Patients often remind me how miserable seasonal allergies can become, especially as the seasons turn. Conventional medicine treats seasonal allergies with injections and pills, which unfortunately create side effects and fail to address the problem's root. When you don't address the root cause, these allergies will never go away.
I've seen countless patients arrive complaining about gut issues. Once we fixed their diets and healed their guts, their seasonal allergies also disappeared!
One patient struggled with allergies, asthma, and hives. She almost died twice from anaphylaxis. She arrived in my office on 42 different pills, sprays, and inhalers, yet she still felt awful. These drugs suppress and inhibit immune function, yet until this point no doctor had questioned why her immune system was so out-of-whack in the first place.
Turned out, she had leaky gut triggered by Celiac disease, a gluten-related autoimmune disease. Until that point, nobody had actually tested her for this condition! When we eliminated gluten and other dietary allergens, we healed her leaky gut and calmed down her allergies. Thankfully, we eventually got her off those 42 medications.
For her and countless other patients, a key strategy involves getting your gut healthy. After all, an unhealthy, inflamed gut can't fight off potential allergens. To do that and eliminate seasonal allergies, I've found these four strategies incredibly helpful:
1. Try an elimination diet.
An elimination diet becomes the first step for a healthy gut. Functional medicine involves taking out the bad and putting in the good. Eliminate common toxic triggers like wheat, corn, dairy, soy, and alcohol. Chronic inflammation that contributes to seasonal allergies and much more can come from many sources, including a high-sugar diet, too many inflammatory omega-6s, and food allergies and sensitivities. Eat a whole foods, high-fiber, anti-inflammatory plant-based diet. Avoid anything that contains sugar or trans fats. Focus on eating healthy fats from extra-virgin olive oil, nuts, avocados, and omega-3 fats from small fish like sardines, herring, sable, and wild-caught salmon. I provide an easy-to-implement plan in my book Eat Fat, Get Thin.
2. Use powerful gut-healing nutrients.
These include probiotics, which provide good bacteria to improve digestion and reduce inflammation. Other gut-healing nutrients include glutamine, zinc, curcumin, and fish oil. I always recommend a high-quality multivitamin. Quercetin (which has anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties) and nettles can also relieve symptoms from allergies.
3. Manage stress with a mind-body connection.
A mind-body connection means being stressed out, and "wired and tired" can damage your gut and worsen seasonal allergies. Practice relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation. My mind-body solution program, which includes stress relief supplements, and my meditation soundtrack UltraCalm CD, can really help you get your stress under control.
4. Get adequate sleep.
Optimal sleep becomes crucial for gut health and overall health. Research shows that inadequate sleep shortens your lifespan and increases inflammation, which can lead to chronic disease. Insufficient sleep can also increase your risk for diabetes through insulin resistance, which paves the way for diabesity. Aim for at least eight hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep every night. To help meet that quota, check out my eight simple hacks for a better night's sleep.
Occasionally I'll have a patient who has tried all these things and still suffers. In those cases, we need to dig a little deeper for other causes such as food additives, pesticides, chemicals, and pollution in your environment. You should also check for mold (check out this site to learn more) in your home or work.
Also consider a very important blood test called C-reactive protein, which measures the degree of hidden inflammation in your body. Almost every modern disease—including heart disease, cancer, obesity, dementia, arthritis, autoimmune disease, allergies, and digestive disorders—connects with hidden inflammation.
If you've applied natural strategies to get rid of seasonal allergies, what worked and what hasn't? Share your thoughts below or on my Facebook page.