Allergies & Inflammation

Posted on June 20th, 2013

This post was originally posted in Nutricula Magazine on June 20th, 2013

Things you should know but weren’t told

Al Plechner, DVM and Bob Berger, MS, MVSc, PhD


What is an allergy?

An allergy reaction, begins with a hormone-antibody imbalance that leads to an immune dysfunction. This, in turn, causes the patient, whether man or animal, to “over-react” to normal environmental inputs, including those initiated by specific foods.

Dr. Plechner: In 1906, a Viennese pediatrician, Clemens von Pirquet, coined the word, “allergy“, from the Ancient Greek word, “allos”, which means other, and “ergon”, meaning work. He found patients that reacted adversely to dust, pollens and foods.

Other allergens have also been identified such as certain medications, vaccines, insect bites, household cleaning agents, including sanitary sprays, cosmetics, and many types of soaps and lotions that are applied to the skin.

The list is much longer than just the few allergens listed above, but the main problem is they can all elicit an abnormal response in an allergy patient, whether he or she be human or animal.

The health care professionals that deal with allergies will routinely make suggestions about things to avoid so that allergic patients don’t expose themselves to things their systems may not be able to tolerate, particularly things like pollens, etc. However when patients move to different regions of the country, for instance, these suggestions may not apply.

Most of today’s physicians and veterinarians who deal with allergy patients are interested in testing a patient to find out what allergens he or she has developed sensitivities to.

Medically, there are different methods to identify these allergenic agents.

Skin testing (intradermal testing), is one method of testing. Here, a small amount of a specific allergen (antigen) is administered into the skin of the patient and the size of the reaction may determine the amount of sensitivity that the patient has to that particular allergen.

Once these allergens are identified in a patient, a specific serum is produced that is administered with an injection containing a subliminal or attenuated amount of the offending allergen or allergens done on at a specific time on a specific time table. These injections are designed to produce blocking or neutralizing antibodies for the patient, so that when the patient is exposed to that specific environmental allergen, they will not adversely react to it.

Hopefully this will work for you and/or your pet. But, what is going to stop you or your pet from developing future allergies when a new, allergic exposure occurs? There are definitely no guarantees that this won’t happen.

Another method often used is skin and serum testing for food allergens. The main problem with these tests is that they often do not reflect the true altered allergen that is ingested, and frequently is the actual cause of the allergic reaction itself. A typical example of this may relate to the egg white allergen. Here, a small quantity of egg white can be injected into a lab animal. After the laboratory animal has had time to produce anti-egg white antibodies, a specific amount of serum is harvested from that animal. The next step is to place a drop of that serum in a “depression” of a specific material, in an electrical field, across from a drop of the serum from taken from the patient. If there is migration between the two types of serum, a diagnosis of food allergy is confirmed.

But what if you or your pet is allergic to egg white and the test is negative?

What may not have been realized is that, when a food allergen is ingested, a partial protein called a hapten may join that food and may cause the allergic reaction. In this instance, because this is a modified food allergen, this was not the allergen that was injected into the laboratory animal, and the anti-antibody created was not to the original, specific allergen.

Many years ago, Dr. Jeff Chung and I developed a very accurate Cytotoxic Food test to identify food allergens in dogs and cats. The procedure called for the application of 40 different food allergens to a warm, glass slide. Here, the patient’s blood was then taken, centrifuged, and the top layer of white blood cells (specified as the “buffy coat“), was removed and diluted slightly. Then, one drop of the diluted white blood cell solution was dropped on top of all 40 food allergen samples. If the patient was allergic to any of these food allergens, the cytoplasm of their white blood cells would develop vacuoles which appeared as air bubbles-thus, coining the term, “cytotoxic“. This was a very specific and accurate test used to identify food allergies in dogs and cats. (I do recall one male Doberman that was horribly allergic to tomatoes. Upon dropping his white cells onto the plate that contained tomato, his white blood cells literally disintegrated.)

Even though the test was very accurate and very diagnostic, the FDA decided that the test should not be done in people and animals until they said it was “OK” to do so.

So what are the recognizable signs or symptoms of an allergic reaction in a person or in an animal?

They can vary from sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, sinusitis, coughing, post nasal drip, airway constriction (causing asthma), itchy feet, ears and skin, hives, vomiting, diarrhea, gas, bloating, renal disease and epileptic seizures.I am sure there are more types of allergic reactions that occur, but for the sake of this article, this should be enough.

Although we have discussed the signs and symptoms which may be the effects of a patient reacting to allergens, as well as discussed the present day treatment with desensitization, did you ever think that there may be an actual cause why allergies occur in the first place?

The health care professionals (for both people and animals), are merely trying to identify the medical effects, while the pharmaceutical companies are trying to provide pharmaceuticals to treat those effects.

I have found a syndrome blood test that identifies the cause of not only allergies, but also auto-immunities and cancer.

It seems to me that it would be better to also identify the cause of any diseases, while you are treating their effects.

I know you are all familiar with pharmaceutical products that contain steroids which help with allergic reactions, including the acute allergic reactions which are due to inhalant allergies, asthma, and all those other types of allergies people and their pets may demonstrate. Although it is presently believed by most health care professionals that even though steroids have great, short-term effects, they cannot be used long-term in order to avoid many of their side effects and secondary metabolic issues.

