The Six Ds to Protect Yourself and the Planet


Allergy safety tips for you and the planet

August 18th, 2020

The Six Ds to Protect Yourself and the Planet

Allergens are a regular part of everyday life, and avoiding allergic reactions can seem like an impossible task, no matter how prepared you are. However, certain steps protect you, your loved ones, and the planet all at the same time.

In our new book, The End of Food Allergy, we provide six simple lifestyle changes that serve all of these purposes. We call them the Six Ds and hope you adopt these simple and harmless practices. While the evidence for these personal changes is still emergent, we believe they are worth a try because they impose no harm but could offer serious benefits.

1. Detergent

Researchers are continually seeking to understand how detergents affect the skin and whether they contribute to the formation of allergies because the skin is often linked with allergies. A variety of laundry detergents containing enzymes called proteases are particularly harmful to both the environment and your health.

Proteases break down protein molecules and remove stains. They are potentially unhealthy, may irritate the skin, and may cause dry skin and eczema. Additional findings show detergents can cause skin cells to break apart even in microscopic amounts and, thus, break down your barrier to the outside world.

Harsh detergents are also toxic to the environment. They generate algae blooms in freshwater that expend oxygen from the ecosystem, causing harm to plants and fish. They have chemicals that can weather the mucous layers on the skin of fish that guard them against parasites and disrupt their endocrine system, causing reproductive issues.

2. Dogs

While the research is ongoing, many scientists consider that our limited exposure to a diverse array of microbes naturally found in nature may be compromising our immune systems. We believe that owning a pet dog is the ideal tactic to invite nature into your home. The dirt they bring indoors after a walk outdoors and the mini-ecology in their fur may contain healthy bacteria that you may not be exposed to otherwise.

3. Diversity

We cannot reiterate enough the importance of eating a heavily plant-based diet consisting of a diversity of foods. There are numerous benefits to exposing ourselves to the comprehensive variety of edible plants emerging naturally in nature.

By exposing our bodies to more safe bacteria, we allow our immune systems to become more vigorous and healthy. As nutritional and allergy experts indicate, adopting a diverse diet is an effective way to boost immunity and nourish a healthy gut microbiome, which offers many positive health benefits.

4. Vitamin D

While there are contradictory findings, studies have found evidence of an association between vitamin D depletion and food allergy. The growing number of cases of food allergies can be attributed, at least in part, to the fact that modern lifestyles usually occur indoors with limited exposure to the sun.

The sun induces vitamin D production in our skin, but this process is deterred when we spend the majority of our time indoors. We recommend that you go outside and expose your skin to sunshine. Not only will doing this create happiness, it just may lower your food allergy risk.

5. Dryness

Dry skin can increase the probability of forming eczema, which increases your risk of food allergy. To prevent this occurrence, we suggest applying moisturizer to dry skin. However, please experiment with several moisturizers to identify which works best for you, being cognizant that not all moisturizers are the same.

Wax and petroleum-based products are less effective than lipid-based products for treating dryness and lowering allergy risk. If you have stubborn eczema, consider using steroid creams to decrease inflammation to possibly prevent allergies. Infants and children who use ceramide-based creams to maintain skin barrier protection seem to develop fewer food allergies.

6. Dirt

By spending less time outdoors and getting insufficient exposure to dirt, we may be jeopardizing our immune systems. While this is the premise surrounding the hygiene hypothesis and the old friends hypothesis, the evidence wavers, and we lack concrete proof that spending less time in nature is the cause of the rise in food allergy.

We’re not expressing that good hygiene practices, such as handwashing, should be disregarded. They save lives and ought to be followed. However, we’ve gathered enough data to conclude that the variety of microbes we encounter by spending time outdoors far exceeds those we encounter within our homes. This is critical because the health of the gut microbiome is tied to immunity.

The End of Food Allergy

Available Now

Our daughter’s world changed dramatically after Dr. Nadeau successfully treated her life‑threatening food allergy. If you suffer from food allergy, or have a loved one who does, this book is a must-read!

Nancy and Steve Carell

The End of Food Allergy…provides hope for treatments that may liberate many children and adults suffering from this epidemic. I am grateful…

Sheryl Sandberg

As a mother of children with a history of food allergy, I am grateful for the hope that this book gives families: that we no longer have to live their lives in fear of accidental exposure. Thank you for changing our world.

Priscilla Chan, MD

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