. Once I was weaned, I ate what they ate. There was no special food or diet. If you wanted any sweets at the end of the week, you had to eat your dinner like it or not!

    Vit D - growing up, we'd be outside. If a child didn't having scabby knees and elbows from climbing and falling off things they worried. Similarly, kids in those days were supposed to go out and get muddy and what have you. We always walked to school, rain or shine and played outside at lunchtime.

    I was born in the 60s, so maybe the younger members have different experiences?
     
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  3. Fungi

    Fungi Established Member

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    Thanks for the response. Maybe parents do pass on susceptibilities but the issue is exacerbated with modern living. I myself have eczema and an allergy which I may have passed on. I was also born in the sixties and played outdoors a lot but perhaps my life wasn't as intense or competitive as my son's?
     
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  4. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I too am the youngest, and spent most of my childhood outdoors in the sixties and early seventies.

    No family history of allergies, etc, though I had one uncle with mild asthma and have one neice with it too.

    Since the onset of ME I have developed worsening food intolerances (gluten, caffeine, alcohol) and eczma.
     
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  5. Fungi

    Fungi Established Member

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    Thank you for the r ply. Oh dear. Seems like a non-starter.
     
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  6. Fungi

    Fungi Established Member

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    Thank you for your reply. It seemed like such a good theory.
     
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  7. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Beat me to it. If life threatening conditions can be passed down the line, and medical science is now better at saving those lives, then it seems highly possible it is at least a factor. I imagine asthma may be of higher prevalence today, simply because in times past many sufferers would have died young and never become parents. In a way increasingly successful medical science counteracts nature's very brutal natural selection mechanism, and needs factoring into discussions.
     
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  8. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I don't think this is enough to explain the dramatic increase in asthma and allergies in recent years. I suspect any increase in allergies or asthma due to better health care impacting the mechanisms of evolution would take a number of generations not just a few decades.

    Also it is an over simplification to say that polution is reduced, rather it has changed. I think but may have mis remembered, that there is some evidence that the types of air polution we now have in cities specifically is particularly effective in triggering asthma.

    Obviously there is still the issue of exposure or lack of exposure to bacteria and the dramatic increase in antibiotics, meaning that anyone in my generation or younger is likely to host a very different biodome compared with my parents generation or older. For example my parents first had contact with antibiotics as adults, whereas I already had had several courses as a child. Also in my lifetime there has been dramatic changes in diet, that also will effect the gut flora.
     
  9. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I'm the eldest in my family. Lots of allergies in my family, including me. Spent childhood outdoors a lot being active. Had lots of rounds of antibiotics off and on through childhood.

    Re our environment, we are dealing with many thousands more chemicals post WWII. Our parents and grandparents encountered many less man-made sustances than we have from childhood.

    I think I've read that allergies seem more common for pwME, but I would have to look into where I read this.

    Dr. Bruce Carruthers said IBS often precedes ME by many years, which would help confirm the dysbiosis factor.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
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  10. Hutan

    Hutan Moderator Staff Member

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    I agree. There's something or multiple things going on with environment and/or feeding practices

    How Different Parts of the World Provide New Insights Into Food Allergy (2018) Tham and Leung
     
  11. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That may well be true in some cases, but some cities like London in the 60s and I am sure industrial towns bad pea souper fogs that killed many with compromised breathing.
     
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  12. Peter Trewhitt

    Peter Trewhitt Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It is so difficult to evaluate these observations based on just clinic experience. Do they reflect chance that a particular physician just happens to see more with a specific feature than not, do they reflect the physicians unintentional/unconscious expectations or do they reflect the clinical reality? When doctors make such claims can they actually quantify them based on checking patient notes, or is it just a 'feeling'? That is not to say they may not be potentially useful hints at what to look at, but we can only be certain they are reliable with some attempt at objective surveying.

    If it is the case that abnormalities in the gut biodome precede or even predispose people towards ME, it would be possible theoretically to ultimately predict who is at risk of developing ME, potentially very interesting.

    However I would be surprised if every one that had ME had a preceding IBS, especially given not every one with ME has co-occurring IBS. [Also does IBS necessarily mean a disturbance in the gut flora?]

    Personally I would say my case history is not clear cut. I did have a single episode of IBS like symptoms lasting a number of weeks, perhaps a month or so, following salmonella poisoning, but it had resolved completely some ten years before the onset of my ME.
     
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  13. Mithriel

    Mithriel Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Becoming ill in 1968, outdoor life, active no IBS and stayed active and outdoors for years after. (I collapse suddenly rather than feel fatigued).

    I did have a series of infections at a young age. I had my tonsils out at 3 which was rare in those days and had problems with parotid glands which meant I missed a lot of my first terms at school and had daily penicillin injections then medicine for a year (ouch!).

    A lot of these theories miss the point that ME is not a new disease (only CFS began in the 80s though some researchers don't seem to realise that!) It may mean that challenges to the body are different now though and I think CF has increased.
     
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  14. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Any suggestion of a causal relationship based on this must surely be extremely tenuous?
     
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  15. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The thing with IBS is that many, many people suffer from it without ever developing ME.

    I had it throughout my life as did one other member of my family. They didn't get ME.

    Once I was diagnosed, I did a lot of work, exclusion diets etc. and got my IBS under control. As long as I eat simply and am careful, my gut is fine. It made no difference to my ME though.
     
  16. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I agree that there does seem to be an increase in allergies, but I would suggest that at least some of that increase will be down to better diagnosis and increased reporting.

    I have had low level allergies to all sorts all my life. Generally, it was ignored and if something I ate seemed to cause me bother it was just said to "disagree" with me so the advice was don't eat it or don't eat it so often. The word allergy was never used.

    Thanks to improved travel, email, social media and the internet we have more contact with a wider range of people and so are more aware.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2018
  17. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you @Barry for your question. Unfortunately, I don't have any further information on this. Probably was an observation of some sort of relationship, but not significant in a research sense.
     
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  18. DokaGirl

    DokaGirl Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you @Peter Trewhitt for your insightful comments about clinical situations.

    Perhaps pwME with IBS prior to ME form a subgroup. Before my gradual onset ME I had IBS for many years. This got much worse (painful) once I started to develop ME.
     
  19. Fungi

    Fungi Established Member

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    My son had stomach problems on some occasions when he was younger and later developed ME/CFS.
    I agree that there are multiple things going on. I also think pesticides might play a part which I have mentioned before. Look what they do to honey bees.
     
  20. Fungi

    Fungi Established Member

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    I wonder if it is a combination of factors such as abnormalities in gut biodome, some DNA linked to allergies/eczema/asthma and perhaps an additional complication like an inability to store sufficient amounts of vitamin D. In addition, if individuals are very driven individuals doing lots of different things spending long periods with high cortisol levels, this may result in adrenal fatigue resulting in reduced cortisol levels. If they then get a virus, their system is unable to cope and is tipped into systemic failure.
     

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