Surviving Allergy Season
Allergic responses are signs of your immune system being active. Sounds like a good thing right? These reactions can be in response to harmless environmental particles, ultimately resulting in annoying and sometimes debilitating symptoms in the affected individuals. The allergic response involves hypersensitivity reactions directed at allergens (pollen), the result is the production of IgE antibodies to the allergen. Allergy symptoms are due to a release of histamine from cells in the body called mast cell. Histamine causes the dilation of blood vessels allowing more fluid to pass into the surrounding tissue which leads to the annoying symptoms associated with allergies. Thus the success of anithistamines the popular treatments for allergy symptoms, but they are not without their side effects.
Common symptoms of allergy include:
- Watery eyes
- Itchy throat
- Itchy nose
- Blocked/runny nose
The Natural Approach
The natural approach to allergy season is to focus on balancing the immune system. We want the body to react to the incoming invader (pollen), but we don’t want the immune system to overact resulting in inflammation that can result in additional problems, such as asthma or eczema.
Immune modulation is the approach of using natural therapies to support normal production of immune cells without excess inflammation, which results in additional symptoms.
You may already be doing some of these things using botanicals such as tumeric, ginger, stinging nettles, and echinacea, to support immune cell production, and act as antiinflammatories. There is also a bulk of research supporting the use of essential fatty acids in the form of fish oils to decrease immune system inflammation. Probiotics work by balancing the gastrointestinal system, because gut flora plays a huge role in how your immune system reacts. That’s right 80% of your immune system is in your digestive tract!
Finally while your are working on improving the balancing act of your immune system, antioxidants such vitamin E, C, and other bioflavenoids can help to stabilize your mast cells from releasing histamine.
If you are not sure where to start, visit a registered Naturopathic Doctor, who will explore your health history and any other potential routes of hypersenstivity within you body. More on hypersensivity check you my blog on food sensitivity.
This post is for educational purposes only, and not meant to replace a visit with a health practitioner.