Feb 24 2019

Are you suffering from seasonal allergies?

Published by at 1:38 pm under Allergies

 Are you suffering from seasonal allergies? It may not just be what is in the air.
There is a reason some people are more prone to allergies than others.

It is that time of year. The cold is starting to taper off and the warmer temperatures are hitting “some” parts of the country. If it hasn’t happened in your area just yet, it is coming!

Along with warmer temperatures comes an abundance of tree and plant pollen just waiting to attack your immune system.

We experience seasonal allergies when our immune system recognizes otherwise harmless pollens as harmful. As those who are prone to seasonal allergies come into contact with pollens, the white blood cells note these natural substances as invaders, triggering the development of Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies matched to the offending pollens. Once this sensitization has occurred, these IgE antibodies are now on alert, initiating what is known as a TH2 inflammatory response every time you are exposed to pollen. Antibodies bind to mast cells, which then release their arsenal of histamines in addition to triggering a host of other proteins that are the body’s best effort to rid us of the pollen intruders. The result is inflamed sinuses, itchy and watery eyes, scratchy throat and in some cases flu-like symptoms and fatigue.(1,2)*

But why is it that some people really suffer and others hardly notice a thing?

Allergies are indicative of an imbalanced immune response.  With 80% of our immune function residing within the gut, if our guts are compromised we will be more prone to allergies. That is why we must pay close attention to the health of our microbiome all year long., so that we are on the defensive whether it be cold and flu season or allergy season.(1,2)*

So, back to the question of why it affects some people more than others? Let’s start at the beginning. The beginning of  life that is. The determination of a strong immune system can start at birth. Children who are born via vaginal childbirth are exposed to the microbes of their mother in a way that babies born via Cesarean section are not. This ‘microbial bath’ sets them up for a more diverse microbiome as they get older, which means a stronger immune system, and therefore fewer allergies. Breastfeeding also gives babies the microbes that are abundant in mother’s milk. The skin to skin contact during breast feeding also exposes them to the bacteria present on the mother’s skin. These two things combined result in an excellent start for a strong immune system. (1,2,3)*

Next is the environment in which we grow up. Children who are exposed to environmental allergies from a young age tend to be less allergic later in life. Having pets in the home and a little dust can benefit kids as they are building their immune system. Playing outside…(yes outside, not inside staring at a TV or computer screen!) can benefit kids as they are exposed to the world around them. Even a little dirt in the mouth can turn out to be a good thing with its wonderland of bacteria. The Hygiene hypothesis–the idea of keeping the environment so sterile in the effort to keep people from getting sick– actually back fires on us. We need exposure to a variety of bacteria, pathogens and allergens to build a strong defense against allergies and illness as adults. “…Normal interaction with a healthy bacterial community is known to have a beneficial impact on immunity…”(1,2,3)*

Since seasonal allergies are a result of the immune system reacting to external factors, and if the immune system is already functioning in a compromised state due to an unbalanced gut, it can cause us to experience more extreme seasonal allergies. It occurred to me that allergy season always comes after the holidays which is a time when we often wear our bodies down with sugar, alcohol and stress. That is then is followed by very cold weather when people tend to get cold and flu. If antibiotics were taken, then that further compromises the gut. And then introduce the pollen. Whenever we wear our immune systems down, we are set up to be more sensitive to seasonal allergies and illness in general.(1,2,3)*

Because the immune system’s interaction with bacteria appears to be central to nurturing appropriate immune response in seasonal allergy, it is only natural that taking care of the microbiome should  be part of our daily allergy defensive.”… It is in the gut that immune-microbe interaction is at its strongest…” This is where Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ come in. Probiotics significantly improve the health of the gut, and a healthy gut leads to a strong immune system. A fortified immune system will battle those allergies and minimize the histamine response associated with it.*

A 2015 review found that “…amongst 23 studies, probiotics significantly improved quality of life while every human trial in the review noted improvement in a least one marker, including allergic symptoms themselves. This positive trend towards benefit was echoed in a 2016 trial. What’s interesting here is that despite the researchers noting the significant variations in the method of current studies (which can create variance in results) the trend was still towards the positive, meaning the link between probiotics and allergy is extremely promising!…”4*

In addition to taking probiotics, eating a healthy diet with high fiber plant foods to feed beneficial gut bacteria is essential. Eating local honey and bee pollen can also be beneficial. *

I hope you are entering this allergy season with a strong and healthy microbiome and a fortified immune system.

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4443817/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27115907
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4918254/
  4. https://www.biokplus.com/blog/en_CA/gut-health/surprising-fact-there-link-between-gut-microbiome-and-seasonal-allergies

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