As the mornings are getting lighter, the air is becoming fresher and colour is starting to flourish back into our gardens. This can only mean one thing for many people: puffy eyes, itchy throats and snotty noses! So this month I am going to talk about ways in which to handle your allergies
It seems like there are only two approaches to reducing allergy symptoms. You can either wait until you have symptoms and then take a drug to try and reduce them or take one of the new drugs to try and block the allergic response altogether. I am not a fan of either approach as there seems to be a huge irony in taking pharmaceutical drugs to ‘boost your immune system’.
There is just a single layer of cells protecting our bodies from all the reactions that happen in our guts. This cell layer allows all the nutrients from healthy food to be absorbed while other compounds, such as toxins, are kept out.
Many pharmaceutical drugs, including antibiotics and ibuprofen, break down this cell layer, which then allows those harmful compounds to enter our bloodstream. This is what is often referred to as a ‘leaky gut’. This is important because the health of our gut is the key player in our ability to control our allergies. Anyone witha compromised digestive system will have trouble with allergies and will often show other signs such as bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and dry skin to name a few.
There are other, much better supplements you can take to help both boost immunity and help to repair a damaged digestive system. As with any supplement though, quality can vary wildly. I always tell my clients that cheap supplements are expensive, so choose wisely.
Something to counteract such drugs as antibiotics is probiotics. Just the prefix of the word alone should give you a clue. ‘Anti’biotics suggests that they wipe out all the ‘biotics’ (bacteria) in your system. This is good in terms of killing off the bad strains which are making you ill, however people do not realise that they also kill many of the good strains too – the ones which help you digest your food and keep your immune system strong.
It is, therefore, safe to assume that ‘pro’biotics encourage the growth of good ‘biotics’, the good bacteria that strengthens our digestive system. Do not rush out and buy lots of yogurts and tiny pink bottles just yet though. Many probiotics bought on the high-street, including well known ‘health food shops’, do not do the job properly. The strain of the probiotic must be identified, the life of the bacteria must be guaranteed and the amount of organisms must be worthwhile.
In relation to my last article, I will reiterate the importance of good quality sleep. We increase the stress on our bodies by not catching enough good quality z’s, which in turn increases our cortisol levels leading to elevated histamine levels (think about why you might take ‘anti’histamine) and degrading gut function.
Get good sleep by fixing your sleeping pattern and night-time routine. This promotes sleep by optimizing hormone balance and overall health. And remember, prevention is always better than cure!