Allergies and Immune Dysregulation

 

Are allergies affecting you or your family? Do you suffer from hay fever or bouts of sneezing?  Do certain foods leave you feeling bloated or give you a headache?  Do you get itching skin due to certain pollens &/or grasses?  You are not alone!  There a millions of people living with allergic conditions such as hay fever, asthma, food allergies and/or eczema in this day and age.

However, it seems allergy is becoming a pandemic.  How did this all start?  In the late 1800’s, there was little awareness of allergic disease.  It possibly started to rise with a combination of hygiene and pollen due to changes in agriculture.  Childhood asthma really only started increasing in the 1960’s, with it becoming an epidemic by 1990.  Is it possible that the introduction of television and more processed foods had an impact on their health?  People were spending more time indoors and not being exposed to external allergens.  This has continued to increase over the years with an epidemic in food allergies.

There are a myriad of exposures that may impact the development of allergy.  The most common are microbiome, allergens, and air pollution.  Other factors may include dietary, obesity, socioeconomic status and/or psychosocial stressors.  When all of these factors are taken into account, why does your body react like this?

Basically, your body believes that what are usually harmless substances, are now dangerous and threatening damage to you.  Therefore, when you come into contact with these allergens, your immune system releases large amounts of the chemical histamine.  Histamine is there to block or push out allergens from your body by any means necessary.  Some ways it may do this is to produce redness or inflammation, a runny nose, itchy eyes, bloating, constricted airways, to name a few.

It is important to understand that some symptoms, such as fever, are beneficial in healing the body naturally.  By taking over-the-counter products to suppress a fever or block histamine (antihistamines) may actually be counter-productive, and may possibly lead to further chronic symptoms.  For example, letting a fever run its course may help enhance the movement of microbials and white blood cells to eliminate the danger.  However, if a fever gets too high, then you need to intervene with medical assistance.

There are several contributing factors that make your body’s immune system respond this way.  They majority of your immune system is found in your gut.  Hence, a healthy gut barrier is vital for immune balance.  If there is inflammation within your digestive tract; or damage to the lining commonly known as “leaky gut”, which allows small particles of undigested food, bacteria and/or toxins to pass through the blood stream causing further inflammation; or if you have low levels of good bacteria and/or an overgrowth of bad bacteria within your intestine… these all contribute and/or interfere with your body’s immune response.

Holistically, managing allergies includes symptomatic relief whilst also retraining your body’s immune system to tolerate these “threatening” allergens.  Following an individually designed treatment program by one of the dedicated Naturopaths at Nurtura Health may incorporate carefully selected herbs and nutrients, combined with a tailored diet and lifestyle recommendation.  We aim to help repair your gut, improve your ability to tolerate allergens and reduce your reactive symptoms.

Following a prescribed diet in conjunction with supplementation may greatly assist in reducing symptoms and building your tolerance levels.  In addition, recent studies have shown that medicinal mushrooms may enhance immune function and are particularly useful in those that are debilitated with conditions such as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia.  They may be beneficial for those who experience recurrent infections or patients undergoing challenging treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation.  Adding mushrooms to one’s diet may optimise their efficacy.  They are also useful in disease prevention and were traditionally used for anti-ageing.  Further studies are being done to assess their role in regulating allergy.

It is now time to address those irritating allergic reactions and address the underlying causes.  Imagine being able to indulge in the foods you love, play with animals, or spend time outdoors doing the activities you enjoy, without bloating, sneezing or itching.  Talk to one of our Naturopaths today to help you gain control of your reactivity. 

Disclaimer:  The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided.  Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication.  Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues.  All rights reserved.