Adrenal Fatigue and Allergies

While the blooming trees and colorful flowers popping up this time of year are beautiful, the pollen is also out in full force and affecting millions of people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Many of us think of testing cortisol levels for fatigue or insomnia, but did you know your allergic reactions may also have an adrenal component?

Most allergies involve the release of histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances. Cortisol, one of the primary hormones produced by the adrenal glands, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, the amount of cortisol circulating in the blood is a key factor in controlling the level of inflammatory reactions in the body. When we have a minor injury or a muscle strain, our body's inflammatory cascade is initiated, leading to swelling and redness as commonly seen when an ankle is sprained or when an insect bite is acquired. Cortisol is secreted as part of the anti-inflammatory response. Its objective is to remove and prevent excessive swelling and redness in nearly all tissues. These anti-inflammatory responses prevent things like mosquito bites from enlarging or bronchial tubes and eyes from swelling shut due to allergies. For this reason, proper adrenal function plays an important role in mediating the histamine release and inflammatory reactions that produce the symptoms experienced with allergies.

When the adrenals are fatigued they are less likely to produce enough cortisol to adequately counteract the inflammatory reactions, allowing allergic symptoms to continue unchecked. People going through times of adrenal fatigue may notice that they seem to have more allergies or their allergies seem to get worse. Conversely, when more histamine is released, it takes additional cortisol to control the inflammatory response, pushing the adrenal glands even harder. The more the adrenals have to work, the more fatigued they may become and the less cortisol they produce, allowing histamine to inflame the tissues more. This vicious cycle can lead to deepening adrenal fatigue as well as to bigger allergic reactions.


It is not surprising that people with food and environmental allergies often have low or suboptimal cortisol levels. Eliminating or reducing exposure to foods and environmental substances that cause allergic or sensitivity reactions can help break this cycle and strengthen adrenal function. Likewise, supporting optimal adrenal function will treat allergic symptoms.

If you suffer from allergies and inflammatory reactions, test your diurnal cortisol secretion to see how the adrenal glands may be playing a role in their overall health.

Ref: www.labrix.com


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The Canary Club is an educational advisory group with a team of medical advisors headed by Richard Shames, M.D.