By Ronald Hoffman, MD
Last week, I offered my top ten tips for beating spring allergies. This week, I’m arming you with the supplements you need to keep the sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes at bay.
Most often when seasonal allergies strike, we reach for the Claritin or the Allegra, but you can save yourself a trip to the pharmacy with these natural allergy-busters:
1) QUERCETIN: Known to inhibit mast cells from releasing pro-inflammatory compounds that cause allergy symptoms. Dosage: 500 mg 3 times daily.
2) BROMELAIN: A proteolytic enzyme extracted from pineapple, it stops the allergic cascade and reduces swelling and edema of tissue. Dosage: 500 mg 3 times daily.
3) URTICA DIOICA (Stinging Nettle): Randomized, double-blind studies have shown it to be as effective as standard allergy medications. Dosage: 200 mg 3 times daily.
4) NAC (N-acetyl cysteine): In Europe, it’s a prescription medicine, used for reducing congestion and for thinning tenacious mucus. Dosage: 500 mg 3 times daily. (NOTE: A supplement called D-Hist, available via our online dispensary at Fullscript, conveniently combines all four of the previous ingredients, plus vitamin C.)
5) OMEGA-3 FISH OIL: EPA offers anti-inflammatory protection. Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times daily.
6) VITAMIN C: Nature’s own antihistamine. Dosage: 500 mg 3 times daily.
8) BUTTERBUR (Petadolex): Also a popular migraine remedy, good research supports its anti-leukotriene effects. European studies have shown it to be as effective as the popular allergy drug Zyrtec. Dosage: 50 mg 3 times daily.
9) PROBIOTICS: A recent study shows that a probiotic drink (Yakult) containing Lactobacillus casei relieves allergic symptoms. Restoring proper balance of bacteria in the GI tract helps to rein in over-exuberant immune responses.
10) PYCNOGENOL: One of the more well-studied of the natural bioflavonoids, this extract of French maritime pine bark was found to relieve allergic rhinitis symptoms. Dosage: 50-100 mg twice daily.
11) MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): May block allergic reactions at the tissue level. Dosage: 1 gram 3 times daily.
12) ADRENAL SUPPORT: Since the adrenals mediate the body’s resistance to allergic challenge, supporting cortisol production with licorice, pantothenic acid, adrenal cortical extract, ashwagandha and other adaptogens can relieve symptoms. Popular adrenal support supplements like Adren-All by Ortho Molecular contain various proportions of these and other ingredients.
13) TRANSFER FACTOR: Allergies exemplify imbalanced immune responses; Transfer Factor from colostrum restores normal TH1/TH2 ratios which enables the body to better distinguish between “friend” and “foe.” Dosage: 250-500 mg twice daily.
15) APIGENIN: Found in parsley, celery, and certain spices, apigenin triggers the switching of the immune response to allergens toward a T-helper type 1 (Th1) profile.
16) LUTEOLIN: A strong histamine blocker, luteolin is found in the perilla plant. It may also have neuro-protective effects, which I discussed in a podcast with Dr. Theoharis Theoharides.
17) XLEAR: Bacteria and fungi that colonize the nasal passage and hide in biofilms are recognized as foreign invaders; their presence triggers chronic hyper-activation of the cells lining the respiratory tract. Xylitol in Xlear nasal spray inhibits microbes and dissolves biofilms, resulting in clearance of mucus.
18) SIMILISAN eye drops: A gentle homeopathic formula for itchy red eyes.
If possible, get a jump on allergies by starting supplementation early, before symptoms begin. With the right intervention, you can stop the allergic cascade before it gets out of control. Here’s to a healthy, allergy-free spring!