Gut Health: Addressing the Cause of Allergies & Sensitivities
In the allergy clinic, I work on a daily basis to reduce the symptoms of allergy and sensitivity. I utilise a number of specialised natural therapies to address allergy symptoms. Symptom reduction is however only one part of the allergy management puzzle.
In addition to symptom management, it is crucial to address the underlying causes of allergy and sensitivity to prevent the development of allergy in the future.
We are still learning about the factors that contribute to the development of allergy and sensitivity.
Issues in the gut are one of the most common underlying factors I see contributing to allergy and sensitivity symptoms. In my experience, optimal gut health is a key factor in reducing allergy symptoms and preventing the development of allergy.
The Importance of the Gut in Allergy and Sensitivity Management.
I recently had a patient who asked me,
“Can’t I just work on my allergy symptoms without working on my gut issues?”
My answer to this question was No and I offered the following explanation as to why.
Allergy and sensitivity involve the generation of inflammation to protect the body from usually harmless substances that are (mistakenly) perceived as a threat.
In the Natural Medicine world, the gut is considered the base of our inflammation.
Nearly 80% of our immune cells (the cells involved in inflammatory responses) are located in the tissues of the gut. Damage to the gut triggers a release of inflammatory mediators from these immune cells raising the inflammatory response in the body.
We now recognise that nearly all health conditions are driven by inflammation which is why Naturopaths so commonly focus on gut health when we are treating you. This is particularly true when it comes to allergy and reducing the inflammation caused by allergy and sensitivity reactions.
Factors that Cause Gut Inflammation
A number of factors will cause gut inflammation. Some examples of substances that cause gut inflammation include.
– Eating foods that cause allergy or sensitivity reactions.
– Heavy metal and toxin exposure.
– Medication exposure such as antibiotics.
– Overgrowth of fungus in the gut.
– Overgrowth of harmful bacteria and parasites in the gut.
Fungal overgrowth in the gut commonly occurs in allergy and sensitivity patients and we commonly do antifungal gut work as part allergy management plans.
Working with patients in the Northern Rivers, Gold Coast, and Brisbane I also see a very high incidence of parasites such as Blastocystis hominis causing issues in the gut. We are a hot spot for these parasites and the majority of my patients have to do some work on gut parasites.
Testing for parasites is a routine part of our allergy management program. My preferred test for parasite assessment is the Complete Microbiome which detects the genetic material of common parasites, bacteria, virus, worms, and fungus in addition to an assessment of gut inflammation and immune health. I find this test to be the most accurate and comprehensive option for the assessment of gut microbes. There are other cheaper tests available however I often find this can miss things. I recommend paying the extra money for the complete microbiome so we know from the start what we are working with.
Comprehensive gut testing plays a crucial part in the development of the allergy treatment program for my patients. It plays a role in both the management of symptoms and working to prevent the development of allergy in the future. I recommend all my patient undergo comprehensive gut testing, even in the absence of obvious gut symptoms to help identify and address these key drivers of inflammation.
Rachael Reed – The Allergy Naturopath
If you wish to learn more about allergy and sensitivity feel free to come along to one of our free workshops. We also run training programs for practitioners wanting to learn more about specialised natural therapies for allergies and sensitivities. Contact us for more information. Remember to sign up to our newsletter and like us on Facebook to receive information posts and clinic and workshop news.
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The Allergy Naturopath
Rachael Reed is a university qualified Naturopath with a background in science and research. She has a wealth of knowledge with 14 years of clinical experience specialising in allergy and sensitivities. Rachael is an author, trainer and educator. As a sufferer of allergy and sensitivity symptoms, Rachael has an in-depth insight into understanding and managing these symptoms.