Unfortunately, the sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, fatigue, and runny nose season are upon us; my condolences to those with all-year-round allergies.
So, what happens in the body when someone has seasonal allergies? The National Institutes of Health put out a great video explaining it. It is only a few minutes long but well worth watching.
Seasonal allergies are essentially an overreaction of the immune system.
The video above showed that when someone has seasonal allergies, the immune system overreacts to the allergen by producing antibodies. This overreaction leads to the symptoms you know and love.
It's not good to suppress the immune system. A suppressed immune system does not work as well and puts people at a higher risk of getting sick.
It's not good to stimulate the immune system either. Further stimulation of the immune system will make things worse.
Instead, the goal is to modulate the immune system and return it to normal. Imagine the story of Goldilocks and Three Bears. The immune system should be just right, not too hot or too cold.
Seasonal allergies create a lot of inflammation. Seasonal allergies can result in the development of chronic inflammation because of repetitive exposure to allergens. This is called allergic inflammation. Some people believe it is acceptable to let their allergies go unchecked, but this is a bad idea because leaving this chronic inflammation to run wild can adversely affect other parts of a person's health.
Getting this under control is essential to reducing seasonal allergy symptoms and helping to reduce the adverse effects that can occur from chronic inflammation.
The next part of allergies is the buildup of histamines that occur.
Histamines are produced by the body and perform many essential functions. They only become a problem when there are too many of them because the body makes them in excess because of the immune system's response.
This excess buildup of histamines causes most allergy symptoms, hence why many allergy medications are called antihistamines.
Preventing the buildup of too many histamines and reducing the excess currently in the body reduces allergy symptoms.
While it is not well known, the liver metabolizes most histamine in the gut. They are broken down by an enzyme called Diamine Oxidase (DAO), which is produced by the kidneys, thymus, and intestinal lining. Therefore, keeping the liver healthy and working well is important when addressing allergies.
Histamine binding to a receptor.
To get allergy relief, it is vital to address all of the steps in the process:
Overreaction of the immune system.
The inflammation that is produced by the overreaction of the system.
Overproduction of histamines.
Excessive buildup of histamines.
So what can be done to get allergy relief, not just work on the symptoms?
First up are some lifestyle changes.
The overproduction of stress hormones can release compounds that worsen allergies, so getting stress under control is vital to addressing allergies. Check out our blog, Stress 101, to learn how to reduce stress levels.
Drinking plenty of water is an important step to getting allergy relief. Being dehydrated will make your allergies much, much worse because more histamines are produced when you are dehydrated. Water also helps to thin mucus as well. Clean electrolytes are great to add to water in the summer if you are outside sweating a lot or having a bit too much alcohol. Avoid electrolyte mixes with flavorings and sweeteners.
A home air purifier can help to remove pollen and other allergens. Make sure to get one that is easy to clean and is the right size for the house or bedroom. This brand is excellent.
Wash pillows and bedding frequently. Dust and dander can build up very easily and quickly.
When getting home, take a shower and wash your clothes. Often pollen and other allergens can stick to clothes and hair. It can be very helpful to get them off as soon as possible instead of spreading them around the house.
Get an allergy mattress cover. You don't even want to know what nastiness lurks in your mattress.
Exercise, especially strength training, is great for allergies. Getting the blood pumping can help to improve circulation and helps to move allergens through your system faster. There are also certain breathing techniques and exercises that can help reduce allergy symptoms.
Avoid burning candles and incense indoors, as these decrease the air quality and can worsen allergies, especially those with fragrances and scents.
Most people are not aware that sleep deprivation makes allergies worse because it causes the body to release more histamines. If your sleep habits need help, click the button below to download our free guide to healthy sleep!
Much of your immune system is located in the gut. Having a healthy gut can make a difference and reduce allergy symptoms. Check out our Gut Health Center to learn how to keep your gut working at its best.
Eating the right foods can make a big a big help in getting allergy relief, and the wrong ones will worsen your allergies.
By far, no other foods come close to the horrors that vegetable and seed oils inflict on your on our bodies. They are the leading cause of massive amounts of inflammation most people suffer from and will worsen allergies. Avoid them like the plague, including all those fake butter products, even “healthy” ones sold at the health food store. You can read more about them and see a list of them here. If you can only make one change in your diet, eliminating these toxic foods will make the most significant difference.
Fake sweeteners hurt the gut microbiome, which hurts immune function and worsens allergies. In addition, Even so-called “natural” ones (stevia, monk fruit, agave, xylitol, etc.) cause several issues. Instead, use small amounts of local raw honey (buy honey from a local beekeeper because a lot of the honey at the supermarket is adulterated with corn syrup), real manuka honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, date sugar, and molasses. Excess-added sugar of any kind is not great, so don’t go crazy with these sweeteners, either.
I know that no one wants to hear this, but alcohol and caffeine can make allergies worse. Do your best to cut back on them as much as possible.
If you have certain allergies, then there are specific foods you should avoid.
Birch - Peaches and cherries
Ragweed - Chamomile, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew
Grasses - Tomato and beer
These nourishing whole foods can help you keep your allergy symptoms at bay. Make sure to eat them daily; you cannot just eat them occasionally and expect to get the benefits.
Some foods are rich in a naturally occurring antihistamine called quercetin.
Yellow, red, and orange bell peppers
Red and yellow onion
Garlic is rich in cysteine. Cysteine helps to reduce mucus production and expel phlegm. So eat that garlic like an Italian grandmother's life depends on it.
