Seasonal allergies are trying, at best. While we look forward to spring and summer, with that comes the pollen, the grasses, the blooming trees and everything else. In late summer and fall we have the harvesting and burning that plagues many others. An allergy is when your body over-reacts to something normally in the environment. Allergies don’t just affect the respiratory system. It’s an immune system response, it results from and can cause digestive problems and involves the endocrine system.
Conventionally, allergies are handled by suppressing the symptom. Prescription and over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants and many other medications are given indiscriminately without first addressing WHY the allergies are there in the first place. After all, at one time these things never bothered you. Why now?
Allergies and sensitivities almost never occur alone. If one were to review all the symptoms in the body together, a pattern would soon develop that would lead the skilled physician in identifying the underlying cause. But the investigation takes too long and most doctors simply don’t have the time. It’s much easier to just give a drug, or even a nutritional supplement to suppress the symptom. But you can only do that for so long. Without addressing the cause, it just gets worse over time and the pills just get stronger. Eventually immune breakdown occurs and now you have other issues to contend with.
Finding the cause, although time consuming, is very gratifying for the skilled practitioner who takes the time to identify it. Included in the query are finding those things that are contributing to allergies (and I don’t mean simply a skin test to see which allergens are triggering symptoms), and finding those things that are inhibiting the body from responding effectively to the “invading agent”. An overwhelmed liver, for instance, does not effectively dismantle the histamines, leaving an excess in the system, triggering a histamine reaction (sneezing, congestion, runny nose, etc).
The adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol. The level of cortisol in the body effects allergies, asthma, skin conditions, arthritis and several immune system diseases. A weakened or “fatigued” adrenal gland can result in cortisol imbalances that contribute to the body’s negative reaction to normal antigens. Elevated cortisol levels suppress immune function.
Many foods are important in supporting immune health. Essential fatty acids are an important food for healing the imbalances in the body that contribute to allergies. A team of researchers in Finland found that children who ate butter had far less allergies than those who ate margarine. The trans-fats were found to promote the formation of prostaglandin E2, a substance that promotes inflammation and causes the immune system to release proteins which trigger allergic reactions. Other foods are pro-inflammatory foods, also causing aberrations in immune function that contribute not only to food allergies but airborne allergies as well.
The bottom line is there is much that can be done to help allergies once the CAUSE has been determined. You no longer have to tolerate a life with allergies!
© 2009 Holly A. Carling, O.M.D., L.Ac., Ph.D.