Most people suffering from allergies would rather take a more natural allergy relief and avoid unwanted side effects of prescription medications. In order to truly find such relief, we have to dissolved some common allergy myths.
Allergies occurs when your immune system becomes over-active or hypersensitive to substances that are harmless in most people. These substances are referred to as allergens. Examples include pollen, house dust, molds, insect stings, certain medications and some food items.
What constitute an allergen differs from one person to another.
Health issues like asthma, hay fever, eczema (atopic dermatitis), allergic conjunctivitis and anaphylactic reactions etc are all due to hypersensitivity of the body’s immune system to various allergens. The symptoms, you may be familiar with, include cough, wheeze, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, red eyes, eye itching, watery eye, runny nose, sneezing, nasal obstruction, skin rash, dry skin, itching, edema (swelling) of the airway, bronchoconstriction, etc.
Of course, avoidance of the known allergen is the easiest and most natural allergy relief. A lifestyle adjustment that avoids contact with the allergen will give you relief. However, this is not always possible and sometimes it is not clear what the allergy trigger is or where it is coming from. Below we will discuss some ways to make this more clear. Keep these ideas in mind when trying to identify and remove your triggers.
Now to some myth busting.
Allergens Must be Avoided 100% for Allergy Relief
Most people that suffer from "allergies" identify their symptoms as coming from the allergens from plant vegetation. This is true for the most part but plants are everywhere right?
Identification of the particular substance your body reacts to is a great idea especially if you are open to moving. A change of environment will only lead to symptoms improvement if the allergens are not present in the new one.
However, the new area does not have to be 100% free of your allergen trigger. When you have allergies, these substances stimulate histamine release from your body. These allergens contribute to your bodies total histamine load. The more allergens your body is exposed to the more histamine (and thus symptoms) your body will have. So one way to get allergy relatively naturally is just reduce the overall allergenic load.
Let's say you are allergic to pets and Palo verde trees. You could get rid of the tree or the pet (don't shoot the messenger). Either one of these will reduce your histamine load. One may be more beneficial than the other depending on which you are exposed to more often and how sensitive you are to each.
Pollen Is the Only Thing That Interferes With Allergy Relief
Another false belief that many people have been mislead about is that all allergies only come from the environment. No doubt that your allergies symptoms are triggered or worsened by plants growing. However it is also possible that foods you are consuming are making your allergies worse.
Using the same idea of total histamine load, allergy symptoms manifest when your histamine load reaches a critical threshold. Once this threshold is surpassed you have symptoms. Therefor if the food you eat is contributing to your bodies overall histamine level, it maybe pushing your histamines load through the symptom threshold. By eliminating these foods, you may have less or no allergy symptoms.
You may also be interested to Learn About Histamine Intolerance.
In this same way, we have to think about how histamine is eliminated from the body. Histamine can be eliminated through several pathways and these pathways may overlap with other things that have nothing to do with allergies. For instance, histamine is an amine. An amine is a type of molecule and all amines are broken down in a similar way. Medications and some foods contribute more to the amine and thus histamine load.
For Allergy Relief, Simply Avoid the Items On My Blood Test
So maybe you had a blood test that showed you are allergic to certain foods and pollen. This is a good place to start but we should distinguish the difference between allergy and sensitivity. Immunologically they are different (read more about food sensitivity ) and most blood tests are looking for allergies through an IgE blood test. IgG tests look more at sensitivities. Both IgG and IgE triggers contribute to the histamine load. Some blood tests do test for IgG but most do not. This can be especially helpful to know regarding foods. Most foods can be avoided fairly easily. So in addition to getting a food allergy test done, you should also have a food sensitivity test done. The link just above has more information on this.
Vitamins Have No Benefit for Allergy Relief
To understand how vitamins and minerals can help you achieve natural allergy relief, we will build on some of the points above. Vitamins and minerals can reduce histamine exposure in a few key ways.
The first is to help stabilize the cells that release histamine. Vitamin C helps to stabilize eosinophil cell membranes and reduce their histamine release. For this to have a noticeable effect you have to consume fairly high doses of vitamin C. 2
The other way that vitamins and minerals help is to enhance the efficiency of the enzymes that breakdown histamine. In this capacity vitamins and minerals act as cofactors for these enzymes thus making them work more efficiently. Some people have genetic alterations that slow down their histamine eliminating enzymes. By increasing the available cofactos for the enzymes, we can help them work better, thus reducing histamine.
Some studies have also shown vitamins to have an immunomodulatory effect and help to reduce the allergic symptoms. An immunomodulator is something that helps balance out the immune response. This is helpful since allergies are often an over-reaction to certain substances. One review article by Daniel et al. found that vitamin D acts as an immunomodulatory and helps atopic dermatitis, asthma and other allergic diseases. 1
The name of the game for natural allergy relief is to reduce histamine exposure inside your body. The conventional treatments don't really help do this and so don't treat the cause. The information above should give you a good starting place and ideas on how to reduce histamine.
Have you tired any of these tactics yet? Let me know in the comment section below.
Want a customized natural allergy relief plan based on your specific health situation? Click on the link below for a free consult.
1. Searing DA, Leung DY. Vitamin D in Atopic Dermatitis, Asthma and Allergic Diseases. Immunology and allergy clinics of North America. 2010;30(3):397-409. doi:10.1016/j.iac.2010.05.005.
2. Hemilä H. Vitamin C and common cold-induced asthma: a systematic review and statistical analysis. Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology : Official Journal of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2013;9(1):46. doi:10.1186/1710-1492-9-46.