With allergy season well underway, patients are increasingly looking for alternatives to drugs (anti-histamines, intranasal steroids, etc). Several naturopathic therapies exist with good scientific evidence for the treatment and relief of seasonal allergies.
A basic understanding of allergies contends that there is a cytokine imbalance in the immune system. An allergy is an abnormal overreaction to a specific environmental antigen called an allergen. This leads to overactive B cells that in turn produce excess Immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE then triggers the allergic symptoms by activating mast cells that produce histamine. Common symptoms include: runny nose, sinus congestion, headache, fatigue and itchy eyes.
Quercetin is a bioflavonoid and anti-oxidant widely used in the treatment of allergies. Quercetin stabilizes mast cells and inhibits the release of histamine, thereby reducing the general inflammatory process. Due to its’ unique bioavailability, quercetin is commonly prescribed with select botanicals and high dose vitamin C to enhance its effectiveness. Quercetin-containing foods include yellow and red onions, broccoli, cauliflower, apples, green tea and berries.
One of many principles in naturopathic medicine is Tolle Causum – to find & treat the cause of an illness. It’s important to investigate the root cause for seasonal allergies. Often, underlying food sensitivities or heavy metal toxicities are to blame. The heavy metal lead has been shown to polarize the immune system towards excessive Th2 cells – resulting in allergic symptoms. A simple blood test can identify your IgG and IgE response to 96 common foods. An IgE RAST blood test is also available for seasonal allergies if you are unsure of what exact allergen you have but would like to know (cat, dog, trees, grass, weeds, ragweed, dust, mold). One might also consider a heavy metal challenge to see what heavy metal levels exist in the body.
Individuals who suffer from chronic seasonal allergies can benefit from an IV infusion known as the “Myers’ cocktail.” This is 5 – 10 minute in-office IV push with a cocktail of high dose Vitamin C, Magnesium, B vitamins, trace minerals and more. IV Vitamin-mineral therapy provides the highest absorption possible, bypassing the gut by going directly into your cells via the bloodstream. An IV Meyers’ cocktail provides rapid relief of symptoms, once weekly during allergy season. It is also an excellent choice at the start of allergy season to prevent the progression & severity of symptoms. For more information and scientific literature on the Myers’ cocktail, visit: http://www.drwendywells.com/uploads/MyersO_Cocktail.pdf
Additional support for allergies include botanical medicine specifically formulated for the treatment of hay fever, sinusitis, upper respiratory catarrh and colds. There are also simple things you can do at home to help decrease your symptoms. Find out more from your naturopathic physician.