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 Lab Work
Before starting to address the root cause of your allergies, it is important to do some detective work with functional lab testing to better understand the cause of your health issues.
These tests may include:
- Functional stool testing to better understand the microbiome, inflammation, digestion and immune system in your gut.
- Nutritional and inflammatory markers to better understand where the nutritional gaps exist and the role of inflammation in your body.
- Toxic burden analysis to look deeper at the role of environmental toxicity, issues with mycotoxins from mold, and how your body is handling the environmental load.
- Stress and hormone balance markers to identify what role stress is playing in your health and how your body is handling it.
We view your test results from a lens of what is optimal versus normal, as well as using the data to give us guidance to where the imbalances in the body exist.
Functional Medicine’s Approach to Allergies
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:
- Changing your diet: We employ a step by step process for you to understand what foods make you feel your best, with a long term focus on sustainable changes to fit in your lifestyle.
- Strategic Supplementation: Supplements such as quercetin or NAC can be a tool to help balance your immune system or address underlying imbalances with long-term resolution as a goal. However, we also want to dig deeper and explore why a patient needs supplements in the first place!
- Gut Health: Up to 80% of our immune system is in our gut. If your gut health isn’t being addressed then your immune system will continue to be hyperactive.
- Detoxification: Environmental toxicity is often overlooked as playing a role in the development of allergies. Reactions to chemicals, foods, smells, mold all have the potential to overload your detoxification system and affect the immune system.
Getting Started with Functional Medicine Treatments for Allergies
At Functional Nutrition Resources we’re passionate about helping our patients optimize their wellness. We’ve developed a co-labor process that enlists the patient in becoming an advocate and expert on their health, while our team guides them through elevating their overall vitality.
Allergies are simply a piece of the puzzle of your overall health. We’re here to help you examine and explore how all facets work together so that you can not only reduce or eliminate your allergies, but ensure that all other pieces of your health are in the right place. The tools you receive from working with our team are tools you’ll use for a lifetime, and pass down to generations to come.
To get started and learn more, watch our webinar here.