Allergy Solutions: Why You Need to Know about Innate vs. Adaptive Immune Response


Allergy Solutions: Why You Need to Know about Innate vs. Adaptive Immune Response

When you are experiencing allergy symptoms, it’s an indication that an immune response is happening in the body. Your immune system detects the allergens and interprets these compounds as a threat. As a result, the immune system kicks into gear to protect you, resulting in symptoms from the response.

As you learned in our last blog post, in Functional Medicine, we look at the underlying cause of the symptoms. Instead of hiding the symptoms with medication, we want to understand WHY this immune response is occurring.

Types of Immune Responses to Allergens

It’s essential to understand the difference between innate vs. adaptive immune responses:

  • Innate Immune Response: The innate immune response is the first line of defense against these outside threats. When you come in contact with an allergen, this response uses chemical, physical, and cellular defenses against the pathogens. The purpose of this response is to stop the spread of foreign invaders, helping to protect the rest of your body.
  • Adaptive Immune Response: Next, the second line of defense kicks in, known as the adaptive immune response. This immunity is also known as acquired immunity. The function is to attack non-self-allergens, but sometimes a mistake occurs, and the immune system starts attacking your own cells. When this happens, it results in the development of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Usually, the innate response is immediate, while the adaptive response happens over time. When the body moves from an innate immune response into an adaptive immune response, there is an expansion of lymphocyte activity. When an adaptive immune response is for a while, it can take a toll on your health over time.


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Lifestyle Choices Affect the Immune Response

While it’s crucial to address acute allergy responses, doctors too often overlook the long-term effects of these inflammatory immune responses. Think about it this way: your body is like a cup holding water (inflammation). If there is a hole in the bottom, then the cup won’t overflow as long as the water pouring in is less than the water that is emptying from the bottom. The cup (body) can handle this amount of water (inflammation) without overflowing.

But if the inflammation is increasing quickly, it’s like pouring water into the cup faster than it is emptying. Eventually, the cup overflows, resulting in allergy symptoms. The goal in functional medicine is to manage inflammation through lifestyle choices that help to reduce overall inflammation. Everything comes back to the 6 Lifestyle Pillars – the foundation of good health:

  • Physical Activity
  • Healthy Eating
  • Restorative Sleep
  • Stress Management
  • Avoiding Risky Substances
  • Social Connection

Through these Functional Medicine principles, you are supporting the natural body systems to address root issues. As inflammation comes down, the symptoms start to subside, helping you minimize the severity and frequency of allergy responses.

Stay tuned next week for our next blog post about how allergies and histamines affect many aspects of your health. For more information about whole-body healing, talk to us at Back On Track Integrative Wellness, Inc. Call to schedule a consultation: (916) 782-3141.



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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


Dr. Todd W. Bunning, DC, PC

Dr. Todd W. Bunning’s chiropractic and functional medicine services reach far beyond the local Roseville area, with webcam consultations available for patients in any location. With over 20 years of Private Practice experience, Dr. Todd continues to focus on the individual: science-based methods to address whole-body health factors.

Dr. Todd’s education didn’t stop when he graduated from Life West Chiropractic College in 2003. Today, he’s continuing to receive training and is chipping away on numerous post-graduate degree programs. This unique blend of clinical health investigation and Lifestyle Medicine application helps people of all ages find the underlying factors that result in chronic disease.

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