by Barry Smeltzer, PA-C
For many local residents, November marks the beginning of the dreaded fall and winter allergy season. With the high ragweed, assorted pollens, mold, mountain cedar, elm and a whole host of other allergenic weeds, grasses and trees, many of you are already suffering and seeking relief.
In addition to airborne irritants, there’s a growing epidemic of food allergies, which have increased dramatically in recent decades. There are many theories about the rise in food allergies, including the increase in chemically altered and genetically modified foods in our food supply. The bottom line is more people than ever are suffering from some form of airborne or food allergy.
The main treatments for allergies has been to focus on the symptoms (antihistamines, decongestants, etc.) or treat with high-dose allergy immunotherapy that is typically prescribed after seeing an allergist and undergoing skin prick testing. Highdose allergy therapy is limited because it can only treat for the allergens that are part of the skin prick testing
There is a new, cutting-edge treatment available – lowdose antigen immunotherapy (LDA) – that is far different than other allergy treatment options. LDA was developed by W.A. Shrader Jr. MD, FAAEM and is patterned after enzyme potentiated desensitization (EPD), developed by Leonard M. McEwen, in England in the mid 1960s. The method of desensitization involves combinations of a wide variety of extremely low dose allergens (1 part in 10 million to 1 part in 1 quadrillion). These allergens are given with the enzyme beta-glucuronidase, which acts as a lymphokine and boosts the immunizing ability of the allergens. LDA acts by specifically inducing the production of activated T-regulator (Treg) cells (also known as T-suppressor cells) that can live in the body for many years. (1)
LDA does not require specific allergy testing prior to treatment, which eliminates the need for skin prick testing. Because the dose is so low (10,000 times less than one dose of high-dose allergen treatment) there can be multiple allergens per dose. LDA mixtures include 1) airborne allergens (inhaled pollen/weed/tree allergens, animal dander, dust and mites, insects, fungi, yeast including Candida species, and molds), 2) food and food additive allergens (more than 200 foods) and 3) chemical allergens (most common chemicals and scents, formaldehyde, and detergents). All in all, there are more than 600 different allergens addressed with each treatment of LDA.
LDA is given as an intradermal injection (0.05mg), just under the skin of the forearm or leg. It is only given once every 2 months, as opposed to once or twice a week with high dose allergen therapy.
One potential downside is the need to follow a strict diet the day before, the day of and the day after a treatment. Another is the need to avoid a number of medications (such as antihistamines and aspirin) while receiving treatment or the effect of the LDA can be significantly reduced or destroyed.
For many those downsides may pale in comparison to the potential relief from a wide variety of allergens. In addition, the treatment can also help a variety of disorders that are not generally associated with allergies such as migraine headaches, ADHD, Tourete’s and Raynaud’s syndromes, and more. (1)
For more information on LDA and the research done on LDA and EPD, they are available at www.drshrader.com. You can also look up practitioners who offer LDA treatments in their practices.
(1) Shrader W.A. Low Dose Allergen Immunotherapy (LDA): The Allergy Treatment of the Future – Here Now (2012) Townsend Letter April online edition.
Barry Smeltzer MPAS, PA-C is the owner of Healing Provisions, a family-friendly holistic medical practice located in the Stone Oak area. He specializes in Biomedical and Environmental Medicine interventions to help the body heal itself. For more information about Smeltzer and his practice, visit www.healingprovisions.net or call 830-446-2314.