Adrenal function plays an important role in allergic reactions. Most allergies involve the release of histamine and other pro-inflammatory substances (substances that produce inflammation). Cortisol, one of the primary hormones produced by the adrenal glands, is a strong anti-inflammatory (a substance that reduces inflammation). In fact, the amount of cortisol circulating in the blood is a key factor in controlling the level of inflammatory reactions in the body. For this reason, healthy adrenal function plays an important role in mediating the histamine release and inflammatory reactions that produce the symptoms experienced with allergies.
When the adrenals are fatigued, it is more difficult to produce the additional amounts of cortisol necessary to adequately counteract the inflammatory allergic reactions. People going through times of adrenal fatigue may notice that they seem to have more allergies or their allergies seem to get worse. Conversely, the more histamine released, the harder the adrenals have to work to produce enough cortisol the more fatigued they may become. It is therefore not surprising that people with food and environmental allergies commonly tend to experience adrenal fatigue as well. This can set up a vicious cycle of reduced cortisol allowing histamine to inflame the tissues more, leading to deepening adrenal fatigue as well as to bigger allergic reactions.
Actively supporting your adrenal glands and eliminating or reducing your exposure to foods and other substances that cause allergic or sensitivity reactions can help break this cycle as well as strengthen adrenal function. Food allergens can interfere with daily functioning and become a profound stress on your adrenals, so it is important to track down and eliminate these food sensitivities and allergies in order to both decrease your allergy load and promote adrenal health. For more information about allergies and adrenal function and how to determine if you are experiencing allergies, read Chapter 14 in Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. If you think you may be reacting to certain foods, you may find it helpful to look at a list of the most common food allergens and access lists of foods that contain them.