Local honey and bee pollen are wonderful foods to help combat allergy symptoms. Get honey and bee pollen from a beekeeper as close to your area as possible to get the best results, and take it every day.
Wild Caught Fatty Fish are rich in omega-three fatty acids. Not getting omega-three can cause a lot of inflammation and make it harder for the immune system to function properly.
Pineapple is rich in an enzyme blend called bromelain. It can help to reduce the swelling of the sinus cavities that occur during allergic inflammation. The core contains the largest amount of it. You can blend it up in a smoothie.
Red apples are rich in flavonoids that help reduce histamine buildup.
Fenugreek tea can act as an expectorant. It helps to thin mucus and make it easier to expel. Do not use fenugreek if you take thyroid medication.
Spicy foods can increase blood flow and act as a decongestant.
Ginger and turmeric can help to reduce inflammation in the sinus cavities.
Strawberries and citrus fruit are rich in vitamin C and help to reduce histamine levels.
Rescue Cacao is rich in magnesium and flavonoids.
Magnesium helps to act as a bronchodilator and has a calming effect on the muscles and bronchial tubes.
Red grapes with the skin and seeds (yes, eat the seeds) contain certain polyphenols and antioxidants that can help to reduce nasal and airway inflammation.
Pastured eggs are rich in vitamin E, which can help to reduce airway inflammation. Most people do not get enough vitamin E in their diet.
Bone broth is rich in amino acids that can help to improve the body's immune response to allergies.
Nettles are a wonderful spring green rich in quercetin. Dry them and make tea, or saute them up like spinach.
Beef kidney is rich in b12, selenium, and DAO (diamine oxidase). DAO is an enzyme that helps to support the breakdown of histamine. If eating it is not for you, a whole-food beef kidney organ supplement is a great option.
Probiotic foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, etc., can have a powerful effect on your immune system's ability to handle allergies. A whole-food probiotic supplement is a great option if you cannot eat those foods.
Probiotic foods have incredible benefits, not just for allergies, so eat a lot of them!
Neti pots can be very helpful. These flush out the nasal passages. Make sure to use distilled water to avoid bacterial issues. Do not use tap water in a neti pot! Use salt made specifically for them, as many salts contain anti-caking agents. If you experience irritation while using a neti pot, adding a bit of baking soda can help.
Saline nasal sprays, used 3x a day, can help to relieve nasal congestion and help keep allergens from building up in the nasal passages. Make sure to get one without preservatives because they can be irritating. The only ingredients should be salt and water.
The right supplements can be a big help in getting allergy relief. However, it’s important to take them daily at the full dosage because it can take several weeks to start to feel the full benefits. Taking too low a dose, taking them inconsistently, or taking them for too short a time will not get you the results you are looking for.
Concentrated milk thistle extract
Silymarin, one of the main compounds in milk thistle, helps prevent histamine release.
Helps to support healthy respiratory function and reduce oxidative stress.
Buffered Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help to reduce the levels of histamine in the body.
Glutamine helps to support a healthy gut lining and healthy respiratory function.
Quercetin helps inhibit the release and production of histamine and other compounds contributing to allergies.
A unique form of cysteine, Fermopure.
Fermopure is a vegan form of cysteine produced in Spain. Most NAC (N-acetyl cysteine) and cysteine are made from duck feathers and human hair; yummy!
It helps in the production of glutathione, reduces oxidative stress, and helps to thin mucus, making it easier to eliminate.
A unique form of selenium, SelenoExcell.
This form of selenium is much safer and more effective than traditional selenium supplements and is the same form found in food.
Selenium helps to support the production of glutathione.
GPX helps to support glutathione production in the body (much better than glutathione supplements, which are poorly absorbed), helps to reduce oxidative stress, and supports healthy histamine levels.
The recommended dosage is two capsules twice per day with food.
The formula is frequently updated to use the best available form of each nutrient.
GPX is our number-one go-to when asked, "What is the one thing I can take to get some allergy relief?"
Moss Nutrition Gi Globulin contains IGY Max helps the immune system function at its best, not too hot, not too cold, just right. It also helps to support healthy gut barrier function, an integral part of the immune system, by reducing zonulin levels. It can also help to increase the production of DAO.
Cow and Bull Histamine and Immune is the whole food supplement approach to allergy relief. It contains a blend of beef organs that helps to address the different pathways that cause allergy symptoms. One of these foods, beef kidney, is rich in DAO and helps to support the breakdown of histamine.
Unrefined cod liver oil is rich in omega fatty acids (in their naturally occurring forms), SPMs (specialized pro-resolving mediators), and vitamins A and D. Most people are deficient in omega-three fatty acids and consume way too much omega-six, which makes allergy problems much worse. Vitamins A and D help to modulate immune function. Unfortunately, most people do not get enough of these nutrients, so this whole food source is a great way to get them. Remember that heavily processed and refined (molecularly distilled) omega-three fatty acids supplements are not a replacement for whole food ones; in the same way, processed food is not a replacement for whole foods.
Immunity Fuel is a whole-food probiotic supplement containing prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics, a true synbiotic. Your immune system, gut, and lungs are intricately linked. Having a healthy gut is key to a healthy immune response. To learn more about what makes Immunity Fuel different from traditional probiotics, check out our blog article: It's time for a better probiotic.
It’s never too late to start working on your allergies; the best time is now! You don’t have to be perfect; going slow and gradually implementing positive changes is great. The most important thing is to get started. If you feel overwhelmed or need help getting going, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will help get you on the road to better health!
Don't spend another day feeling like this!