Natural Support for Allergy Symptoms

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. Continue reading “Natural Support for Allergy Symptoms”

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Support Your Immune System: Plant Sterols

Sterols and sterolins aren’t what most people reach for when supporting the immune system – however, sterols and sterolins do have immune regulating effects. Plant sterols, also known as phytosterols, are healthy plant fats found naturally in cold-pressed or unrefined oils, nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

Along with helping the immune system, studies have shown that supplementing with these “plant fats” benefits the prostate by increasing urinary flow rate and decreasing pain and burning on urination in men who have benign prostate hypertrophy. They have also been studied as an anti-inflammatory agent and immune regulator in rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Furthermore, sterols and sterolins stimulate insulin secretion and may contribute to better blood sugar control for diabetics. As more research is done on these molecules, more health benefits are bound to be uncovered.

Although, there are no known contraindications with plant sterols, some studies show a reduction in the carotenes when plant sterols are taken, so it may be wise to make sure that your multivitamin has beta-carotene.

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