Allergies are a common annoyance for many people; for others an allergic reaction can be life-threatening. Your body’s immune system responds in a variety of ways when confronted with an allergen, with symptoms as common (yet irritating) as itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and a stuffy nose, to as serious as anaphylaxis and asthma, or as surprising as eczema, bowel problems, or mood disorders. 

Whatever your reaction, many people suffer needlessly simply because they don’t know specifically what they are allergic to. Rather than just treating your symptoms, your ND will get to the bottom of what is making you feel miserable, whether it’s animals, plants, food allergies or environmental toxins. 

The cause of allergies 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. 

Although there is no cure for allergies, your ND can help. Once you are aware of what’s causing your allergic reaction, it can be managed and you can live a more fulfilling and outgoing life. 

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 “elimination and challenge” testing. In this test, a patient eliminates from his or her diet foods suspected of contributing to his or her allergies, including, but not in any way limited to: dairy, onions, garlic, soy, gluten-containing grains, and citrus fruit. After a suitable period of time, these foods are individually and systematically reintroduced back in to the diet and the patient is monitored for the reactions. 

There are also scratch tests in which the body is exposed to small amounts of suspected allergens through scratches on the surface of the skin and the patient is monitored for reactions. Additionally, there are blood tests to see which antibodies the body is producing in response to specific foods.


Description Courtesy of The Ontario Association of Naturopathic Medicine

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