Allergy, General | August 25, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
We are constantly surrounded by chemicals in our environment such as petrol fumes, pesticides and cleaning products. Multiple chemical sensitivity is a chronic reaction to low levels of multiple chemicals which can be mild or severe. In a 2018 Australian study it revealed that 6.5% have been medically diagnosed Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and 18.9% report chemical sensitivity which involves being unusually sensitive to everyday chemicals and chemically formulated products. In MCS it is thought that the detoxification pathways in the body are impacted leading to a complex array of physical and emotional symptoms on exposure to chemicals that greatly impact a person’s quality of life.
There is uncertainty about the events and the underlying mechanisms that lead to symptoms in multiple chemical sensitivity. This uncertainty has hampered the development of a clinical basis for the diagnosis and treatment of individuals with MCS. Those with MCS often face situations where their symptoms may be poorly understood or misdiagnosed, and often not taken seriously.
Common symptoms experienced by people with multiple chemical sensitivity include:
The triggers can vary for each person but can involve:
Outdoor Air Pollutants: Including pesticides, solvent, fuel and paint vapours, combustion products, tar fumes, diesel and car exhaust and industrial air pollution.
Indoor Air Pollutants: This includes all Domestic and Workplace Chemicals such as combustion products from gas or oil-fired heaters, sponge rubber bedding, padding and upholstery, plastics, insecticides, perfumes, paints, deodorisers, cleaning agents, disinfectants, mothballs, newsprint and other printed materials, fabrics in clothing, bedding and window coverings, particleboard, carpeting and carpet padding. This can also include odours of virtually any description especially petrochemical odours but also natural odours from woods or cooking foods.
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Foods, Food additives and Contaminants: E.g. corn and corn sugar, pesticide residues, fumigants, fungicides, sulphur treatments, artificial colours, sweeteners, preservatives, ripening chemicals such as ethylene oxide, protective waxes and packaging materials.
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Water Contaminants and Additives: Often certain types of drinking water can cause symptoms when consumed.
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Drugs and Consumer Products: There’s a long list which includes aspirin, barbiturates, flavouring agents, preservatives, mineral oils, adhesive tape, cosmetics, perfumes, personal hygiene products, synthetic fabrics, felt tipped pens, polishes, cleaners and chlorinated swimming pools.
While a case definition of MCS has not been universally agreed, the 1999 Consensus Criteria is commonly used in research definitions of MCS and the following criteria has been cited in Australian surveys.
Most people with MCS can trace their symptoms back to a time when they had a major acute chemical exposure or chronic low-level chemical exposure.
The second stage is the sensitisation to a wider-range of unrelated chemicals.
Genetic links to MCS have been shown. People with allergies such as hay fever or asthma are more likely to be sensitive to chemicals.
Even genetic polymorphisms which involve antioxidant enzymes and detoxification pathways have been found to be significantly impaired in MCS.
The most effective way to reduce the symptoms of MCS is to avoid known chemical triggers. This involves creating a living space where toxic chemicals are minimised and avoiding where possible exposure to toxic chemicals. Below are some suggestions to follow.
During a session infrared waves penetrate the body to activate the sweat glands. Sweating is a natural process that allows the body to eliminate toxins. Infrared saunas warm the body in the same manner as natural sunlight and leave you feeling more invigorated compared to a traditional sauna that uses humidity and higher temperatures.
The liver transforms toxins and eliminates oxidative stress, both of which can break down your chemical tolerance. To do this, the liver produces a key antioxidant called glutathione. Glutathione detoxifies the body and defends against disease. Apart from supplementing with glutathione, research shows that cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and broccoli help to restore levels of glutathione, relieve oxidative stress, enhance detoxification.
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A good quality B complex is essential to support liver detoxification, healthy methylation, energy production and nervous system support. It’s a good idea to get a formula that contains activated versions of vitamin B6 and B12 and folic acid.
Magnesium deficiency is common in chemically sensitive individuals. As magnesium is involved in over 500 enzyme systems, its depletion can result in poor detoxifying ability. Substances that deplete magnesium are pollutants, alcohols, diuretics, steroids, glucose, phosphate depletion and pesticides.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that is important to chelate heavy metals in the body, support healthy immunity and mood and neutralise free radicals. It can also be taken with vitamin C to enhance antioxidant status.
Steinemann A. Prevalence and effects of multiple chemical sensitivities in Australia. Prev Med Rep. 2018 Mar 10;10:191-194.
Rossi S, Pitidis A. Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: Review of the State of the Art in Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Future Perspectives. J Occup Environ Med. 2018 Feb;60(2):138-146