Published on July 2nd, 2018 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Fight Seasonal Allergies Naturally
by Doug Pucci
Seasonal allergies can seriously impact our lives, causing us to feel so miserable and distracted that we can’t function effectively. Many people turn to over-the-counter medications, like Benadryl, Dimetapp and Chlor-Trimeton, believing that because they don’t require a prescription, they’re safe to use as much as necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.
All medications, whether prescribed or not, carry health risks and side effects that we may fail to observe. While some people don’t bother to read the warning labels, others expect—and accept as inevitable—common side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, tiredness, diarrhea, nervousness and others. Although this shouldn’t be acceptable and may be causing other harm, there are even more serious health risks associated with these drugs, from racing or uneven heart rate and increased blood pressure to short-term memory loss and impaired cognitive function.
The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation reported on a study conducted by Group Health and University of Washington researchers which revealed that allergy medications can cause “damage to the brain”, and that people taking these drugs are at a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. That risk increases with higher dosages and long-term use. There are a few natural ways to ward off allergy symptoms that also yield other health benefits—a double win.
Improve gut health. Our gut affects more aspects of health than we may think, from brain function to immune and nervous system performance. A diet riddled with processed foods and sugars can cause perforations in the intestinal wall, a condition called leaky gut. These tiny holes allow toxins, bacteria and undigested food to leak into the bloodstream, causing myriad problems such as allergies, asthma, skin problems, fatigue and more. Healing the gut through elimination of inflammatory foods, choosing whole foods over processed foods and limiting or eliminating NSAIDs and alcohol are just some ways to control allergies and improve overall health.
Antacids aren’t an answer. An unhealthy gut can cause symptoms like heartburn, but regular antacid use, can actually cause allergies. This is because antacids are acid blockers—they block stomach acid to calm the burning or nausea symptoms, but the stomach needs that acid to activate the enzymes that break down allergens.
Natural antihistamines. Natural allergy calming antioxidants include glutathione, which comes from foods like broccoli, garlic and onion. These sulfur-rich foods can pump up antioxidant levels, and a good additive-free supplement can extend those benefits all year long. Other supplements for quieting the histamine response and boosting immunity include vitamin C and colostrum.
Vitamin D. Most of us don’t get enough sunlight, especially during winter months when days are short. That can leave our bodies too low on vitamin D, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Test vitamin D levels first, but as a safe bet, take a high-quality dose daily to restore and replenish this important nutrient to the proper level.
A functional medicine doctor can help uncover any allergies or sensitivities we may have and give personalized advice on how best to treat them,so we can enjoy every season of the year.