Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal or food allergies, but some researchers suggest that allergies may be linked to poor gut health.
Your body is home to over 100 trillion microbes and over 100 species of bacteria, yeast and fungus. Most of these tiny organisms live in your digestive tract and are collectively known as gut flora. Your gut flora comprises about two kilograms of your entire body weight, and it makes a significant impact on your health. Gut microbiomes, or stomach bacteria, help digest food, absorb nutrients, produce vitamins and regulate immunity.
Many factors can affect the composition of your gut flora. Poor nutrition, illness or overuse of antibiotics can disrupt the balance of your microbiota and allow harmful bacteria to proliferate. These bacteria can create harmful byproducts that accumulate in the gut and cause health problems.
Some researchers suggest that seasonal allergy symptoms may be better treated by probiotics than antihistamines. Certain species of gut bacteria can cause excessive histamines to build up in the gut and cause symptoms like itchy, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose. Because it mimics an allergic response to seasonal allergens, this is known as a pseudoallergy (source: Prebiotin).
You can cultivate a healthy gut microbiota by eating a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and foods that are high in probiotics like kombucha, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables. Although probiotics are available in pill and liquid supplement form, it’s best to obtain probiotics from food.
Talk to your doctor about how to keep your gut flora in balance. If you would like to make an appointment with a board-certified gastroenterologist, click here.