With Spring upon us, treating and preventing those irritating allergic symptoms now can be a game changer!
So kids….does your dog send you into a sneezing frenzy? Do your favourite foods leave you bloated, headachy or irritable? Or do pollens and certain grasses leave your skin desperately itchy? If anyone answered yes to any of these, put your hand up, alongside the millions of people living with allergic conditions such as hay fever, asthma, food allergies and eczema.
So why does your body react this way? Essentially, your body believes that these otherwise harmless substances (animal hair, foods and grasses) are threatening. Hence, when it comes into contact with these substances, known as allergens, your immune system releases large amounts of the chemical histamine. Histamine’s job is to get an allergen out of your body by any means necessary. Some of the ways histamine does this job is by producing redness and inflammation, a running nose, itchy eyes, constricted airways, bloating and diarrhoea; manifestations of allergic disease.
Allergies are Like Onions, They Have Layers
Current approaches to allergy management centre on both allergen avoidance and reducing histamine (e.g. antihistamine medication). But why does your body think these substances are harmful and mount this response against them in the first place? Several contributing factors lead your body’s immune system to respond this way, including:
- Inflammation within your digestive tract (where the majority of your immune system is found).
- Damage to the lining of your digestive tract commonly known as ‘leaky gut’, allowing small particles (undigested food, bacteria and/or toxins) to pass through to the blood stream causing inflammation in other areas of the body).
- Low levels of good bacteria and/or an overgrowth of bad bacteria within your intestine that interferes with your body’s immune response.
Addressing the Roots of Reactivity
Truly holistic allergy management encompasses symptomatic relief while also retraining the body’s immune system to tolerate ‘threatening’ allergens. One way you can achieve this is by following treatment that reduces allergy and reactivity as guided by your Naturopath. This incorporates carefully selected herbs and nutrients combined with tailored diet and lifestyle recommendations; to help repair your gut, improve your ability to tolerate allergens, and reduce your reactive symptoms.
The Ingredients That Reduce Reactivity
A number of herbs and nutrients can help you manage your symptoms of allergy and reactivity; by helping to restore balance to your immune system:
A prescribed combination of herbs that has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory actions – key to providing you with symptomatic relief.
Quercetin and Bromelains: These potent antioxidant nutrients help retrain your immune system, minimise respiratory congestion, and reduce mucus production.
Avoid processed sugar and processed fats: excess calories from these sources are stored as fat, especially around your waistline. They also encourage dysbiosis within your digestive tract.
Reishi and Shiitake: Medicinal mushrooms support healthy immune system function and neutralise allergens, along with reducing wheeze and excess mucus production.
A Tolerable Diet
Following a prescribed diet in conjunction with specialised supplementation greatly assists in reducing symptoms and building tolerance to allergens.
While you ‘rest’ from foods that may be creating inflammation and damage within your gut, this gives your immune system an opportunity to ‘reset’ and become more tolerant.
Strategically re-testing the foods you have been ‘resting’ from will determine the right amount for you in the future; so you can remain symptom free, while still enjoying the foods and activities you love.
Now is the time to address those irritating allergic symptoms by tackling the underlying causes. Building your immune system now can help you gain control of your reactivity and increase your tolerance levels, leading to a reduction in symptoms. Imagine indulging in the foods and activities you enjoy; patting your dog without sneezing, eating the foods you love without bloating, or having a picnic in the grass without itching – now that would be life changing!
Sarah Harris is an experienced naturopath with a special interest in paediatric health and wellbeing. She loves helping babies, children, mums and families navigate health challenges and stay well.