Allergy season is in high gear. The trees are budding and pollen is bursting forth in Melbourne. As our winters are warmer, we’re also seeing allergies kick in sooner, perhaps with a higher intensity than in years past.
While most of us are cracking our windows open and emerging from the winter cocoon into the welcoming sun, our spring allergy patients step outside or crack their windows and they’re bombarded immediately with an almost invisible (to the non-sufferer) onslaught of antigenic materials, resulting in the oh-so-familiar descent into itchy, watery eyes; runny nose; coughs, wheezes, sneezes and on.
Hayfever. Out come the antihistamines, the steroid inhalers and nasal sprays, the leukotriene inhibitors. And if they are particularly hard hit with allergies, that runny nose evolves into a sinus infection (or rhinosinusitis, more correctly), and chances are good that they are gunning for the oft-repeated steroid taper and antibiotics.
Nutrition protocols from mainstream and scientific journals can be followed to help reduce your allergy symptoms. You may be able to reduce the use of drugs – which you may find are essential to your daily functioning. Reducing these can lessening the risk of side effects from the medications.
People with allergies can be deficient in various vitamins and minerals. It is not all about supplement though. Good nutrition backed by supplements that may be helpful for your particular case is the key to helping to reduce your symptoms. Before taking any supplements, you should always consult a qualified naturopath to assess you– this avoids excessive intake of supplements and hey, you may be able to use nutrition instead of a supplement- which is the aim of the game.
It’s also important to remember that treating hayfever and allergies requires expert care, so please don’t just stop medication. Always consult with your practitioner before making changes.
There is no cure for hayfever, but you may benefit from the following.
Magnesium is an antihistamine and has a calming effect on the whole body. Magnesium can be deficient in Australian soil resulting in us getting reduced amount in our diet.
Is a potent antioxidant- this means it protects our body from damage from free radicals- these are the little nasties that can react with cells, DNA and many other components in our body which does us no good health favors. So, Quercetin comes in and mops up these free radicals, reducing allergic responses.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin that has antihistamine properties. This reduces the histamine produces in the allergic reaction and may reduce hayfever symptoms.
Vitamin C prevents the secretion of histamine by white blood cells- histamine is released in response to pollen/ allergens and causes the itchy eyes etc. So, low levels of vitamin C correlate with an increase blood histamine and hence, an increase in symptoms. Foods containing vitamin C, such as oranges, strawberries, apples, and watermelon, counteract the inflammatory allergic response.
It has been in a group of people of low vitamin D, there is an increase rate of allergic rhinitis- allergies. Vitamin D is essential for many processes in the body including immune function. It also helps to reduce inflammation and asthma- both which are seen in allergies.
This is another vitamin essential for immune function. It stimulates the excretion of mucous from the nasal passages- aiding your body to rid the pollen and allergens from your system.
NAC stands for N-Acetylcysteine… it also helps mucous to be cleared from your airways passages which helps to rid the body of the pollen stuck in your airways.
Specific strains of probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus provide both anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic effects.
This is found in pineapple. It exerts anti-inflammatory effects on the body and can result in improved breathing and decreased inflammation of the nasal passages.
Studies show if a patient is deficient in Zinc then by taking increased zinc, allergies can diminish. A person who is deficient in zinc has a reduced amount of immune cells- T cells and natural killer cells- these are the cells that protect the body against infection. This allows the respiratory system to have an increased vulnerability to pathogens and allergens… your viruses and pollens.
ESSENTIAL FATTY ACID’S
Supplementation with essential fatty acids may reduce allergic symptoms in certain individuals who have essential fatty acid deficiency. An example of good sources of omega-3s could include Sardines and Salmon which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory effects that help allergy relief.
All of these can be found in nutritional sources. You just need to know which foods! That is where our Naturopath come in! Dr. Rebecca Farthing (osteopath & naturopath) can tailor a good nutritional guide for you to get as many of these elements into your daily foods, allowing you to help your hayfever. There may be need for some supplements to get your levels up of certain minerals or vitamins but nutrition is the key.
This blog post is an educational tool only. It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.
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