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Allergy Supplements

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About Allergy Supplements

Sneezing, itchy eyes, watery nose, congestion headaches—these are just some of the symptoms of allergies. The most common allergic conditions are sinusitis, hayfever, asthma, dermatitis and eczema, which are referred to as atopic conditions. Though there may be a hereditary (genetic) component as well as nutritional factors that makes us more susceptible, we still need contact with an allergen to trigger onset of the condition. Common allergens include pollens, dust or mould spores, or even proteins found in the food we eat, such as gluten (gliadin). 


When exposed to an environmental allergen, such as a cleaning chemical, there are often external signs on the skin that warn us of an immunological reaction. This type of reaction may precipitate as contact dermatitis. With food allergies, we actually consume the allergen, making them harder to detect. For instance, kiwi fruit allergy can cause slight burning or soreness in the mouth for several hours afterwards. However, if we only occassionaly eat the fruit as part of a mixed meal that someone else cooked, it can be hard to detect.


Kiwi fruit allergy is more common in young children, where they react to a protein called actinidin. This biological effect was reported in Clinical and Experimental Allergy all the way back in 2004. More subtle food allergies (sensitivities) can sometimes just make us feel “off”, tired or unwell, as the allergen winds up our immune system and inflammatory processes. 


Identifying food allergies is the key to successful management of atopic conditions. The standard method for identification is a skin prick test to assess IgE antibodies. Based on this method of assessment, it was identified in 2014 and published in the journal Methods, that cow’s milk allergies affect somewhere between 2% and 9% of individuals. IgE is a scientifically validated method that is helpful for understanding the most overt allergens. However, it does not detect food sensitivities, which require IgG and IgA antibody detection. 


With regards to contact allergens that find their way onto the skin, often they also make it into the lungs when we breathe. The allergens are recognised as foreign molecules, which activates the immune system and creates inflammation.   


Doing your best to remove the offending allergen from your diet or environment is the first step. This may involve removing mouldy carpet or talking to the neighbours about their daisies. The internal responses to these allergenic triggers can be modulated if they are mild. Inflammatory responses can be reduced, while overactive immune cells can be "calmed", such as the T-helper 2 lymphocytes. 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. Taken with Vitamin C or bromelains, it can modulate our responsiveness to triggers, like pollens and molds.