Spring. A season of beauty, renewal and …. aaachooo!
Hello and Happy Spring!
If you’re like me, you love spring. Particularly if winter in your area of the world has been unseasonably long, like here in the northeast US. We’re still seeing the thermometer dip below freezing some nights! All that said, the weather hasn’t stopped the trees from budding and the pollen from making it’s way into the air we breathe. For many, that means sneezing, runny noses, sinus congestion … ugh! So, I figured the time was right to pass on a few ideas to help you avoid the woes of seasonal allergies this spring so that you can truly enjoy this beautiful season!
The first thing I am NOT going to tell you to do is to avoid the allergens that are irritating to you. Why? Well if we could do that successfully, nobody would have these types of issues, right? And who really wants to let allergies get in the way of living life. Not me. The thing is, our reaction to irritants in the atmosphere, like pollen, is something that should not happen. It is a faulty reaction to something quite harmless. In other words, the body mistakenly thinks the pollen poses a threat, so it goes on the attack. The immune system overreacts, triggering the release of chemicals like histamines that cause the allergic reaction – all of those symptoms I mentioned above.
So what can we do to build up our body and correct this faulty immune response? Well, first it’s important to strengthen the immune system. After that we can target the allergic response by adding nutrients with antihistamine properties. Here are a few of my recommendations:
1. Vitamin C: One of my favorite, all-around immune-boosting nutrients that is also a natural antihistamine. 2000 mg daily in divided doses (1000 with each of your two largest meals) has been shown in one clinical trial to decrease blood histamine levels by 40%! And that was after a period of only two weeks on that regimen.
2. Quercetin: This is a plant-based chemical (phytochemical) known as a bioflavonoid that can be found in apples, strawberries, cabbage, broccoli, onions, red wine, buckwheat and citrus fruits. It has been deemed one of the most powerful allergy fighters due to it’s ability to inhibit the release of histamine. In addition, Quercetin reduces the production of leukotrienes – fatty signalling molecules that trigger contractions in the smooth muscles lining the trachea. Put simply, the overproduction of leukotrienes causes inflammation that stimulates airway constriction (think asthma and allergic rhinitis). Finally, quercetin is a natural antioxidant that it rids the body of free radicals generated during the allergic reaction. 200-500 mg daily seems to do the trick, and find a supplement that also includes bromelain and Vitamin C for the best absorption.
3. Bromelain: An enzyme found in pineapple that greatly enhances the absorption of Quercetin, Bromelain has an incredible track record in its own right though when it comes to health. It has been shown to reduce tissue swelling, break up mucus, and dramatically improve respiratory congestion.
4. N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC): This is a precursor to something called glutathione, what some refer to as the “mother of all antioxidants” in our body! NAC not only helps us to maintain high levels of glutathione, but it also has mucus-thinning properties and protects the liver from acetaminophen toxicity. A daily dose of 200-600 mg is recommended.
5. Stinging Nettle: A rather pesky, stinging weed that is also a potent antihistamine! Studies have found that freeze-dried nettle leaf helps reduce symptoms of hay fever, asthma, seasonal allergies, and hives. It’s got lots of other benefits too, as it’s also been studied for its diuretic and blood-pressure-reducing properties. Packed with nutrients, you can’t go wrong adding this herb to your regimen. A daily dose of about 200 mg is suggested for allergy support.
And last but not least, no general set of recommendations is complete without the addition of a quality probiotic! For those of you who would like more information on this, I’ll direct you to my most recent blog post on gut health. It’s part of a series on cancer but the focus is on how important gut health is to the immune system. So it’s very relevant no matter what your health status happens to be.
Keep in mind that the above nutrients are just a few of my favorite go-to’s for seasonal allergies. If you check out my brand recommendations on my online dispensary (look under the category “Allergies”), you’ll notice a few have similar ingredient lists, differing only in strength and dosage, so you are able to choose what best fits your specific needs. There are many more beneficial compounds out there that you may find helpful, some of which are included in these recommended brands. So feel free to check those out and as usual, if you have any questions or concerns, send me an email. I promise to get back to you while the pollen is still circulating!!
Latest posts by Susan Hughes (see all)
- How to Treat Hormonal Acne - October 25, 2017
- Our positive stories support healing. - August 24, 2017
- The sunshine vitamin: the many functions of Vitamin D - August 22, 2017