Spring Allergies Are Coming!
Spring allergies are coming! It’s likely going to be a real butt-kicker of an allergy season too. Even my cell phone is warning that the pollen count is high. If you are one of the unlucky individuals who is affected by the spring bloom, then you’ll want to pay attention to this:
NOW is the time to start thinking about PREVENTING your allergies!
Waiting until the stuffy nose, runny eyes, and sneezing are making your life miserable isn’t the way to do it. AND, as an added bonus, by taking some simple steps to make your body allergy resistant you’ll also be haling yourself healthier overall.
First, tighten up your diet. It’s well established that consuming a vegetable-based diet will lower inflammation levels and decrease allergy incidence and symptoms. It’s not necessary to completely avoid meat, but it shouldn’t be the main attraction of your meals. Make the meat a side dish. It should also go without saying that the animal products you eat should be as clean and healthy as possible- pasture raised and organic is a good place to start. An unhealthy, poorly fed animal likely has elevated inflammation levels, and these can be passed right into you. Don’t forget about fish, either. Fish don’t have the same inflammatory potential as red meat, and are a good source of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. More on these later, keep reading.
Certain fruits and vegetables have strong anti-allergy potential. Try to consume some of these every day during allergy season. Foods containing the anti-allergy polyphenol quercetin can make a big difference. Foods like apples, peppers, asparagus, kale, and onions are all good sources of quercetin. Also, the cruciferous vegetables (kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts) contain a compound called sulforaphane, which can dramatically reduce allergic potential. In fact, studies have confirmed that broccoli sprouts can reduce the impact of pollution, allergy, and asthma. You can read about this study HERE.
Second, and this should seem like common sense in the desert, it's important to stay well hydrated. This sounds simple, but the number of people I see in the office who are dehydrated is astounding. At least 70% of people are chronically dehydrated. Urination is elimination. It’s one of the ways that the body rids itself of stuff it doesn’t want or need. If you’re not hydrated, you’re likely not peeing enough and thus not doing what you need to do to reduce inflammation and allergies. A good goal is ½ your body weight in ounces of water per day.
If you’re one of those unlucky people who really get walloped by allergies it might be a good idea to consider taking some supplements. I try to recommend supplements that will not only treat the acute symptoms- like conjunctivitis, sinusitis, but will also improve the average person’s health. Supplements like this include vitamin C and fish oil. Vitamin C can be taken in many forms, from capsules to powders, and is easy to work into your daily plan. Most people will do well to take 1-2 grams (1000-2000mg) a couple of times per day. One word of caution regarding vitamin C: taking too much vitamin C at once, as large oral doses can cause loose stool. You’ve been warned.
Omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of an anti-allergy strategy as well. The super healthy fats have an anti-inflammatory effect whose benefits extend well beyond just allergies. While flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon, and other foods containing naturally occurring omega-3s are an important part of any diet, a high-quality fish oil can really help to boost levels. Most people really under dose their omega-3's. I like to recommend 1500-2000mg per day of omega-3's. Generally, this dose equates to one small swig of liquid fish oil or 4 caps. I prefer the liquid and don’t really mind the essence o’ fish it imparts on my taste buds. Alternatively, adding fish oil to a smoothie can mask the taste. Another trick is to freeze fish oil capsules before taking. Take before a meal and by the time the capsules melt, they will be far enough down the system to avoid the dreaded fish burps.
Lastly, vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D can help to prevent allergies. Now, I can hear you already “I live in Phoenix, I don’t need to take vitamin D! My body makes it when I’m exposed to the sun.” Unfortunately, more often than not, living in Phoenix doesn’t get you enough of this very important vitamin. I routinely test vitamin D3 levels in the office, and 9 times out of 10 if people aren’t taking a D3 supplement they’re deficient. As vitamin D3 is uber-important for many aspects of human health you should really know where your level is at. Ask your doc to include it on your next set of labs, you might be surprised by what you find. Check out THIS LINK if you would like a little more info about vitamin D3.
I also really like a combination allergy supplement called HISTAPRO that we created at Longevity Medical. All of our doctors recommend this supplement to our patients with allergy because IT WORKS! It’s a combination of vitamin C, quercetin, stinging nettle, bromelain, and N-acetyl cysteine. This formula can stop allergy symptoms fast, doesn’t cause drowsiness, and is all natural.
Lastly, if you’re one of those people who REALLY suffer with allergies this is for you. At Longevity Medical we offer a very effective natural allergy treatment called sublingual immunotherapy, often referred to as SLIT. SLIT works on the same principle as allergy shots- WITHOUT the shots. The idea is that by exposing the body to tiny amounts of the things to which it has an allergy to, a tolerance will be created. Tolerance means that the body won’t react to that substance anymore. SLIT therapy is very safe and is administered at home which makes it a great treatment option for the allergy sufferer.
At Longevity Medical we use patient-specific SLIT, meaning that we create the formula specifically for each patient. There shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach to SLIT, because doing this can actually make a person more allergic! We use laboratory testing to determine what a person is allergic to, and then have their SLIT prescription specially made at a compounding pharmacy. SLIT is a very attractive treatment choice for people with allergies. It’s an effective treatment for people with seasonal allergies as well as for people with severe chronic allergies.
I once used SLIT to treat a guy who was allergic to cats. His girlfriend had a cat and every time he would visit her, he would quickly become congested and start sneezing. Because he liked the cat and the girl, he came to me looking for allergy help. We started him on SLIT and within a few months his cat allergy started diminishing and after a few more months he was able to pet the cat without it causing allergy symptoms.
So, there you have it; a quick primer on how to prevent and treat allergies. Remember, taking some proactive steps to reduce your allergy potential BEFORE allergy season really starts is a smart move. Eating a healthy diet and using supplement to correct any deficiencies will help with more than allergies, it will improve your overall health. If you’re interested in a more comprehensive review of natural allergy treatments you might want to check out The Seasonal Allergy Solution, which is a book published a few years ago. The book contains a ton of useful information for people with allergies and is fully referenced, so the reader can fact check me if they wish.
Thanks for reading and if you would like more to learn more about natural allergy treatments call Longevity Medical at 602-899-4070.