With spring finally arriving the flowers and trees are beginning to bloom. This means folks with seasonal allergies are beginning to feel the impact of increased pollen in the air. And many people who have been using OTC or prescription medications to control their allergy symptoms would really like to know if there are safer, non-drug alternatives available. The short answer is – yes.
Treating symptoms or addressing the cause?
The trouble with OTC (over the counter) and prescriptions medications for seasonal allergies is they treat only the symptoms and do not address the cause and most have unwanted side effects. Plus many people find that after repeated use these products simple don’t seem to be effective treating their symptoms. This is most likely because OTC medications for allergies work on only one of the three allergic pathway response. There are actually three pathways during immune response; histamine, leukotriene and the interleukin which impacts the inflammatory cascade response. What is needed is a comprehensive approach.
Three Steps for Natural relief from Seasonal Allergies
Step 1: Remove offending foods & potential allergens!
As always changing your diet is a key foundational component to addressing the root cause of hidden inflammation. While specialized testing is an option it does not always show reactivity to foods that some people react to. So the most effective way to really know what foods may be triggering your allergy symptoms is to do an elimination/provocation diet. By eliminating offending foods from your diet for at least thirty days you can get a very accurate idea of what is at the root of your allergies. This needs to be done systematically and should be recorded in a diet log.
As a refresher; common food sensitivities include, gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts, eggs, shellfish, commonly used food preservatives like sulfates and nitrates. Begin by keeping a diet diary and note any reactive symptoms. For long-term effective results you will need to eliminate the offending foods from your diet for several weeks and some for good. And remember we tend to crave the foods we are most reactive too!
Other helpful allergy tips
- During times of increased outdoor pollen and mold keep windows and doors closed and use the air conditioner as much as possible. This is especially helpful at night when sleeping as many trees and plants release pollen at night. You can check mold and tree pollen at the National Allergies Bureau link here: http://pollen.aaaai.org/nab/
- If you have pets and are allergic to them wash your hands after playing or petting them and don’t let them lick you because most of what you are allergic to in pet saliva.
- Increasing water consumption and staying away from mucus producing foods such as dairy products also helps many people.
- The preservatives, coloring’s and other chemical additives in many processed foods also act as a trigger for many folks so avoiding these helps as well.
- Avoid mold and yeasty foods – like beer, mushrooms and aged cheese as these also aggravate allergic responses.
Step 2: Improve your microbiome
Eating more plant foods i.e. fruits and vegetables in their raw or lightly steamed/sautéed state will help you increase beneficial digestive enzymes. Variety in foods helps increase variety in our microbiome. This is protective.
Adding a good enzyme supplement before and after meals also helps improve digestion. Some enzyme formulations are especially designed to be taken between meals; these also aid in reducing allergic response. Or use unfiltered apple cider vinegar which is loaded with great enzymes (this is also excellent to help increase low stomach acid, another common condition) . You can use apple cider vinegar in salad dressings or take a teaspoon in 3 oz. of water with meals to help improve digestion. This works wonders for many who feel bloated too.
Don’t forget to eat pre-biotic foods to help increase byrutate. Byrutate helps encourage health bacteria in our microbiome to flourish.
Good Pre-biotic rich food sources
Acacia gum (or gum Arabic)
Beans & Legumes (soaked)
Raw chicory root
Raw Jerusalem artichoke
Raw dandelion greens
Raw or cooked onion
Sweet potatoes, squash, wild yams, jicama, beets, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and other root veggies are all great choices.
Eating pro-biotic rich foods such as plain, organic yogurt (not the Yo-Yo brand please!) and kefir each day also helps restore proper balance of friendly to un-friendly bacteria in the gut. This aids in digestion, reduces leaky gut probability and decreases the inflammatory response (this inflammatory response is what triggers the allergic reaction). Non-dairy alternatives are now available made from coconut and almond. Avoid soy please. Taking a high quality non-dairy based pro-biotic supplement daily also helps.
Step 3: Try a targeted natural supplement
Proteolytic enzyme formulations are especially helpful for those suffering from food intolerance’s/allergies. These should be taken with meals. Pro-biotic supplements are also essential for restoring any leaky gut issues so commonly found with food intolerance’s. Because the quality control on many of these types of products purchased though health food and vitamin stores is questionable you are better off spending your money on professional grade products.
For my clients with seasonal and perennial allergies I use a combination product that works on all three of the allergic response pathways mentioned above. It uses quercetin (found in oak trees and alum plants); that stops the initial degranulation process in the mast cells and is a natural anti-histamine; stinging nettles has natural “steroid like” properties and bromelian (from pineapple which acts as a natural anti-inflammatory and helps the quercetin to act faster. Because natural formulations are designed to works on all three pathways of the allergic responds people experience fewer symptoms and no side effects. Best of all these ingredients all come from the plant kingdom and are free from side effects, yet surprisingly effective. It’s called Natural D-Hist You can find that this product under the Respiratory Support condition tab of my Virtual Dispensary HERE.
Allergy or delayed immune responds?
Many allergies, whether seasonal or year round typically have underlying food or chemical causes that are not discovered through skin scratch testing done in by allergists. This type of reaction is part of our delayed immune response system which can take hours to days to show up in a variety of symptoms and it’s not detected in the skin scratch test process. Technically these reactions are not true allergies but reactivity or sensitivities, very often to specific foods, environmental exposures or heavy metals. The body is reacting to these invaders trying to protect itself. Once these intruders are identified and eliminated symptoms generally resolve.
~ (Learn more about MRT Allergy Testing) service which is very reliable, more effective and different from IgG mediated. It tests for 150 foods and chemical additives.
To get help uncovering hidden allergens and learn how to effectively manage your symptoms using plant-based and nutritional based alternatives requires a comprehensive, diet and lifestyle based approach. If you have tried conventional OTC and prescription medications and still have symptoms maybe it’s time to try uncovering the root cause of your allergies and here is where I can help you! Fill out my Are we a Fit? form on my website and let’s talk about it.
Are you ready to stop feeling like your body is working against you and reclaim vibrant health?
Take the next step and contact me to see if we are a fit: