Early weaning and introduction of processed foods to infants, genetic manipulation of plants that creates foods with a greater chance of cross-reaction with the human biology and an overall increase in the amount of pollutants in the air, soil and water have created millions of allergy sufferers that are held hostage by drippy noses, burning, watery eyes, headaches and continuous sneezing sessions. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) reports that numerous studies done between 2009 to 2010 are showing that:
- Worldwide, allergy antibodies (IgEs) to foreign proteins in the environment are present in 1 out of 3 people
- Worldwide, insect allergy fatal reactions occur in 1 out of 2 individuals who have no documented history of a previous systemic reaction
- 1 out of 12 children (infant to 18) has at least one food allergy
- 1 out of 3 of food allergic children have a history of severe reactions and have multiple food allergies
These trends are not likely to reverse themselves anytime soon. But is there a way to reduce allergy symptoms by supporting the immune system?
Diet and Supplements
Dr. Ronald Hoffman, founder and Medical Director of the Hoffman Center in New York City, author of numerous books and past President of the American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), recommends that a first step in combating allergies is to identify and eliminate any foods that the body has allergic reactions to. This will reduce the total load on the immune system and when allergy season comes around you may have less of a reaction.
There are a number of natural remedies and supplements that are worth being taken into consideration due to their abilities to support the body and calm down allergy symptoms.
- Use a Neti pot to rinse your nasal passages every day to remove all the allergens
- Add local unprocessed, raw honey to your diet. This contains tiny amounts of local pollen that helps the body build immunity through gradual exposure. You may find this at your local farmer’s markets.
- Getting enough high quality omega-3 fats from fish oils that act like an allergen blocker and has anti-inflammatory effects
- Butterbur (Petasites Hybridus) acts like a natural allergy blocker and has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of conditions, including migraines. A study published in 2002 in The British Medical Journal has revealed that leaves and roots of the butterbur bush, worked just as effectively at reducing allergy symptoms as Zyrtec, without causing drowsiness.
- Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine that blocks the mast cells
- Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to severe allergies and asthma attack, especially in children
- Increasing “good bacteria” in your gut by taking high quality probiotics is also highly beneficial to support the immune system when dealing with food and environmental allergies.
Things to avoid
Allergies are your body’s natural reaction to foreign particles, an indicator that your immune system is working overtime. Taking control of your allergies requires a multi-faceted approach that involves optimizing your diet and avoiding potential triggers. Here are some things to avoid before your allergies strike again.
- All GMO foods and hidden GMO ingredients. Genetically modified (GM) foods are NOT entirely compatible with our biology and carry a risk of triggering life-threatening allergic reactions and other health concerns. A growing number of experts believe that genetically modified foods are contributing to the spike childhood food allergies.
- Dairy products from cows injected with rbGH (a genetically modified hormone). Samuel Epstein, MD, professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, is one of the top experts on cancer prevention. In his books, What’s in Your Milk?, and Got (Genetically Engineered) Milk?, Dr. Epstein emphasizes that rBGH milk is “qualitatively and quantitatively different from natural milk,” and is “supercharged with high levels of a natural growth factor (IGF-1), excess levels of which have been incriminated as major causes of breast, colon, and prostate cancers.”
- Processed and sugary foods. They destroy healthy gut microflora and feed bad bacteria and yeast causing an ecological imbalance in your gut and later on, severe gut lining damage. This includes reducing grains as most of them quickly convert into sugar in your body.
- Chlorinated pools and hot tubs. It may sound silly, but chlorine has been shown to increase the respiratory problems and allergies due to the chemicals added to the water which are increasing the body’s immune system load.
- Conventional detergents. They are loaded with hazardous chemicals that are left behind on your cloths, continuously polluting the air that you breath and weakening your immune system.
- Cell phone use if your allergies are raging. Bastyr University published a study in Archives of Allergy and Immunology, which revealed that one hour of continuous cell phone use worsen allergic responses to dust and pollen.
When it comes to the immune system, it is always best to try a supportive diet and natural remedies before harsh drugs which come with numerous side effects. If you find a “magic solution”, please don’t hesitate to share it by posting a comment below!