Is your sluggish liver causing your seasonal allergies?

By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)

For most people, the arrival of Spring brings excitement and joy as we get to spend more time outdoors, basking in the sun and smelling the roses. For someone who suffers with hay fever or seasonal allergies- this is their worst nightmare. Spring is when the flowers bloom and pollen is in the air at full force. This can cause a red runny nose, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, head cold and asthma flare ups in those that are sensitive to pollen. The majority of allergy sufferers will simply take some antihistamines and get on with it, forever dreading the time that Spring rolls around.

Have you ever wondered why you get seasonal allergies and some of your friends don’t? Have you wondered what might be causing your allergies, or ever wanted to treat the cause of the problem? Taking anti-histamines is merely a blanket or Band-Aid approach for a bigger underlying problem; the reason you are having these abnormal reactions. An allergic response occurs when your immune system detects a substance (such as pollen) as a foreign invader. Your immune system rallies the troops together and directs a full army of immune cells to attack the invader. The immune cells release chemicals (such as histamine) that cause inflammation, swelling, itchiness and mucous secretion – all the horrible things that happen when you have a hay fever flare up.

How is this related to the liver?

Well, the liver is the major cleansing and detoxification organ of the body. It has the vital role of cleansing the blood and removing harmful toxins, chemicals and waste products from the body. When the liver is functioning optimally, it does this very well and filters out the nasties at a rapid rate, to prevent them causing harm to the body. If you are constantly overloading your liver with toxins from the environment, the food you eat, cleaning products, pain medication, alcohol, skin products and so forth, your liver becomes overwhelmed, slows down, becomes sluggish and starts to store the toxins. This toxin load can cause the immune system to be over-stimulated.

The liver is also responsible for breaking down excess histamine, in a process called methylation. If the liver is sluggish, histamine is not broken down properly and builds up in the body, awaiting it’s time to attack. When pollen or another allergen enters the system, both the immune system and the liver pump out histamine in response. When this happens, all the symptoms of seasonal allergies flare up. Your immune system will remember this particular allergen as an invader and will respond even quicker the next time you’re exposed to it. Your body thinks it is protecting you, but in reality, it’s forcing you to stay indoors during Spring, or to go to work with puffy eyes and a runny nose.

What can you do about it?

If you’d like to be able have a picnic in the grass and smell the sweet aromas of Spring’s beautiful blooms without puffing up, then it’s time to get your liver sorted out! Follow these simple liver health rules to get your allergies under control:

  • Load up on fruit and veg
    Fresh fruit and vegetables are jam-packed with wonderful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that are required by the liver to function properly. The best ones for the liver are cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower), onion and garlic, beetroot, capsicum, herbs, chilli, citrus fruits (like lemon and lime) and berries.
  • Cut the carbs
    Eating lots of carbohydrates can cause the liver to become fatty. Minimise the amount of rice, pasta, bread, cake, soft drink, sugar, biscuits, donuts, muffins and potato chips you are eating. Reach for lower-carb options instead.
  • Ditch the chemicals
    Literally everything that you put on your skin or inhale, enters the blood stream and has to be filtered out by the liver. Conventional shampoos, soap, makeup, deodorant, washing up liquid, laundry detergent and air fresheners contain nasty chemicals. Swap these for chemical-free/natural options.
  • Stay hydrated
    Water! Your liver needs water! The liver can process as many chemicals as it likes, but if your body doesn’t have enough water to flush the chemicals out through the kidneys, bowels and skin, they will sit there in the body causing damage. Aim for at least 2 litres per day.
  • Get moving
    Move that body! When you exercise you facilitate detoxification through sweat and bowel movements. Get your body moving to keep the sweat coming and the bowel movements regular, to get rid of those nasty toxins.
  • Cleanse your body
    People who suffer with airborne allergies usually have an immune system that is chronically hyper stimulated because it is dealing with internal toxicity. Having excess bad bacteria in the gut, and having a leaky gut means excess wastes will get into the bloodstream and travel to the liver. The liver will then not be able to cleanse and detoxify the bloodstream adequately. This means allergens we are all exposed to in the air we breathe won’t be cleared adequately. The 15 Day Cleanse is a 3 stage program that addresses liver, gut and immune health.

For more information on how to boost your liver health, see Dr Cabot’s book- The Liver Cleansing Diet. Another great reference is Dr Cabot’s book- Raw Juices Can Save Your Life, which provides healing juice recipes for any ailment.