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Allergies

Now we are moving into the time of allergies with many people particularly suffering from hay fever so I thought covering off Allergies might be apt for some of you!

One out of every six people are officially found to have allergies in the US, now their symptoms tend to be the runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing or asthma and respiratory problems. And more often than not now these symptoms can be happening across the seasons of spring, summer and even autumn and mostly people end up taking anti-histamines to suppress what is happening symptom wise.

There can be so many factors now involved with allergies it can end up being a bit of trial and error to drill right down on the thing that is the root problem, but what they all tend to have is an overloaded, over stimulated or weakened immune system. So suppressing isn’t the best idea because effectively you are hiding the issue, rather than dealing with it, anti-histamines are just a sticking plaster approach, at the end of the day. The immune system can be overloaded with toxins, chemicals, metals or what is commonly called an “excess body burden.” So it’s all got a bit much for it to be dealing with.

When the immune system is overloaded it starts to not function properly anymore, it starts to struggle to distinguish what is harmful and what is not. It experiences more and more things as a problem for it to be dealing with and feels overloaded, which is often where people then complain in things getting worse and worse over the years.

So even a grain of pollen which you might consider is so tiny it shouldn’t really be a problem, can easily become so on entering your nasal passages because it’s spines latch onto the soft mucous membranes. These mucous membranes which line our bronchial and nasal passages contain mast cells, which are loaded with histamines. Hence why we reach for anti-histamines because it’s turning off the response that is happening.

There are lovely receptors which sit on top of these mast cells, and when an allergen triggers, such as pollen, mold, fungus, dog or cat hair it lands on top of the receptor, which alerts the mast cells. These then respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals, which sets off a chain reaction designed to help the body get rid of the foreign body, we all know what this is, because most of us have experienced the sneezing, watery eyes and itching. 

So we are having this response for a reason and we shouldn’t ignore it or suppress it because it’s like a light coming on the dashboard of your car, the dashboard of your body is giving you a clear signal something is definitely wrong and needs you to stop and listen to it. 

When I see someone with allergic symptoms I always like to start with reducing my clients “excess body burden” and then ensure their body is taking in the basic nutrients necessary to rebuild and repair it .  The process is to clean the body and feed the body not suppress what is happening, whilst ensuring we are reducing the symptoms,  this is the approach as a naturopath I really like to take to restore the natural health of someone.

It’s important with allergens to be working on not only the detoxification aspect of the body but also on supporting the liver naturally and balancing out the adrenals. Because when the body has heightened inflammation responses it will be affecting the adrenals, and tiring the body out. Then of course remember it is the liver that breaks down excess histamines so we have to make sure it’s supported when you make any changes. Which is why suppression with anti-histamines isn’t helpful for the body in the long term.

So detoxification means in effect removing the typical allergens that might be exacerbating the problems, and moving to a more alkaline diet of fruit, vegetables, fish and small amounts of lean white meat.

Feeding the body the right nutrients is absolutely key to restoring health and we must feed the body the nutrients to naturally reduce the release of inflammatory substances, diet plays a massive role in preventing long term issues with allergens.

Dr. Carl Pfeiffer MD, Ph D in the book Mental andElemental Nutrients, discusses how calcium, methionine, zinc, manganese and B6 have been found to reduce blood histamines.

Dr. Linus Pauling and Dr. Carl Pfeiffer both recognised that guinea pigs, monkeys and man are virtually the only animals that can’t manufacture vitamin C from glucose. Therefore they must get their vitamin C from food. “If we were to extrapolate the amount of vitamin C rich foods that guinea pigs and monkeys consume in the wild and convert it to human body weights, we would need to consume anywhere from 5-15 grams of vitamin C per day to meet their daily intake.” And that level goes up if we are exposed to a poor diet, stress, toxic metals, or injury. Vitamin C is one of the most safest and most abundant antioxidants that you can take, and is one of the least expensive. “Vitamin C aids in the maintenance of cellular membranes, cellular respiration, the peroxidase cleansing system, the restoration of vitamin E / selenomethionine complexes, ascorbate is also involved in hormone biosynthesis and increases cellular resistance to many common viral infections perhaps due to its interferon-like activity. Dr. Carl Pfeiffer also an MD, PhD in his book “Mental and Elemental Nutrients” calls vitamin C one of the body’s strongest reducing agents. “Vitamin C is needed for iron absorption, folic acid utilisation, wound healing, healthy bone, cartilage and connective tissue. It assists in the detoxification of lead, excess iron, copper, bromide, arsenic, benzene and many pesticides such as DDT and lindane. vitamin C also reduces the action of cancer causing compounds.There are many factors which create a greater need for vitamin C such as increased estrogen, stress, infection and injury.” Using a qualitative EEG, Dr. Pfeiffer and colleagues found vitamin C to have an anti-anxiety or sedative effect.

Theres a 2001 study published in “The Lancet” that shows people with the lowest blood levels of vitamin C were two times more likely to die of heart disease as those with the highest levels. Vitamin C a relatively cheap supplement and widely available to assist the body in repairing itself, sufficient vitamin C will enable the body to rebuild and repair itself effectively.

Neti Pots. What could be simpler than rinsing away allergens with saltwater? Neti pots, small vessels shaped like little teapot have been used in India for thousands of years to flush the sinuses and keep them clear.   A little rinse of saltwater can remove those  pollen grains and help treat allergies and other forms of sinus congestion. Jude Reid the naturopath who came on to do an interview talked about how she regularly uses them.

Just last year, an Italian study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that nasal flushing was a mild and effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.

Quercetin. A natural plant-derived compound bioflavonoid, quercetin helps inhibit stabilise cells and prevents them from releasing histamine in the first place. Quercetin also is a natural antioxidant that helps mop up molecules called free radicals that cause cell damage, which can lead to cancer. Mix it with other antioxidants like green tea extract and citrus bioflavonoids for a powerful hit!

Allergy-Fighting Foods. A German study, published in the journal Allergy, found that participants who ate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids were less likely to suffer allergy symptoms than those who didn’t regularly eat these foods. Omega-3s help fight inflammation and can be found in cold-water fish, nuts and flaxseed oil, as well as grass-fed meat and eggs. Essential fatty acids affect the health of cell membranes and have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Where do many of the airborne allergens enter the body? Via the mucus membrane lined nasal and bronchial cavities!

Stinging Nettle really interestingly behaves in much the same way as many of the anti histamines for sale, but without the side effects. Nettle actually inhibits the body’s ability to produce histamine hence how it works. Studies have shown that taking about 300 milligrams daily will offer relief for most people, although the effects may last only a few hours. You also can make your own tinctures or teas with stinging nettle, so you can go out with some gloves on and make them very inexpensively from this years crop.

 

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