UNDERSTANDING SEASONAL ALLERGIES

Runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion, sore throat, itchy eyes and even a cough can all occur with seasonal allergies.

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Why and how do seasonal allergies occur?

Seasonal allergies are an IgE-mediated inflammatory disorder. Allergic reactions occur when the body’s immune system produces the immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody.

When someone with seasonal allergies encounters a substance such as dust, mold, or pollen, their body can overreact and release increased amounts of these antibodies to “attack” that allergen leading to commonly experienced allergy symptoms.

There are also other physiological effects that occur in the body upon exposure. One study showed that within 2-8 hours of exposure to the allergen, there is an increased concentration of inflammatory cells and tissue damage in the mucosa.

Histamine is a compound released by cells in response to allergenic inflammatory reactions. It is involved in the inflammatory response of the innate immune system. Histamine is the one of the key compounds responsible for generating major reactions and symptoms in hypersensitive individuals during allergy season. Its goal is to push allergens out of the body and it therefore is responsible for hallmark allergy symptoms such as sneezing or coughing.

Seasonal allergies are also called hay fever or allergic rhinitis. This condition typically occurs seasonally, but it can also occur year-round. Many individuals with seasonal allergies also have food sensitivities. The likely player in both of these is a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut occurs when the gut lining becomes permeable. As a result, food, toxins and particles can trickle through the microscopic holes in the gut lining and cause an autoimmune attack along with inflammation. This leads to an over-sensitization and an increased risk for allergies. This is why we often see people’s allergies improve once we heal leaky gut. It’s a ROOT cause condition and one we believe in treating.

What are the risk factors for allergies?

  • Environmental agentsBeing in an environment with toxins and other allergenic agents (for example, mold mycotoxins) can affect an individual’s normal immune response and render them hypersensitive. This is because if an individual’s immune system is constantly under attack due to constantly fighting off these environmental agents then it begins to overproduce antibodies and eventually it goes haywire. This immune dysfunction sets the stage for a regular occurrence of allergies. Again, allergies are the immune systems response to a substance. It has been shown that repeated exposure can increase the severity of the allergic response in an individual.
  • Leaky gut syndromeIncreased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, is significantly associated with seasonal allergy disorders. This is a predominant condition that has been found to exacerbate allergies and other similar conditions. There are many cross-reactivities that occur in individuals with leaky gut in which they have similar sensitivities to environmental allergens and food allergens. One novel study in 2017 concluded that healing leaky gut could result in preventing allergies and allergic asthma.
  • AsthmaAsthma can be caused by allergies and other conditions. It is also a significant risk factor as it is associated with increased inflammation, an altered immune response and irritation of the respiratory pathways. Additionally, it is likely that is classified as a risk factor as it is associated with leaky gut syndrome, as well.
  • Toxin exposureToxins including heavy metals, mold mycotoxins, environmental toxins, smoking and pollution (to name a few) can all impact one’s risk for allergies. Research has shown that toxins and continual toxin exposure can increase the body’s immune response to the environmental allergen, making symptoms worse. Indeed, a recent study found that air pollution is a significant contributor to the increased prevalence of allergic conditions experienced in society today. Get tested to know your level of toxins and your risk.Other key factors for allergy risk include metabolic conditions, hormones, stress, and medications.

What is the difference between conventional treatment and natural treatment for allergies?

Antihistamines, decongestants, corticosteroid drugs and other pharmaceuticals are typically used in the conventional treatment of allergy symptoms. These prescriptions simply mask the symptoms. Additionally, there are many adverse side effects with these treatments such as impaired cognition, fatigue and heart arrhythmias.

With natural treatment methods, we work to address all aspects of the allergic cascade starting in the immune system. One major goal of treatment is to balance the immune response as well as inhibit the inflammatory cascade and breakdown inflammatory cells. Another goal is to reduce the release of histamine, which helps to ward off the hypersensitive reactions experienced in people with allergies. Another aim is to reduce circulating allergenic protein complexes in the body. Lastly, the goals are to boost antioxidant status and reduce the viscosity of mucous and aid in healthy sinus and nasal health.

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