Natural Supplements for Allergies

Dear Dr.Kim

I get spring allergies. Is there anything natural I can do to help get some relief?

E.W. Victoria

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Dear E.W.

Thank you for your question. Fortunately there is plenty you can do to care for allergies naturally. Allergies occur when your immune system perceives things in the environment as if they are a threat when in fact they are not. This overreaction of the immune system triggers a cascade that includes the release of histamine from immune cells. Once released, histamine leads to mucous production, and additional fluid release from cells of your nasal passages.

There are many natural compounds to provide you more immediate allergy relief by reducing histamine, cutting mucous and soothing your mucous membranes. A highlight of these is Vitamin C and bioflavonoids such as Quercetin, which are anti-histamines. They lessen histamine release AND they gobble up histamine that has been released. Vitamin C and Bioflavonoids are water-soluble nutrients so you can use frequent dosing to keep your levels supplemented through out the day. If you get too much Vitamin C it can loosen your bowels so if it is not doing that then your body is putting it to good use. Some foods that are rich in bioflavonoids or Vitamin C are berries, broccoli, sweet peppers and citrus.

Here are some natural solutions that you can use.

These nutrients can be purchased as single ingredients or found combined in an allergy formula:

  • Bioflavonoids (i.e. Quercetin or Rutin) – decreases histamine release
  • Vitamin C – decreases histamine release
  • N-acetyl cysteine – decreases mucous
  • Omega 3 oils (i.e. fish, flax or algae sourced oil) - decreases inflammation

Also consider:

  • Homeopathic Nux Vomica – when stuffy nose and irritability are prominent
  • Boiron Allergy Kit – homeopathic combination of single remedies for broad allergy relief
  • A.Vogel Pollinosan Spray – nasal spray that helps decongest without negative consequence
  • Nettle – can be taken as a tea, juice, tincture or capsule. Acts as a natural anti histamine

To provide long-term improvement, it is almost always necessary to address digestion. Most people with allergies show weakness in their digestive health and improvements in digestion lessen or resolve allergy symptoms. Improved digestive health promotes healing of mucous membranes; the digestive tract, eyes, sinuses and nasal passages are all mucous membranes. Consider altering your nutrition to reduce wheat, sugar and dairy intake. These foods are the most common in the standard North American diet therefore; they are the most likely culprits in compromising digestion. In addition, improvements in digestive wellness might necessitate the use of antimicrobial herbs and/or replenishing with probiotics (good bacteria). The digestive tract is host to hundreds of microbes including bacteria and yeast some of which help digestion while others hinder it. Work with your Naturopathic Physician to make digestive gains and over time your allergy symptoms should fall away.

I hope this information helps you begin to clear the air so you can breathe easy.

“Health from the inside out.”

Dr. Kim McQueen, BSc. ND

Dr. Kimberly McQueen BSc, ND is a Naturopathic Physician in Victoria, BC. In addition to her clinic work she has been a consultant to the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, Camosun College, Rugby Canada and Rowing Canada. P:778.433.4935 and  www.kimmcqueen.com . Kim McQueen is one of the Co-founders of the nourishing Supershake, Rumble. See www.drinkrumble.com