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Allergy Supplements

Sneezing, itchy eyes, watery nose, congestion headaches—these are just some of the irritating symptoms that have to live with when we suffer from allergies—seasonal or otherwise. Some of the most common allergic conditions are sinusitis, hayfever, asthma, dermatitis and eczema. These are all referred to as atopic conditions. Though there may be a hereditary component that makes us more susceptible to each of these conditions, we still need contact with an allergen, which is the trigger. These allergens may be pollens, dust or mould spores, or even proteins found in the food that we eat.

 

 

The interesting thing about food allergies is that we are actually ingesting the allergen. When we are exposed to an environmental allergen, such as a cleaning chemical to which we are particularly sensitive, we tend to see external signs on the skin that warn us of this immunological assault. And we can usually figure out what is happening from this point. However, when it comes to food allergies, and we are actually eating the allergen, it can be a little trickier to detect. For instance, we may eat kiwi fruit once in a blue moon—or green moon—and not pick up on the fact that we experience slight burning or soreness in the mouth for several hours afterwards. Of course, not everyone reacts to kiwi fruit this way, and it is more common an allergy in young children. But the protein in kiwi fruit, called actinidin, can elicit such a response. This was reported in Clinical and Experimental Allergy all the way back in 2004. With more subtle food allergies there may be identifiable oral symptoms, though we may consume it more often. Sometimes, these food allergies can just make us feel “off”, tired, unwell, as the allergen, which is usually protein-based, winds up our immune system and inflammatory processes.

 

 

With regards to contact allergens that find their way to our skin, often they also travel into our lungs when we breathe, which our immune system recognises as a foreign molecule. This activates our defense system, involving the immune system and inflammation.   

 

 

You might be thinking at this point, why take supplements if we are simply reacting to a chemical or protein? Isn’t this a good thing? To a degree, yes. We do want to have a competent immune system. However, these responses are often excessive and sometimes even harmful in extreme cases. And they can have significant health ramifications, negatively affecting quality of life, if we are constantly exposed to the allergen. So, of course, remove the moldy carpets, or, in your sweetest tone, talk to the neighbours about the flowering daisies that cause you grief. Maybe don’t use the word grief though. This means we are dealing with the triggers, once identified. Fortunately, we can modulate our internal responses to those triggers, if they are mild. We can reduce inflammatory responses and dampen down activity of certain immune cells, such as the T-helper 2 lymphocytes, which can become over-responsive as a result of the modern way of life. There are also herbs and nutrients that simply help with natural symptom management, such as horseradish for mucous congestion and marshmallow root to soothe irritated mucous membranes.

 

 

The bioflavonoid Quercetin plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate atopic conditions. It has been shown to exhibit anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory responses, and also functions as a natural antioxidant and anti-viral compound. Not bad for a mere bioflavonoid. Taken with Vitamin C, it can help to modulate our responsiveness to triggers, like pollens and molds.

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