Why are Humans Even Allergic to Pollen? It Doesn’t Make Sense…
Sometimes on those high pollen allergy days, I’m suffering and wondering what the whole point of allergies is anyway. It isn’t serving any function to our health and well-being, so why does my body do it?
Am I just suffering for no reason?
The truth is that we actually pretty much are. Typically, the functions of your body have a particular purpose, but having strong immune reactions to some harmless material isn’t necessary to survival.
Your body’s immune system is actually just overreacting to pollen because it mistakenly believes that it is a deadly pathogen. There are many speculations why your body responds this way specifically to pollen in the air, but it just seems to be a biological mistake in evolution. Perhaps this is evidence that nature is not perfect.
What Causes Seasonal Allergies to Pollen?
Your body’s immune system is very similar to a mechanical type of sensory system that receives input from the surrounding environment and creates an adaptive response. The role of your immunity is to protect from the microscopic enemies at all costs. Your big guns and muscles can handle the ones that you can see outside of your body. Small invaders that can find their ways inside of your body include bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Your immune system just follows a code from your genes and DNA. I guess it makes mistakes sometimes and it can’t necessarily rewrite the script. It needs to constantly keep in check and recognize what is foreign or abnormal and separate that from what is actually normal. Therefore, sometimes it says “hey, that pollen looks like an invader so let’s attack.”
Antibodies are released to attempt to target inflammation at the site of the infection, but it’s actually just pollen. When you get a cold or the flu, your body typically responds the same way to the actual invader. That’s why allergies symptoms and flu symptoms are so similar.
Why Doesn’t the Immune System Heal if it Has Memory
After antibodies activate and capture a foreign invading protein in your body, it creates white blood cells to form a type of immunological memory. It’s technically called the Memory B cell. Vaccines work in this way as well. The vaccine exposes you to the dead, inactive form of the pathogen and your immune system learns its weakness for the future. With pollen, however, there is nothing to be learned about it because it wasn’t dangerous in the first place.
I guess your immune system just cannot find a way to defeat the invading pollen, so it keeps trying to collect information about it. But it’s strange how it never considers to stop attacking the pollen because it’s not a pathogen.
That’s because the level your body responds to allergens is on the extreme end of the spectrum of immune responses. Usually, acts by your immune system can be handled on smaller scales so you don’t even notice them throughout the day. But your body is going crazy over some seasonal pollen or the dust of a peanut.
What science knows about allergies is that antibodies can react to proteins that are non-threatening. This seems like just a waste of your body’s energy.
Did Allergies Evolve Like This in Nature?
It’s strange to think that allergies have evolved with animals up until this point when it only makes us more uncomfortable and less functional. Then again, it doesn’t seem like animals in the wilderness seem to be sneezing constantly. That’s part of the reason why I think that severe seasonal allergies aren’t natural. To an extreme degree like this, I feel like natural survival would be ridiculously hard.
Experiencing allergies is similar to suffering from an autoimmune disease. This is when your immune system actually attacks itself because it can’t recognize what is normal in your body.
It should also be noted that the prevalence of allergies appears to be the worst in wealthy and industrialized nations. Everybody knows about the hypothesis that we are getting too clean and hygienic, and that’s why our babies are supposedly having allergies. Maybe their immune system doesn’t have enough training with a better variety of pathogens in the environment?
Do We Need To Train Our Immune System Like Muscles?
Population research shows that allergies and asthma are lowest in prevalence in poorer, less developed countries. These places typically tend to lack more advanced sanitation systems that are found in more wealthy countries. Perhaps that means that poorer nations have more well-trained immune systems because they are more likely to be exposed to parasites and small pathogenic microbes from food, water and the environment. The people that live in villages and tribes with less technology are living most similarly to the way our ancestors have before we developed sanitation techniques that kill large varieties of microorganisms.
Some studies show that early immune system exposure to pathogens, microbes and parasites allows the body to develop the necessary internal regulations to keep it under control now and in the future. A newborn baby’s immune system is undeveloped and needs to be exposed to the typical types of pathogens its immune system is going to be exposed to.
Many mothers would rather have the perspective that they should protect their child from all types of potential pathogens and invaders. However, the most beneficial way to help a new person develop immunity is to allow them to deal with everything that they are faced with by themselves. I mean, this could apply to outside factors as well in regards to parenting. Some people think it’s good for children to let them get messy and play in the dirt every once in a while. The immune system is like a muscle or internal organ, it gets better with development and experience.
Some Factors of Health May Explain Allergies as a Condition to be Healed
Through my experience and research, it definitely seems like allergies are a type of health condition that can be healed based on several factors. This was the case for me. I simply had to find out what was causing my allergies in the first place.
One possible health problem that could be causing allergies is a parasitic infection. Infection by a parasite is very common, despite the level of advanced sanitation that we have. That’s because we can be infected by physical intestinal worms, whose eggs we consume through undercooked meat and under washed produce. Forgetting to wash fruits and vegetables properly seems to be the most common source of parasitic worm infection like ascaris and hookworm.
Many people are starting to notice a connotation between rope worm infection and allergies, as have I.
One more important health issue that should be considered is nutrient deficiency. It is very common for our generation to be nutrient deficient in a few minerals because our fertile soils are abused unnaturally. That leads us to be lacking in sulfur, silica and magnesium.
In particular, sulfur is important for our immune function and has so many roles in regulating allergic responses. Once I started taking sulfur as a supplement and with food, my allergies got significantly better. I didn’t even consider before that a mineral deficiency could be causing allergies from a lacking immune system.
Why Do Allergies Exist?
Of course, though, this was not meant to romanticize lack of sanitary systems in developed countries. Though rates of allergies are much higher in nations, sanitation helps protect us from legitimate deadly pathogens that are much more dangerous than allergies.
Perhaps our bodies just need balance. We need protection from deadly pathogens, but maybe we could just leave a little bit alive so we can get used to it? Just like with the concept of vaccines, a little bit of exposure could go a long way for the future. Our children can’t inherit our adaptations of our immune systems. Therefore, we should let them get naturally exposed to potential challenges from their environment.
Living close the edge seems like such a good long term investment!
Talk to you soon,