Seasonal Allergies Start in the GUT

Seasonal Allergies Start In The Gut

Written by: Vincent Pedre M.D. | March 27, 2024 | Time to read 9 min

If you think your spring allergies are just due to the pollen in the air, I have news for you. They’re actually powered by your gut. And what you might not like to hear, is that how bad your spring allergies are is actually due to your diet more than anything else. 

Ah, spring! — the season that sings with the promise of renewal, with flowers blooming and the world awash in vibrant colors. Yet, for many, this picturesque time also ushers in the uncomfortable symptoms that send you running to the pharmacy and your doctor: seasonal allergies. The familiar chorus of sniffles, sneezes, and itchy eyes becomes all too common, leaving many to wonder why this has to be a part of such a beautiful season. Interestingly, while it's easy to point fingers at the pollen dancing in the air, the true culprit behind these seasonal woes actually lies within us, in the very core of our being - our gut.

The Reality of Seasonal Allergies

If you struggle with seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. Not even close! In fact, you’re in the company of more than 65 million other Americans who also struggle with allergies. 

One-quarter or 25% of adults in the U.S. report seasonal allergies! 

Allergies occur when your body detects and overreacts to substances in the environment, such as pollen or mold, that it thinks are harmful. It does this by launching an immune response, which causes symptoms that can range from pesky and annoying to severe, cold-like symptoms such are:

  • Itchy, watery or red eyes

  • Itchy mouth, nose or throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Post-nasal drop

  • Headache

  • Sneezing

  • Changes to sense of smell

  • Dry cough

  • Fatigue

Cleveland Clinic

You’d think that if so many people are struggling with the symptoms of seasonal allergies, we’d have some great treatments. Unfortunately, the existing options are band aid remedies only. They focus on addressing allergy symptoms and leave a lot of room for improvement. Antihistamines come with lots of side-effects like drowsiness and dry mouth, decongestants can raise your blood pressure, and none of the medications we currently have really eliminate symptoms in the long-term, or successfully address the root cause of the problem to keep them from reocurring year after year.

 This leaves many people with symptoms so bad — like constant sneezing, headaches, and itchy eyes — that they don’t want to leave their home all spring. 

There has to be a better way, right? In my practice, we address the root cause of health issues, and seasonal allergies are the perfect example of a condition that can benefit from this approach.

So what is the root cause of seasonal allergies? Well, it has a lot to do with the gut.

The Gut-Allergy Symphony

You see, our gut isn't just about digestion. It's home to a vast and complex community— the gut microbiome—that plays a leading role in our immune responses. Imagine your immune system as an orchestra, with each instrument playing its part to create harmony. Now, the gut, housing 70% of this immune orchestra, conducts how the body responds to external cues, including allergens. When the gut is out of tune, the immune response can become overzealous, mistaking harmless pollen for a serious threat, leading to the all-too-familiar allergy symptoms.

The main driver of your symptoms of seasonal allergies is chronic inflammation in the gut, which puts your immune system into overdrive. 

The way your immune system goes on overdrive is mostly due to the gut microbiome, or the massive population of microscopic bacteria, both favorable and unfavorable, living in your gut. Research shows that these bacteria play a big role in regulating immune homeostasis, which essentially means they keep the immune system in balance. Other immune cells in the lining of the gut work to produce antibodies, which are what protect us from infectious diseases but also what can contribute to allergies and autoimmune disease.

This strong connection between the gut and the immune system means that when something is awry with the gut — such as bacterial dysbiosis or leaky gut — it often shows itself in the form of immune system imbalances, like seasonal allergies.

Microbial Maestros and the Allergy Orchestra

Delving deeper, our gut flora—the diverse bacteria residing in our gut—are like the individual musicians in this orchestra, each playing a critical role in maintaining immune harmony. Research has highlighted a fascinating pattern: individuals grappling with seasonal allergies often show a distinct composition of gut flora compared to those who don't. This suggests that the key to soothing seasonal allergies might lie in rebalancing this microbial ensemble.

