The immune system and our emotions are closely related. This relationship has even crated a new field in medicine called the psyconeuroimmunology. We can think of stress and anxiety causing a wide range of changes to our body. These changes may result an increase in allergies.
One study showed there was difference in intensity of allergies and personality traits supporting the link between the mind and allergic symptoms. The personality traits that the study looked at included depression, anxiety and hysteria. The study also concluded that one of the mechanisms of action that the link between stress and allergies may be due to cortisol levels. I'll be doing a future blog on what is cortisol and the proper management of cortisol for a healthy mind.
Another study looked at asthma which is often induced by allergies. This study analyzed college students during the middle of the term and the last week of the term where finals where going to take place. The sputum of the participants were analyzed and they found that there was an increase in inflammatory mediatiors and immune cells especially eosinohpils. Eosinophils are directly involved in productions of many of the allergy symptoms such as stuffy nose, itchy eyes and congestion.
The importance of looking at stress is not only limited to allergies but to a wide range of other diseases including cancer, HIV, and irritable bowel syndrome. The linkage between mind and body is one of the cores in naturopathic medicine. Life style changes is what I like to address with every patient in one way or another. Like many other health problems that we face the exact cause of it is complex and often requires a team in order to get the root of the cause.
Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2011 Feb; 31 (1): 55-68