Natural Solutions For Seasonal Allergies
What makes this time of year so beautiful is the warm weather, bright sun and fresh air – a sign that spring is in the air – and so is the pollen. What makes this time so enjoyable can also lead to misery for those who deal with seasonal allergies (yes, there is a way you can become one of those people who doesn’t get affected once you discover that allergies are an immune disorder).
As each year goes by, there seems to be an increase in the number of people affected by spring allergy season or “Pollenpocalypse” or “extreme pollen blanket.” Experts say that currently, 50-60% of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies – a significant climb from the documented 10-12% in the early 1900s. Why are so many of us affected today?
According to Johns Hopkins, allergies are due to a disorder of the immune system. The body over-reacts to harmless substances found in the air (yes, pollen should be harmless to you) and produces antibodies to attack the substance. This is what causes the symptoms of allergies (itchy eyes, watery/runny nose, sneezing, headaches, etc.).
Antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, and all the OTC allergy medications are simply going after symptoms, counteracting the effect of the histamine produced by the body when exposed to an allergen. If you want to get to the root cause of your allergies, you simply need to pay attention to regulating your immune reaction – which is directly connected to your gut health and your neurological health (i.e. the Gut-Brain connection).
Neurologically, allergies are associated with interference in the communication of the upper cervical spinal nerves (C1/C2). Several studies, and thousands of patient testimonials, have shown that chiropractic adjustments can help to lessen the likelihood, duration, and severity of seasonal allergies. Additionally, nerve interferences in the upper cervical spine have been correlated with a compromised immune system.
The microbiome and gut wall integrity also play a major factor in seasonal allergies. Broth fasting, the use of gut oils (coconut, MCT, avocado, etc.) and pre/probiotics can strengthen the integrity and thus enhance immune function – which is believed to be as much as 80% located with the gut.
Key Supports for Seasonal Allergies
Vitamin D3: According to an article published in the 2017 Journal of Clinical and Experimental Allergies, vitamin D levels were indirectly associated with the extent of seasonal allergies – low levels of Vitamin D3 = high seasonal allergy susceptibility, high levels of Vitamin D3 = low seasonal allergy susceptibility. Low levels of vitamin D3 are associated with chronic inflammation which aggravates the natural allergy response to pollen, dust, ragweed, etc.
Probiotics: A 2013 study published in the North American Journal of Medical Sciences found the beneficial treatment of allergic rhinitis (stuffy/runny nose) with probiotics. Probiotics play an important role in gut microbiome and immune coordination. Lactobacillus GG and L. gasseri are believed to be two of the best probiotics for allergies, along with L. acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis. When taking a probiotic, remember to keep them on a rotational cycle (usually every 2 weeks) and increase your consumption of fermented vegetables during that time.
Quercetin: Quercetin and dihydroquercetin (DHQ) plant-based bioflavonoids that lower exaggerated immune response. Various research articles notes that quercetin can have anti-allergic and antihistamine effects. In one animal study, researchers found that quercetin reduced the respiratory effects of allergies in mice by lowering airway inflammation. Quercetin is naturally found in broccoli, red onions, peppers, black/green tea, and red wine. When symptomatic: Adults: 500mg 2x daily, Children 250mg 2x daily (between meals). For general allergy protection – Adults 250mg 2x daily, Children 125mg 2x daily.
Bromelain: Bromelain is an enzyme found in the stem and fruit of the pineapple. Its regulation of the inflammatory response is thought to have a beneficial effect in combating hypersensitive immune reactions (i.e. allergies). Studies have identified its positive effects on controlling edema, tissue permeability, and vasodilation. Bromelain is also found to enhance the absorption of quercetin and thus should be taken together. Adults: 400-500mg 2-3x daily. Children 200-250mg 2-3x daily.
Lemon/Lavender/Peppermint OIl: Combining these three essential oils into a capsule (size 00 veggie cap) is what I call an “allergy bomb.” Peppermint oil is known to reduce inflammation. Lavender oil is known to calm/reduce allergy symptoms while Lemon oil can help to clear your sinuses, reduce congestion and nasal drainage. Simply place 5 drops of each oil into a size 00 veggie cap, fill with MCT or Coconut oil and consume 2 capsules 3-4x daily.
Spirulina: This micro-green alga has been shown to stop the release of histamine, decreasing overall symptoms of allergies. Recommended usage is 1tsp daily into a glass of water or nut milk smoothie.