By Henry Ehrlich
Anyone who is interested in how allergies work and how the immune system may be “fixed” should check out a Q&A with Dr. Xiu-Min Li by blogger Denise Zaitoon “The Healing Hacker.” I had the distinct privilege of working with Ms. Zaitoon and Dr. Li to bring this long, detailed, and lively conversation to fruition and in my opinion it was worth the trouble. Among the highlights:
• Insight into the functioning of the B memory cells, which account for the persistence of allergies even in the absence of new exposure.
• Which herbs inhibit IgE production in Dr. Li’s food allergy formula.
• How T-helper cells switch from producing allergic and non-allergic antibodies.
• Epigenetics and the possibility of reducing allergic tendencies in children.
HH: Why do allergic individuals have this [allergic tendency]? Are they missing some key windows of immune education? Are they missing nutrients? Is there toxicity? I understand that the herbs are working on the cellular level, but why – why does it exist at all? I don’t know if you know the answer to this…
Dr. Li: (Laughs) – Some kids have asked me why do we need allergy. We are not absolutely certain yet. But you can summarize it as several things – perhaps it’s a single factor or combination but it has to do with exposure to microbials. There is a short window when the fetus is in the mom’s uterus when the immune system is skewed towards Th2 – but then after birth they need to gain quickly and switch to Th1 dominance through exposure to the microbials. So microbials or a type of microbial exposure is a major factor……
Also, thanks to Denise for her very kind review of my book about Dr. Li’s work.