How to Get Lasting Allergy Relief
Most people equate allergies with sinus symptoms, like sneezing and a runny nose, and with skin symptoms, like hives or eczema. Most allergies can usually be attributed to foods, air born pollens, animal dander, mold, dust mites, and chemical sensitivities. These things can trigger a physiological response in the body that is commonly thought of as an allergic reaction.
Why do we react to ordinary things in our environment or diet?
When exposed to an allergen, the body’s immune system may produce antibodies to a usually harmless substance because it perceives the allergen as a dangerous invader and wants to eliminate it. Those antibodies then release histamine, which causes the symptoms we commonly associate with an allergic response.
Small amounts of exposure to an allergen may be fairly easy for most people’s bodies to manage. But many allergy sufferers have a threshold that results in an allergic response when crossed. Allergic reactions can range from mild inflammation to life-threatening anaphylaxis.
Over the counter allergy medications try to modify the immune system’s histamine response by blocking it with antihistamines. Antihistamines are a short-term fix that require repeated dosing. Side effects are common and include dry mouth and eyes, heart palpitations, dizziness, vision changes, mood swings, and difficulty urinating, to name a few.
Why do some people suffer more from allergies than others?
The predisposition towards having allergies is usually inherited. One allergic parent equals a 33 – 50% chance of having allergies yourself. If both of your parents have allergies, your likelihood of also having allergies jumps to 70%. In addition, having one allergy makes it more likely that you will develop another allergy,
The digestive tract also plays a big part in how well the body deals with allergies too. A healthy intestinal tract is filled with immune modulating bacteria. But if you have taken antibiotics or other medications, for example, then the balance of beneficial bacteria in your intestines may be disrupted. Poor diet, food allergies, alcohol consumption, improper digestion, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle can also disrupt the good bacteria and the function of the digestive tract. A steady influence of any one or more of these things (and other factors) can eventually lead to a condition known as intestinal permeability or leaky gut.
What does the digestive tract have to do with allergies?
Intestinal permeability creates an environment of inflammation and damage in the digestive tract that prevents foods and nutrients from being completely broken down and assimilated. Instead, improperly digested food, yeasts, or bacteria, may leak into the blood steam through the damaged intestinal lining where they are perceived as being foreign invaders, much like other allergens may be perceived. This, in turn, generates the histamine response and leads to more inflammation.
At this stage, allergies won’t just spontaneously resolve without intervention. The immune system may be unable to discriminate between the various perceived threats to the body and simply starts reacting to everything. Over time, this malfunctioning cycle can lead to more serious physical symptoms. The best way to stop this cycle is to heal it.
So how does Naturopathic Medicine provide lasting allergy relief?
While there are supplements that can help those obvious, bothersome allergy symptoms, the key to providing lasting allergy relief lies in healing the intestines. Healing the digestive tract may be the gradual approach to resolving allergies; but it produces long term results. Improving the diet and making lifestyle modifications are the first line approach to healing the damaged intestinal lining.
This usually starts with a thorough investigation into potential food allergies and sensitivities. Completely removing the offending foods allows the intestinal mucosa to start repairing itself. Homeopathic detoxification, probiotics, soothing herbs, and vitamin and mineral support are also beneficial.
Any other lifestyle issues are addressed to facilitate long-term success in healing the digestive tract. These can range from getting more sleep and exercise to stress reduction.
Seasonal allergies are a signal from the body that things are out of balance on the inside. By taking a comprehensive naturopathic approach to evaluating and addressing the underlying cause of the imbalance, lasting healing can take place. Taking action earlier, rather than later, may also prevent more serious symptoms from developing.