Author: Dr. Quinte Naturopathic Centre on 29 June 2014
Guest Post by Dr. Alfred Hauk, Naturopathic Doctor
Between March and the first frost, Ontario has three seasons replete with outdoor environmental allergens, as well as year-round indoor environmental allergens, such as mites, dust and pet dander.
Many of the over-the-counter allergy remedies and prescribed pharmaceuticals do an excellent job of relieving symptoms chemically but don’t treat their root cause, so the allergy symptoms can, and do, return when the drug regimen stops. These treatments also can have side effects. Naturopathic doctors, on the other hand, take a different tack in eliminating discomforting symptoms; we help our patients understand and assess their bodies’ responses to irritating substances and how best to address them. Our view can be summed up as “eliminating the cause eliminates the symptoms.”
The first step in ridding oneself of allergic symptoms is to identify their cause, which, for most patients, lies in the gastro-intestinal (G-I) tract. For nearly all patients, rebuilding their gut health improves their overall health and reduces the immune system’s response to allergens. That is the reason a first naturopathic therapy for allergies is to bring the gut back to health.
Depending on the individual patient and his or her circumstances, there are several ways to investigate what is causing the immune system to react, or over-react; among them is an "elimination diet" or a blood test to see which antibodies the body is producing in response to specific foods.
Another means of assessing the health of a patient’s G-I tract is to examine the patient’s history of antibiotic use. Too many, or certain classes of, antibiotics can adversely alter the gut’s chemistry and cause imbalances.
Using one or more of these diagnostic tools allows us to identify what the body is reacting to and to develop an effective naturopathic treatment. The gut can often be brought back into balance by adjusting the diet and/or by using different supplements.
The basic diet rules include:
• Eat stress-free; eat foods that agree with you.
• Eat a wide variety of foods.
• Eat wholesome, unprocessed foods.
• Supplement your diet with quality probiotics to kickstart the process of healing the gut; your naturopathic doctor can help you find the most effective probiotics for your particular circumstances.
At the end of the day, make sure you have eaten a good acid/alkaline balance of foods. In some extreme cases, a naturopathic therapy might include intravenous vitamin C.
No matter what the recommended therapy is, for it to be effective, the patient must stick with it. I offer my patients this analogy: a weekend of eating healthy can’t and won’t cure heart disease. The same holds true for allergies: treat every day as allergy day.
Dr. Alfred Hauk, ND, practices in Brantford, Ontario. He is the newly-elected Chair of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and also has served as a Director of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors. Thank-you for providing this article to further educate people on allergies and available naturopathic treatments.
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