Diet and Probiotics

The foods we eat can significantly influence the composition of our gut flora and, by extension, our immune responses. Integrating probiotic-rich foods and supplements can act as a conductor, bringing balance back to our gut microbiome. Products like Enhance | Leaky Gut Support are crafted with this harmony in mind, aimed at repairing the gut lining and setting the stage for a more balanced immune response to allergens.

How Food Sensitivities Can Amplify Environmental Allergies

Food sensitivities, which occur when the body adversely reacts to certain foods, can instigate an inflammatory response that extends beyond the digestive system. This inflammation can disrupt the delicate balance of the immune system, making it more susceptible to overreacting to environmental triggers, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander, thus exacerbating or even initiating environmental allergies. This heightened immune response can lead to a cascade of health issues, with allergies being one of the most noticeable manifestations. 

When you fix the gut (and the diet), you can reverse environmental allergies. 

By understanding and addressing underlying food sensitivities you can potentially alleviate and even reverse the symptoms of environmental allergies. This illustrates the profound connection between what we eat and how our bodies interact with the world around us. This holistic approach to health underscores the importance of a tailored diet in managing and mitigating allergic responses, offering a pathway to enhanced well-being through dietary mindfulness. Coming up, I've got a lineup of 5 allergy-busting foods ready to take your side in the gentle battle against seasonal allergies.

Harmonious Foods for Allergy Relief

Certain foods play their own special part in this symphony, known for their anti-inflammatory and gut-healing virtues:

Ginger: This root brings a soothing melody with its anti-inflammatory prowess, helping to quiet sneezes and sniffles. Ginger is one of the best anti-inflammatory foods and you can get it just for a few dollars. Cut and peel about 1 inch of ginger root, place it in a mug, and add hot water to it. Let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes, then sip and enjoy the spicy ginger tea.


Citrus Fruits: High in quercetin, known for preventing immune cells from releasing chemicals that cause allergic reactions, these fruits can inhibit the release of histamines, reducing the body's allergic chorus. Studies have also shown that quercetin can help reduce runny nose, watery eyes, and hives.

Citrus Fruits

Bee Pollen: You’ve probably seen bee pollen on the menu at a juice bar or healthy cafe. Well, it’s not just for the show! Bee pollen can also prevent the release of inflammatory chemicals; in fact, one study showed that it can reduce the release of antibodies that cause allergies by 62%.

Bee Pollen

Nettle Tea: This is one of my best hacks for when your eyes are watery, your nose running, and the sneezing is getting to you. Fresh nettles, which when touched will leave a lasting stinging sensation on your skin, are a perfect example of how the poison can become the prescription. Nettles act as both an anti-histamine, blocking the histamine receptor, as well as preventing mast cells (our allergy responders) from releasing histamine. I recommend a cup of nettle leaf tea every 4 to 6 hours to relieve symptoms in my patients. Like a gentle lullaby, nettle-leaf tea can calm inflammatory tunes and ease allergy symptoms. The tea will also help calm down and dry up the uncomfortable secretions of a runny, itchy nose.

Nettle Tea

Pineapple: Rich in a specific enzyme called bromelain, pineapple can modulate immune responses, potentially softening the blow of allergies. The bromelain has been shown to inhibit allergic reactions by modulating one specific type of immune cell, called a dendritic cell. Your dendritic cells are like border patrol agents all along the gut lining that are surveying everything that is coming into our bodies from the outside world — identifying friend vs. foe. When dendritic cells see foods you are sensitive to, they send activation signals to the rest of your immune system.


Incorporating these foods into your springtime diet can not only bring relief, but also support the overall health of your gut.

Lifestyle: The Rhythm of Gut Health

Navigating the symphony of gut health with our daily routines is a bit like being the conductor of your own life's orchestra. Let's chat about how tuning into stress management, getting cozy with quality sleep, and moving to your own rhythm can help keep your gut in harmony, especially when it comes to dialing down those pesky seasonal allergies.

