After a crazy winter, most of us are all welcoming the nice weather of spring. But many allergy sufferers may not be so excited. As the trees and flowers bloom, their pollen becomes a major source of allergies, which can present symptoms like itchy eyes and throat, runny and clogged nose, and, in some cases, an annoying cough due to post-nasal drip.
What Are Allergies?
In simple terms, an allergy is an over-reactive response of the immune system to certain substances that are foreign to our bodies, called allergens. We acquire our allergies throughout our life, and some people are more susceptible than others. One must have at least one contact with a substance to become allergic to it.
Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost in excess of $18 billion.1
Conventional allergy treatment attempts to block the immune response, or in more severe cases, to suppress the entire immune function with steroids. While this approach can provide symptomatic relief, it does nothing to address the underlying cause of the problem. Patients often become dependent on their medication, suffer from numerous side effects, and even worsen their overall health by constantly suppressing their immune system.
Treating Seasonal Allergies
I’ve found that most people who suffer from seasonal allergies also have some underlying food allergies. Normally they don’t notice many symptoms from the food allergies, but coupled with allergens from the environment, the body becomes overloaded and symptoms occur.
The first obvious step is to change the person’s diet and remove the most allergenic foods through an elimination diet. In some cases, I will run specific blood tests for food allergies as well as environmental allergies such as pollen, grass, dust and mold, among others. Many times I’ll see dramatic results when patients have food allergies, and I do things to repair the integrity of the intestinal barrier through the use of different herbs and nutrients.
Supplements to Treat Allergies
To help strengthen the respiratory barriers in the nose and lungs, I may recommend a variety of different nutrients and herbs. The first supplements I use are Vitamin C and bioflavonoids. Both act to improve the integrity of the respiratory mucous membrane barriers.
Vitamin C has the added benefit of helping the body break down the histamine molecule, which is released by the body in response to allergens.2 A specific bioflavonoid called Quercetin can be effective in treating allergies by acting as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.3 I also recommend an herb called freeze-dried stinging nettles leaf extract, which can lead to significant symptom relief.4
When I can uncover exactly what a patient is allergic to, I will often use desensitizing homeopathic drops made from the actual allergen in a diluted form.
So, if you’re dreading this spring due to seasonal allergies, visit a naturopathic physician who can work with you to identify contributing food allergies, correct your digestion and recommend some natural non-toxic treatments for allergy symptom control.
Aller-Relief – this product contains the very important anti-allergy ingredients: quercetin and stinging nettle leaf extract combined with enzymes and NAC. Most patients will take 2 capsules up to 3 times a day throughout allergy season.
|Aller-Zyme– contains the histamine degrading enzyme amylase. Patients typically combine this product with the Aller-Relief for more acute allergy symptoms. It is best taken on an empty stomach at a dose of 2-3 pills at the first sign of allergic symptoms (runny nose, itchy eyes, eczema or congestion) and dosed again as needed throughout the day if symptoms return. It will often halt these issues very quickly.|
Ultra Flora Complete
Ultra Flora Complete – maintaining optimal levels of beneficial digestive tract flora is extremely important for good immune system health. Ultra Flora complete is a high potency probiotic supplement that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria as well as an immune enhancing pre-biotic fiber. Having a healthy balance of flora is essential to maintaining gut membrane integrity which can result in less food allergies and sensitivities. 1-2 capsules before bed is a standard dose.
Real C – vitamin C has been shown to aid in the body’s ability to degrade histamine. Dr. Aieta’s Real C product contains a food based form of vitamin C along with a mixture of flavonoids to help strengthen the integrity of the mucus membranes, in particular those in the lungs and sinus cavity. Ideal dosing is 1-2 capsules 2-3 times a day with food.
- American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. Allergy Facts. http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies
- Carr, Anitra C, and Silvia Maggini. “Vitamin C and Immune Function.” Nutrients vol. 9,11 1211. 3 Nov. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9111211. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707683.
- Rogerio, A P et al. “Anti-inflammatory activity of quercetin and isoquercitrin in experimental murine allergic asthma.” Inflammation research : official journal of the European Histamine Research Society … [et al.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18026696/
- Roschek, Bill Jr et al. “Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 23,7 (2009): 920-6. doi:10.1002/ptr.2763. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19140159/
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