Allergy UK estimates that around 18 million people in the UK suffer with hay fever, affecting 10-15% of children and 26% of adults. That’s a lot of people! There are many different natural remedies available to help relieve the symptoms of hay fever. Taking care of your digestive health is an important factor when considering what you can do to support your body.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen. Pollen is released when plants produce seeds. People who suffer with hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, react to this pollen which causes inflammation in the nose, eyes, and throat.
Hay fever is seasonal, and reactions can depend on what you are allergic to. Silver birch allergy usually occurs March to June, peaking in April and May. Grass pollen is usually in the air from May to July.
Some people are allergic to several pollens, extending the amount of time they are suffering.
The most common symptoms include itchy eyes, nose and throat, runny nose, sneezing, headaches, and fatigue. Antihistamines can provide relief but can lead to drowsiness and overuse can result in reduce effectiveness.
The Hygiene hypothesis
Why do so many people suffer with allergies? One theory is that in the western world we have become so obsessed with cleanliness and killing bacteria, that we have decreased the diversity of beneficial bacteria in the gut.
The bacteria in our digestive tracts help to keep us healthy. One of the things they do is to help modulate the immune system. They teach the immune cells in the gut that they don’t react to everything, that we are not always under attack. When we have imbalances in our microbiome (bacteria in the gut) the immune system isn’t trained as well and the immune cells go into overdrive thinking it’s constantly being attacked (This could be pollen, dust mites, animal hair).
What about the gut?
Probiotics – The Beneficial bacteria
It is believed that many allergies are caused by lack of bacterial diversity in the gut. Increasing bacterial diversity can have a positive effect on the immune system lessening the impact of allergies such as hay fever. As well as modulating the body’s immune response, probiotics have been shown to help reduce inflammation, a major part of hay fever.
You may have heard of Leaky Gut; this is essentially a permeable gut. It means that things are escaping the digestive tract and entering the circulation. Many things can cause leaky gut. Imbalance of gut bacteria, low beneficial bacteria, overgrowth of yeast, bacteria, parasites.
Medication, Extreme exercise. Low digestive enzymes. Inflammation in the gut. Leaky gut can also lead to an over-reactive immune system as the body starts to react to having things in the blood that shouldn’t be there. This can add to an already over-reactive immune system and worsen the symptoms of hay fever. It can also drive food intolerances as the body starts to react to undigested food proteins in the blood.
What can you do?
It’s important to look at gut healing if you have hay fever. It may not be a quick fix, but in the long term it may help to reduce your symptoms. Removing unwanted bacteria, eliminating food intolerances, introducing beneficial bacteria, increasing digestive processes, and repairing the gut can help to improve gut health and reduce unwanted allergies.
My 6R protocol for gut health.
When working with my clients, I take them through my 6R approach to gut healing.
We REMOVE bacteria, yeasts and parasites and take out foods they may be reacting to.
We REPLACE digestive enzymes and ensure digestion is working effectively.
We REPOPULATE the gut with friendly bacteria.
We REPAIR the gut lining.
We then REINTRODUCE foods one at a time so that they are eating a wide range of nutrient dense foods.
Next we work on RETAINING the healthy habits and changes they have made.
Join my gut transformation programme!
In June I will be running my Gut Transformation Programme. A 6-week group programme which will take you through each stage of my 6R protocol.
You will get a Gut Transformation kit sent to your house with all the supplements you’ll need for the 6-week programme. I will be with you every step of the way helping you to improve your gut health in a fun, interactive and supported way.
Places are limited and the deadline to join is May 29th.
Click HERE the link to find out more and book a connection call with me to discuss if this is the right programme for you.