Hay fever getting you down? Part 2
Try these Natural Approaches.
Part 2: Immediate and Effective Relief
One in four people in the UK suffer with hay fever and the number is rising.
This two-part article explains both the short-term and the long-term naturopathic and nutrition advice to help keep symptoms to a minimum.
In part one I discussed the importance of a longer-term approach and why supporting gut health has a very important role to play in immune response and hay fever.
In this article, I provide naturopathic and nutrition approaches that can provide immediate and effective relief.
About Hay fever
As I explained in Part One, the key factor with hay fever is an overreaction by mast cells with the resulting release of histamine. It is histamine that cause the symptoms so commonly associated with hay fever: itchy watery eyes, blocked and runny nose, excess mucus and sneezing.
And the histamine reaction is linked to two other atopic conditions: asthma and eczema; which is why people often (but not always) experience all three.
Lowering the release of histamine
Antihistamines are a cheap over the counter medication which help stop the release of histamines. But they can cause side effects such as drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, digestive upsets and a dry mouth.
What if we could naturally reduce the release histamine without the associated side effects? There are nutrients and plant compounds that have been found to have this action.
Quercetin is a plant flavonoid found in red onions, apples, green tea, berries, broccoli and citrus fruits. As well as helping to limit histamine release from mast cells, it is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Supplements of quercetin often contain bromelain which supports the absorption of quercetin. And when it is taken away from food, it may help break down excess mucus that collects in the airways providing some relief from congestion.
Reishi mushrooms have been found in Japanese research to inhibit histamine release. They have also been shown to have a positive effect on modulating the immune response and helping the body adapt to stress.
Supporting the elimination of histamine
Vitamin C, found in many fruits and vegetables helps to break down and excrete histamine circulating in the body. And as a potent antioxidant it protects against cellular oxidative damage that may result from excess inflammation.
Most people are unaware that whilst the amount of vitamin C required to avoid disease (scurvy) is quite low, the amount recommended as a therapeutic dose is significantly higher. As a water-soluble vitamin it is not stored in the body and rapidly lost so a regular daily intake is essential. For the majority of people a higher dosage of 1–2g per day may be suitable but always check first with a professional who can advise you based on your own needs and health conditions.
Magnesium has a similar mechanism to vitamin C. And research has shown that a deficiency may actually increase histamine production!
This mineral, involved in over 300 body processes is thought to be deficient in many people’s diets. It is abundant in green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains like brown rice. And most people do not eat nearly enough of these foods on a daily basis.
Adopting a low histamine diet
The diet needs to be rich in vegetables to obtain the natural anti-histamine foods whilst low in histamine rich foods like cheese, seafood, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, sausages and soy sauce.
Why stress can be a trigger
Stress is the antithesis to good health. It is no surprise that stress can contribute to hay fever. Chronic stress which causes an overproduction of the hormone cortisol can lead to additional histamine release from mast cells.
Unfortunately, modern lifestyles create additional stress and burden so finding calming activities to calm the mind and lower the stress response should be incorporated day to day. Magnesium- known as Nature’s Tranquiliser- helps to do just this.
Hay fever creates misery for 1 in 4 people.
Whilst a long-term plan of action should be taken through the Winter months (Part 1), these simple approaches can all help minimize the symptoms and help provide some relief.
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Thanks for reading…