Allergy Relief Alternatives
by Dave Foreman
For allergy sufferers, sneezes, stuffy noses,
and wheezing are usually the harbinger of Spring. According to the Asthma and
Allergy Foundation of America website (www.aafa.org), close to 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies. Allergy prevalence overall has been increasing since the early 1980s, with one in five Americans now suffering some form of allergy.
The fifth leading chronic disease in the US and the third most common among children under 18, allergies cost the American public $7 billion annually, $6 billion of which is medication costs. Also, allergies cause nearly four million missed days of work.
Respiratory “allergy” symptoms are often blamed on something in the air, yet oftentimes the underlying cause could be something in your diet. To better understand this idea, it is important you understand what is actually happening in your body that triggers your allergy symptoms.
Allergic reactions occur when the immune
system system reacts to foreign proteins found in the environment. Foreign protein can be mold, pollen, yeast or a host of other proteins that for some reason may be considered
foreign/strange to the body. Other examples are food, dust mite particles, and animal
When your immune system overreacts to these proteins, it can cause coughing, sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, asthma, and sinusitis symptoms. Certain stresses on your immune system can weaken your body's ability to fight off allergic responses. Since our immune
systems are regularly reacting to foreign invaders, removing some of these stresses may help you control your allergy symptoms.
For example, I used to suffer severe sensitivity to wheat, barley, and rye. The symptoms appeared whenever I would work in my
family's barn, and were severe enough that
I couldn't continue. Antihistamines and
decongestants helped, but did nothing to remove the sensitivity altogether.
However, once I realized I had a severe allergy to gluten - a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye - I was able to greatly reduce my reactions by removing gluten
products from my diet. Also, other allergies, including cat dander and perfumes, were
alleviated. By reducing my immune system’s exposure to gluten, my body was able to
handle a burden that it hadn’t been able to before.
The Top Eight
It is estimated that 90 percent of all food
allergy (sensitivities) are caused by eight foods: milk, wheat, eggs, soy, peanuts, fish, tree nuts and shellfish.
Being sensitive to something will contribute to how well your body handles other things like pollen, dust, mold etc.. Simple blood tests can help you determine what you are sensitive
to, then you can remove the offending food from your diet. The blood tests are called "enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay" or ELISA and it detects substances in the blood that could trigger an allergic response.
If removing the offending food from your
diet isn't an option, there are nutritional
supplements that will give you relief without any side effects. One herb - butterbur - is a natural antihistamine that has proven quite effective in reducing allergic symptoms and reactions.
Rosmarinic acid is another supplement for allergy sufferers. This compound is found in rosemary, basil, sage and mint. The extract of rosmarinic acid can decrease your allergy symptoms in as little as three days. Life Extension’s Butterbur Allergy combines butterbur and rosmarinic acid to give you further relief from allergies.
Nettle leaf also helps reduce allergy symptoms. Be sure to purchase nettle in leaf form - the root is not effective on allergies.
Bromelain, an enzyme from the stem of a pineapple, also offers relief. Take this between meals and at bedtime (on an empty stomach) for best results.
ResistAid is a relatively new nutritional supplement that addresses allergies on a totally different level. It works to support the immune system and its function. This ingredient can be found in numerous products for immune health and even digestive health. This supplement can be used on a daily basis year-round to support a healthy immune system and can be used long-term to minimize the chances of having problems. It is not recommended or effective for an acute allergy attack.
Homeopathy is another great alternative
to prescription medication. Homeopathic products list their specific uses on the labels, making it easy to incorporate into a health
regimen. Source Naturals-Allercetin Allergy
and Sinus, Boiron-Sabadil (Allergy) or Hyland's-Sinus Tablets are all great examples.
Allergies can be controlled and in many cases reduced or eliminated by taking preventative measures. Removing the potentially offending food(s) from your diet, getting enough activity to boost immune function, and increasing your awareness of how allergies are created can empower you to improve your symptoms and live a more allergy-free life.