Going dairy-free clears sinus and gut issues
by Sue Kira, Naturopath & Clinical Nutritionist
Client name and identifying information changed
Samuel came to me with a few issues. He had terrible problems with his blocked and painful sinuses, along with alternating constipation and diarrhoea, tummy pains, cramps, headaches, nausea and felt quite run down most of the time.
Samuel already had quite a few allergy tests and was allergic to dust mites, certain pollens and animal fur. His food allergy tests were clear, which didn’t surprise me as I had seen many people test negative for allergies, but they weren’t tested for intolerances.
He was told to avoid his allergens where possible, but that was about it. Avoidance was tricky for him because he lived in an old house with old carpets that would have had heaps of dust mites, plus he had a cat.
Samuel said he wanted to stay in the house because the rent was cheap and he loved the location, so I suggested to get the carpets and his mattress professionally treated for dust mites and to remove the carpet from his bedroom, with the owner’s permission. I also recommended to change his pillows to new hypoallergenic ones and to wash his bedding by adding some eucalyptus oil to the detergent. I also suggested to not have his cat near his face and to preferably keep her outside during the day, and regularly vacuum the floors to remove cat hair.
He made the changes and told me that the floor boards in his bedroom (which were previously under the carpet) looked good after coating with natural oils and he bought some washable mats that he put next to the bed. These measures reduced his allergenic load to a degree, but he still had all his symptoms, so then we needed to heal his gut issues.
Tests revealed that Samuel had leaky gut so I advised him to initially go off all grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine and fruit to allow his immune system time to heal, plus he was prescribed daily bone broth soups and probiotics. Along with the food changes Samuel was prescribed some zinc and vitamin D as his levels tested low. Zinc and vitamin D are crucial for a good immune system.
Before he started the supplements, Samuel had noticed a dramatic reduction in his sinus problems, which reduced his headaches and fatigue, just from the food changes. Even though he had more gut healing to do, it was great to see these improvements, solely from the changes to his diet.
As Samuel’s gut healed, so did the other symptoms, and within 12 weeks all of Samuel’s symptoms had cleared. It seemed that he could even tolerate his cat better and didn’t sneeze from the pollens when he went into the garden.
Later, we re-challenged (re-introduced one at a time) the foods that he had previously omitted from his diet, and discovered he was reactive to dairy products and foods containing gluten.
Now that Samuels gut had healed he was able to tolerate many foods that would normally aggravate him, but he knew it was best to stay off the gluten foods and dairy. Every now and then he broke his diet, only to pay for it for the next few days with clogged sinuses, headache and fatigue.