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Spring is finally here! But with spring comes allergy season and for many people this can be a pretty uncomfortable time of year!
What causes Allergies?
Allergy symptoms are a result of our immune systems responding inappropriately to certain substances. When we are exposed to allergens over and over, our immune systems will start to recognize the allergens as “invaders” and will create IgE antibodies to attack these invaders. IgE antibodies are responsible for releasing histamine into our blood. The histamine is what is responsible for the runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing that we have come to recognize as allergy symptoms. In severe cases severe reactions can occur and lead to anaphylaxis (trouble breathing and swallowing, a swollen tongue or lips, and even loss of consciousness) which is an emergency!
Antihistamines (over the counter allergy medications) are effective for relieving symptoms of seasonal allergies but they come with some annoying side effects too!
After taking an “allergy pill” you may experience;
Dry eyes, nose and mouth
Restlessness and insomnia
The good news is there are some pretty great natural ways to combat your seasonal allergy symptoms!
Studies have shown that spirulina supplementation can improve the common symptoms of an allergic reaction like sneezing, nasal congestion and itching (1 ). According to one study (done in rats) spirulina actually prevented histamine release (2).
This flavonoid is found in fruits and vegetables and is known as being anti-inflammatory (3). It is also thought of as a natural anti-histamine (4).
An important portion of our immune system is within our gut, and gut health is often the key to overall health, so it makes sense that we should support our digestive systems! One study found that probiotics were more effective for the prevention of allergies, rather than treating them once they have already started (5). It is also important to note that different strains are more effective than others, so talk to your ND about which ones are right for you.
Bromelain is an enzyme that is found in pineapples. It is a well known anti-inflammatory and can therefore be useful for reducing symptoms caused by inflammation such as a stuffy nose.
5. Stinging nettle
This powerful herb has been used traditionally for allergy relief for hundreds of years and has been shown to prevent histamine release (6).
6. Strengthen your immune system.
Those of us who are under a great deal of stress, sleep poorly or have an underlying illness are particularly susceptible to experiencing allergy symptoms. Treating these conditions can not only help you prevent seasonal allergies but will also help you to feel your best every day! If you suffer from seasonal allergies and want to prevent them from occurring, talk to your naturopathic doctor.