What Is a Functional Allergist?

Dr Z Head shot 2

Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen a steady increase in allergies, asthma, and other chronic health conditions. What is causing this alarming trend and how can we reverse it?

“The key is looking beyond the external allergens such as peanuts, pollen, and pet danger,” says Dr. Z, functional allergist and founder of the Center for Functional Medicine. “We have to understand the role of our internal environment at the cellular level of the gut.” This holistic approach includes addressing the effects of diet, sleep, stress, hormones, and fitness on our health. 

How is Dr. Z different?

Dr. Z’s philosophy is to treat the cause in order to defeat the symptoms, and he does this through a unique combination of traditional and functional medicine. “Traditional allergy treatment, which is based on suppressing symptoms, is too narrow,” he says. “It does not address what I call 21st-century allergic problems.” Functional medicine searches for the underlying physiologic and biochemical dysfunctions to find the causes of illness. Dr. Z combines medicine and lifestyle in his holistic approach to helping each patient. 

“We don’t just throw a pill at your problem,” explains Dr. Z. “Our goal is to identify the root causes by looking at multiple contributing factors—including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. It’s an ongoing process, which can have lasting results.” Dr. Z is living proof—after suffering from severe asthma as a child, he applied functional medicine to himself and now he’s in remission.

Stress and inflammation create a domino effect

Allergies are an expression of a breakdown of your body’s immune tolerance caused largely by stress. “It’s either an emotional, dietary, or inflammatory stress that ultimately changes the body’s immune response,” explains Dr. Z. The immune response triggers the release of hypercortisol, which adversely affects the protective lining of the digestive tract and the microbiome of the gut. The disruption of the microbiome then causes the junctions in the gut to leak, which results in inflammation and even a toxic response. “It’s a whole domino effect, with allergies being an expression of the underlying dysfunction of all of these different things.”

When your body is inflamed it simply can’t function at full capacity. Inflammation affects the ability to detoxify, creating brain fog. “We’re seeing that head injuries can lead to chronic inflammation because of the brain/gut connection,” says Dr. Z. “When your immune system is not functioning well and there’s chronic inflammation, you’re more at risk for cancer, heart disease, and other chronic health conditions.” 

When you eat healthy, you feel healthy

Healing a patient through functional medicine starts with the diet. “What you eat is key—because what you eat can slowly kill you, or it can heal you,” says Dr. Z. Food does far more than just give us energy, with the right foods it creates a healthy microbiome. Dr. Z recommends a diet with at least 6 servings of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables a day—and be sure to avoid added sugar, which causes inflammation. 

Join us for a free webinar: Allergies, Stress & Hormones

Dr. Z will be presenting a free health webinar on functional medicine and how it can help you live the best life possible. Discover how correcting hormone imbalances and reducing stress can help you feel better and achieve your health goals. Join us for this live event Wednesday, July 8 from 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM. Or schedule a consultation with Dr. Z today!