Allergy season is upon us… and sooner than in most years, thanks to a shorter and warmer winter. Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies, and for many of these individuals, itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, sinus pressure and pain are not only associated with spring and summer trees, grass and pollen, but are also triggered year-round by things like dust, mold and animal dander.
Environmental allergies are not a disease, but a symptom of immune dysfunction.
In order to effectively treat allergies, you need to focus on the root cause, as well as the symptoms. The immune system is built to respond to infection (viruses or bacteria) by producing antibodies. In the case of allergy, the immune system overreacts, treating these harmless substances as invaders. The antibody IgE (immunoglobulin E, which is produced against the allergen) triggers the release of pro-inflammatory chemicals like histamine, responsible for the symptoms of itchy, runny eyes and nose, and sneezing. This inflammation can spread and lead to other related disorders, as well. For example, people who suffer from allergies are said to be three times more likely to develop asthma, an inflammatory disease of the airways.
We are constantly bombarded by ads for allergy medications like antihistamines, and these are commonly used to treat and prevent allergy symptoms. But the list of potential side-effects are long and not very pleasant and sometimes are worse than the allergy symptoms themselves.
Here are some natural solutions to help strengthen your immune system and protect you from symptoms associated with allergies.
- Plant sterols help to balance the immune response, helping to prevent an overreaction to harmless substances, as in the case of allergy.
- Butterbur (petasites hybridus) has been used extensively for the treatment and prevention of migraine headaches. More recently, it has been gaining a lot of notice as a seasonal allergy treatment. Butterbur has antihistamine effects, thus reducing inflammation without inducing the same side effects as antihistamines.
- Quercetin is a plant-derived flavonoid that stabilizes mast cells (the cells that release antihistamine). Quercetin is commonly combined with vitamin C, also shown to reduce histamine, for an optimal synergistic effect.
- Pathway Allergy Support Plus combines many immune-supportive nutrients like quercetin, vitamin C, quercetin, nettle leaf extract, bromelain, turmeric, plus many other synergistic nutrients. This formula provides powerful upper respiratory support and is excellent for people suffering from allergies during hay fever season. I recommend starting this weeks before you normally suffer from symptoms.