Functional Medicine for Allergies: Holistic Allergy Treatments
As anyone who suffers from allergies well knows, allergies can go from irritating to debilitating. You would do anything to eliminate them, but some allergy medications can leave you drowsy and never seem to fix the problem permanently. At Functional Nutrition Resources we use functional medicine treatments to help our clients uncover the root cause of their allergies so they can be free of them once and for all.
We want to share how we help our clients experience relief when we provide functional medicine for allergies.
Differences between Conventional and Functional Medicine for Allergies
Before we delve into how we use functional medicine for lasting allergy relief, we must explore the fundamental differences between conventional and functional medicine. Conventional medicine often relies on medications, such as antihistamines and corticosteroids, to manage allergy symptoms. While these medications can provide temporary relief, they treat only the symptoms instead of the root cause.
Rather than simply managing symptoms, functional medicine seeks to identify and address the root causes of allergies so they’re less likely to return. Identifying the root cause involves comprehensively evaluating your health history, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
We know no two people are alike, and we don’t believe in one-size-fits-all approaches to health. What’s more, functional medicine is a highly personalized approach to healthcare. Functional medicine practitioners co-create a treatment plan that’s custom-tailored to you and your unique needs so your particular imbalances can be addressed.
What Causes Allergies from a Functional Medicine Standpoint?
From a functional medicine perspective, allergic reactions indicate an imbalanced immune system that’s trying to protect the body from harmful elements. Behind every allergic reaction there’s an immune system overreacting to harmless substances such as pollen or pet dander. However, the immune system, for one reason or another, cannot identify threats appropriately and becomes hyperactive, manifesting in allergies.
What causes these imbalances? When it comes to functional medicine for allergies, it usually comes down to a few key suspects: gut health, inflammation, and genetics.
The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi, which all play a crucial role in immune system regulation. When the balance of these microorganisms is disrupted, or you have a leaky gut, it can lead to an overactive immune system and the development of allergies. That’s because your immune system is constantly fighting to restore gut health. If your gut health isn’t being properly treated, then your immune system will continue to be hyperactive.
Unfortunately, inflammation runs rampant in today’s world. Even worse, it’s widely undiagnosed and wreaks havoc on your immune system. Inflammation happens thanks to various factors, including poor diet (which can also be related to leaky gut), chronic stress, or environmental toxins such as mold. If you’re suffering from inflammation, there’s a good chance you have allergies because your immune system is kicked into rescue mode trying to reduce inflammation-related health issues.
Blame it on Mom and Dad: there are several genetic factors that increase the likelihood of having allergies.
Unfortunately, we’re exposed to toxins all day long in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. While we can take action to mitigate these effects, if you’re around an unidentified toxin, such as mold, you could be more susceptible to allergic reactions.
Functional Medicine Allergy Testing
Before starting functional medicine treatments for allergies, it’s crucial to identify the root cause. As mentioned above, a part of that process is comprehensive testing. While conventional allergy testing focuses on identifying specific allergens, functional medicine practitioners will test various factors contributing to an imbalanced immune system, focusing on the abovementioned causes.
There are several different types of testing techniques when using functional medicine for allergies.
Gut Health, Inflammation, and Genetic Testing
Functional medicine practitioners embrace cutting-edge techniques to pinpoint the root cause of their patient’s health issues. Every clinic will be different, but most practitioners will administer tests looking for problems related to gut health, inflammation, and genetic testing. How the test is administered depends on which test your practitioner selects to apply functional medicine for allergies.
This test, administered through blood testing or elimination diets, identifies whether certain foods are causing immune system imbalances.
Environmental Allergy Testing
This test identifies your reaction to various environmental triggers, including the following:
This test is administered through blood or prick testing.
Functional Medicine Allergy Treatments
When you seek out functional medicine for your allergies, you’ll find that your practitioners won’t immediately send you home with instructions to buy an antihistamine. Instead, you’ll likely be advised to do one or a combination of the following:
- Change your diet: If you identify gut health problems, diet changes are necessary for effective allergy treatments.
- Supplements: You might be advised to start a supplement regimen such as probiotics, quercetin, and/or vitamin C to help balance your immune system and reduce inflammation. Some supplements, such as digestive enzymes, help restore gut health.
- Lifestyle changes: If you’re currently under much stress, you’ll likely be advised to take yoga classes or another relaxing activity. Stress is a significant inflammation trigger, and increasing relaxation impacts your immune system positively.
- Conventional allergy treatments: Though it’s not a functional medicine practitioner’s first choice, they may find traditional allergy medications and treatments appropriate. However, these are generally used as complementary treatments in a functional medicine setting.
Getting Started with Functional Medicine Treatments for Allergies
At Functional Nutrition Resources we’re passionate about helping our patients optimize their wellness, and that means freeing them from obtrusive symptoms by providing functional medicine for allergies. If you’re ready to let our experienced team at our functional medicine clinic in Tulsa help you, then start by scheduling a free call.