Natural Allergy Relief Begins with Prevention
Up to 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are bothered with indoor or outdoor allergy symptoms. When new patients ask me how to get rid of allergies, I explain the new habits I’ll teach them to achieve ideal health are also the things that will lessen or even seem to get rid of their allergic symptoms. Before I list natural allergy remedies, let’s discuss the ways to get healthy and achieve natural allergy relief. Here’s what I’ll review in detail.
- Symptoms and Causation
- The Role of your Microbiome
- Leaky Gut
- Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
- Histamine Intolerance
- Environmental Control
- Natural anti-histamines
Allergic Symptoms and Causes
In this article, I’ll discuss what most of you think of as “allergies.” This will not cover symptoms such as hives (urticaria), asthma, or atopic dermatitis (allergic skin rashes). However, most of what I’ll discuss will apply to those conditions as well.
The symptoms most people associate with allergies include, for example, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose, watery and itchy eyes, and itching in the nose, mouth or throat.
These result from your body’s reactions to foreign particles (allergens). When you’re exposed to an allergen, your plasma cells release immunoglobulin E (IgE).
The IgE attaches to the surface of mast cells found in tissues, such as your throat lining and nasal mucosa.
Mast cells release a number of important cell mediators starting with your second encounter with a specific allergen.
The release of histamines, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins all contribute to the inflammatory response to cause symptoms.
It would be overly simplistic to blame allergies on IgE or histamine release, without taking a look at the root cause of just why we see the allergic response. In fact, recent research implicates internal inflammation, oxidative stress, and startlingly, the condition of our microbiome.
How to get rid of Allergies? Take a look at your Microbiome
The human microbiome is comprised of up to 100 trillion symbiotic microbial cells with unique genes; mainly from bacteria. Our “unhealthy” gut bacteria thrive on the awful foods that create internal inflammation in our bodies including sugar, unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, fast foods and overly processed foods.
Specific Foods Which Harm Our Microbiome
- Added sugars of any type
- Grains and other refined carbohydrates
- Trans fat and vegetable oils
- Most fast food and all processed food with numerous ingredients
- Pasteurized dairy products
- Farmed fish
- Non-grass-fed meats (If animals eat grains, you do too.)
- Specific additives: notably ingredients such as guar gum, carrageenan, food dyes, and artificial preservatives
- Non-organic and/or GMO fruits/vegetables (Due to high levels of glycophosphates.)
And then there are the things we call “gut irritants” which tend to be pharmaceuticals. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers are the most common drugs which literally punch holes in the GI tract’s lining. Specifically, the majority of people who take these types of pain relievers regularly have some degree of leaky gut.
Non-bioidentical hormones such as birth control pills or synthetic corticosteroidal medication (Medrol or Prednisone) will feed the growth of excess candida (yeast), which can also damage the gut lining through SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth.)
Another gut-damaging category of pharmaceuticals is antibiotics. Antibiotics quickly reverse the ratio of good to bad bacteria in the GI microbiome. The next group of drugs which almost always cause gut disruption are chemotherapeutic agents. The last major category of drugs is proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) which were never designed for more than short-term use. In fact, when used for more than 30-60 days, they too will disrupt the integrity of the GI tract lining.
Direct GI toxins we absorb via bathing or consumption such as the fluoride and/or chlorine in water, methylmercury in fish, chemicals in polluted air or mold toxins and dust mites can also damage our gut.
Finally, stress, which gives us high cortisol levels, is shown to directly impact our GI tract lining to cause leaky gut. So, let’s move on to a quick discussion of leaky gut; remembering that it causes inflammation which worsens all allergies.
Fix your Leaky Gut
Leaky gut is a gastrointestinal condition that results from a malfunction in what are called intestinal tight junctions. These “tight junctions” act as the barriers between your intestines and your bloodstream. For instance, you wouldn’t want toxins, undigested food particles, bacteria and allergens spilling into your bloodstream from leaks, right? But that’s exactly what happens in what is scientifically termed intestinal hyper-permeability syndrome.
If you have leaky gut, the “junk” that gets out leads to inflammation throughout your body, which can cause a variety of diseases. The allergens which “leak through” exacerbate the symptoms of allergic disease including allergic rhinitis and asthma. If you have intestinal bloating or a history of poor eating habits and/or pharmaceutical use, see my leaky gut article to start fixing this problem.
Quell Internal Inflammation and Oxidative stress
If you have been following my blog and other natural health blogs, you’re well aware that internal inflammation causes every disease “in the book” and that includes triggering or worsening allergic disease. It is estimated that up to 70% of Americans are overweight; with that being a de facto cause of inflammation. In addition, follow the standard American diet (S.A.D.), and you increase inflammation levels. Add in heavy metals and fluoride in water too, and you’ve got a national epidemic of inflammation. Reducing weight, cleaning up your diet, and taking anti-inflammatory integratives such as omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin, as well as getting rid of toxins and leaky gut can eliminate this problem.
