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Reducing Your Seasonal Allergy Symptoms: Allergy and the Microbiome

It’s that time of year again, the time of year you have been dreading. It’s Allergy Season.

Allergies result from a hypersensitive immune response to specific substances (proteins) that come in contact with your body. These proteins attach themselves to mast cells, within the immune system, that ultimately cause histamine and inflammatory chemicals to be released, resulting in an array of annoying and damaging symptoms. Seasonal allergy symptoms can include asthma, sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, hives, headache, watery eyes, itchy sinuses, throat, eyes, or ear canals. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Seasonal allergies are strongest during the Spring and Fall months and are usually the result of pollen or spores from various grasses, flowers, trees, and moulds.

Pollen and spores, on their own, aren’t usually harmful to humans, but with our heightened immune responses we are more at risk and then have to deal with the barrage of unpleasant symptoms. This is because we generally are surrounded by a culture of heightened cleanliness and over-sanitization; we lack time spent outside, live with increased stress, eat low quality food, have an increased use of antibiotics and medication plus have high levels of environmental pollution. We have compromised our bodies and immune systems, thus becoming more prone to allergies and other damaging diseases.

The good news is that our gut microbiota can help improve the state of our allergies. The quality of our health is directly related to the quality and range of biodiversity of microbes that we are exposed to, contained within the microbiome. The microbiome includes a collection of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes that live in our gut and other areas of our body.

The study (Tari Haahtela1 (2013), The biodiversity hypothesis and allergic disease: world allergy organization position statement. World Allergy Organization Journal 6:3,1-2) has found that a decrease in biodiversity of the microbiota increases risk of seasonal allergies. In this study it is revealed that microbe-rich environments give protection against allergic (and autoimmune) disease and that declining biodiversity is more generally responsible for immune impairment intolerance and dysfunction. We learn that the factors affecting the biodiversity of our microbiota include: type of birth, amount of exposure to outdoors, quality of nutrition, what community you live in, history of antibiotics/medication, genetics, stress and lifestyle. It is our responsibility to remain informed and take action in increasing the diversity and quality of our microbiome in order to remain healthy.

It is very important that the microbiota has a positive and balanced symbiotic (interdependent) relationship with its host (us) in order for both for us to thrive in health. When we are both operating in harmony there are many benefits such as digestion becoming more efficient, reduction in allergy symptoms, decreased inflammation and improved immune response. When the bacteria becomes out of balance or out of control we then start dealing with the symptoms of dysbiosis, an imbalance of gut microbiota. Dysbiosis is connected to seasonal allergy.

It is interesting that 80% of our immune system is also located within our gut. There is a direct link to the quality of our gut bacteria, the quality of our immune response and corresponding allergy symptoms. There are many ways we can improve our immune system’s function but largely the gut microbiome has the largest role to play in shaping the host’s immune system.

We can dramatically improve the quality of our microbiome by:

1) Eating real, whole foods

2) Avoiding processed and chemical laden foods

3) Consuming fermented foods

4) Introducing probiotics

5) Spending time in nature

6) Eating food from the garden

7) Avoiding antibiotics unnecessarily

Providing our body with nutritional and environmental support is crucial in allergy maintenance and symptom reduction. By gaining knowledge and applying what we learn everyday, we can successfully reduce allergy response. Imagine going through “allergy season” without all of those annoying symptoms that you usually experience every year! What would that be like? How would you feel? It is worth investing some time to learn how to increase the quality of your microbiome in order to reduce, reverse and improve your allergic response. Join us for our upcoming workshop on seasonal allergies in April to learn more!!!


Join our Seasonal Allergy Workshop in April at Kingston Integrated Healthcare at 541 Palace Rd, Kingston, ON K7L 4T6. Cost: $5-$10 donation towards Loving Spoonful.

For more information on this topic:

This study connects dysbiosis and allergy: http://www.ebiomedicine.com/article/S2352-3964(15)30221-8/pdf

This study connects the lack of microbiota diversity to allergy:


This study examines how environmental biodiversity, human microbiota, and allergy are interrelated:


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