Interview with Nina Onsrud
What is an allergy and what sort of allergies are the most common amongst babies and children?
First of all I would like to explain the difference between a Allergy and a Food Intolerance
A true food allergy involve an immediate immune response to ingested food. True food allergies include allergic reaction to peanuts, three nuts, shellfish, soy and wheat.
Symptoms of an allergic reactions are:
•Shortness of breath
•Hypotension (dangerously low blood pressure)
Food Intolerance or food sensitivity is a slow negative reaction and is not caused by a immune response (more like a digestive system response), but is an adverse reaction to food in which the body mistakes the food for a harmful substance and tries to fight it This is also known as a delayed reaction and it can happen within 3- 4 hours up to 72 hours later!! This makes it very difficult to pinpoint what is making you ill. Generally, the severity of the symptoms in a food intolerance is proportional to the amount of the irritant food ingested. For example, individuals who suffer from dairy intolerance (i.e. lactose intolerance) will suffer more severe symptoms when ingesting larger amounts of dairy. If they eat only a tiny amount, they may not suffer any symptoms.
The major categories of food intolerance include :
•Dairy intolerance .Lactose (dairy) intolerance is the most common form of food intolerance, with estimates of affected adults ranging up to 75%,.
•Wheat (gluten intolerance)
What sort of allergy tests are available for babies and children to test for the above?
Two types of tests are utilized by allergy specialists:
•blood testing ( most probably the one used most frequently with children as it requires only one jab)
The skin test involves injection of a small amount of the suspected agent, in a sterile form, injected in between the skin layers. A positive test results in swelling at the injection site within one hour.
The blood test is used to detect immediate response levels to specific allergens.
Food intolerance, on the other hand, is best diagnosed using an elimination diet. The four potential offending food substances are listed above. After eliminating these foods, each is slowly reintroduced into the diet, one at a time, and the individual is monitored for a return of symptoms. This can help isolate the offending foods, which should then be permanently eliminated from the diet.
What sort of treatments for the above are available for babies and children?
There are three kinds of treatments available.
•Medications ( Antihistmamines)
•Allergy Shots a.k.a Immunotheraphy
Immuno- therapy involves the injections of allergen extracts to "desensitize" the person. Typically, the treatment begins with injections of a weak solution of allergen given one to five times a week, with the strength gradually increasing. When the maximum dose is reached, maintenance injections are given at increasing intervals until the patient receives injections only once a month. It may take up to six months or so to show results. It usually takes about three to four years for the patient to be free of symptoms.
Is there a permanent cure for allergies?
The only cure that I know of is NAET (Nambudripads Allergy Elimination Technique )
Are allergies hereditary or from environmental hazards?
We are exposed to tens of thousands of potential allergens every day and I do not think that genetics are the sole reason of allergies, I believe that there are several reason :
•Toxic environment , including our food that has been fouled with chemical, hormones, and antibiotics to a level that was unheard of 20 years ago is also a contributing factor.
•Deterioration of nutrient is another cause. Children, significantly more than adults have been lured into the seductive sump of fast foods. Without the right nutrients the body can not properly protect , detoxify and restore itself.
•And not to forget our housing – hermetic new built houses constructed with toxic building material.
What are the symptoms of food allergy in babies, at what age can they start to develop?
As early as in the womb. If women have had a difficult pregnancya nd the baby shows vigorous kicking, tossing and hiccups this can be a sign of a allergic/ intolerant child. Food intolerances are rarely harmful but may cause unpleasant symptoms, including nausea, bloating, wind, abdominal pain (colic in babies) diarrhoea and or constipation and sometimes vomiting. Symptoms such as behavioural problems can also be linked to food intolerance. The onset of allergic disease occurs mostly before the age of 4–5 years; after that, incidence decreases rapidly. In addition, the spectrum of symptoms changes with age.
•During early infancy, sensitization is produced predominantly against cow’s milk and chicken egg proteins.
•Sensitization to house dust mites, cat dander and other indoor allergens becomes more frequent at preschool and school age.
•Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) and sensitization to pollen allergies increases during school age and peaks in adolescence.
What are common allergens?
The most common food allergies are:
•Wheat, rye, oats and barley
•Nuts, including peanuts
•Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruit
•Cow's milk and its products
•Fish and shell fish
Can a very young baby be allergic to breast/formula milk? If so what can a parent do to address this?
Yes babies can definitely be allergic to breast milk, as we frequently see in babies with colic. An alternative to breast milk could be goats milk as it is also very close to mothers milk and it is easy on the stomach and digestive system. Soy milk is not such a good alternative as many babies seems to react to it. As for formulas one would have to try several and maybe try to avoid those that contain lactose. The other option is a technique that I use in NAET to desensitise the baby for the breast milk. Also I would recommend all breast feeding mum to stay away from all milk products, chocolate and coffee.
What can be done to reduce a baby’s susceptibility to food allergies?