Oxidative stress (an abundance of free radicals, not quenched by antioxidants) worsens the inflammation associated with allergies. However, this can be reversed with enough fruits and veggies and a good high-antioxidant supplement.
One of the Easiest Natural Allergy Remedies is Histamine Elimination
Before you make a lot of changes, please note that only an estimated 1% of the population suffer from enough histamine intolerance to cause symptoms of allergic disorders such as atopic dermatitis and hives. However, if you suffer from headaches, nasal congestion, hives, digestive issues (typically diarrhea), fatigue and nausea (associated with histamine-rich foods which I’ll discuss), you will significantly benefit from avoidance of those foods.
In contrast to IgE-mediated food allergy, in which a small quantity of the “offending food” causes a reaction, in histamine intolerance, the cumulative amount of histamine is what matters.
The main cause of histamine intolerance is the impaired degradation of histamine in foods by DAO or HNMT enzymes. Alcohol and long-ripened or fermented foods are problematic. For example, this includes cured meats (which are unhealthy anyway!), aged cheese, yeast products, tomatoes, spinach, and citrus fruit. Additionally, women who are “estrogen-dominant” will often suffer from estradiol-induced high-histamine levels and subsequent headaches.
Histamine degradation can be increased through the use of vitamins C and B6, which increase DAO activity.
Allergy Remedies that don’t include Drugs
While most people turn to antihistamine drugs, steroid nasal sprays, oral or spray decongestants to address symptoms, these pharmaceuticals will merely be a symptom-suppressing “patch”; often with significant side effects. Here are some healthier options.
Control your Environment
- Indoor air quality tends to be worse than outdoor air quality all over the U.S. To improve your indoor air quality, start by vacuuming your house frequently, including couches and all furniture; ideally using a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner. The Japanese are “right”—leave shoes by the door to avoid trekking dirt through the house. Similarly, every 1000 square feet should also have a good quality HEPA filter air purifier such as an IQ air.
- Avoid synthetic fabrics, because clothing can produce an electric charge when rubbed, attracting sticky pollens and toxins. Better options include natural fibers such as cotton. Now, this is a difficult habit to “stick to” but do be aware you need to wash synthetic fabrics more than natural ones.
- Do you like to garden? Great, but take precautions. Wear gloves and a mask when you’re gardening. Ideally, wear a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-rated 95 filter mask. Also, avoid touching your eyes and other mucous membranes. When you’re done, be sure to shower and wash your gardening clothes.
- When you’re exercising outdoors, do it before dawn, in the late afternoon and/or early evening. Why? Because pollen counts are at the lowest during these times.
Use Natural Allergy Supplements
Quercetin is a flavonoid. It is found in several plants, such as apples, onions, apples, green tea (and green tea supplements). It has been shown to stabilize mast cell membranes to prevents the release of inflammatory agents; notably histamine. The effectiveness of the quercetin is markedly enhanced by vitamin C. As a result, many supplements contain a combination of quercetin and vitamin C. A typical dose of quercetin for hay fever is between 400 and 600 milligrams (mg) per day.
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is found in items such as meat, cow’s milk, seafood, vegetables, and fruits. To explain, it is thought to work to combat allergies by contributing sulfonyl chemical groups to block the receptivity of histamine in tissues of your nasal passages. As a supplement, most people tolerate up to 4 grams daily without experiencing any side effects.
Green Tea and its supplements have been shown to inhibit mast cell activation and the subsequent release of histamine.
Nettle leaf (Stinging nettle) may also reduce the sneezing and itching of hay fever symptoms. It will also reduce the amount of histamine the body releases from mast cells in response to allergens.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the Tinospora cordifolia plant is widely used due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial effects and anti-neoplastic effects. In clinical studies, oral ingestion of tinospora cordifolia appears to greatly diminish allergic rhinitis symptoms in 61-83% of persons (depending on the study analyzed); applicable to nasal blockage, mucus production, nasal itching and sneezing.
Histamine and histamine intolerance.
Maintz L, Novak N.
Histamine-reduced diet and increase of serum diamine oxidase correlating to diet compliance in histamine intolerance.
A Histamine-Free Diet Is Helpful for Treatment of Adult Patients with Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria
Heterogeneity and the origins of asthma.
Role of the Gut Microbiota in Atopic Dermatitis: A Systematic Review.
Microbiome and Allergic Diseases
- Published: March 1, 2018
Separation and identification of bioactive peptides from stem of Tinospora cordifolia
Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis.