Start Preventing Allergies Now
Did you know that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the US? More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. The average annual cost of patient treatment and is estimated to be over $18 billion (1).
The good news is natural treatment and prevention of allergies are incredibly effective. But the sooner you start preventative measures, the more successful you’ll be at preventing symptoms. I like to think of it as analogous to a fire - it’s easier to prevent a fire from starting than it is to put it out once it’s started.
The standard conventional treatment for allergies is antihistamine medications (Zyrtec, Allegra, etc.). These work by blocking histamine receptors on cells so that the histamine released by the immune system can’t trigger the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Alternatively, vitamins, antioxidants and polyphenols (plant chemicals) are useful in treating allergies because they stabilize mast cells. Mast cells are the immune system cells that release histamine.
Additionally, probiotics are effective in preventing allergies (seasonal allergies, eczema and food allergies) because they modulate the immune systems inflammatory markers (cytokines) and educate the immune system to not react to an allergen. An allergic reaction is essentially an immune system overreaction or misfire that results in inflammatory signals (2).
Ultimately, natural therapies prevent and treat allergies, by stabilizing mast cells and re-educating the immune system, rather than just suppressing symptoms with an anti-histamine.
Last year, I wrote an article on allergy treatment that you can read here. This year I wanted to provide some additional insight.
When it comes to probiotics, the strain of bacteria matters. Choose your probiotic based on which symptoms plague you most
Nasal symptoms: Lactobacillus acidophilus NCFM and Bifidobacterium lactis BI-04 have been found to be effective in preventing allergic nasal symptoms like sneezing, sinus congestion, runny nose and itchy nose (3). This is a great formula that contains both.
Ocular symptoms Bifidobacterium longum BB536 is effective in preventing allergic ocular symptoms like itchy eyes, dry or watery eyes so you'll want a formula that contains this strain (4). This one is a good choice.
Quail eggs: contain protein fractions called ovomucoids that stabilize mast cell making it helpful in preventing allergies. Ovomucoids also inhibit tryptases, meaning it calms an allergic response once it’s started. Quail eggs are great for preventing and treating acute allergies. I’ve been using this formula with success; it contains quail eggs and quercetin.
Don't forget that food can be a powerful form of medicine. This study found that consuming omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA was associated with a significant reduction in the prevalence of allergic rhinitis aka hay fever (5). Omega-3 fats are found in fatty fish, chia seeds, walnuts and flax seeds. I recommend supplementing with omega-3’s if you rarely eat these foods.
Here is a quick recap of nutrition tips and supplements from last year's article in case you missed it…
Eat local honey
Increase probiotic and prebiotic rich foods
Eat more antioxidants by eating more colorful fruits and vegetables.
Eliminate dairy and other food sensitivities
Netti Pot with saline water: use twice per day to wash alleges from your sinuses.
Hepa Filter to filter allergens from the air
Nettle leaf: 3 cups of tea per day
Vitamin C: 1-5 grams per day. I typically recommend 2 capsules of this formula per day
Quercetin & Bromelain: 3 caps twice per day
NAC: 600-900mg 1-2 x per day