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  • Tiffany Hall

Allergies and Sensitivities

Allergies are commonly experienced as either acute or delayed hypersensitivities. Both types of reactions activate different immune system responses, responsible for the difference in speed of onset and severity of symptoms. WHY does one individual respond with allergic reactions, while a sibling or spouse freely breathes our dusty and pollen filled air? Allergies can have many underlying causes such as maternal/fetal exposure to toxins during pregnancy, gastrointestinal dysbiosis and increased intestinal permeability, or nutritional deficiencies that alter immune system activity.

Histamine is produced by the immune system in response to an invading substance like pollen. It is the body's attempt to eliminate something that is irritating. One possibility is that you may be producing histamine normally but are not able to break it down and effectively eliminate it from the system. The breakdown of histamine requires B6, folic acid, and a nutrient in apples and onions called Quercetin. What if you simply are not getting rid of it normally because you are deficient in one of these nutrients?

The other likely consideration is that your immune system is irritated and over stimulated resulting in an overreaction and too much histamine. The key is finding ALL the irritants: soaps, detergents, odors, pollens, dusts, danders, and foods that might be causing this irritation. Some things can be removed, such as a detergent or food, and others can be counteracted via nutritional support with foods and/or nutraceuticals such as Vitamin C, which may tone down the body's response to a pollen or dust. There are also ways to desensitize your nervous system to irritants as well.

Food sensitivities may create a slow/delayed “allergy” reaction to foods. This type of reaction does not cause the obvious acute allergic response, but can contribute to the histamine load via a delayed response. True food allergies illicit a Type I Hypersensitivity and trigger B cells in the immune system to release Immunoglobulin E (IgE). This type of response is immediate and may be life threatening. Food sensitivities produce an IgA or an IgG type of response. This is a Type IV Hypersensitivity--a delayed hypersensitivity response. This may present itself differently depending on the area being affected. Gastrointestinal effects may include constipation, diarrhea, gas, or bloating. Skin rash, respiratory issues, fatigue, and sleeplessness can also be symptoms that result from food sensitivities. Food hypersensitivity can disrupt the Gastrointestinal barrier and affect the microbial balance resulting in dysbiosis and increased systemic inflammation.

Leukotrienes are hormones produced by the types of fat in the diet. Too many unhealthy fats results in an imbalance that triggers inflammation. So if you are improved by a leukotriene medication (ie. Singulair), you may be making inflammatory hormones as a result of unhealthy fats in the diet. These include fats such as saturated fats, trans fats, deep fried fats, and some vegetable oils.

A careful, thorough and all system approach, considering your full immune system, all irritants, the detoxification pathways, dietary modifications, and nutrient needs can help restore balance.

Give us a call today to get yourself on the path to a smooth spring and pollen season!

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