Babies are not born with adult digestive systems and they cannot handle foods and will not digest them properly until their digestive systems have matured, at 4 to 6 months of age. Waiting until your baby is 6 months old to feed them solids will give them the best chance of actually being able to digest the food and reduce the risk of allergies. So if your child is at high risk of having food allergies, you should delay offering solids until he is at least six months old (and continue breastfeeding) and begin with an
•Iron fortified infant cereal.It is best to start with rice and oat cereals and introduce wheat cereals later.
•Next you can introduce vegetables, but avoid legumes (foods in the bean and pea family) at first, and then non-citrus fruits and fruit juices.
• Meat and protein foods can be added once your child is 8-9 months old
•Foods to avoid until your infant is at least a year old include cow's milk and other dairy products, citrusfruits and juices, and wheat.
•Also, avoid giving eggs until age two, and peanuts (as smooth peanut butter) and shellfish until your child is at least three years old. Whole peanuts and tree nuts should be avoided until your child is four because of the choke hazard.
Also I would like to recommend introducing new foods on the following schedule;
The 4-day wait rule
When you begin to feed your baby solids, you need to be sure that the food isn’t causing a reaction. Sometimes, it can take three or four days for a reaction to show up. Introduce one food at a time and then wait for four days before introducing another food. It is worthwhile keeping a food diary, noting which foods are introduced and when. This information may be very valuable later if your baby develops some kind of reaction which could be attributed to an infection or upset, or wind or whatever, though it may in fact be a food reaction. If you also note when particular problems start, you can quite often identify the offending food, exclude it from the baby’s diet, and have a healthy, happy baby. Once you determine what your child is allergic to, it is important to learn to read food labels because the food your child is allergic to may be an ingredient of many other foods.
When trying to determine what your child is allergic to, parents often incorrectly assume that if he has eaten a food before and not had problems, then he probably is not allergic to that food. They usually only suspect new foods as being able to cause a food allergy. However, it is important to keep in mind that it takes time for the immune system to build up a reaction against something that the body is allergic to. It may take days, weeks, months or even years to build up enough of a response to cause noticeable symptoms. So your child may be allergic to a food even if he has eaten it many times before without problems
Two for One: Treating Mums and babies
Also in NAET we have done several studies with pregnant women who are allergic, and we found that by treating them during pregnancy, we were also treating the baby at the same time. So when testing these newborns they show up as non allergic to anything that the mum had been treated for.
What are the main symptoms of airborne allergies?
The signs and symptoms of airborne allergies are familiar to many.
•Sneezing, often with a runny or clogged nose
•Coughing and postnasal drip
•Itching eyes, nose, and throat
•“Allergic shiners” (dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses)
•“Allergic salute” (in a child, persistent upward rubbing of the nose that causes a crease mark on the nose)
Will a baby grow out of a food allergy?
Some children seem to grow out of an Intolerance to food if it is completely avoided. In severe allergies like peanuts there is only a 20% chance that they will grow out of it.
Would you say there are more allergic children nowadays than in previous generations? Why do you think that is?
There are many hypothesis and I think it there are multiple factors
•Our lack of exposure to certain germs and bacteria.
•Excessive vaccination schedule. In the US, the recommended vaccination schedule was in 1983 a total of 10 , today the recommendation is 36 (in the Uk I believe it is 25), starting at a very early age. And lets not forget that some vaccines are grown in eggs, which can expose kids to egg allergens. (and this can lead to Asthma, Ezcema, etc)
•Exposure to processed foods, food dyes,preservatives and antibiotics in our food that our children are being exposed to at a much earlier age.
To sum up some facts about children :
•They have a faster metabolism, which uses up more oxygen; they therefore breathe more than adults and are more exposed to air pollution.
•In proportional terms, they eat and drink more than adults.
•Children are closer to the ground than adults so are more exposed to small particles (< 10 microns), which can therefore be inhaled deep in the alveoli of the lungs; this means that they are more vulnerable to the effects of pollutants adsorbed on those particles.
•Their activities often take place outside, so they are more subject than adults to outside pollution.
•Their tissue development and growth – over many years – makes them more vulnerable to the effects of xenobiotics with carcinogenic properties or other environmental toxin
What is your opinion on the current paranoia on nut allergies and that recently a school bus in America was evacuated due to a peanut being found on the floor? Are parents more aware of allergies these days or are we more paranoid?
I am currently treating a little boy of 5 years these days, and he has anaphylactic shock to peanuts. If he is close to someone that has touched peanuts ,and that someone touches him, that is enough to send him into anaphylactic shock in minutes and he will die. His parents also have to be very cautious to make sure that he avoids all peanuts, to the point that they have to have the make an announcement on the flight they are travelling on in order to refrain passengers from eating peanuts. And still there are some people who do not understand the seriousness of this allergy and disregard these instructions, potentially putting a five year old boys at risk. So my answer is , NO I do not think that it is a exaggeration,
What advice would you give a parent with a highly allergic child?
Keeping a food diary, to see if they can identify the foods that are triggering this reaction. To alternate foods and do not give your child the same food every day.
