An allergy is when the body mounts an IgE antibody response to something external.
This external element is usually a normal part of the environment such as dust mites, pollen, foods, pet hair. This response is like the body is being under attack so the immune system swings into action with an over response by sending inflammatory chemicals into the bloodstream that can cause an array of symptoms that affect the airway, digestive system, eyes, skin, throat.
Signs and symptoms of an allergic response:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- An itchy red skin rash
- Swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face or airways
- Abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea
- Migraines / Headaches
- Ear Congestion/Hearing Loss
- Brain Fog
- Sleep disturbances/Insomnia
- Tinnitus / Dizziness
What causes the allergy
It isn’t entirely clear exactly why some people have allergies, and some people don’t but it is clear that a combination of factors can contribute to the likelihood of developing allergies. This includes genetics. The tendency to develop an allergy can run in families and this is usually down to genetic factors, compounded if both parents carry the genes for allergy. But it is not a certainty, just a pre-disposition.
The gut immune system can also be out of balance usually there is not enough of a range and diversity of good gut bacteria to help the immune system keep such reactions in check. It is thought that the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ where too much cleanliness in our early years, and not enough exposure to bacteria has affected the health of the gut.
Also, if our liver is under stress it has problems removing the histamine from our bodies. Especially if you
are sensitive to perfume, household cleaners, chemicals and mold these compounds can cause extra
burden on the liver to detoxify and so they can be stored in the body. In this case the immune system
can be further affected.
Doctors can conduct pin prick tests to test for a specific potential allergen or use elimination diets to see
if a particular food is an issue. Treatments consist of;
- Avoiding the allergen as much as possible
- Anti-histamine medications to reduce symptoms
- Steroid medication such as inhalers
- Epi-pens –usually for serious allergies. This is injectable adrenaline to save a person’s life if they go into an anaphylaxic reaction.
What can Functional Medicine do to support?
- Use functional blood tests to determine specific allergens, both food related and environmental.
- Provide and guide you through an elimination diet to determine symptom triggering foods.
- Support the gut to help bring your immune reactions into better balance by improving the good gut bacteria balance, reducing inflammation and repairing the gut lining.
- Supporting detoxification pathways through food and supplementation to help you detoxify some
of the harmful chemicals.
- Give lifestyle advice on how to minimise environmental allergens.
5 Pillars of Functional Medicine
Allergies and Functional Medicine
Do you suffer from allergies and have tried all the usual approaches?
Functional Medicine can help you, simply book an online consultation or arrange a free 15 minute discovery call and ﬁnd out how we can help.