Functional Medicine: How Does Low Dose Immunotherapy Work?

Functional Medicine

Do you know that over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies? It can be very hard to go about your day-to-day life when you feel tired, sneeze constantly, or your eyes are watery all the time. Severe food sensitivities or environmental allergies can even stop you from working or pursuing your hobbies.

Taking medication may help for a while, but if you don’t get to the root cause of your allergies, the problem won’t go away. That is where functional medicine can be a life saver.

Read on to find out what functional medicine is and how low-dose immunotherapy can help to treat your allergies.

What Is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on the root cause of an illness. Rather than just treating the symptoms, a functional medicine practitioner evaluates why the illness occurred in the first place.

This very individual approach helps to develop a patient-specific treatment plan. This is especially valuable when treating allergies because a one-size-fits-all approach can’t get to the bottom of your condition.

Your immune system fights infections, viruses, and bacteria. However, sometimes your immune system response may be abnormal.  If your overreactive immune system cannot tolerate otherwise benign substances such as foods, pollen, bacteria, or viruses, you can develop allergies or an autoimmune response.

Many standard immunotherapy treatments simply mask the symptoms and don’t get to the bottom of what caused the immune response. Low Dose Immunotherapy can address that.

What Is Low-Dose Immunotherapy

Low Dose Immunotherapy (LDI) is a fairly new treatment that originated here in Alaska! It is based on an older, injection based allergy treatment system called LDA. 

LDI treatment helps to restore the immune response in those who suffer from autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. The treatment uses allergens such as foods, chemicals, pollens, animal dander, and even killed viruses and bacteria. The aim of the treatment is to stop the allergy response and restore T-regulator cells.

LDI drops contain allergens that are highly diluted.  LDI is typically administrated sublingually, orally under the tongue.

How Low-Dose Immunotherapy Can Help

Standard immunotherapy focuses on avoiding the triggering allergens and suppressing the immune response.   The two biggest benefits of LDI are to increase immune system tolerance and decrease symptoms of allergies.

When your immune system tolerance is greater, it does not overreact to allergens. It can mean that either you no longer will be allergic to a particular allergen, or the allergy symptoms will be significantly reduced.

Who Can Benefit From Low-Dose Immunotherapy

LDI is beneficial for patients who suffer from an overactive immune system and have lost their tolerance to environmental allergens such as pollen, chemicals, foods, and viruses. It is a great alternative for anyone who has tried traditional methods and wants to stop relying on traditional allergy therapy.

Furthermore, LDI can help those who cannot be supported by the standard treatments used in treating allergies. For example, for those who suffer from food and chemical sensitivities or those whose immune systems are triggered by chronic bacterial or viral infections. 

In addition, LDI can be recommended for anyone who suffers from:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Food intolerances
  • Arthritis
  • Autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis
  • Lyme and tick-borne conditions
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Migraines
  • Digestive problems 
  • Eczema or contact dermatitis,
  • Asthma
  • Chronic sinusitis

What to Expect From Low-Dose Immunotherapy Treatment

During your first visit, your doctor will take up your medical history and try to determine the underlying cause of your overactive immune system. You may undertake a physical exam and some additional tests. Then your doctor creates a treatment plan based on your individual needs.

The long term treatment plan may include 2 to 5 LDI sublingual doses every 7-8 weeks. Additionally, it may also include changes in your diet, supplements, or medications to foster a more balanced immune response. 

Your dose initial dose administration is done through the dose titration process. Dose titration means that you will start your treatment with weaker doses administrated more closely together (often weekly) to help find the right dose strenght for your body.  Once you notice an immune response your dosage may be adjusted accordingly, and can then be at the every seven week, maintenance interval.

If you respond positively to the LDI treatment, you will notice that your allergy symptoms lessen. This can take up to 7-8 weeks, so patience is key here. If the LDI works for you, you may be able to further reduce the dose or the frequency of doses. In some cases, you may only need to take LDI once or twice a year.

Side Effects of Low-Dose Immunotherapy

LDI is a safe, convenient, and effective treatment. 

If a dose is chosen that is too high for you, you may have a temporary worsening of symptoms.  Such an allergy response can be a good sign that the treatment can work for you. 

Learn More About Functional Medicine

If you suffer from allergies and are looking for a long-term and more sustainable approach, functional medicine can help.

Functional medicine looks into the real root cause of an illness and provides a patient-centered approach. Schedule an appointment with our clinic today to see how we can help with your allergies.