woman sneezing with hayfever

What causes Hayfever?

If you are reading this, you probably suffer with hayfever and, have taken anti-histamines. You may already know a lot about what can trigger your symptoms? but, there are many different reasons why you could have developed this condition in the first place.

Hayfever is caused by an exaggerated immune response where histamine is released in response to airborne pollen that gets stuck on our skin, into our airways and irritates our mucus membranes. This is why you may experience symptoms such as; sneezing, itchy, water eyes, runny nose, tickly throat and a cough as your body tries to expel these “foreign” proteins.

Having optimal vitamin D levels likely reduces the chance of developing allergies because of its effect on the immune system which is critical to the proper functioning of T-cells, which are a crucial part of the immune system. Checking your vitamin D levels can be a helpful test to run. I have a simple home test kit that I run for my clients and find it invaluable.

Typically, those who suffer Hayfever in the springtime are reacting to tree pollen, and in the summer months more likely to be a reaction to grass and weed pollens. During Autumn time reactions to weed pollen and fungal spores may be more common, although fungus can be present throughout the year. There are also cross-reactive proteins found in some tree fruit and nuts that can cause itchy mouth when eaten. Oral allergy syndrome is often experienced alongside hayfever and other allergies such as dust, animal dander and food allergies. There are an array of functional tests that can help you find out which foods are triggering your symptoms. Ask me for more information.

All of these symptoms are a natural response, although highly irritating and uncomfortable, however, did you know that the health of your gut may be a factor?

What has gut got to do with it?

I see lots of people with allergy-type symptoms, and I would say that in the majority of cases, they have experienced a history of “events” that have disturbed the gut microbiome and upset the balance of bacteria that live in our gut where 70% of our immune system resides!

These “events”  even go back to the way you were delivered into the world, for example, C-section babies are not exposed to bacteria in the vaginal tract and as such are born with reduced bacterial diversity in their gut. Additionally, medication, stress and diet can all impact on our gut microbiome and manifest later in life as a series of immune related issues such as; eczema, asthma, Hayfever, seasonal allergies and even autoimmunity as the immune system becomes more and more reactive and repeated antibiotic use further disrupts the delicate balance of gut bacteria that we now understand have a huge part to play in regulating our immune system.

Gut dysbiosis is implicated in hay fever and allergies but evidence based scientific research is showing us that the addition of live probiotic rich foods can help.  Many allergies are caused by a lack of bacterial diversity in our gut, considering the gut hosts up to 80% of our immune system this is a great place to start. By removing triggers from environmental and dietary factors and by optimising the gut’s bacterial diversity may have a positive effect on the immune system and lessen the impact of allergies such as hay fever.

How can diet help?

Food choices that are low in nutrient value and inflammatory such as processed, takeaway, fried and foods high in sugar can make symptoms worse as these all increase inflammation in the body, making your hayfever symptoms even more difficult to control. Try taking out any processed, fried, high-sugar foods and drinks and see if that helps. Discover how you can eat better in four weeks and improve your diet to improve your health or join the next Eat Better Feel Better group and become part of my healthy community with my full guidance.

As a Nutritional Therapist my job is to dig down to the root cause/s helping you remove triggers for these immune responses through dietary and lifestyle modification by providing a personalised nutrition plan that takes into account your uniqueness to improve your health and wellbeing. Working with me on a one to one basis is the best way to get a targeted plan in place that is specific to you for speedy resolution.

Leaky Gut syndrome is often a contributing factor, without the tight control of a strong gut barrier,  food proteins are able to slip between gut cells directly into the blood stream. By-passing the gut cells in-built immune control and entering the bloodstream initiates an immune response as white blood cells flag these “foreign” proteins for destruction by your immune system which increases histamine production within the gut, further worsening hayfever symptoms.

My 7 -day Healthy Gut challenge is a great way to get your gut health better prepared for hayfever season. Try it for 7 days and see how you feel.

What Can I do now?
  • Download and keep a food diary to watch for triggers that make symptoms worse. Download here
  • Avoid alcohol (beer and wine especially, as they are fermented and aged which can trigger histamine release).
  • Use local, unpasteurized honey from bees which feed from local clover and flowers to you. Farmers markets are usually a good bet!
  • Try Haymax or Vaseline around nostrils to block pollen out.
  • Get your vitamin D levels checked *ask me for info on vitamin D home test kit

If any of the above information and tips have resonated with you, there is a good chance you could reduce your symptoms by changing your diet. You can try taking my Hayfever shot each morning throughout the Hayfever season. Download the recipe now. HAYFEVER SHOT

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