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Is Gluten Contributing to Your Seasonal Allergies?

If you’ve ever suffered from allergies, either seasonal or year-round, you know how miserable they can be. Sneezing, coughing, watery eyes and nose, itchy eyes – it’s uncomfortable, tiring and the antihistamine medications that are often prescribed come with their own challenges.

Antihistamines can make you quite tired. As patients have commented over the years, “Either I’m miserable sneezing or too sleepy to do anything.”

Fortunately, you don’t have to choose the misery of allergies, or the sleepiness caused by the medications. You can become free of most environmental allergies by addressing the root cause of why they develop.

If you have celiac disease, you know it’s an autoimmune condition. Your immune system is attacking you, specifically the lining of your small intestine in the case of celiac. But did you know that allergies are considered to be an autoimmune condition as well?

Whether you’re reacting to pollen or dust, the fact is that neither of those substances are true toxins. If you waved a bottle of bleach under your nose, what would happen? Your eyes would water, you’d probably cough, or sneeze and your nose would likely water as well. That is an appropriate response to a toxic, caustic substance. The water rushing out of your eyes and nose is protecting your tissues from the caustic fumes of the bleach. Your body is doing exactly what it should do.

But getting back to dust and pollen, there’s nothing inherently evil or toxic about them. The response your immune system has to them is therefore inappropriate and is considered to be an autoimmune response.

Your immune system is designed to attack “bad guys” such as bacteria, cancer cells, viruses, and toxins. The human immune system is beautifully complex and powerful. Why would your immune system ever attack you? It doesn’t do so knowingly. The immune system must be overwhelmed for many years (5 to 20 years per research), before it gets overtaxed to such a degree that it confuses self for a legitimate enemy and develops a full-blown autoimmune disease.

When getting to the root cause of autoimmune conditions, we must identify what is overtaxing your immune system. The list isn’t long, in fact it only involves three categories:

  1. Food sensitivities – gluten, dairy, and sugar are the top 3, but there can be others.
  2. Infections – chronic organisms found in your gut microbiome including bacteria, parasites, yeast, fungi, protozoa.
  3. Toxins – environmental chemicals, plastics, mold, and heavy metals

One of the most common food sensitivities is your “friend” and mine [not], gluten. Whether someone has celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, gluten can be a root cause of developing an overtaxed immune system. This is why it’s so critical to not cheat on your gluten-free diet. It can put you on a slow trajectory toward worsening allergies and autoimmune disease.

As mentioned above, discovering any food sensitivities through a properly performed elimination diet can be very helpful. I know there are many blood tests available claiming to accurately identify food reactions, but I find that the technology has not yet been perfected and these tests are riddled with both false positives and negatives.

Fortunately, a properly performed Modified Elimination Diet costs you nothing beyond the time and discipline it takes to remove and then scientifically reintroduce the eliminated foods, monitoring for reactions. It takes several weeks to properly administer but it is very accurate when done correctly.

There are also comprehensive stool tests that we use to identify any hidden infections that have been present in your gut for a while.

Specific testing to identify mold toxins, heavy metals and poor reactions to environmental chemicals can be performed as well.

Stress is an additional component that must not be ignored. Unfortunately, stress puts a burden on your immune system in a profound fashion and has been shown to worsen allergy symptoms according to a study published in the “Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunotherapy,” 2014. It can be frustrating to hear because sometimes we feel we don’t have much control over our stress levels. But it is worth the effort to try to impact your stress load in as many ways as you can.

Some places to start are:

  1. Implementing exercise into your daily schedule
  2. Working on sleep hygiene and assuring you regularly get about 8 hours of sleep in a cool, fully dark room [Hint: try an eye mask]. A sound machine can also be very helpful to drown out any ambient noise.
  3. Hydrate with about 6 glasses of purified water.
  4. Eat clean, real food. Avoid highly processed, sugar-rich food which definitely creates internal inflammation and stress on your body.

In a nutshell, the root of seasonal allergies is an overburdened immune system which can stem from several sources. The goal is to identify and remove as many burdens as you can.

The benefit of identifying food sensitivities, hidden infections, toxins and sources of life stress is that not only will your allergies improve, but your overall health and longevity will as well.

Natural Support for Allergy Relief

Since it’s spring and many people are hit hard at this time of year, let me provide some natural therapies you can utilize to ease your symptoms while you’re getting to the root cause.

  1. Vitamin C – C acts as a natural antihistamine along with being a strong antioxidant that helps decrease inflammation.
  2. Vitamin D – Actually a hormone, vitamin D is a strong regulator of the immune system, preventing the release of certain chemicals that worsen allergy symptoms.
  3. Bromelain – Has some anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic properties that reduce allergic symptoms.
  4. Quercetin – One of my favorites as it can swiftly reduce allergy symptoms by preventing immune cells from releasing histamines.
  5. Omega 3 fatty acids – Omega 3s are incredible at reducing inflammatory responses as they produce anti-inflammatory molecules.
  6. Hista-Aid- My secret weapon. Quicksilver Scientific makes a product called Hista-Aid. It’s a liquid that contains Vitamin C, Quercetin, Luteolin, DIM, and Phospholipids. Fast acting, Hista-Aid will “turn off” an allergy attack faster than anything I know with no grogginess or ill effects. (Luteolin and DIM also have natural antihistamine properties. The phospholipids are used as part of the delivery system.)

Please note I am not prescribing here, but rather sharing the benefits of certain natural substances we use in our practice.

In conclusion, allergies are not normal and in the basic sense, indicate your immune system is overburdened. While there are symptomatic relievers available, it is important for your overall health to identify the various stressors and burdens causing your immune system to be overwhelmed.

If you need assistance, my team of doctors and I are here for you!

Tags: Allergies Dr. Vikki Petersen
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