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.
Aller-7 is a unique blend of seven standardized herbal extracts clinically tested to promote a healthy immune system and normal breathing. Aller-7 has been shown to minimize the body’s response to seasonal as well as perennial airborne allergies. For example, an evaluation on the effects of Aller-7 was carried out in 14 test centers involving 545 patients with allergic rhinitis. An overall improvement in hay fever symptoms was seen in 78 percent of the subjects after six weeks, and in an incredible 94 percent after 12 weeks. The study also included a double-blind portion (see Table 1.)
|Table 1: Results From a Double-blind Study With Aller-7|
|% of patients reporting > 40% relief|
|Symptom Placebo Aller-7|
|Sneezing 19% -13% 61% 79%|
|Congestion 16% 20% 35% 65%|
|Runny nose 24% 19% 48% 67%|
Table 1: Results From a Double-blind Study with Aller-7
|Symptom Placebo Aller-7
||% of patients repoting > 40 % relief
|Presence of 1 major risk factor||30%|
|High cholesterol + high blood pressure||300%|
|High cholesterol + smoking||350%|
|High blood pressure + smoking||350%|
|Smoking + high blood pressure + high cholesterol||720%|
In another study, 48 patients with allergic rhinitis (hay fever) were randomly assigned to receive either Aller-7 or a placebo for three months. Results clearly demonstrated that Aller-7 not only improved all of the major symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis, it also produced improvements in scores of general well-being, including sleep quality and mood. Results also showed that like many other natural products, the longer Aller-7 is used, the more the apparent the benefits. In other words, while some people taking Aller-7 may experience rapid relief of symptoms, most will have to take it for at least one month to see meaningful benefit.
Aller-7 appears to work at every step of the process to block the allergic response. Specifically, Aller-7 and its components have shown the following effects:
- Promotes activities by white blood cells that leads to more efficient handling of allergens
- Stabilizes mast cells, thereby preventing the release of histamine (which the body produces in response to allergens)
- Inhibits the activity of inflammatory enzymes such as trypsin and hyaluronidase that lead to tissue irritation
- Exerts effective antioxidant activity that arrests the allergic response
The recommended adult dosage is 660 mg twice daily with meals. For maintenance, 330 mg can be taken twice daily with meals.
How do I Know if the Recommendations are Working?
Again, due to the natural properties of Aller-7, results may not appear for two to four weeks.