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Immune Symptoms: Eliminate the Cause

Updated: Apr 5

Lately, I have been seeing more patients with odd immune symptoms in my practice.

  • Hives

  • itchy rashes

  • Sudden sensitivities to foods like gluten and MSG

  • Joint swelling and pain

  • Diarrhea that’s better when avoiding gluten


Often, the patient notes their symptoms started after a bad cold or flu or after a stressful life event. Sometimes, it's a gradual worsening of symptoms.

Why does the Immune System react this way?

Our body’s immune system is designed to be on the constant lookout for intruders – it acts like a security system. It has the ability to distinguish between what is “self” (our organs and tissues) and what is “non-self” (foreign intruders). Most of the time, it does this properly.

When our security system sees something it considers an intruder, it ramps up, sends out alert signals and launches an attack to kill the invader and flush it from our system.

An intruder can be an actual pathogen such as a bacteria or virus, that entered our body via our nose, mouth or skin. Thank goodness our immune system is generally able to fend off these bugs by launching a fever to “boil them off” or by flushing out toxins through the intestines.

However, sometimes, it's a case of mistaken identity where the immune system used to recognize something as “ok” but now perceives it as a pathogen and attacks it. For example:

  • Hayfever or animal dander allergy

  • Shellfish or nut allergy (IgE mediated)

  • Gluten or dairy sensitivity (IgG mediated)

  • Hashimoto's, Lupus or Rheumatoid arthritis (Autoimmune disease)


The immune system has a variety of different attacker cells that release certain chemicals (such as histamine) and antibodies to cause these potential pathogens to die. This attack creates a type of war zone within our tissues, and causes pain, swelling, redness and warmth. Bloodwork markers can help us determine the level of inflammation in the body.

The body then tries to mop up this war zone by stimulating our organs of elimination by creating runny nose, watery eyes, diarrhea and rashes. Specialized white blood cell markers on bloodwork can help give us more insight as to what the immune system is doing.

When a patient comes to me with allergy symptoms, it’s my job to put on my detective hat and figure out WHY the immune system is on high alert.

Some areas I may need to assess include:


Low grade microbial infections:

  • History of antibiotic use

  • Epstein Barr virus / Cytomegalovirus

  • SIBO – small intestinal bacterial overgrowth

  • Candida or yeast overgrowth

  • Intestinal parasites


Gut and digestive health:

  • Birth and breastfeeding history

  • Food sensitivities

  • Leaky gut

  • Vitamin D deficiency

High immune activity:

  • Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

  • Other autoimmune disease


Brain connection:

  • Anxiety/Depression

  • Stressful life event


Poor detox function:

  • Liver issues – fatty liver, high alcohol intake

  • Poor lymphatic circulation/drainage

  • Poor mitochondrial function

Specialized bloodwork can be extremely helpful but in some cases, functional testing is the key to a correct diagnosis.

The tests that give me the most data include:

  • Comprehensive Stool Test (including parasitology)

  • SIBO breath test

  • IgG Food Sensitivity Test

  • Vitamin D blood test

If you are struggling with tricky immune symptoms, I am happy to guide you further! Let's chat in a 15-minute complimentary Discovery Call.

Disclaimer: All content in this blog is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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