Spring and summer bring happiness to most people. People love warmer weather: Midwesterners are happy to get outside during warmer weather; Arizonians are hiding. Unfortunately, people who suffer from allergies are dreading pollen and flower blooms! Who would like to live with a runny nose, post-nasal drip, and watery eyes? Or be sleepy from morning to late evening (a side-effect of taking medication). Sometimes it’s all the same with a runny nose (if antihistamines do not help, as expected). Intranasal steroids may help somewhat, but in most cases, they are still of not much help.
What is the alternative? Do not take pills, but go the other way – change your diet and add some supplements that decrease histamine and vitamins that support your body during the allergy season.
Allergy is a process when the body decides to protect itself from external “enemies”: pollen, mold spores, grass, food, household chemicals. There are many types of allergies. Moreover, as noted by scientists, allergies most often affect the population of highly developed countries.
Have you heard of the hygiene hypothesis? In medicine, the hygiene hypothesis states that early childhood exposure to particular microorganisms, such as the gut flora and parasites such as worms, protects against allergic diseases by contributing to the development of the immune system. If some part of the immunity is little involved, then it begins to get bored and comes up with tasks for itself. I stay away from any disinfectant sprays or cleaners. I use simple water and I ALWAYS take off my shoes when I enter the house.
You can choose a couple from the list below, but I advise you to adhere to all these recommendations at once. The more points from the list you complete, the faster relief will come.
The effect of these methods has been tested on many people. Including on my relatives and clients. Most have great and complete resolution of symptoms, while others have fewer symptoms.
So what can you do yourself?
Eliminate all dairy products from the diet.
Dairy products and milk, in particular, are poorly digested by our bodies. Lactose is not the only enemy as many people are used to thinking; protein casein is more likely to be the culprit of food sensitivity and nasal congestion, runny nose, postnasal drip, as well as acne (pimples)! Many people cannot digest this protein and cannot break it down to the level of peptides and amino acids. These peptides are perceived by our immune system as dangerous and may be either the symptom or the cause of “leaky gut” (high intestinal permeability). It makes existing allergies to pollen, dust, mold worse. It may take 4 to 6 weeks before you notice any difference and after that, you could try bringing back dairy into your diet 2 times a day for 3 days while carefully paying attention to your symptoms.
Other Food Sensitivities and an Elimination Diet
I had an amazing case where my client had suffered for 20 years with the allergies year-round, post-nasal drip, fatigue, and even seemingly unrelated plantar fasciitis for the last 6 months before she came to see me. All I did is “prescribe” a full elimination diet and all the above-mentioned symptoms disappeared within TWO weeks! Isn’t it amazing? Moreover, this client was able to cancel his upcoming nasal surgery that her ENT suggested due to the possible issue of deviated nasal septum causing all these symptoms! Even plant fasciitis got better! (Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).
The point is the same as in the previous paragraph. Many studies confirm the relationship between food allergies and other types of allergies.
Why do I recommend eliminating primarily milk and gluten-containing foods? Because time and again I see amazing results just from getting these foods out of the diet of my clients! I would go deeper into the research on this topic, but it is not the main focus of this article. It is hard to say exactly if our environmental pollution, too many antibiotics, medicalized birth experience, lack of breastfeeding and abundance of formula-feeding cause us to be more susceptible to food allergies/sensitivities these days. Or, maybe, it is what we do to our food and how we modify, grow, and process it that makes everything worse. I stay away from food sensitivity tests as in my opinion and my practice they are far from accurate and cause more harm than good (major food issues and a broken relationship with food).
How to check if you tolerate milk and gluten?
Very simple: exclude them for 4-6 weeks from the diet, and then gradually reintroduce them. And strictly one at a time.
For example, in the sixth week, eat something dairy for breakfast and carefully monitor the reactions of your body throughout the day; then eat something for dinner. Then repeat this process the next two days. The reactions may take up to 72 hours to appear. If there are none (headache, asthma, increased heart rate, fatigue, skin itching, abdominal pain), you perfectly tolerate dairy products. No need to remove milk from your diet.
If any of these symptoms have manifested, then, unfortunately, you need to exclude dairy products from your life for 3-6 months and reintroduce again after.
After you tested dairy products for 3 days, wait 3 more days if you had symptoms or test right away on day 4 with gluten reintroduction if you had no symptoms from dairy. Eat something with gluten twice a day for 3 days (white or rye bread, for example) and pay attention to your symptoms.
