The link between diet and respiratory infections

Specific Health Concern 20 April 2018

Allergies, asthma, chronic sinusitis, recurrent infections, conjunctivitis… if you suffer from one or several of these, and the symptoms just keep on coming back, then you’ll be happy to know that there is another alternative to antibiotics and antihistamines – changing your diet! 

Article written by Ariane Monnami, nutritionist and micro-nutritionist. 

Dr Seignalet and his findings 

Dr Seignalet (1936-2003) was a French surgeon and researcher from the university of Montepellier, specialised in immunology and transplants. 

In the 80s, taking the works of Dr Kousmine as a starting point, he studied the links between diet and different types of illnesses, including auto-immune diseases, cancers and allergies. 

All of this research was then published in the book “L’Alimentation ou la troisième médecine” (Nutrition, the third medicine). 

‘Clogging’ theory 

A malfunctioning gut wall 

Normally, intestinal mucosa should form a ‘waterproof’barrier between the ‘outside’ world (inside the gut) and the ‘inside’ world (the blood and organs). However, if this barrier becomes porous, undesirable molecules (non-digested food, bacteria, toxins) could all pass through.

Purification Organs & Illnesses 

In a previous article “Liver, the body’s very own purification factory”, we touched on several different emunctories, known as the the ‘purification’ organs of our body. The respiratory mucosa, which lines the inside of our nose, sinuses, throat and lungs, as well as the eye mucosa all form part of this purification system. When the barrier becomes permeable, the amount of waste material increases significantly and this can lead to what Dr Seignalet called a ‘clogging pathology’.  

The consequences of ‘clogging’

A significant and prolonged presence of waste materials can lead to chronic inflammation of the respiratory mucosa, which has several undesirable consequences: 

– An obstructive edema, both in the nose and bronchi.

– Feeling of irritation/burning. 

– An abnormally high secretion of mucus. 

Given the chronic nature of the irritation, the mucosa then tends to react abnormally: it becomes more vulnerable to viral and bacterial attacks and can therefore overreact to allergens such as pollen, animal fur and dust.  

Different phases of waste removal  

At the beginning, waste is eliminated through increased ‘drainage’: our eyes begin to cry, our nose begins to run and mucus builds up in our throats and bronchi which can lead to a chronic cough. All of these symptoms can be uncomfortable, but not overly serious. 

However if the amount of waste to be removed increases, the entire system eventually gets carried away and the body produces more and more white blood cells and inflammatory molecules. With increased swelling and secretions, things start to get slightly more serious – You might also be at risk of developing chronic rhinitis, asthma, nasal polyps, recurring infections and allergic reactions. 

What can be done? 

It’s important to remember that the allergen or virus are only trigger factors and it’s the chronic inflammation which is most important. To get rid of this chronic inflammation, it’s best to target the root of the problem in the intestines, where the causes of waste material can be targeted. These causes include food intolerances and gut flora imbalance. 

Dr Seignalet’s Hypotoxic Diet 

In order to get the gut mechanisms back on track, Dr Seignalet recommends limiting the amount of grains containing gluten, as well as dairy products. He also recommends avoiding cooking foods at high temperatures as this modifies the protein structures and increases waste material. 

Instead, you should focus on foods with high quality nutritional values such as raw fruits and vegetables, first cold pressed organic oils and consider supplements for magnesium, trace elements, vitamins and lactic ferments.


Restoring gut flora

The bacteria living inside our gut are our first protection against waste material: they produce protective agents and then “chop up” any potentially harmful molecules. Regular probiotic treatments, especially those using strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, have shown to be particularly effective in allergy prevention.  



  • Seignalet, L’Alimentation ou la 3e médecine, 5e édition refondue et augmentée 
  • Hojsak, et al. Lactobacillus GG in the prevention of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections in children who attend day care centers: a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. Clin.Nutr. 2010;29:312- 316
  • Smith et al. Effect of Lactobacillus rhamnosus LGG® and Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. lactis BB-12® on health-related quality of life in college students affected by upper respiratory infections. British J. Nutr. 2013. 109, 1997-2007