Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic rhinitis, can take the enjoyment out of our changing seasons. Many rely on antihistamines for symptom relief, but what if we could address the root cause for a more sustainable solution? As naturopathic doctors we take a holistic approach, focusing on why your body reacts to allergens.

DIAGNOSTIC APPROACH:

Diagnosis starts with a detailed discussion of your symptoms. Acute symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion. For many of my patients who have seen different doctors before, more chronic symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, brain fog, and post-nasal drip tend to be more troublesome to manage on their own.

Laboratory testing into the following areas can reveal underlying imbalances:

Food sensitivities:

  • Certain foods can exacerbate allergies.

Gut health:

  • A disrupted gut microbiome can contribute to inflammation possibly leading to worsening seasonal allergies.

Nutrient deficiencies:

  • Vitamin D, magnesium, and omega-3s play a role in immune function and are important for maintaining balance and feeling better. Research suggests it can improve immune function [1].

Often patients come to me without any workup surrounding these issues and have only been offered medication instead. While many first-line treatments focus on symptom relief, I have found that this approach can mask deeper health concerns. Our more sustainable approach aims to both manage symptoms in the short term and address the underlying cause.

TREATMENT APPROACH:

Once we establish possible contributing factors after careful lab testing and evaluation, we have the opportunity to provide a refined treatment strategy. Here are some evidence-based treatments I have relied on:

Dietary modifications:

  • Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities can significantly reduce symptoms.

Supplementation:

  • Tailored supplements can address nutrient deficiencies and support a healthy gut microbiome so symptoms do not return in future years. Quercetin, for example, is a natural antihistamine found in apples, onions, and green tea [2]. Studies have even shown that probiotics may reduce allergy symptoms in children [3].

Elimination of Environmental Toxins:

  • Exposure to mold or chemicals can trigger allergy-like symptoms.

Lifestyle changes:

  • Stress management and adequate sleep to improve immune function.

Finding the root cause of your seasonal allergies takes time and personalized attention.  As your doctor, I can partner with you to create a customized plan.  Let’s work together to navigate allergy season, not just manage it. Ready to explore a more lasting solution? Schedule an appointment today!

REFERENCES:

  1. Vitamin D and immune function: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21527855/
  2. Quercetin for Allergic Rhinitis: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27187333/
  3. Probiotics and childhood allergies: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30425779/

Your gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes that live in your gut. These microbes play a vital role in your overall health, including your digestion, immune system, and mental health. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for gastrointestinal health. When your gut microbiome is out of balance, it can lead to a variety of problems, including:

– Constipation
– Diarrhea
– Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
– Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
– Food allergies and sensitivities
– Obesity
– Certain autoimmune diseases

Traveler’s diarrhea, a common type of food poisoning, is an illness that occurs when you travel to a new country and come into contact with unfamiliar bacteria. It can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and abdominal cramps. Traveler’s diarrhea disrupts your gut microbiome in several ways. Firstly, it can kill off beneficial bacteria in your gut. Secondly, it can allow harmful bacteria to grow out of control. Thirdly, it can alter the balance of bacteria in your gut. These changes can lead to various problems, including an increased risk of other infections, flares in IBS/IBD or other autoimmune diseases, and even changes in food allergies and sensitivities. Research has shown that some people may even experience changes in the ability to digest certain nutrients due to temporary changes in the lining of their digestive tracts.

If you are concerned about the effects of traveler’s diarrhea or other changes in your gut microbiome, we can help you improve it in several ways:

1. Gut microbiome testing: We can discuss testing your gut microbiome to identify the types of bacteria present and their proportions. This information can help identify any imbalances in your gut microbiome, and we can develop a multifaceted treatment plan to correct them.

2. Probiotics and other supplements: Taking probiotics and other supplements that can help improve your gut microbiome can restore balance and enhance your overall health. We can assist you in selecting the right supplements tailored to your specific needs.

3. Dietary changes: I always recommend dietary changes that can help improve your gut microbiome. A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can feed the good bacteria in your gut and promote their growth. We can work with you to create a personalized diet plan that is right for you.

4. Stress management and sleep hygiene: Stress and sleep deprivation can both disrupt your gut microbiome, so it is important to manage these factors if you want to improve your gut health. We can provide you with specific and evidence-based recommendations on how to reduce stress and improve your sleep.

If you are interested in improving your gut microbiome, I encourage you to schedule a consultation with me. During our visit, we can assess your gut microbiome, develop a treatment plan that is right for you, and answer any questions you have about how to improve your gut health and overall well-being.