Your Survival Guide for Seasonal Allergies
We were fortunate enough this year on the West Coast: while the rest of Canada had it’s share of snow and below freezing weather, Victoria, BC, experienced one of its mildest winters on record.
But the warmer weather and the early signs of spring like flower buds and blooming trees for many of us actually mean nasal congestion, sneezing and itchy eyes.
This past month allergy season has crept up on many of my patients, which, for some can cause a significant reduction in their quality of life.
What is an Allergy?
An allergy is an over-reaction of the immune system that causes the release of histamine from mast cells. Allergies create inflammation in the body and can also aggravate existing chronic conditions.
What most people don’t know is that the presence of underlying food allergies can actually worsen seasonal allergies (hay fever). These delayed reactions from food can cause cumulative stress on the immune system which makes the body that more sensitive and reactive.
The good news: allergy season doesn’t have to be miserable!
Here is your survival guide to keep those seasonal allergies under control:
As mentioned above, determine underlying food allergies and avoid those foods – especially during allergy season. Common food allergies are: dairy,wheat/gluten, egg, soy and corn.
Supplement with the bioflavonoid Quercetin, which has been shown to be effective in individuals suffering from allergies. Quercetin inhibits the release of histamines and other inflammatory compounds from mast cells, thus reducing the allergic/inflammatory response. Look for Bioactive Quercetin (EMIQ) which is a highly bioavailable form of Quercetin. EMIQ has been shown to provide a 40 times greater absorption than regular Quercetin.
Vitamin C is key in any allergy treatment program because it has so many beneficial functions. Vitamin C not only acts as an antioxidant, helping to reduce allergic reactions, but it also has mast-cell-stabilizing properties that reduce histamine release.
Probiotics & Fermented Foods
Support the intestines by re-establishing the “good bacteria” (acidophilus and bifidobacteria) to ensure proper digestion of foods and optimal immune function. A good portion of your immune system resides in your gut and the use of antibiotics, the birth control pill or excess sugar, food allergies and stress can affect our gut bacterial balance. A healthy gut is therefore essential for a strong immune system!
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are healthy fats that are necessary for the formation of every cell in the body. Supplement with a clean fish oil with a minimum of 1000 mg EPA and 600 mg of DHA daily.
Immunocare (plant sterols) help to modulate immune function and reduce inflammation. They also reduce allergies by dampening down basophil, eosinophil and mast cells, the immune cells that release histamine, causing the typical “allergic reaction.”
Sublingual Immunotherapy has shown efficacy for seasonal allergies. Drops of liquid containing minute quantities of the offending allergen are placed under the tongue. This type of therapy is much more convenient as there is no need to go into the doctors office for shots.
I always recommend physician supervision with the initial use of the sublingual immunotherapy, although it is much safer than the shots, allergic reactions may still occur.
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