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The Connection Between Seasonal Allergies & Gut Health

The Connection Between Seasonal Allergies & Gut Health

Written by our in-house Naturopath, Holistic Nutritionsit and Medical Herbalist Emma Gibson, from Nala Holistic

While many of us soak up the longer days of sunshine, enjoy the fresh blooms, and welcome the new growth that comes with spring, it can be not so fun for those suffering with seasonal allergies.

Everyones allergic response and what triggers it can be different, so ultimately working with a holistic healthcare professional to address your unique triggers and responses is best.

That said, we want to take a look at seasonal allergies, typically triggered by grasses, pollens, and trees, and offer some simple tips and tricks to keep the sneezes, itchy eyes, runny nose, and headaches at bay so you can soak up the spring goodness too!

What are allergies?

To put it simply, allergies are an overactive or abnormal immune response to something that is usually harmless (for immune system 101, head over to our blog The Importance of Amino Acids for Immunity).

In people prone to allergies, exposure to an allergen activates a hyperactive immune response. One of the key parts of this process is mast cell activation. Mast cells produce histamine and histamine is what causes the symptoms like sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, a runny nose, and headaches, for example (1).


What can you do to combat these undesirable symptoms?! 

Support Gut Barrier Function

Allergies and intolerances have been closely linked to impaired gut barrier function and gut bacteria balance (1, 2). 

70-80% of your immune system is in your gut, so an in-tact and well functioning gut barrier and well balanced microbiome is essential for healthy immune function (3).

When our gut wall is compromised or ‘leaky’, potential allergens can find their way into the bloodstream more easily and trigger this abnormal immune response.

Both ‘leaky’ gut and dysbiosis (low levels of the good bacteria and/or an overgrowth of the goodies) can cause inflammation and inflammation has far-reaching effects on the whole body (4).

Not handling histamine so well is closely correlated to the health of our digestive system. The gut is one of the main places we produce an enzyme called diamine oxidase, or DAO, whose primary roll is to break down excess histamine in the body. If the gut is compromised, enzyme production can be compromised, leading to a build up of histamine (5). 

So, a compromised gut on top of the sneezy season can result in not only increased histamine production when exposed to allergens, but also a build up of histamine as a result of less efficiency in breaking it down. 

TIP: Make Bone Broth part of your daily routine to nourish, heal, and seal the digestive tract. Simply focus on whole, real foods and a variety for fresh fruit and vegetables! And stay well hydrated. 

5 Simple Dietary Considerations

1. The body produces histamine as needed, but some foods are high in or promote the release of histamine, so are best avoided. These include aged meats, beer, wine, fermented food and drinks, dried fruits, avocado, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, shellfish, older/aged foods and leftovers (5).

2. Dose up on Vitamin C. Vitamin C is great for bolstering the immune system in general, but it specifically helps to stabilise mast cells, regulating the release of histamine (6). With a dose both turmeric and vitamin C, Mitchells Collagen Repair might just be the perfect addition to your daily routine to see you through the sneezy season. Read more about it on our blog here.

3. Quercetin, a flavonoid, has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine activity. Quercetin rich foods include onion, apples, red grapes, kiwifruit, berries, cherries, and parsley (7).

4. Load up on local honey. Local honey has been said to help reduce symptoms by exposing the immune system to the byproducts of pollens from trees and plants that grow nearby and are likely to be triggering allergies (8). 

5. Add Bone Broth Protein Powder to your daily routine to nourish and support gut barrier function. Available in ChocolateVanillaSalted CaramelReal Strawberry and Unflavoured

Address Stress

Stress has far reaching effects on the mind and body, in the context of allergies, it can compromise immune function and promote gut barrier dysfunction. Finding ways to manage stress is essential to supporting immune, and whole body, function.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to be medical advice. This blog is for educational purposes only. We suggest you consult with your healthcare professional to determine what is right for you and your health.

 

Related Blog Posts: 

 

References

1. Han, P., Gu, J. Q., Li, L. S., Wang, X. Y., Wang, H. T., Wang, Y., Chang, C., & Sun, J. L. (2021). The Association Between Intestinal Bacteria and Allergic Diseases-Cause or Consequence?. Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology11, 650893. https://doi.org/10.3389/fcimb.2021.650893

2. Niewiem, M., & Grzybowska-Chlebowczyk, U. (2022). Intestinal Barrier Permeability in Allergic Diseases. Nutrients14(9), 1893. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091893

3. Wiertsema, S. P., van Bergenhenegouwen, J., Garssen, J., & Knippels, L. M. J. (2021). The Interplay between the Gut Microbiome and the Immune System in the Context of Infectious Diseases throughout Life and the Role of Nutrition in Optimizing Treatment Strategies. Nutrients13(3), 886. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030886

4. Lobionda, S., Sittipo, P., Kwon, H. Y., & Lee, Y. K. (2019). The Role of Gut Microbiota in Intestinal Inflammation with Respect to Diet and Extrinsic Stressors. Microorganisms7(8), 271. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7080271

5. Sánchez-Pérez, S., Comas-Basté, O., Veciana-Nogués, M. T., Latorre-Moratalla, M. L., & Vidal-Carou, M. C. (2021). Low-Histamine Diets: Is the Exclusion of Foods Justified by Their Histamine Content?. Nutrients13(5), 1395. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13051395

6. Baran, J., Sobiepanek, A., Mazurkiewicz-Pisarek, A., Rogalska, M., Gryciuk, A., Kuryk, L., Abraham, S. N., & Staniszewska, M. (2023). Mast Cells as a Target-A Comprehensive Review of Recent Therapeutic Approaches. Cells12(8), 1187. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12081187

7. Micek, J., Jurikova, T., Skrovankova, S., & Sochor, J. (2016). Quercetin and Its Anti-Allergic Immune Response. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)21(5), 623. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules21050623

8. Asha'ari, Z. A., Ahmad, M. Z., Jihan, W. S., Che, C. M., & Leman, I. (2013). Ingestion of honey improves the symptoms of allergic rhinitis: evidence from a randomized placebo-controlled trial in the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Annals of Saudi medicine33(5), 469–475. https://doi.org/10.5144/0256-4947.2013.469

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