What services do you offer your clients?
With NAET, I can discover the food groups that are causing the stress on your child's health and one by one we can treat these groups, and the immune system gets stronger. These children regain their health, they have better appetites, better digestion, much less colds and they thrive in school as they have better attention.
How can people find you?
I can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 650053370 and you can e-mail me with any questions that you may have. I have offices in Barcelona and in Madrid
Can you tell us a little about the NAET organisation, of which you are a member
The NAET (Nambudripads Allergy Elimination Technique) method was discovered in 1983 by Dr. Devi Nambudripad (USA) after struggling for many years and being quite debilitated by food intolerances herself. As NAET started in the US, most of the practitioners are located there (10.000), and about 1200 practitioners in Europe. In the US, NAET is covered by most insurance companies.
What is N.A.E.T.? & how does it work?
Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques, also known as NAET®, are a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to eliminate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractics, nutrition, and kinesiologyl NAET® was discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad in November of 1983.
NAET® can successfully eliminate adverse reactions to egg, milk, peanuts, penicillin, aspirin, mushrooms, shellfish, latex, grass, ragweed, flowers, perfume, animal dander, make-up, chemicals, cigarette smoke, pathogens, heat, cold and other environmental agents. It may take several office visits to desensitize a severe allergen.
One allergen is treated at a time. If you are not severely immune deficient, you may need just one treatment to desensitize one allergen. Basic essential nutrients( food groups such as VitaminC, A, Minerals etc ), are treated during the first few visits. Chemicals, environmental allergens, vaccinations, immunizations, etc. are treated after completing these groups. NAET, which applies Chinese Medicine principles, through acupuncture, kinesiology and acupressure, is composed of two distinct modalities. The diagnostic method,is Muscle Response Testing (MRT), while the treatment component involves stimulating the spinal nerves via acupressure to re-imprint the brain's recognition of the allergen. When used with as with infants, a human acts as the intermediary between the physician and the patient. The surrogate extends one arm and places the other hand on the patient. Various substances contained in glass vials are placed on the patient by the surrogate. While the vial is held against the patient, the practitioner applies downward pressure against the surrogate's extended arm, meanwhile, the surrogate attempts to resist this pressure. If a sensitivity to a substance is detected, the arm will go weak and the surrogate will be unable to resist the pressure being applied. Once the sensitivities are identified, a quick, painless and non-invasive acupressure treatment through the surrogate is used to rebalance the infants nervous system response to the identified allergens Then the patient has to stay in contact with the item for which he is being treated for about 20 minutes, followed by a 25 hours avoidance diet for the food group that has been treated.
Comment from Alison Jones (Client of Nina)
Our journey with Nina began in August 2008. My son William is 5 years old with severe allergies to all nuts, soya, sesame and sunflower seeds, legumes (which include peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils). We found out when William was 2 years old when my friend gave William a salad which contained cashew nuts. One mouthful of salad and he was violently sick followed by severe swelling all over his body. We made a mad dash for the hospital where he was given adrenalin and observed until he was better. We then had him checked at an allergy clinic where they found out he was allergic to the food groups mentioned above. The hospital measured the IGE in the blood which determines the levels of allergy. William showed a level of 42 IGE on the cashew nut which is pretty high but the peanut showed over 300 IGE! This was scary news and would change our lives dramatically over the next 3 years.
There really was no answer for William except keep him away from all the food groups he was allergic to including traces of nuts and soya. This has been a nightmare at times and we have lived in fear when we travel, catch a plane (no nuts can be served as it can´t even be in the air as this could stop him from breathing), visit friends and family, birthday cakes at school etc, etc. Then we met Nina! I had never heard of a NAET practitioner. I was so open to alternative treatments so after a long chat about William I knew this was worth a try.
We are now 6 months into William´s treatment and I can honestly say it has been mind blowing. For the first time in William´s life he goes to the toilet properly producing perfect stools. He was intolerant to almost everything so after many treatments his body could now break down and utilise all food groups inc. protein, vitamins A, B, C, sugars, iron, minerals, salts, cereals, yeast etc. Sticking to the programme Nina advised was easy as we are used to avoiding certain foods and used to reading every label. The beauty of this treatment is that you only stick to a strict diet for 25 hours after each treatment which made the whole process relatively easy. Now we are slowly introducing soya and other foods to William with no reaction.
We are still continuing the nut treatment so will keep you posted as our plan is to give William a peanut in about one month. I never thought that I´d be able to say that let alone actually give William the one thing that in the past could have killed him in minutes. This will end our amazing journey with Nina and I will shout it from the rooftops once this has been achieved.
My 7 year old daughter has also been seeing Nina for her excema. It is very common that excema sufferers are allergic to vitamin A and protein. We have been very impressed with the progress so far with her also. I have learnt so much from this type of treatment with Nina and our lives are so much easier, healthier and safer. Thank you Nina for all she has done for us and I can´t recommend herhighly enough!