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Are Allergies no more than Toxicity?

Posted on 17 April, 2020 at 7:35 Comments comments (173)

By Autumn Frandsen, N.D.

Originally published on the Ohio Naturopathic Doctors Association website


Allergies can develop at many points in a person’s life, often going unnoticed or unrecognized until they are a major hindrance. They can present as a sinus infection, headaches, itchy eyes, and even colitis. I have found that emotional turmoil, stress, exposure to chemicals, poor diet, defects in detoxification pathways, and frequent antibiotic use can all cause allergic reactions. The threshold for toxicity is different in everyone. Once it is reached, the nervous system and immune systems become hyperactive. At that point, it is no longer enough to use antihistamines and anti-anxiolytics. Treatment must be focused on unburdening the body through increasing antioxidants, repairing damage caused by inflammation (particularly in the gut), and desensitizing both the nervous system and the immune system.


There is a delicate balance between the nervous system and the immune system. Adrenal function affects both of them greatly and in those with pronounced stress, whether physical or emotional, adrenal output is usually diminished. At any given time there can be surges of cortisol, causing the nervous system to by up regulated, which in turn causes hyperactivity of the immune system as it searches for stressors and invaders. This increase in immune system reactivity causes increased inflammation, leading to destruction of the GAP junctions in the gut lining. This causes “leaky gut” and suddenly (or insidiously) food allergies never before present or bothersome increase in number and symptom presentation.


Dealing with allergies can be a slow process if the focus for treatment is put solely on controlling symptoms. It is important to identify where weaknesses are in the body and strengthen those organs or pathways. Calming the nervous system with herbs or certain amino acids is often more effective then leaving any anxiety untreated or to treat it with meds that may add to the toxic load already present in the body. Allergies are rarely if never present without a toxic burden, be it from exposure in the womb combined with poor detoxification pathways, or mild exposure compounded throughout one’s life. Chronic anything should never be ignored, even if it is viewed as mild, i.e., seasonal allergies.

Triggers for a Mold Allergy

Posted on 13 April, 2020 at 15:00 Comments comments (717)

By Autumn Frandsen N.D.

Originally published on the Ohio Naturopathic Doctors Association website 

The symptoms of a mold allergy are the same as with any type of respiratory allergy: sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes/nose/throat, nasal congestion, cough or post nasal drainage, headache, rash, even asthma. Only some types of mold spores actually cause a reaction but a mold allergy can be challenging because mold is common and thrives in so many places. A mold allergy can be year-round or flare up when the weather is damp and rainy or you are in a damp space.

What grows mold is moisture- but here are some other places to consider where you might see your mold allergy flare up: 

  • Large warehouse stores
  • Greenhouses, florists, farms, the “petting zoo”
  • Antique stores
  • Construction sites

Tip - Before you go back-to-school shopping, take your allergy medication or bring a dust mask. For those with a mold allergy or sensitivity, just touching or inhaling mold spores can provoke a reaction.

  • Outdoor sources of Mold
  • Piles of leaves (yes, you meant to pick them up)
  • Mowing over that pile of leaves from last Fall
  • Wood piles
  • Dirty gutters

Tip - Shower and wash your hair thoroughly after exposure and outdoor activities, especially before going to bed. Dirty gutters can be a breeding ground for mold so take advantage of the warm months and get out there and clean them.

Places in the house where mold can grow:

  • A leaky faucet, no matter how small the drip
  • Refrigerator drip pan
  • Door seals
  • Kitchen trash can
  • Recycling trash can
  • Damp bathroom
  • Cabinet under the sink
  • Damp basement- and what may be lurking there
  • Moisture in walls and carpet
  • Houseplants

Tip - Hanging out in the basement during the summer may keep you cooler but a damp basement can be a very moldy place. Lower the humidity in the house by turning up the thermostat or running a dehumidifier. And take a look at what you’re storing down there- Mold can grow on old papers, bedding, toys, and clothes. Keep things in air-tight, water-proof containers, so mold can't sneak in. Always run the exhaust fans to ventilate bathrooms and the kitchen. Choose flooring such as linoleum or concrete that doesn’t hold in moisture. Use high HEPA air filters on air conditioners and change them frequently.

Other sources of mold

Molds can grow on dirt in houseplants or on certain foods and wine.

Tip - Mold can be avoided by wearing a mask when taking off the top layer of the soil in a plant's pot where mold usually grows. Foods to avoid include pork, wine, mushrooms, jams, jellies, potatoes, coffee, sauerkraut and dairy products.

Once you identify the source it can be fixed, and one source of mold eliminated. There may be several different sources of mold and it is best to reduce your exposure to the mold. A patient can improve tremendously as we slowly identify and correct each mold problem over the course of months with mold allergy treatment. Allergies affect both the immune system and the autonomic nervous system. NIHA'S dual allergy testing and treatment strategy addresses both the immune system response and the autonomic nervous system response to allergens like mold and provide symptom relief.

Don't Assume That Runny Nose Is A Cold

Posted on 13 March, 2014 at 17:10 Comments comments (63)

By Autumn Frandsen, N.D.


About this time of year, I often hear the phrase “Something must be going around”, explaining away the itchy sore throat, fatigue, and headaches that many people are experiencing. Because many people have not been aware of allergies in their former years, the possibility of having an allergic reaction now does not even enter their minds. However, if there is a trend where one gets sick at the onset of a new season, it is most likely an allergy. Pollens, grasses, shrubs, and trees are all in bloom in the spring and are the cause of allergy flare-ups at that time, and ragweed, molds, smuts, and some flowers are responsible for symptoms in the fall. Even those who have never had previous experience with allergies are vulnerable.


There are many reasons why one may develop late onset seasonal allergies. During periods of significant stress in our lives, our bodies and immune systems are not functioning optimally. Vitamin C is utilized by the adrenal glands in the production of all of the adrenal hormones, most notably cortisol. When you are faced with a stressful situation, your vitamin C is rapidly used up in the production of cortisol and related stress-response hormones. As vitamin C is also very important for our immune function, our bodies are less likely to ward off invaders. When the acute stress subsides, our immune systems are free to utilize the vitamin C and often go overboard in their attempt to play catch-up. That is when you see symptoms like a runny nose, post-nasal drip, and cough. They are the body’s way of expelling foreign bodies.


Because many of our defense mechanisms are in our gut, or gastrointestinal tract, people often exhibit GI disturbance as another sign of allergic response to both environmental allergens and foods. Over time if we are exposed to high mold levels, high pollen count, or the same foods over and over again, our gut immune component starts to become impacted. This can also lead to symptoms of depression as 90% of our serotonin stores are found in our GI system. It is very important to desensitize our systems to potential allergens that we encounter both daily and rarely. We must also repair both our gut lining and adrenal function in order to prevent further deterioration.


Many allergists use antigen therapy based on lab testing or skin prick testing which is administered as a shot. There is no way for them to determine to what degree your body is reacting to something so those with a mild allergy who wish to be desensitized are given the same substance as those with a severe allergy. This can lead to major reactions in those with severe sensitivity. It is very important to tailor the treatment to each individual. Using electrodermal screening, it is possible to evaluate to what level someone is sensitive. Then a remedy specific for that level can be given orally. This is ideal for people with hyperreactive immune systems, younger and older people, and those who have a phobia of needles. While the patient is being desensitized, we can work on optimizing their adrenal function. The ultimate outcome is elimination or decrease of allergies, more energy, and better immune function.