Allergies–Where They Start
Chronic hay fever, rhinitis, eczema or asthma and many auto-immune diseases are frequently caused by an over-reaction of the immune system in the digestive tract.
Often this has to do with lack of a good diversity of microbes (or ‘flora’), which signal our immune system to defend our body from bacteria and viruses, and to ignore harmless particles from animal hair, dust or food. Overuse of antibiotics in our food animals and as medicines are often involved as well. These effects can often persist from parents to children and grandchildren; patients will often say that allergies ‘run in the family’.
Food Allergies and Sensitivities
The best approach to treating food problems is to identify the triggering foods as accurately as possible. This usually involves food sensitivity or IgG testing, done with a small sample of blood from the finger tip.
Once these foods are identified, we can target elimination of problematic foods, while we treat imbalances or inflammation in the gut. Often this process takes 2-3 months, after which we will add back eliminated foods one at a time to see if the triggering response persists or has stopped.
More information on food sensitivity testing can be found here.
Problems with food components such as histamines or salicylates can also be behind some chronic allergic type symptoms–particularly chronic hives, migraines or behavioural symptoms in kids. If these problems are indicated by clinical history, we will discuss targeted food elimination trials, while we work on gut and immune system healing.
With environmental allergies, sublingual immunotherapy or SLIT is often the most effective treatment to bring about permanent relief. SLIT is a desensitization therapy similar to allergy shots, where the patient takes a very small dose of the allergen(s) daily for a period of 1-3 years. Over time, the body learns to tolerate allergens and symptoms will either decrease or disappear. There are many clinical studies showing this to be a very effective, low risk therapy, which is why is has recently been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Allergy Organization. (WAO). Dr. Marianne has been using this therapy since 2009, and during this time, she have seen dramatic improvement in allergy symptoms in many of her patients.
Drug plans often cover SLIT drops as a prescription compounded therapy. More information on SLIT is available here.