While the connection between your gut and seasonal allergy symptoms might not be instantly obvious, healing your gut is the first step to getting rid of hayfever for good. There is a direct correlation between low gut diversity and allergies.
One of the major jobs of your digestive system is to act as the communication between the external world (foods, allergens, bacteria, etc.) and your bloodstream. It is the job of special bacteria in your gut, as well as immune cells, to break down and get rid of proteins that can cause you to get sensitised to them, leading to gut, and systemic inflammation.
What causes your gut to become inflamed?
Many lifestyle habits and food choices can weaken your gut lining over time, making you more prone to inflammation and allergies. For example, acid reflux meds can destroy your stomach acid (your first line of defence against pathogens), antibiotics can cause a leaky gut, or food sensitivities can weaken your gut barrier – all these and more can lead to inflammation.
This puts your body on high alert to harmless triggers such as pollen.
To heal this over reactivity and reduce seasonal allergies and food sensitivities, you need to heal your gut.
Healing your gut
There are lots of approaches that can be taken using the support of a trained practitioner, as well as many small diet and lifestyle changes you can undertake yourself to reduce the severity of allergy symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. The gold standard in nutritional therapy is an elimination diet. This will help to reduce your histamine load and allergic threshold. At Herbology we can advise you in the best approach as well as also offer a range of testing options if this is something you would like to explore.
In the meantime, there are several things you can do:
Take probiotics or eat fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and miso which also contain probiotics. These can help bring the microbiota and your immune system back into balance. If you are sensitive to histamine, try histamine-degrading strains such as Bifidobacteria infantis and Lactobacillus plantarum.
Eat enough fermentable fibre. This includes complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato or oats which result in the formation of short chain fatty acids, vital for improving gut health.
Get tested for food sensitivities and avoid inflammatory foods. Continuing to eat foods you disagree with can continue to cause low grade inflammation and perpetuate symptoms.
Try a low histamine diet. Foods high in histamine include dairy, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate and are just a few of the things we consume that can all make the symptoms of allergy worse.
Use antihistamine herbs in your cooking such as thyme, fennel, chamomile, ginger, oregano and holy basil.
Get tested for intestinal pathogens and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a common cause of histamine intolerance.
Take further steps to heal your gut with the support of a multi-disciplinary, trained gut specialist practitioner - www.functionalherbology.co.uk