By Autumn Frandsen, N.D.
About this time of year, I often hear the phrase “Something must be going around”, explaining away the itchy sore throat, fatigue, and headaches that many people are experiencing. Because many people have not been aware of allergies in their former years, the possibility of having an allergic reaction now does not even enter their minds. However, if there is a trend where one gets sick at the onset of a new season, it is most likely an allergy. Pollens, grasses, shrubs, and trees are all in bloom in the spring and are the cause of allergy flare-ups at that time, and ragweed, molds, smuts, and some flowers are responsible for symptoms in the fall. Even those who have never had previous experience with allergies are vulnerable.
There are many reasons why one may develop late onset seasonal allergies. During periods of significant stress in our lives, our bodies and immune systems are not functioning optimally. Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your vitamin C is rapidly used up in the production of cortisol and related stress-response hormones. As vitamin C is also very important for our immune function, our bodies are less likely to ward off invaders. When the acute stress subsides, our immune systems are free to utilize the vitamin C and often go overboard in their attempt to play catch-up. That is when you see symptoms like a runny nose, post-nasal drip, and cough. They are the body’s way of expelling foreign bodies.
Because many of our defense mechanisms are in our gut, or gastrointestinal tract, people often exhibit GI disturbance as another sign of allergic response to both environmental allergens and foods. Over time if we are exposed to high mold levels, high pollen count, or the same foods over and over again, our gut immune component starts to become impacted. This can also lead to symptoms of depression as 90% of our serotonin stores are found in our GI system. It is very important to desensitize our systems to potential allergens that we encounter both daily and rarely. We must also repair both our gut lining and adrenal function in order to prevent further deterioration.
Many allergists use antigen therapy based on lab testing or skin prick testing which is administered as a shot. There is no way for them to determine to what degree your body is reacting to something so those with a mild allergy who wish to be desensitized are given the same substance as those with a severe allergy. This can lead to major reactions in those with severe sensitivity. It is very important to tailor the treatment to each individual. Using electrodermal screening, it is possible to evaluate to what level someone is sensitive. Then a remedy specific for that level can be given orally. This is ideal for people with hyperreactive immune systems, younger and older people, and those who have a phobia of needles. While the patient is being desensitized, we can work on optimizing their adrenal function. The ultimate outcome is elimination or decrease of allergies, more energy, and better immune function.