Seasonal allergies, or hay fever, is an immunological response to common environmental antigens (things that cause a reaction in the immune system) like grasses, weeds, and tree pollen. Conventional wisdom would have us believe these substances are the CAUSE of the allergens.
We would like to propose they are the TRIGGER of the symptoms of allergies (itchy, watery eyes, hives, runny nose, and sneezing), but that the true cause lies in WHY the body reacts to these ubiquitous things found in nature in the first place.
A note about cause: If these antigens were the cause of allergies then wouldn’t everyone who is exposed to them start sneezing?
Cause (v.): to make something happen… i.e. all the time, no exceptions.
So what gives? Why don’t we all have seasonal allergies?
The root is in individual susceptibility; the conditions in the body that predispose the immune reaction, or overreaction, to occur…i.e. how healthy is your immune system?
When we look a little deeper into the case of someone who has seasonal allergies we almost always find three underlying factors:
- weak digestion
- food allergies, known or not yet discovered
- adrenal fatigue
When we eat food that our stomach is unable to properly digest it can lead to nutritional deficiencies, leading to poor immune function. Additionally, the immune system in the gut further reacts to the now fermented, undigested food causing even more problems in the GI track. This can lead to food allergies which further stress the immune system making it prone to overreact to any antigen, food, infectious organisms or environmental pollens to the point that it is so sensitive it will attack just about anything and everything.
Layer that on top of an over-scheduled, stressed out life, low on sleep and high on processed food, sugar and caffeine and you have the perfect storm for adrenal fatigue (insufficient or improper production of cortisol, a hormone responsible for the regulation of allergic reactions among many other essential functions). Many of us who suffer from seasonal allergies can note worsening symptoms when tired, stressed out, or after consumption of sugar and caffeine, all things that weaken the adrenal glands.