It’s that time of year again, when millions and millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies. Allergies affect between 15-30% of the population. To make matters worse, the rate of allergy sufferers is dramatically increasing. And not surprisingly, our modern-day lifestyles are to blame.
The majority of allergy sufferers, in all their misery, reach for the quick fix (Claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl, etc), further masking their symptoms, while the root cause continues to remain unidentified. Over time symptoms worsen, and eventually medication brings little to no relief.
Hidden Causes of Seasonal Allergies
Weak/compromised immune system
Treating The Root Cause Of Allergies
Of course countless remedies like apple cider vinegar, local organic honey, and using essential oils can bring some symptom relief. But, if the root cause of allergies – an overactive immune system – is not addressed, allergies will continue to worsen, and can eventually lead to more serious autoimmune conditions.
#1. Heal Adrenals
Adrenal fatigue (AF) occurs when the adrenal glands, the glands that regulate our stress response, become over-worked due to chronic stress.
Here’s how it works: when the adrenal glands can no longer keep up with the demands of continual stress being placed on the body, they fail to produce an adequate amount of cortisol to combat stress, as well as inflammatory triggers, such as allergens. To put it simply, cortisol is our body’s most powerful anti-inflammatory, and when we’re running low, our bodies lack the ability to put out the fire (allergies).
It’s the 21st century, and who doesn’t have chronic stress?
Remember, stress comes in many forms, not just emotional. Some examples are: poor diet, working too much, not having enough fun, blood sugar dysregulation, sleep deprivation, exercising too much, etc. As a matter of fact, over-exercising is a very common cause of AF, eventually leading to seasonal allergies. As a personal trainer, I see this often.
It is important to note that both high cortisol and low cortisol can cause symptoms, such as seasonal allergies. As with all hormones, the goal is for cortisol to be balanced. During initial periods of stress, cortisol will remain high until the body can no longer keep up with the demands. This period of high cortisol may last a few weeks, months, or years depending upon the stress load, and overall health of the individual.
The first step is to test adrenal function. This can be done with a simple saliva test. Once adrenal dysfunction is diagnosed, and you have identified whether cortisol is too high (adrenals are overactive) or too low (adrenals are under-active), proper treatment should begin immediately.
#2. Heal Gut
Unfortunately, our modern-day lifestyles are to blame for most of our gut issues.
Here are a few examples. During periods of high stress, blood supply to the gut is shut down. This decreases stomach acid (HCL), which helps break down food, and the undigested food rots, creating the perfect environment for bad bacteria to grow. Antibiotics are often over prescribed, which kill the body’s good bacteria, allowing bad bacteria to take over. On top of that, a poor diet of processed and packaged foods, GMOs, or foods that we are not able to fully digest leads to gut rot.
Basically, anything that you put in your gut that you do not properly digest will lead to gut inflammation and in time will result in a “leaky gut.” When the gut becomes leaky, undigested food particles leak into the bloodstream where the immune system begins to attack them because they are NOT supposed to be there. Then, the immune system becomes overactive, and begins attacking other areas of the body. This is how all autoimmune diseases (arthritis, MS, Graves, Hashimoto’s, lupus, etc) begin. It is this overreaction of the immune system that causes seasonal allergies.
#3. Identify Food sensitivities
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you must identify what foods are contributing to gut inflammation. As mentioned above, when we consume foods that our bodies cannot break down, the food rots, creating an overgrowth of bad bacteria, contributing to gut inflammation, and triggering an over-responsive immune system.
Food sensitivities can be diagnosed with a simple blood test or an elimination diet.
The most common food sensitivities are:
Removing these irritants gives your gut a chance to heal, and your immune system a chance to chill out!
#4. Boost Immune System
Take a probiotic.
Also eat plenty of friendly bacteria. These foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, apple-cider vinegar, Kombucha, etc.
Down the D.
The majority of us are deficient in vitamin D.
Vitamin D is one of the most effective supplements for boosting the immune system and preventing sickness/disease.
Devour bone broth.
Bone broth is loaded with immune boosting minerals and gut healing properties.
Get proper sleep.
Go to bed by 10 pm. Do not miss out on the most restful and restorative hours of the night (11pm-2am). Sleep deprivation leads to a weakened immune system very quickly.
Practice regular relaxation techniques, and learn how to say, no.
And, make sure you’re having enough FUN!
Sugar significantly reduces our bodies white blood cell’s ability to kill bad bacteria.
Sugar destroys the immune system. Period.