Spring is just here, and some of us need to brace ourselves for the wrath of allergy season. From sneezing to sniffles to red, watery eyes, seasonal allergies can be miserable and last for weeks. Most don't realize that they are merely a symptom of something deeper-seated than pollen.
Seasonal allergies are an ailment of the immune system and surprisingly start with chronic gut inflammation. However, the good news is that fixing this inflammation can improve or even potentially eliminate allergy symptoms.
If you suffer unnecessarily from seasonal allergies or rely on allergy medications to function in the spring, here's what you should know:
Our microbiome is a diverse ecosystem of trillions of bacteria that help keep our digestion healthy. As it houses about 70 percent of our immune system, the health of our gut has a significant impact on our immune system as a whole.
Gut health is an accurate indicator of human health, and seasonal allergies are no exception. Surprisingly, gut permeability – or “leaky gut” – and the resulting inflammation can cause us to experience the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.
“Leaky gut” is a condition where the gastrointestinal tract lining becomes inflamed and porous, allowing food, bacteria, and toxins to enter the bloodstream—causing the immune system to launch an attack on the invaders that have entered, leading to inflammation throughout the body.
While leaky gut can cause pronounced gut-related symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, and diarrhea/constipation, many people experience no symptoms.
The inflammation caused by a leaky gut can manifest itself differently from person to person: Joint and muscle pain, chronic fatigue, skin problems, cognitive impairment, digestive problems, autoimmune disorders, and of course, seasonal allergies.
A healthy gut
The first step to alleviating allergy symptoms is to address the cause: a leaky gut. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as eliminating potential food triggers. Gluten, in particular, can be especially problematic for people with gut problems.
The gluten-containing foods we eat today have been genetically modified and processed in ways that make them particularly harmful to many people's digestive systems. Avoiding gluten and other potentially inflammatory foods such as eggs, dairy, sugar, alcohol, vegetable and seed oils, and refined grains allows the gut to heal. An anti-inflammatory diet can significantly relieve seasonal allergies and other gut-related symptoms.
Stress can also cause inflammation of the gut. Pay more attention to reducing stress factors in one's lifestyle, getting enough sleep, avoiding sugary foods, and ensuring hormone balance.
The bottom line
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you should take this as a sign that your gut needs attention. Leaky gut left untreated can lead to more severe health problems: Autoimmune diseases, depression, anxiety, and other neurological disorders.