Sneezing, itchy crusting eyes, runny nose and a mountain of used Kleenex in the garbage can? With pollen being the most prevalent, allergies can really give us a love-hate relationship with the sun that’s finally come out. Allergies can also cause associated symptoms that dampen our quality of life including but limited to the following:
- Aggravation of asthma
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Impairment of daily activity
- Reduced productivity at work and impaired cognitive functioning
- Decreased sleep quality
Allergy season typically runs from February to October, with alder being the first tree to pollinate. Grass comes in to play from May to July, and weeds from July to September. You can check the pollen report from the weather network to better understand the source of your allergies. If your symptoms run year round, animal dander and dust mites may be the main culprit. Skin prick or scratch testing can also offer confirmatory evidence of the exact allergens.
Symptoms of allergies are caused by histamine, an inflammatory molecule released by the immune mast cells in response to allergens. The magnitude of histamine released from mast cells and the ability of the body to metabolize these histamines will determine the intensity of allergy symptoms. How the body responds to allergies can also be a sign of the body’s total toxic burden, by mitigating these and modulating the immune system, there is a potential to decrease the intensity of these yearly symptoms. There are multiple natural strategies that are appropriate for the management of allergies.
These strategies can include using supplements to target mast cell activity, such as using vitamin C and quercetin or optimizing methylation and histamine metabolism with B vitamins and magnesium. Healing the gut can also help to modulate our immune system and decrease background inflammatory processes in our body, which can also contribute to allergy relief. If you are sick of dealing with allergies yearly, sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) offers a non-invasive treatment to help the body to learn tolerance to allergens. Depending on individual variation, SLIT often can give a permanent reduction of symptoms by an average of 80%.
-Ming Mei Zhang, Naturopathic intern
To find out more information and what treatment is the most suitable for you, come in for an integrative assessment at Empower Health.