Seasonal allergies can be more than just annoying, they can truly inhibit enjoying the outdoors which all would agree is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, not to mention… fun! With over 55 million Americans suffering from allergies many are looking for a way forward that does not include prescription medications. The most common options available really end up being to suffer or submit. That means suffer from sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and discomfort, or submit to prescription medications that cover up the problems but do not solve them. There is another option besides suffering or submitting- it is solving! You can actually solve your allergy issues with a functional medicine approach that finds the root cause of our allergy reactions.
What is happening with hay-fever type allergy reactions is the immune system is triggered by something which causes mast cells and basophils to release histamine and other allergy related molecules. A very common driver of allergies is an overproduction of histamine along with the bodys inability to metabolize excess histamine because of a lack of the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). The primary question however is WHY is the immune system being triggered. For many people the trigger is obvious like pollen in the Spring, but a lot of people have typical seasonal allergy symptoms all year long or with no known trigger. Solving your allergy issues requires finding your inflammatory trigger. When chronic inflammation is occuring, the immune trigger for allergy type reactions can easily happen because the immune system is already keyed up. This means that foods, stress, lack of sleep, and gut issues can all cause the typical hay-fever, allergy type symptoms may not be related at all to the season or outdoor exposure.
Supplemental support for allergies may include nutrients like quercetin, stinging nettle extract, bromelain, DAO, NAC, vitamin C, and zinc which help to calm down the histamine response, inflammation, and clear mucus. Using a Neti pot to flush allergens out of the nasal passageways can also be very helpful. A functional medicine practitioner will use your health story and laboratory assessments to uncover your allergy trigger and there are many things you can begin to implement yourself to decrease your inflammatory response.
- Choose low inflammatory foods such as high quality fats, organic grass-fed meats, pastured eggs, nuts, seeds, and organic fruits and vegetables
- Avoid food sensitivity foods
- Stay hydrated
- Maintain adequate sleep
- Avoid high inflammatory foods such as refined sugar, refined flours, highly refined oils
If you suffer from itchy watery eyes, runny nose, and sneezing it is time to consider how your inflammation can be solved. Don’t just keep suffering or feel like the only option is to take medication everyday. Find the functional medicine practitioner, like an Overland Park, KS functional medicine specialist, that can get you the solutions you need.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from LifeWorks Integrative Health for their insight into