Allergies vs. Intolerance and Other Subtleties

There's a distinct difference between allergies and intolerance. A food allergy involves our immune system, whereby antibodies are produced, whereas food intolerance is different. Food intolerance affects around 30% of adults. One of the most common examples of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose. Only 70% of people have it! This is in no way considered an allergy if you can't break down lactose.

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Salicylates refers to how the body builds up something until a certain concentration, and then only does the body start reacting on small amounts from then on. An analogy could be something like how a bucket gets filled up with water first and only when it's full that it starts to overflow and cause an effect from then on. Nevertheless, this is just an intolerance, as no antibodies are involved! This could be like a reaction to sulfites (preservatives) in wine.

An interesting fact: people who are allergic to fish are not necessarily allergic to shellfish, and vice versa!

Allergies usually involve proteins. Common symptoms are indigestion, puffiness, discoloration, and swelling. Stay tuned! More on this to come! :)

Hypotheses and Experimentations

So as some of you may know, there has been lots of hypotheses, theories, and testing going on around the topic of allergies.

Some say that early vitamins lead to allergies. We're not too sure about that. It could very well be cause and effect or just a link. More research on this still needs to be done.

Then there's the hygiene hypothesis theory. It goes that there has been an increase in allergies because we're just too clean.

There has been a study, where 2800 school children in Ecuador showed that allergies were less with people injected with worms. The point of this was that the body would be busy dealing with the worms.

Other studies include children who attend daycare tend to be less likely to develop leukemia or Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Dairy farmers have been shown to be about five times less likely to develop lung cancer. The theory here is that they breathe manure dust containing bacteria.

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Finally, one more study has seemed to show that cotton factory workers have lower rates of some cancers, including lung. The reason came up here was that the endotoxins tend to rev up the immune system.

Allergies Overview - Continued

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Dust mites live everywhere. Protein in dust mite poop can cause allergies.

There's a thing called "total allergy syndrome" where such people who have this,  seem to be allergic to pretty much everything. However, there seems to be controversy as to whether the suffering is from a psychological context or not...something like a fear of chemicals everywhere.

There's also food allergies. Around 4% of adults have it.

Always remember that you must have previous exposure, because the body reacts by producing these antibodies. However, the body produces antibodies to substances that are not harmful, then during the subsequent times, the antibodies will appear on something.

Gelatin can be used as stabilizers in vaccines. Royal jelly can be contaminated with pollen. Such instances can easily lead to allergic reactions.

A sign that allergies are increasing are from the doubling of asthma rates since the year 1980.

Another thing to note is that as our population increases, the introduction of an array of substances in life becomes wider. Around 80,000 chemicals since the 1940s have been introduced!


An allergy is any adverse reaction to substances that are normally harmless where IgE (antibodies) are involved. Around 10-20% of our population suffers from allergies. In terms of anaphylaxis, this refers to a rapidly progressing, life threatening allergic reaction, whereas atopy/atopic refers to the genetic tendency to develop the classic allergic diseases - for example atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), asthma, food allergies, etc.

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Hay fever, which does not refer to being allergic to hay, but rather being allergic to the pollen of ragweed in most cases. Hay fever may progress to asthma in up to 50% of people. Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, and tearing of your eyes.

Proteins in dead skin cells of animals can be a source of allergies too. Black cats are more allergenic than white cats apparently. Do keep in mind that cats can also bring around pollen and other things along with it! It tends to be the case that the longer the hair or fur, the more there is of the spreading of the dead skin cells.

Sport Stacking - Conclusion

This ability to bestow intrinsic value upon extrinsically useless activities was what gave rise to the notion of sports in the first place. Perhaps someone found a coconut and thought it might be fun to kick it around, then other people joined in and some rules were made up so everyone knew how to play, and so the new game could be taught easily. The Greek city states decided it would help relations with one another to hold a series of competitive events, and thus the Olympics, the most famous and prestigious sporting event of all time, was born. Not because it was productive for mankind, but because mankind decided it would be productive.

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When you think about it, kicking a ball around a field, throwing a ball into a suspended hoop, or striking a ball with a long stick in an effort to get it into a tiny hole in the ground are all ideas no more or less absurd than anything else we've come up with. Sport stacking seems strange at first, but it’s popular enough to boast its own world record, as well as some dexterously talented young competitors. Their collective involvement in this exhibition of a pointless skill has evolved it into a sport in its own right, giving it the intrinsic value we humans are so good at creating!

Sport Stacking - More Thoughts

I gave it some more thought. Humans participate in an array of activities that are inherently valuable. Eating, for example, is valuable because it provides our body with the fuel it needs to continue functioning. But we are also inclined to engage in many more activities that have no significant extrinsic value. The reason we acknowledge that these activities have value is because a group of people decided that it did. We bestowed intrinsic value on literally thousands of pointless activities.

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Artists make art, but it isn't because their creations have a point. Artists create because, thousands of generations ago, our ancestors climbed down from the trees and decided that drawing on the rough stone walls of the caves where they dwelt was a productive use of their time. They took a useless activity and gave it usefulness and meaning, and that meaning went on to inspire new generations of artists. Humans would begin to experiment with new ways to make art, new surfaces upon which to draw, and each new artist would add something to the collective value of art as a whole.