Unfortunately, the “thought mentality” of traditional human and veterinary medicine, because most clinicians don’t truly know how to safely use and and/or prescribe a cortisol replacement for long term use without causing further health problems, is usually a crap shoot.

For further information read The Safe Uses of Cortisone by William Jefferies, Oct. 1981.

Dr. Berger: Why allergies, chronic itching, scratching and inflammation can be potentially harmful to our overall health…

One subject that is generally overlooked by most folks is the allergic itch itself…what exactly is it? We know what an allergy is, but what causes the itching that frequently precedes/proceeds an allergic response or reaction?

The exact elicitation of the itch sensation is produced by free nerve endings that are almost exclusively located in the superficial layers of the skin, and the excitation of the itch receptors initiates the scratch reflex1.

Itch sensations are transmitted by small, unmyelinated nerve fibers which are separate from pain fibers, which are usually myelinated and more centrally controlled; i.e., via the central nervous system or CNS. The itch sensation transmission is directed by unmyelinated fibers whose nerve endings are excited by light mechanoreceptive stimuli, unlike those of pain fibers that are chemoreceptive by nature1. Finally, the relief of the itch by the scratching process occurs when the itch-provoking culprit is removed, or when the scratch is strong enough to elicit pain; the pain signals suppress, (by overriding), the weaker itch signal1.

The Allergy-Itch Reaction…the “Itch-Scratch Cascade”

The problem with itching and the scratch reaction in both people and animals alike, (whether the culprit is from a benign source such as an insect bite or a seasonal allergen, or due to a more serious, (and frequently hidden), condition, such as an autoimmune or organic disease), is that if the itch can’t be eliminated, reduced, or at least adequately controlled, the scratch response will inevitably continue. This is a problem in itself, but the true potential harm of this is the action of continued, long-term scratching.

A sustained, continued scratch response can cause extreme local and/or systemic damage, especially to the skin of an already irritated or inflamed area; this can, in itself, provoke more itching, scratching, and additional skin damage, causing an “itch-scratch cascade”.

The extent of damage, as well as the type of damage, is dependent upon a number of factors, which include; the site of injury, the age of the person or animal, the genetics and/or breed, (of the animal in this case), the overall health of the person or animal, (i.e., whether or not a pre-existing disease or immune-compromised condition is present), as well as a plethora of environmental variables and living conditions. Yet, regardless of the cause, an itch and its counteraction, “the scratch”, and the ability or inability to safely eliminate, reduce, or at least control this viscous cycle-like cascade, may be a harbinger for significantly greater and more serious health issues.

What is really going on…

Both mast cells (resident cells of tissues that contain histamine and heparin), and basophils (a type of white blood cell that appears in many kinds of inflammatory reactions, particularly those which cause allergies, which contains heparin and histamine), release histamine during inflammation, or during itching, and both of these cells play an integral role in many types of allergic reactions. This occurs because a specific antibody-antigen coupling which causes symptoms of the allergic response has a propensity to exhibit this type of reaction on the surface of both mast cells and basophils.

When the specific antigen subsequently reacts with the antibody, the resulting antigen-antibody attachment, (ag-ab), signals the mast cells and/or the basophils to rupture and release large quantities of histamine, along with heparin, bradykinin, serotonin, and a number of lysosomal enzymes, which in turn, causes local vascular and tissue reactions. This cascade of physiochemical events causes the allergic manifestations, which specifically include itching followed by the scratch “pseudo-reflex”.

Chronic, or even severe acute scratching, over time can lead to both local and systemic inflammation, which in turn, will can subsequently cause the compromise, weakening , and even autoimmunity (of the immune system).

The Bottom Line…

In light of all of this, there is a clearly positive correlation between the physiochemical and molecular mechanisms of what overtly appears to be a benign itch sensation and its scratch response, and a significantly more serious cascade of cellular events, which may very well predispose us, our family, and our pets to molecular disarray, dysplasia, immune suppression, and/or hyper-stimulation. These types of events have the potential to lead to autoimmune conditions and diseases, and even neoplasm, (i.e., cancer).

Dr. Plechner: Why not measure cortisol to identify a cortisol imbalance in a patient?

Do you realize that you and your pet produce 30-35 units of natural cortisol every day of your lives if you and your pet are to remain healthy? Do you think that maybe the medical profession for many years, has unwittingly funded a cortisol imbalance that they have no idea existed? The time has come, to realize there is an identifiable cause for allergy, auto-immunity and cancer.

I have found a testable, treatable syndrome that can be simply identified with a blood test, if handled and refrigerated correctly.

This syndrome identifies a cortisol deficiency or a cortisol imbalance that allows for the production of elevated, adrenal estrogen that binds the thyroid receptor sites even when the amount of thyroid hormone production is normal.

For more information, please go to and read the article entitled Metabolic Hypothyroidism.

The elevated adrenal estrogen also deregulates the immune system so that their immune cells no longer protect the body against virus, bacteria, fungi, mold etc, but allows these deregulated immune cells also lose recognition of self tissue, and make antibodies to red cells, white blood cells, muscle tissue etc. and also allow for uncontrolled tissue growth (cancer).

Antibody production by the B-cell also is decreased, causing among other problems, an inability of the patient to absorb orally.

That is why many medications given to decrease the effects of an allergy do not work because they were never absorbed by the patient because of this imbalance.

For further information regarding allergies and this simple blood test, please go to and



1Guyton, A.C., Textbook of Medical Physiology, 6thed.,Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders Co., 1981.