Yes, I know that it’s very difficult for us to part with our favorite products. Moreover, it is the most beloved products, as a rule, that are not tolerated by us. If you are craving dairy or gluten, it may be exactly what you need to exclude!
What do I suggest if you find sensitivity to some of your favorite foods? Eliminate them from your diet and see how much better you will feel! The pleasant side effects are weight loss, more energy, and better moods!
Take Vitamin C Daily
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that suppresses the body’s allergic reactions. In addition, it dilutes the blood and is involved in oxidative processes. It is these properties that facilitate allergies.
If you play sports, especially in the open air among allergens, then take 1 g of vitamin C 30-60 minutes before training, and it will be easier for you to breathe. After all, vitamin C will improve blood flow.
Dosage of vitamin C during the allergy season: 1-2 g per day for adults (from 18 years). Take with food. It is best to divide this volume into two steps.
Magnesium is involved in hundreds of processes in the body, including helping our immune system. Its lack can weaken the immune system. In addition, magnesium relaxes the muscles and thereby helps us breathe, which is very useful in the presence of asthma and allergies.
Dosage: 300 mg – 600 mg (for adults from 18 years) split into two doses (the last dose before bedtime helps sleep better).
A dose of 300 mg/day of freeze-dried Urtica dioica is recommended for the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Side effects are rare, typically allergic and gastric in nature, the latter due to ingesting the medication on an empty stomach.
Ninety-eight individuals took part in a double-blind randomized study comparing the effects of a freeze-dried preparation of Urtica dioica (stinging nettles) with placebo on allergic rhinitis. Sixty-nine individuals completed the study. Assessment was based on daily symptom diaries, and global response recorded at the follow-up visit after one week of therapy. Urtica dioica was rated higher than placebo in the global assessments. Comparing the diary data Urtica dioica was rated only slightly higher.
Pineapple contains bromelain. Pineapple also contains a lot of sugar. So, I would suggest taking a digestive enzyme instead of eating pineapple. Bromelain is a digestive enzyme, but there are more enzymes that may be needed for the perfect work of your digestive system! Digestive enzymes (taken IN THE MIDDLE of the meal and NEVER on an empty stomach) help us break down the proteins of milk, gluten, and other proteins to the right size, which means we can alleviate allergies (or completely avoid them). Bromelain is found in the highest concentration in the core of the pineapple.
Include omega-3 foods in your diet
Omega-3 fatty acids are involved in the construction of cells, including protecting the cell membrane. Often an allergy is nothing more than a manifestation of cell hypersensitivity. The stronger their shell, the less allergic reactions.
Dosage: 1,000 mg of fish oil per day (for adults 18 years of age) or a good portion of oily fish per day. Champion Products for Omega-3:
Quercetin in this study showed promise in a reduction in the allergies in mice by lowering airway inflammation.
It can improve the Th1/Th2 balance, and restrain antigen-specific IgE antibody formation. …Plant extract of quercetin is the main ingredient of many potential anti-allergic drugs, supplements and enriched products, which is more competent in inhibiting of IL-8 than cromolyn (anti-allergic drug disodium cromoglycate) and suppresses IL-6 and cytosolic calcium level increase.
You can find quercetin in many fruits and vegetables, but taking a supplement may need to be needed, especially, if the symptoms of allergies are severe and you cannot eat a bucket of apples a day!
Foods rich in quercetin:
Drink Filtered Water
It is important to drink enough for your body water as water helps with detoxification of all the bad stuff that you are exposed to!
The rule of thumb is to drink half of your weight in ounces of water:
For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you would GENERALLY need 80 ounces of water a day. If you exercise or sweat a lot during the hot summer season then you may need even more water!
I wish you good health!
Zhanna Tarjeft, FNP-BC is a Functional Medicine Family Nurse Practitioner specializing in gut health issues such as SIFO (Small Intestinal Fungal Overgrowth), SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), leaky gut, IBS, Mold illness (CIRS, Biotoxin illness) and in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid and autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroiditis). For more information on how to become a patient, please contact our office.
Zhanna Tarjeft, FNP is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and a founder of Sprouts Health Functional Medicine Practice in Gilbert, Arizona. Her articles are a matter of personal opinion and do not constitute direct medical advice. All conditions are unique and require the direct review and care of your own physician. To book an appointment with Zhanna Tarjeft contact her at (480) 550-9551
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