Stress Management: Finding Your Zen

Imagine stress as that one out-of-tune violin in an orchestra - it just makes everything sound a bit off, right? Well, it does the same to your gut. When stress levels are high, it's like your gut starts playing in the wrong key. The trick is to find your zen. Whether it's through meditation, a calming cup of tea, or a few deep breaths, smoothing out the stress can help your gut get back to making beautiful music. And for those looking to truly master the art of tuning their gut-brain orchestra to perfection, my Gut-Brain Mastery Program: Biohack Your Inner Zen in 6 Weeks (or less) by Mastering the Gut-Brain Axis! might just be the conductor's baton you need. You can sign up now to start your journey towards harmonious health.

Quality Sleep: Your Nightly Tune-Up

Think of a good night's sleep as your body's nightly tune-up. Just like a well-rested musician plays best, your gut health thrives on quality sleep. When sleep falls short, it's like the body's rhythm gets all wonky, affecting everything from your immune system to how well your gut dances with allergens. So, make your sleep space a cozy haven, stick to a sleep schedule that sings to you, aiming for 7 to 8 hours ideally, and establish a wind-down routine starting one hour before bedtime that include putting away electronic devices so that you body can get the signal that "It's time to rest."

Regular Movement: Keeping the Beat

And let's not forget about keeping the beat with some regular movement. Moving your body not only helps you stay fit, but it is like giving your gut a good vibe, helping everything flow better, reducing inflammation, and even tuning up your gut's bacterial composition. Whether it's a morning stretch, a brisk walk, or whatever makes you feel good, keeping active keeps your gut in rhythm and your immune system ready to face those seasonal symphonies with grace.

Incorporating these lifestyle beats into your daily groove is more than just a strategy for easing seasonal allergies; it's about hitting the right notes for overall well-being. Like a maestro leading a well-rehearsed orchestra, a lifestyle in sync with gut health ensures your internal melody is sweet, letting you embrace all of life's seasons with open arms.

A Final Note

As we peel back the layers, the connection between gut health and seasonal allergies reveals a complex interplay, highlighting the importance of a harmonious gut microbiome in managing these conditions. By embracing a holistic approach that includes a supportive diet, mindful lifestyle changes, and targeted supplements like Enhance | Leaky Gut Support, you can address seasonal allergies at their root.

Our HAPPY GUT  ®  Enhance | Leaky Gut Support is like a symphony of gut-nourishing ingredients, all playing together to support your gut health and, in turn, help manage those seasonal allergies that can disrupt the melody of your day-to-day life.

Here's how it tunes into your gut health:

  • Gut Lining Repair: With a blend that includes Zinc, L-Glutamine, and N-Acetyl-D-Glucosamine, it's like giving your gut lining the care it needs to mend and strengthen. This is crucial because a healthy gut lining can prevent unwanted particles from "leaking" into your bloodstream, which can trigger inflammation and allergic responses.

  • Soothing Symphony: Ingredients like Aloe Vera Extract, Slippery Elm, and Marshmallow play the soothing notes, helping to calm any gut inflammation. This can be especially beneficial during allergy season when your body might already be on high alert.

  • Digestive Harmony: With components such as Citrus Pectin and Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice, it encourages regular bowel movements and supports a balanced digestive process. Smooth digestion can contribute to a more harmonious immune response to allergens.

  • Immune Support: The formula includes elements like Quercetin, which not only serves as an antioxidant but also has the potential to support a balanced immune response. This can be particularly helpful in managing the body's reaction to seasonal allergens.

  • Holistic Composition: Free from common allergens like wheat, gluten, soy, and dairy, and devoid of artificial colors or sweeteners, it's designed to be gentle and supportive of your overall well-being, aligning with a holistic approach to health.

By integrating ENHANCE into your routine, especially during allergy season, you will find that your body becomes more resilient against seasonal allergens, thanks to a more fortified and balanced gut environment. Remember, a happy gut often leads to a happier you, ready to embrace the beauty of spring without the usual allergy accompaniment.

Let's reclaim the joy of spring, stepping out into the sunshine free from the shackles of allergies. By nurturing our gut health, we can enjoy the season in full bloom, as nature intended.

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