ALLERGIES: A Naturopathic Perspective
As a naturopathic doctor, I often see patients suffering from allergies, which can have a significant impact on their daily lives. Allergies are an immune system response to a foreign substance, such as pollen, dust, or certain foods. In this post, I will discuss allergies from a naturopathic perspective, including common causes, symptoms, and natural treatments.
There are several factors that can contribute to the development of allergies, including genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. A study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergy found that genetic factors play a significant role in the development of allergies, particularly in children (1). Environmental factors, such as pollution and exposure to certain chemicals, can also trigger allergies. Lifestyle choices, such as a diet high in processed foods and sugar, lack of physical activity, and chronic stress, can also contribute to the development of allergies.
The symptoms of allergies can vary depending on the type of allergy and the individual's sensitivity to the allergen. Common symptoms of allergies include:
Runny or stuffy nose
Itchy or watery eyes
Skin rash or hives
Digestive issues, such as nausea or diarrhea
I believe in treating the root cause of allergies rather than just managing the symptoms. Here are some natural treatments that can help alleviate allergy symptoms and improve overall immune system function:
Identify and avoid allergens: The first step in treating allergies is to identify and avoid the allergen that triggers your symptoms. This may involve making dietary changes, avoiding certain environments or substances, or using air purifiers and other tools to reduce exposure to allergens. There’s also the option of utilizing a blood test to identify allergens as well.
Improve gut health: The gut plays a significant role in immune system function, so improving gut health can help reduce allergy symptoms. This can be done through dietary changes, such as increasing fiber and probiotic-rich foods, as well as taking supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes.
Manage stress: Chronic stress can weaken the immune system and adrenals (the little battery packs on top of your kidneys) and make allergy symptoms worse. Incorporating stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises or adrenal support can help reduce stress and improve overall immune system function.
Support the immune system: Certain supplements and herbs can help support immune system function and stabilize cells that release histamine in order to reduce allergy symptoms. Some of the most effective options include quercetin, stinging nettle, and vitamin C (2).
Allergies can be a frustrating and uncomfortable condition, but they can often be effectively treated using natural remedies and lifestyle changes. By identifying and avoiding allergens, improving gut health, managing stress, and supporting the immune system, naturopathic doctors can help their patients find relief from allergy symptoms and improve their overall health and well-being.
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Author: Dr. Stephanie Hendershot, ND
Thomsen SF. Genetics of allergic diseases: where do we stand? Clinical and Experimental Allergy. 2015;45(11):1488-1500.
Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2017.
This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.