I hope my fellow allergy-sufferers have been finding some relief with the dietary recommendations suggested last week. I know that when I am careful about my diet, my allergies certainly improve! So what else can one do to curtail the sneezes, sniffles, and stuffiness? Today I will examine the world of supplements.
Quercetin is an important one in the fight against allergies. If you remember from the allergy post last week, mast cells and basophils contain and release histamine, the substance responsible for allergy symptoms. Quercetin stabilizes their cell membranes, preventing them from letting loose histamine. Quercetin can both prevent allergy reactions and inhibit those already underway. Quercetin is available in pill form (I like Source Natural’s Activated Quercetin), and is also found in the following foods: capers, green cabbage, spinach, kale, garlic, onion, tea, white grapefruit and other cirtus fruits, apples, cranberries, pears, and grapes.
Nettles contain a histamine – but this histamine does not cause us to have allergy symptoms. Nettle’s histamine bonds to the histamine receptors in the body’s cells, preventing the body’s histamine from attaching to the same cells during an allergic reaction. Since the histamine can’t bind, it can’t create the allergy symptoms! I have had great personal success using nettles for my allergies. They work wonders! I use Eclectic Institute’s Freeze-Dried Nettles and can attest to the quality of their product.
Bromelain is an enzyme derived from the core of a pineapple. It excels in reducing the inflammation assocaited with an acute allergy attack. It reduces swelling of the throat, sinuses, and nasal passages. Bromelain also helps the body absorb Quercetin. Since it is only found in pineapple cores or unripe pineapples, it must be taken in pill form.
Vitamin C prevents histamine release, and increases the detoxification of histamine. Vitamin C also helps the body use Quercetin more efficiently by allowing the body recycle Quercetin. Foods rich in Vitamin C include: papaya, red bell peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, strawberries, oranges, canteloupes, kiwi, cauliflower, and kale.
Pantothenic Acid, aka Vitamin B5 helps with allergic rhinitis (watery nose & itchy, watery eyes) in as little as 15 minutes after ingestion. Remember that one the next time you’re having an acute attack! Foods rich in B5 include liver, kidney (remember these are filtration organs – only eat organic!), egg yolk, broccoli, and yeast. Other good sources include fish, shellfish, chicken, yogurt, legumes, mushrooms, avocado, and sweet potato.
Vitamin E: A 2004 study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology found that 800 mg od Vitamin E per day reduced nasal symptoms of allergies. Food sources include vegetable oils, cereal grains, nuts, mango, green vegetables, and kiwi.
I have been taking a combination allergy product (for example Allermax by Biochem, or Gaia’s Aller-Leaf) along with extra nettles and extra Quercetin. I am happy to say that this has been working quite well in conjunction with using a Neti-Pot (to be discussed in Part III under “Lifestyle Modifications.”)