Hopefully spring will come soon after a long winter. He is eagerly awaited by many, but more and more Germans are looking forward to the warm season with horror. They suffer from a pollen allergy, which spoils them with streaming eyes, constant sneezing and running nose the beautiful weather. Every third German citizen is already affected by allergies and often starts in early childhood.
Relocation of the allergy
Most of the time it is certain foods that "disturb" the baby's immune system. Later, the body then reacts, as with hay fever, to certain allergenic substances in the air. In children one speaks in such cases of a veritable allergy career.
And always the Damocles sword of a so-called level change hovers over the affected person. Thus, allergists refer to a shift of allergy from the upper airways, so nose and throat, to the lungs. Specifically, this means asthma.
Allergies are increasing - why only?
Why the susceptibility to allergies increases so rapidly especially in the industrialized nations, one still does not know exactly. The assumption that it could be due to an excessively polluted environment does not seem to be confirmed. In the former GDR, the air was demonstrably more contaminated than in the West, yet allergies, such as asthma, occurred much less often in the East than in Germany. It was only after the fall of the Wall that the situation became balanced: air pollution in the East decreased, but allergies increased.
Allergy experts, such as the Mainz Professor Rudolf Schopf, think it more likely, however, that a lack of the trace element zinc could at least be responsible for the misery. More than half of all people are suffering from zinc deficiency, according to a specialist congress in Sweden.
"More than 300 different metabolic processes in our body can not function properly without zinc, " explains Schopf. Zinc also has direct antiallergic properties, as it stabilizes certain immune cells that play an important role in the development of allergy, Schopf continues.
Zinc deficiency and hay fever
Zinc is mainly absorbed through the diet. The best suppliers of zinc are meat, poultry, milk, eggs and some legumes. But these are foods that allergy sufferers often have to avoid. So they absorb too little zinc. In addition, after BSE and foot-and-mouth disease, meat is becoming increasingly rare on many other people who are not yet affected by an allergy. The risk of zinc deficiency is therefore greater here.
To prevent a zinc deficiency, zinc-containing drugs from the pharmacy could be an alternative. However, Professor Schopf points to studies that prove that the composition of zinc medications is important here, as there may be differences in efficacy.
"Coupled with the body's own amino acid histidine, zinc is absorbed much faster by the body than conventional zinc compounds, and histidine also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which means that it is able to absorb and neutralize the" free radicals "produced during allergic reactions and histidine complement each other extremely useful in their cell-protecting properties. "
Although the connection between zinc deficiency and hay fever has been known for years, the increased demand for zinc in hay fever patients and other allergic patients is still not receiving the necessary attention, complains Professor Schopf.
It would not be possible to completely eliminate a hay fever that has broken out even with zinc, but at least the symptoms could be significantly improved. For many allergy sufferers, that alone would be a great help.
The improved zinc supply should be considered as an additional measure. On the actual basic therapy of allergy should therefore be avoided in any case.
It should also be noted that a permanently excessive zinc intake can also have negative health consequences. According to a recommendation of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), in the event of inadequate dietary zinc intake, a maximum of 6.5 milligrams of zinc per day should be absorbed through dietary supplements.