Allergies refer to an abnormal immune response that can produce a wide range of symptoms (e.g., hives, asthma, anaphylactic shock and death). The most common allergic condition is hay fever (seasonal allergic rhinitis), which is an allergic reaction of the nasal passages and airways to windborne pollens. Ragweed pollen accounts for about 75 percent of all hay fever cases in the United States. Other significant pollens that induce hay fever include various grass and tree pollens. If hay fever develops in the spring, it is usually due to tree pollens; if it develops in the summer, grass and weed pollens are usually the culprits. If hay fever symptoms persist year-round, this is known as perennial allergic rhinitis. This form of hay fever may, or may not, be due to pollens.
An estimated 50 million Americans have allergies to airborne triggers that cause symptoms of hay fever, and another 17 million have asthma. While many Americans reach for prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamines to treat these conditions, natural medicines can offer significant advantages. Keep in mind that popular antihistamine drugs, whether they are prescription or OTC, offer only symptomatic relief—they do not solve the problem. The drug companies love these antihistamine drugs because they only suppress symptoms, they do not affect a cure, they create dependence and, most importantly to the drug companies, they are expensive so they offer tremendous profits.
What Causes Allergies and Hay Fever?
Allergies and hay fever reflect an abnormal immune response to pollens and other antigens.
Which Dietary Factors are Important in Allergies and Hay Fever?
An important step in dealing with allergies is to reduce the “allergic threshold” by eliminating any foods that may be contributing to an allergy. Many studies have indicated that food allergies play an important role in asthma. An adverse reaction to a food may be immediate or delayed. Studies have shown that immediate-onset sensitivities are usually due to (in order of frequency) eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts and peanuts. Foods most commonly associated with delayed-onset sensitivities include (in order of frequency) milk, chocolate, wheat, citrus and food colorings. My recommendation is to avoid all of these common allergens for a minimum of 10 days to judge if an underlying food allergy is contributing to the respiratory allergy. If symptoms improve, foods can be reintroduced at the rate of one food every three days to identify which food(s) is the culprit. These sorts of elimination diets have been successful in identifying allergens and treating respiratory allergies.
During the elimination phase, it is best to use RevitalX from Natural Factors—a powdered drink mix that provides targeted nutritional support for the intestinal tract. Development of this product was spearheaded by Michael Lyon, MD. RevitalX is specifically designed to soothe the stomach, intestines and colon, and help to heal a “leaky gut.” Its low allergy–potential formula is designed specifically for people with food allergies, but is suitable for everyone. It provides balanced levels of vitamins and minerals, phytochemicals, and probiotics to support the body while healing the gastrointestinal track. The RevitalX formula base is GoldPeptides™, a non-genetically modified protein source from golden peas. This is a superior source of protein to rice or soy in a hypoallergenic product because of its high-protein, low-sugar and low-glycemic profile.
Which Nutritional Supplements Should I Take for Allergies and Hay Fever?
Foundation Supplements. There are three products from Natural Factors that I think are critical in supporting good health:
- MultiStart: Age- and gender-specific multiple vitamin and mineral formulas. Follow label instructions for dosages.
- Enriching Greens: A great-tasting “greens drink” containing highly concentrated greens like chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass juice and barley grass juice, along with herbal extracts. Take one serving (1 tablespoon) in 8 ounces of water daily.
- RxOmega-3 Factors: A true pharmaceutical-grade fish-oil supplement. Take two capsules daily.
RevitalX can be continued as an “anti-allergy” medicinal food. Take one serving daily for maintenance.
Flavonoids like those found in grape seed, pine bark, or apple extracts exert a number of anti-allergic effects. EMIQ (enzymatically modified isoquercetrin) is a special form of quercetin that has also shown exceptional anti-allergenic effects. Any of these flavonoid sources is an excellent choice.
- Choose one of the following:
- Apple polyphenol extract: 100-250 mg twice daily
- Grape seed or pine bark extract (95% PCO content): 150-300 mg daily
- Green tea extract (90% polyphenol content): 150-300 mg daily
- EMIQ: 100 mg twice daily
How do I Know if the Recommendations are Working?
Results may not appear for two to four weeks.