If you’ve suffered the sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and flu-like symptoms of seasonal allergies, you would do anything to alleviate the symptoms. Likewise, if you’ve suffered the abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, belching and farting, diarrhea or mucus colitis of food allergies, again, you would do anything to alleviate the symptoms.
When seasonal allergies are in high gear, people hide indoors or run for the allergy pills, antihistamines and eye drops.
For those who suffer with severe food allergies, the simple pleasure of eating can become stressful and terrifying, and the thought of eating out or getting too far from a restroom causes great anxiety.
But did you know that you can greatly reduce most food and environmental allergies by healing your gut?
When healing the gut is combined with a personalized allergy plan including our ASERT protocol (Allergy, Sensitivity, Elimination and Reprogramming Technique), custom formulated homeopathic remedies, personalized diet and herbal strategies to minimize histamine, and a home care plan including the right air filters and humidifiers to eliminate pollen and mold, your symptoms and need for medication will be greatly reduced or eliminated.
Understanding how and why our bodies react to allergens in our environment and in our food is an important first step in eliminating allergic reactions.
What Are Allergies?
The term Allergy is used to describe what happens when your immune system mistakenly identifies a specific food or substance as something harmful.
These substances, often called antigens, are the “allergic triggers” which can come from food such as peanuts, wheat, corn, soy or dairy, or from environmental substances like pollen, dust, mold or hay. Ordinarily these things cause no problem for the vast majority of people; however, they wreak havoc on allergy sufferers.
What Causes Allergies?
A normal functioning immune system protects the body from all sorts of foreign substances by producing antibodies and/or chemicals to fight against these foreign invaders. Usually the immune system ignores harmless substances, such as food and pollen, and only responds to those it considers dangerous, such as bacteria or viruses.
However, the allergic person’s nervous system and immune system have learned inappropriate and exaggerated responses to ordinary things.
When the immune system over-reacts, it releases chemicals like histamine to attack harmless substances as though they were a threat. Histamine produces many of the symptoms associated with allergies, and there are hundreds of things that may trigger allergic reactions, from pollen, food and pet dander to prescription medications.
Why would your immune system learn such inappropriate and exaggerated responses?
Two reasons: Leaky Gut Syndrome and Dysbiosis.
These are covered fully on the “Heal Your Leaky Gut” page (link) and elsewhere, however let’s recap briefly. Leaky Gut is a condition where the delicate lining of the gastrointestinal tract has become damaged, and its barrier function is compromised. Normally the lining of the gut only allows properly digested food and nutrients to enter the bloodstream. However, when the intestinal lining becomes too permeable (leaky), it allows undigested food, toxins, yeast and bacteria through the gut lining and into the bloodstream. This is known as “Leaky Gut Syndrome,” and it puts the immune system on Red Alert!
The immune system, overwhelmed by the undigested food particles, toxins and infectious pathogens coming through the leaky gut, begins reacting to all sorts of things it ordinarily would not. This state of “hyper-reactivity” sets the stage for a multitude of mixed signals, and the immune system begins to create antibodies to various foods, environmental substances and even your body’s own tissues.
Left unchecked, this process can continue to the point of autoimmune disease and destruction of your body’s own organs (like Hashimoto’s, Lupus or MS) - as the immune system continues to learn inappropriate, conditioned responses to all sorts of normal everyday things.
Dysbiosis:is a condition where there is overgrowth of harmful bacteria, yeast, mold or parasites in the gut. This can cause or exacerbate a leaky gut and creates inflammation of the gut lining.
Breastfed children are much less likely to develop allergies and immune problems, because they have healthy guts which are teaming with good bacteria. In contrast, children fed infant formula or given antibiotics at an early age show higher incidence of allergy, asthma and immune problems – precisely because they do not have healthy guts or good gut flora.
To successfully treat allergies (or any chronic condition), we must do more than just manage the symptoms. At The Center For Functional Medicine, we look upstream to identify the underlying root causes of allergies, so that we can resolve the problem, rather than continually treat the symptoms.
Armed with an understanding of what allergies are – an inappropriate, conditioned response of the nervous and immunes systems – and knowing that it starts with Leaky Gut and Dysbiosis, you are now ready to understand how to deal with Allergies & Sensitivities at their root causes.
If Leaky Gut and Dysbiosis are root causes of Allergies and Sensitivities, it’s only logical to start any allergy protocol by first healing the gut. Unfortunately, many “natural” or “integrative” practitioners simply put someone on an elimination diet and hope for the best.
This is recipe for disaster!
By the time most patients seek care, they are often reacting to all sorts of foods and environmental triggers, and simply taking them off of wheat, dairy and corn isn’t going to cut it.
Every case is different - to provide the quickest relief and longest lasting results, I often address the leaky gut, inflammation and dysbiosis (over-growth of bacteria or yeast) in the gut all at the same time. To learn more, schedule a free 10-15 minute discovery call.
Dr. Hanes Functional Medicine Protocol for Allergies
Step 1: Address the overgrowth of harmful (yeast, bacteria etc.) and eliminate inflammatory foods for 6-8 weeks.
Step 2: Heal the gut, put out the fire or inflammation, and put back the good bacteria with the proper clinical grade probiotic.
Step 3: Begin allergy desensitization. We accomplish this with a procedure called ASERT (Allergy & Sensitivity Elimination & Reprogramming Technique). This is similar to medical desensitization where small amounts of allergen are injected to help retrain the immune system. The best part – our way is totally painless, uses no needles, and from our experience and feedback from patients, it works phenomenally well.
The links below explain the triggers and reactions that occur when exposed to different allergens, whether in the air we breathe, the food we eat, or the interactions between our gut lining and our Microbiome: