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How To Boost Immune System Naturally While Decreasing Your Allergies [E043]

Here are a few tips on how to boost immune system naturally and decrease your allergy symptoms. Rather than move to a different state to ‘get away from allergies’, discover how you can reduce your response to allergens naturally. You are never going to fully get away from allergens – they are everywhere – inside your home and outside. A lot to do with immune and gut health has to do with how you respond to allergens. What goes on in your body ‘internally’ will directly affect how you are going to respond to what is going on ‘externally’ from your body.

Table Of Contents

How To Boost Immune System Naturally: An Introduction

How To Boost Immune System Naturally: An Introduction
Photographer: Ben White | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: We are going to have a discussion around a topic here in the Midwest that seems to be extremely prevalent multiple times a year. Maybe the reason why people leave the Midwest at times as well.

Olivia Joseph: Oh, well there’s a few allergens everywhere you go. I don’t think there’s anywhere you can really live that’s livable, that doesn’t have some type of allergen,

Bryan Joseph: So she just tipped you off. We’re going to talk about allergies, seasonal allergies. There’s a lot of people that actually deal with runny eyes, runny nose, sniffling, sneezing, congestion, and we see all the commercials for those things, and I can’t tell you how many times throughout the course of my life I have heard people, especially as they age, start to say, “I’m going to be looking for an area like Arizona in the dry desert where I can get away from all these allergies and just breathe.”

So rather than move, what we’re going to help hopefully do today is basically just, you know, have a conversation around some of the things that may actually promote your allergies to be worsened. And then what are some things that you can do on your own in your own home naturally to be able to reduce your exposure or your response to some of these allergies that we all have in our environment. So Olivia.

The Common Symptoms When Experiencing Allergies

The Common Symptoms  When Experiencing Allergies
Photographer: Brittany Colette | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: Oftentimes, we hear the same time people come in into our offices and complain about some of the symptoms that they experience that they can’t tell if they’re feeling sick or if they have allergies. What are the … what would you say are some of the more common symptoms that people have when they’re experiencing allergies?

Olivia Joseph: Well, the most common one is actually fatigue, more so than congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes. It’s really fatigue that people feel like they have fog on their brain and then they feel like they’re coming down with something. “I can’t think, I can’t focus. I feel achy.” That’s why they think they’re sick.

Bryan Joseph: Oh my gosh. I left that one out. So true is people talk about brain fog, memory challenges, and we’ve even talked about it on a deeper level on one of the previous episodes. I think maybe it was 32-ish. Actually, I know it was 32. But yes, allergies can actually create some of those feelings too, right?

Olivia Joseph: Yeah. Well, when your body is over-producing histamine to something in the environment, something in a food, something …

Bryan Joseph: What is histamine?

Olivia Joseph: So, histamine is something that … When you take allergy medicine, what is it? It’s an anti-histamine. So histamine is something natural that your own cells produce as a reaction or a response to something. So when you get hit with an allergy seasonally, it’s not a bad thing. Yeah, your symptoms are bad, but it’s just how your body is responding to that allergen and exposure to it.

Common allergens that you should be aware of

Bryan Joseph: So let’s talk about some of the more common allergens seasonally and a lot of people are aware of these, but let’s just make sure that we’re talking, you know, apples to apples is, you know, people talk about mold exposure, people talk about a ragweed, they talk about grass allergies. Are those the most common that you hear, too? Tree? Pollen?

Olivia Joseph: Yeah, so like grass, grass and tree pollen is something that you’re going to see more in the spring. Ragweed definitely a fall allergen and it’s a major trigger for even asthma type symptoms. Right now, the middle of September is when it peaks and is at its highest. Mold is something that obviously is going to be around when you have a lot of moisture. So more during rain seasons, flood seasons, but not everybody is sensitive to those things, right?

Some people are more genetically predisposed to being mold sensitive. Some people are more sensitive to pollen. Some people are more sensitive to ragweeds. But what I want to … The point I want to get across is what’s going on in your internal environment greatly dictates how you respond to things in your external environment because mold is always there. Grass and pollens are always there. Ragweed is, I don’t want to say it’s always there as high as it is right now, but it’s present.

These allergens are not new

Bryan Joseph: So that’s a great point, and I think it’s really important is over the years, generations, I mean a lot of these aren’t new irritants. These allergens had been out in the environment for many, many years, but it seems like as we become more inhibited and we spend more time inside homes in these comfort zones that we live in and we’re no longer getting the full exposure to the outside that we did maybe 50 or a hundred years ago or even 200 years ago or even hundreds of years ago, that our bodies are responding differently to these environmental allergens as they ever have. Right?

Olivia Joseph: I think that has a lot to do with gut health and how to boost immune system naturally, more so than spending time indoors or outdoors because allergens are endorsed, too. A ton of people are allergic to dust, and if you’re allergic to mold, guess what? There’s mold inside, just like outside. So inevitably you’re bringing in things like pollen into your home. So I think it has a lot to do with your immune health and gut health, and that’s changed drastically over the last, even just decade.

The Immune System Is Not As Strong As It Used To Be

The Immune System Is Not As Strong As It Used To Be
Photographer: Francisco Gonzalez | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: I guess that’s more where I was going in that conversation. Yes. Not whether or not you live in a teepee or whether or not you’re in an igloo or whether or not you’re in a campsite or inside, but more so what is the changing landscape in our bodies that’s starting to make, like you said a minute ago, the internal environment not as strong or its immune system not strong as it used to be able to fight these things off?

Olivia Joseph: Right. So when you look at an allergy, and allergy is almost an immune response that’s too strong. It’s almost like a mild autoimmune reaction would be. So an autoimmune reaction is when your body is hyperreactive to something. That’s what an allergy is. You’re hyper reacting to something and then your body will adapt to it and a week or two weeks later you’re like, “Oh, this isn’t as bad. I’m not as miserable as I was one or two weeks ago,” because your body will simply adapt to it.

Bryan Joseph: I would think. People have to ask himself the question that, you know, like you could be on an airplane or you can be out in the backyard, or you could be at a baseball game, and you look around and you’re like, “Man, I’m the one that’s totally being affected by all these allergies and there’s hundreds of other people around me and they’re not.”

Olivia Joseph: Exactly.

Bryan Joseph: So why would that happen? Why is it, like you mentioned before, some people have a genetic predisposition to this. How would they know? If they don’t have a genetic predisposition, what’s wrong with their immune system that’s causing this?

What’s wrong with the immune system

Olivia Joseph: Right. So how would you know genetic predisposition through genetic testing? I don’t think I would go that that deep yet. You know, one thing that I’ve talked about for gosh, 14-15 years now is how food sensitivities, which are also genetic, you get your food sensitivities from your mom and dad, but how food sensitivities create inflammation in your body. So if you have inflammation in your body, your body’s going to fight the inflammation and how to boost immune system naturally. If you don’t have enough good bugs in your gut if you have leaky gut, then these reactions get out of your gut and they go into your bloodstream and you start having these hyper reactions.

So food allergies and food sensitivities can contribute to environmental allergies because like I said, you can change the internal environment. You can’t change your external environment. You can move to Arizona, but I promise you if you have allergies in St Louis, you’re still going to have allergies in Arizona because you’re not really getting to the root of it. You’re just trying to cover up the symptom or treat the symptom by moving to a different state that still has allergens. Any place that has living organisms is likely going to have some type of allergen.

Bryan Joseph: Some of those other environments may have some other benefits, though.

Olivia Joseph: Of course. I get it. I got it.

Avoid These Foods When Experiencing Allergies

Avoid These Foods When Experiencing Allergies
Photographer: NeONBRAND | Source: Unsplash

Olivia Joseph: Yeah, and so that’s a great tip. So for people who are over producing mucus, constantly coughing, clearing their throat, staying away from dairy and soy are a very good idea. It doesn’t even mean you have a food sensitivity to dairy or to soy. Those foods are mucous producers, so is sugar. Now I’m not talking about natural sugar, sweet potatoes, fruit, but if you’re eating a lot of sugar, we know that that affects how to boost immune system naturally. That is a fact. We have the science to prove it. So avoiding those things when you’re mucousy is a good idea. We’ve talked about this. We saw somebody who was sick and they ate ice cream and we were like, “Oh, worst food, worst food you could be eating.” You’re actually extending the duration of your illness, but we’re talking about allergies.

Bryan Joseph: So even without even taking a food sensitivity test and actually getting concrete evidence that your body doesn’t really respond well to those particular foods, I think just as a general piece of advice, if you’re experiencing allergies in any way, shape, or form, just it probably benefits or behooves you in some capacity to eliminate dairy.

Olivia Joseph: If you have mucus, dairy, soy, and refined sugar, but there are other allergy type symptoms. For me, and you’ve even experienced this, the one I experience is fatigue, and the food that makes me the most fatigued is anything containing gluten. You’ve heard me say it before. “Oh my gosh, I got glutened.” I feel like I have narcolepsy when I have gluten, and being tired is not normal for me. So when I’m tired, it doesn’t feel right.

Natural Solutions For Allergies, Boosting the Immune System, Etc.

Natural Solutions For Allergies, Boosting the Immune System, Etc.
Photographer: Joseph Greve | Source: UnsplashPhotographer: Joseph Greve | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: Let’s turn the corner a little bit and say, if I am the allergy sufferer in some capacity, what are some of the natural solutions I may be able to put in or incorporate into my life to try to either A, a reduced my inflammatory response or histamine levels or B, how to boost immune system naturally or even C, to clean out my airways? Right?

Olivia Joseph: Yes. So when you say clean out your airways, one thing that tends to breed in the sinus cavity, even in, in your lungs is fungus and yeast. Why? Because they’re dark, moist areas. So using naturally antifungals or doing a gut cleanse isn’t just going to improve killing off those bad bugs in the gut because not just yeast overgrowth, but bacterial overgrowth in the gut actually releases histamine. So you’re hyperreactive to your environment when that happens. So first thing I would … Two weeks, give it two weeks of cutting gluten, dairy, soy and refined sugar. Two weeks. Incorporate a probiotic so you’re putting in the good bugs. That’s definitely something worth doing.

On flushing the sinuses

Olivia Joseph: When you think about what your sinuses are, what your adenoids are, what your tonsils are, what your lungs are, that’s your filtration system. And just like on your house or in your car, you change the air filter. What you just said, using a nasal irrigation system is like cleaning the air filter. You’re going to get more bang for your buck if you use something antimicrobial in an irrigation system.

So if you’re going to buy a saline spray, find one that has xylitol in it, which you can buy on Amazon. Why? Because xylitol is antimicrobial. A Majority of the time, it’s not just dust. It’s not just we have to clear it. A majority of the time, there’s actually some type of infection going on in there or some additional type of inflammation going on in there. So yeah, use a nasal irrigation system, maybe add sea salt to it, little colloidal silver, which is anti-microbial. They make a colloidal silver nasal spray. But if you’re just using a premade nasal spray that you want to buy at the store, that’s where I would say go for one that is a saline with xylitol so you get more antimicrobial benefits.

Bryan Joseph: All right, so we’ve got a flush, we’ve got reducing gluten and dairy has some of the inflammatory or sugar.

Olivia Joseph: Soy and sugar, too.

Natural forms of decongestants or antihistamine

Bryan Joseph: Then if you’re wanting to take a natural form of a decongestant or an antihistamine, what would come to mind for you?

Olivia Joseph: So I think the most common ones you’re going to see are stinging nettle and bromelain. Some formulas will contain N-Acetyl Cysetine as well. So as far as the herbs go, stinging nettle and bromelain, that’s what you’re going to see in most natural anti-histamines. The only thing is these are natural substances. They are not medications, and anytime you take something natural, it’s got a shorter half life.

What that means is a medication might last 24 hours. Supplements do not. Most supplements are completely out of your system within four or five hours. So with natural stuff, you have to take what’s called a loading dose. You’ve got to take a higher amount every four to five hours until your symptoms improve. Then you can take less. If you’re taking natural anti-histamines, you do not want to start low and slow. You want to start fast and furious and then lower it.

Why Not Take Over The Counter Allergy Pills?

Why Not Take Over The Counter Allergy Pills?
Photographer: The Tonik | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: So here’s, you might be asking yourself, “Well, what’s the benefit then of me going through this loading dose with a shorter halflife versus me just throwing back a couple of, you know, medication pills or over the counter like allergy pills?”

Olivia Joseph: Good question.

Olivia Joseph: Right. So the two biggest side effects people complain of is either drowsiness and fatigue, which is not fun, or that they’re hyper and they can’t sleep or their heart’s racing. Those are two extremes.

Bryan Joseph: Yeah. But those are only the side effects that you may feel. You really don’t always know what’s happening in your physiology underneath there.

Olivia Joseph: Of course. And here’s the bigger problem with, and I’ve lectured on this, I’ve lectured on allergies and asthma for, I don’t know, 13 years at least you remember me doing workshops. The bigger issue is the rebound effect. So what a rebound effect is, is if you take the medicine consistently, daily, month after month, year after year because your allergies are so bad and you don’t get to the root cause and you don’t improve your immune health, gut health, you’ll have a rebound effect. The medicine will stop working, and your allergies will come back, that’s the rebound, worse than they were before. So if you just use something as needed, I’m not saying suffer. Suffering is optional. If you take allergy medicine, you experience no side effects. It’s your saving grace once in a while. So be it.

On getting allergy injections to build tolerance

Bryan Joseph: How about the people that … You know, because a lot of our culture goes into allergists and actually gets allergy injections or shots to try to get more exposure to these allergens and build up a tolerance. So what’s your stance or thoughts on that?

Olivia Joseph: My stance on that is how long it takes to work. I have had patients come to me and say, “Yeah, I have terrible allergies. I’ve been doing allergy injections.” And I always say, “Oh, how long have you been doing them?” “Oh, three years.” And I’m like, “Are they working?” “No, they said it could take up to five years.” You tell me anything you’re willing to do for five years to see if it works. Are you going to stick with a workout plan for five years to see if it works? No, but because this is what conventional,” traditional healthcare is saying and doing, Oh, okay, I’ll give it up to five years.”

Now if you’re doing it and you’re seeing results, I understand sticking to it for five years. That makes perfect sense, but that’s not what I hear. The people sitting across the table or the desk from me are telling me, “Yeah, I’ve been doing it for two years, and I’m not seeing a change, but it could take four to five.” What?

Bryan Joseph: I think in addition to the timeliness, we also got to consider how we’re trying to give you some non-invasive solutions. Also, some solutions that are very cost-effective. Going through five years of injections through an allergist is probably going to end up costing a little bit of money, right?

Olivia Joseph: Absolutely.

Are The Recommendations The Same For Children?

Are The Recommendations The Same For Children?
Photographer: Ben Wicks | Source: Unsplash

Bryan Joseph: Let’s shift a little bit over towards children because there’s a lot of children that experience a lot of allergies. Is the recommendations the same for children and adults or is there any different type of recommendations? Like would you have kids do saline solution or irrigation flushes? Would we have children avoid gluten and dairy? Would we have children that would consider doing those ingredients?

Olivia Joseph: Yeah, so it’s exactly the same. It’s you just maybe go a little bit lower dose, but like the natural anti-histamines, they make them for kids as well as adults. I mean saline sprays, they have saline sprays that you squirt up infant noses so it really doesn’t change the. You know, the older you get, maybe the longer the problems have been there and you have to be more aggressive, but the younger you start, the better.

I’ll even start running food sensitivity testing on kids when they’re three years old. I mean, look at our own daughter. She had allergies, she had a cough, she had some skin rashes, some digestive issues. What did we do? We did a food allergy test on her. We did some natural allergy elimination techniques with her and they always helped. They always help. Did it go away completely? No, how to boost immune system naturally. You don’t want to shut down that system. It’s responding that way for a reason.

On Treating Chicken Skin

Bryan Joseph: There’s a term that they call chicken skin or those little bumps that a lot of people actually get on the back of their triceps, you know, real commonly. You know, a lot of people say, “here’s no reason why I get these. I can’t understand.” Well, there is a reason. Your body’s smart and it’s reacting to something that it doesn’t like, and that’s what it’s really producing on your body. So a lot of times when you do identify your food allergies and how to boost immune system naturally, then you see those bumps start to go away and clear up as well.

Olivia Joseph: Yeah, and I saw that when I was a kid. I had those rashes on the back of my arms and I had a little, a little bit on my legs and then we saw with our daughter she had it, and when she was having more dairy it would spread to her face and her stomach. Like we could sit there and say it’s dry skin but you could exfoliate dry skin away. You could moisturize dry skin away.

And we spend a lot of time, energy, and money looking at things like contact dermatitis. Oh, it’s something you’re using on your skin. Yes, we recommend using free, clear natural products, but the majority of the time, it’s food. It’s something you’re putting in your mouth. Most of the reactions we see on our face, on our eyes, on our skin, are reactions that are happening inside out, not outside in. So we want to recommend an inside out approach because that’s not treating symptoms. It’s looking at the root cause.

Closing Thoughts

Bryan Joseph: Awesome. Well, as we come to a conclusion of episode 43, I will just tell you don’t move away from the Midwest. It’s a great place, right? So if you’re seeking some type of relief from some of the allergens that are out there or how to boost immune system naturally, you don’t have to get on a plane and move away. You could implement some of the things that we just talked about. If you also find yourself or anybody you know, that is constantly using eyedrops constantly, you know, blowing their nose in Kleenexes, constantly, you know, using different nose solutions to try to clear up their breathing, constantly on allergy pills, then share this podcast with them.

Maybe there’ll be able to find a little bit of a solution that they haven’t been able to find themself and that in itself is basically, you know, helping us, you know, fulfill the mission that we’re on here at the Wellness Connection. So as always, we appreciate you, we appreciate feedback and your comments, and if there’s something specific you want us to discuss or talk about, please just let us know.

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