Sounds of people sneezing and blowing their nose fill the pollen laden air with boxes of tissue flying off the shelves fast and furious in pharmacies all across town.
While pollen does indeed make you sneeze if you get a noseful of it, is it really necessary to dread spring every single year knowing that Visine and allergy meds will be your constant companion to deal with watery eyes and congestion for at least a month or two? Is this something you just have to resign yourself to and live with?
The truth is that seasonal allergies are much more than a nuisance. They are one of the mildest forms of autoimmune disease and a gentle warning by the body that more autoimmunity problems are on the way if the gut imbalance that is causing them is not dealt with effectively.
Hippocrates noted that “all disease begins in the gut”. This includes seasonal allergies like hay fever.
Dealing with seasonal allergies using over the counter or prescription meds is like cutting the wire to the flashing oil light on the dashboard of your car and pretending that the car is no longer low on oil. Such an approach guarantees that the problem will get worse over time and most likely lead to more serious autoimmune problems in the future such as asthma, eczema, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, lupus, celiac, migraines, MS, diabetes, arthritis and the list goes on.
For example, it was recently reported that babies with eczema even if mild are much more likely to develop asthma. In fact, 40% of babies with eczema go on to develop this much more serious autoimmune disease later in childhood.
A healthy balance of beneficial gut flora in our colon is the ultimate gatekeeper of our health. Gut flora is the major regulator of the immune system for better or for worse and when the gut environment is out of balance, a malfunctioning and overreactive immune system is the result.
How Seasonal Allergies Originate in the Gut
When the gut is out of balance, opportunistic and pathogenic microbes overgrow and take over dominance. These pathogens produce toxic substances which are the by-products of their metabolism. Some of these toxins actually play an important role in the body when the pathogens in the gut are controlled and kept in check by good flora. But, when the good flora is absent or not playing a dominant role, these pathogens can overproduce these toxins.
One such toxin produced by several types of gut pathogens (Proteus, E. coli, Staphylococci and others) is histamine which is actually an important neurotransmitter in the body.
When these microbes grow unchecked in the gut due to a lack of beneficial flora, they overproduce histamine causing many functions in the body that react to histamine to go haywire as excessive amounts pour into the blood.
Is Benadryl your best friend? If so, you know you potentially suffer from an overgrowth of pathogens in your gut that are overproducing histamine!
Parents Bequeath Gut Flora to Their Children
While conventional medicine likes to point to genetics as the cause of allergies, the fact is that parents pass on their gut imbalance problems to their children and gut dysbiosis tends to worsen with each successive generation.
According to Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD, children with autoimmunity issues almost without exception have a mother and most likely also a father who invariably show sign of chronic gut dysbiosis. Most women have been on the Pill for years before having children and have had many courses of antibiotics. Almost every single one has a health problem that is associated with chronic gut imbalance the most frequent being digestive disorders, hay fever and other seasonal allergies, migraines, PMS, chronic cystitis (UTIs) and vaginal yeast infections.
Therefore, if you wish to have children free of allergies, it is imperative as a mother to be to get your gut health in order before birthing them.
Gut Imbalance Can Develop Later in Life
Have you ever noticed that a lot of adults say that they developed seasonal allergies all of a sudden one year where they never had them before?
Well, the pollen hasn’t changed has it? The excuse that “the pollen is really bad this year” is not the reason either.
Development of seasonal allergies all of a sudden or those that get worse each year is a sign that gut health is deteriorating with age and that steps should be taken with the diet to rectify the situation.
The good news is that even if you or your children have seasonal allergies now, you can deal with it effectively with a change in diet!
Steps For Eliminating Seasonal Allergies From Your Life
Here are a few simple steps for combatting seasonal allergies with diet:
- Eliminate pasteurized dairy from your life in all forms. Pasteurization of dairy denatures fragile milk proteins and renders then allergenic among other problems. Raw grassfed dairy would be an excellent alternative here.
- Look to significantly reduce or eliminate grains and sugars in all forms from your diet. Many people with seasonal allergies report nothing short of miraculous improvement when gluten containing grains or even complete avoidance of grains and sugar is followed particularly during allergy season.
- Look at the GAPS Diet as a long term solution for rectifying gut imbalance. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MDs book Gut and Psychology Syndrome is a primer on this subject. She not only describes in detail how gut dysbiosis develops in the first place but outlines a comprehensive plan for rebalancing gut flora and putting autoimmunity into remission for good.
Seasonal allergies need not continue to annoy you year after year during what should be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable times of the year. Spend some time and energy fixing your gut environment and reap the rewards by breathing freely again no matter how thick the pollen may be!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist