Allergies have health benefits. I hope this will make you feel better if you have been suffering from allergies for a while. Is the suffering worth the benefit? You will have to figure this out for yourself.
Here is the benefit.
In the last 20 years, scientists have been studying the relationship between common allergies (allergic rhinitis) and the prevalence of cancers. They found allergies are inversely associated with some cancer, such as lung, colon, and pancreatic cancer. That means one is less likely to have those cancers if he/she has allergies. The percentage rate of protection for an individual is usually in the single digits.
For example, about 5% of pancreatic cancer would be preventable if those patients had allergies. Should you strive to have allergies so that you can reduce your odds of having pancreatic cancer from 12/100,000 to 11.4/100,000? What about considering the many other cancers that exist? Unfortunately, I do not have complete data to suggest what’s best for each of us.
As I recall the suffering I endured from my allergies several years ago, I prefer not to use allergies to protect me. Fortunately, allergies are not the natural guardian of cancers. The fever from an infection is. More precisely, the super active immune system stimulated by an infection may clear mutated cells in our body and reduce the odds of cancers.
The alternate choice for cancer prevention
A recent study on cancer prevention confirmed that flu, especially one with a fever, can reduce the prevalence of cancer. In that study, researchers compared the history of 229 patients of laryngeal cancer to that of 769 healthy people. They found allergies provided slight protection against laryngeal cancer. Flu has better protection. After considering fever (≥38.5 °C) as a criterion for influenza infection, the inverse association between influenza infection and laryngeal cancer was twice as strong.
This observation is consistent with another puzzle of fever and the miracle of cancer remission. I have written a blog about it. Please read the article here. Scientists did not know how fevers lead to cancer prevention or cures until very recently.
Now, we know why influenza infection can reduce cancer prevalence. My study that lead to the invention of AllerPops revealed the way our immune system works with pathogens and normal microbiota that are associated with human beings.
Briefly, our immune system is a mechanism like a car with an accelerator to speed it up and brakes to slow it down. Pathogens act as an accelerator, stimulating the immune system so it can protect us from infectious diseases. Probiotics (friendly bacteria) act as brakes, slowing it down when there is no infection.
Influenza infection activates the immune system and presses the accelerator down. The fever inhibits the probiotics and releases the brake of the immune system. Thus, flu with fever speeds up the immune system which leads to better cancer prevention.
Here are our choices.
We do not have to suffer from allergies to receive the possible benefit of cancer prevention. An infection can actually do a superior job. My preference is to live with the flu every several years in order to build up my immune system. This is part of the reason why I do not take the flu vaccine.
Which one will you choose: allergies for years or the flu for several days without killing the fever?