I Have Food Allergies. Why Should I Treat My Environmental Allergies?

Allergies & Asthma

Many people with food allergies go looking for treatment with their eyes on the prize — reducing reactions to a certain food or foods. After testing for allergies and finding out you have a multitude of underlying food and environmental allergies, your provider might recommend treating a broad spectrum beginning with environmental allergies (as authors of the La Crosse Method Protocol recommend). But why should you?

There are a few reasons why starting treatment for environmental allergies, and then weaving in food allergy treatment, is a good idea.

Total Load

When treating allergy, many providers look at the patient’s Total Allergen Load.  After doing a thorough patient history, exam, and performing allergy tests, they can look closely at what underlying allergies are working together to cause allergic reactions. Many times, it’s a variety of food and environmental allergens — not just a select number of food allergens — that cause underlying inflammation and reactions.

When exposed to too many allergens at once, or when other factors like illness, hormone imbalance, stress, and chemicals are added into the mix, the Total Allergen Load “bucket” can overflow. This is when symptoms are at their worst.

By treating the cause of all offending allergens, you reduce the overall load in the bucket. So when things like stress and other illnesses are added into the mix, the bucket isn’t full enough to overflow, and reactions may be reduced in frequency and severity.

Oral Allergy Syndrome and Synergistic Foods

Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) and Synergistic Foods are other reasons to treat the broad spectrum of underlying allergy.

With OAS, some “mild food allergies” may actually be related to environmental allergy. When certain environmental allergens are present, some foods may cause oral symptoms because of the similar protein structures. For example:

  • Ragweed: Milk, melon, banana, lettuce, mint
  • Grass: Legumes, grains, apple, carrot, celery
  • Birch: Hazelnut, carrot, celery, potato, orange & apple family (peaches, plums, nectarines)

By treating the cause of the environmental allergy, the reactions from these foods may also be reduced.

Synergistic foods are those that when combined or eaten together, they may cause allergic reactions — even though when eaten separately they cause mild or no reactions. Some examples are:

  • Wheat and banana
  • Egg and apple
  • Beef and yeast

Rather than cherry-picking which foods to treat, treating all that show up positive on an allergy test can help to reduce reactions.

Effectiveness of treatment

Overall, providers find that treatment is more effective when all offending allergens are treated together. With allergy drop immunotherapy, it’s easy to do. All environmental allergens can be treated within one prescription, and all food allergens can be treated in another. Both can be taken at the same time safely and effectively.

By Taylor Pasell, Allergychoices

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