Unveiling Food Sensitivities: Functional Medicine’s Approach to Allergies

functional medicine allergies

As the new year rolls over, it gifts us the season of spring, the season of warmth, beauty and new beginnings. But, for a large proportion of people, spring is not just warm weather and blooming flowers; rather, it is a season of stuffy noses, itchy eyes, and hay fever.

The spring season often symbolizes the onset of allergy season. According to the latest studies and statistics, more than 50 million Americans are affected by allergies and it is the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.

As the spring season slowly blooms into our lives, it’s time to take our stand and arm against allergies. In this piece, take a look at the remedies offered by holistic functional medicine to keep your allergies at bay and to get rid of them for good.

Before that let’s take a look at…

What Causes Season based Allergies?

Seasonal allergy outbreaks are often seen in the spring season because spring is the season that triggers the blooming of flowers and shrubs, which release pollen into the ecosystem. When paired with environmental pollution and the toxins released from vehicles, they become a lethal weapon that aggravates the immunity system and spikes allergy symptoms.

When your body is exposed to foreign bodies, it produces new inflammatory molecules such as Histamine, Prostaglandins, and Leukotrienes. These molecules act as signals that let your body know that it needs to respond to foreign bodies. The side effects of this reaction are what we consider as allergy symptoms that can range from mild runny noses to full-blown, serious asthma attacks.

Now that we know what causes seasonal allergies, let’s take a look at how the functional medicine approach can help us get rid of it.

Functional Medicine for Seasonal Allergies

Before functional medicine heals your allergy issues, we have to take a look inward, at our body.

Almost 75% of your immune system can be found in the Gut. Your gut is where your immunity cells learn to differentiate between good particles and bad ones and how to create an appropriate response to invading pathogens–or anything it deems as harmful.

The bacteria that live in your gut direct this system and help your gut understand different molecules for elimination. A healthy ecosystem in these protective gut bacteria is essential for a balanced immune response.

But toxins in the air, water, a poor diet, and stress all contribute to a reduction in your gut microbiome and this has been shown to worsen the body’s allergy response. Poor microbiome health directly contributes to immune dysfunction which can trigger allergy symptoms.

To heal your gut and to care of your immunity system, you would have to follow the 5R protocol. The goal of the 5R protocol would be to bring back healthy microbiome function by removing environmental and bodily factors that destroy the gut ecosystem while rebuilding a healthy, functional gut.

The 5R Protocol is as follows,

Remove foods, medications, or supplements that are irritating the gut and your gut ecosystem. This R also means removing unwanted external factors such as stress.

Replace unwanted particles with beneficial enzymes, digestive acids, nutrients and foods that support healthy gut function.

Reinoculate your gut with pre and probiotic foods. These are live and active healthy bacteria, and the fiber provides fuel so they can thrive.

Repair your gut to support an environment where healthy bacteria can thrive and do their job.

Retain your gut health by making changes to your lifestyle factors like sleep, stress, and dietary habits.

By arming your gut with the right enzymes and nutrients, you are enabling your body to effectively fight foreign particles while actively reducing allergy symptoms.

Here are an additional 4 more steps to keep your allergies ar bay:

Reduce exposure

As mentioned earlier, allergies get highly aggravated when exposed to external factors. This goes for both seasonal allergies and food allergies. For external allergies, keep doors and windows shut during allergy season to keep out pollen and other substances.

Work with your Immunity System

Recent research has shown that during allergy season, your immunity system might be weak and require extra help. Support your immunity system by constantly introducing nutrients such as quercetin, vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc into your system.

Replace and refresh your linens

Your sheets and clothes are the main perpetrators in harboring particles from air, pollen, and other allergy triggers that make their way into your home, and ultimately irritate your immunity system.

By keeping your clothes and sheets washed and clean, you can eliminate any unwanted particles sticking to your clothes and significantly cut short the factors irritating your senses.

Filter Indoor Air

Air is the fastest propagator of pollen and other elements. So it is imperative to keep indoor air as clean as possible.

One of the most efficient ways to reduce indoor air pollution is to filter your air through a HEPA filter. It is a type of filter that removes harmful immune irritants from circulating in your home.

Another alternative would be to avoid artificial fragrances that come from cleaning products and air fresheners and make sure your air ducts are clean and free or debris.

Final Thoughts

Functional Medicine’s holistic approach to allergies offers personalized insights into triggers, focusing on root causes rather than just symptoms. By emphasizing individualized care and lifestyle adjustments, functional medicine for seasonal allergies aims to restore balance, providing long-term relief and improved well-being.