HELP YOUR BODY NATURALLY FIGHT ALLERGIES THIS SPRING
Spring is officially here and it has brought some sunshine and warm temperatures. For some people this season means ‘pollen season’ and has them flocking to pharmacies and health food stores to stock up on allergy medications and/or supplements. Do you suffer from itchy eyes, watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, headaches when the pollen starts to fly around? What if there was a way to help your body naturally fight these annoying symptoms?!
Here is the lowdown on allergies …
Allergies are mediated by a TH2 immune response and there can be multiple things that can cause a dominant TH2 immune response over TH1. During an allergic response, the antigen (environmental or food) stimulates B cells to produce IgE antibodies. These bind to mast cells and when antigens bind to an IgE antibody molecule it triggers the release of histamine from mast cells or basophils. The histamine is what is responsible for the itch, redness, swelling, watery eyes, headaches, and hives. Antihistamines like Claritin, Allegra, or Benadryl will inhibit histamine from binding to its receptors on cells and tissues to prevent these effects from happening.
Wouldn’t it be better to prevent histamine release in the first place? Even better, balance the immune system so that the TH2 pathway is not as dominant? Preventing the release of histamine can help with acute symptoms while balancing the immune system can help long-term so that you don’t need to consistently be relying on supplements or medications for symptomatic relief.
While there are many allergy relief supplements you can get at your local natural health store, figuring out the best one for you can be tricky. Supplements like vitamin C, quercetin and bioflavonoids help to reduce/prevent histamine release from histamine-producing white blood cells like mast cells and eosinophils. Probiotics can help improve gut health and support mucosal immunity (the immune system in your gut as ~70% of your immune system lies in your gut). This helps to balance your immune system between TH1 and TH2. If you have a lot of digestive issues, optimizing and restoring your gut health is key which requires more than just probiotics … and sometimes, probiotics are not the answer to digestive discomfort. Hormone imbalances also can play a role histamine-mediated symptoms or mast cell activation syndrome so if you experience painful periods, PCOS, anxiety, feeling like your hormones may be off, “man-boobs”, or lots of belly fat, it may be a sign to check on those hormones, namely estrogen!
Preventing the release of histamine can help with acute symptoms while balancing the immune system can help long-term so that you don’t need to consistently be relying on supplements or medications for symptomatic relief.
Another key molecule in our body is glutathione – this is a major antioxidant in our body that helps us detoxify compounds such as excess estrogens, drugs, alcohol, and toxins. Increased inflammation and oxidative stress on the body robs our bodies of glutathione. Research has shown that glutathione, in the reduced form, can help to attenuate those TH2 allergic responses and support the TH1 system to help us better able to fight off colds and flus (1). Glutathione is used up and broken down in the body rapidly and is available in oral and intravenous forms. Selenium and zinc are other minerals that support the immune system and are also essential in the glutathione cycle to help reduced glutathione do its antioxidant job.
Curious about the right supplement(s) for you so you can go out and play this summer without the burning/itching eyes and sniffles? Come in for a naturopathic initial visit so we can get to the root cause for the allergies. The Immunity-focused IV contains vitamin C, selenium, zinc and glutathione to support the immune system as mentioned above while we address the root cause. Glutathione pushes can also be added to any IV (naturopathic extended health coverage will cover IV treatments).
DR. SUHANI SHAH, ND