Originally published November 15 2007
Japanese Plant Prevents Seasonal Allergies and Rhinitis
by Patty Donovan
(NaturalNews) So many people suffer from allergies to pollens and foods. You step outside on a beautiful day to stop and smell the roses and next thing you know, you are sneezing uncontrollably, eyes are itchy and watery and you run inside to take Claritin or Benadryl. Wouldn't it be nice to just take a particular fiber supplement and make this scenario a thing of the past? In the search for natural food remedies, this study indicates that help may be as close as a box of Japanese noodles made from the root of the Konjac plant. Earlier studies have already suggested this may be helpful in treating metabolic disorders such as diabetes and hypercholesteremia, obesity and high blood pressure. The active ingredient is glucomannan, the Western name for the vegetable fiber derived from the tuberous root of the Konjac plant. Studies are now looking at glucomannan to alleviate the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and other IgE mediated allergic responses.
The current study focuses on a beneficial immunomodulatory effect of glucomannan. In a special strain of mice, bred to be susceptible to atopic dermatitis, it was noted that feeding these mice pulverized low-viscosity Konjac glucomannan (PKGM) prevented the development of eczematous lesions and hyper IgE production. More recently, it was discovered that in these same mice that not only was development of atopic dermatitis inhibited but that local overproduction of substance P and proinflammatory cytokines were also impaired. These finding indicate that dietary intake of PKGM may benefit allergies although the mechanism is not yet understood. IgE is the villain responsible for most true allergic reactions. It is one of a multitude of immunoglobulins produced by the body as part of your immune system. Allergies occur when your immune system gets confused between something harmless and something toxic and goes into overdrive to protect your body from something it doesn't need protection from.
The current study involved BALB-c mice (inbred to be immunocompromised). These mice were fed either a standard diet (control) or a KGM diet for 8 weeks in a controlled, pathogen free environment. The mice were immunized twice with Ova albumin (OVA), then 2 weeks after the second immunization were challenged with intranasal administration of OVA and the number of sneezes in 5 minutes recorded. After the 8th intranasal challenge, the mice on the standard diet reacted with significant sneezing worsening through the 11th challenge, while sneezing in the group receiving KGM was markedly inhibited.
Twelve hours after the 11th (last) OVA challenge, blood samples were drawn from all mice and the mice receiving the PKGM diet showed a significant inhibition of IgE, while there was no difference in IgG1 and IgG2 levels between the 2 groups. These studies showed that there was an unmistakable beneficial effect on reduction of IgE allergy symptoms. PKGM allows for the proliferation in the gut of bifidobacteria which has been shown to be decreased in cecal and fecal samples of allergic individuals. Pulverized KGM was more effective than KGM possibly because its small particle size was easier for the bacteria to break down. Besides this prebiotic activity, there is the possibility that KGM has a direct effect on the gut immune system.
About the authorPatty Donovan was in a wheelchair and could only walk around her house with a cane. She was on over 20 medications. When told to "take the morphine, get in the wheelchair and learn to live with it" by a neurosurgeon, she knew her life had to change. She is now almost a fanatic when it comes to healing through the use of "whole foods" and and natural remedies. Since that time, she has spent countless hours researching nutrtion and alternative health. After spending 30 years in the allopathic health care industry in both pharmacy and as an RN, she brings a unique perspective to Natural News readers. Since committing to this new life style, she no longer uses even a cane, has gotten off over 20 medications, lost over 50lbs and returned to work.
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