Its Spring in our beautiful city! With the warmer weather the spring blooms are starting to appear. For many, this is the start to allergy season.
Seasonal Allergy symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, coughing and fatigue. Having seasonal allergies can make it difficult to enjoy the outdoors and have the energy to do everyday tasks.
Allergy symptoms are caused by the release of histamine from mast cells in our body. When an antibody from our immune system recognizes an allergen, it triggers the release of histamine from the mast cells. Histamine causes the symptoms mentioned above. This is why over the counter anti-histamine medications can be quite effective in reducing allergy symptoms.
There are some great natural supplements that may also be effective in reducing symptoms with less side effects.
Quercetin is one of my favourites for reducing sneezing and congestion. It is a flavonoid found in the skin of certain fruits. There are reports of quercetin acting as an antihistamine through the suppression of mast cell activation, although its mechanism is not fully understood (1)(2). Clinically I have some great results using quercetin in both adults and children for reducing seasonal allergy symptoms.
Butturbur is a plant with some research to supports its use as an antihistamine. In one study it was found to be just as effective as Allegra in treating allergic rhinits. (3)
Probiotic supplementation during allergy season may be effective in reducing the symptoms of sneezing and congestion. In clinical practice I do recommend supplementing with a good probiotic during allergy season. In one double-blind placebo controlled study involving 173 participants, a combination probiotic of Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium bifidum and Bifidobacterium longum was found to improve quality of life of during allergy season and reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms. (4)
Intravenous vitamin C is a great method of delivering vitamin C directly into the bloodstream and may reduce histamine levels. Many of our patients report an improvement in their allergy symptoms with weekly intravenous vitamin C infusions. In one observational study involving 71 participants, intravenous vitamin C infusions was effective in reducing allergy-related symptoms(5). In another study of 89 patients, intravenous vitamin C reduced histamine levels in the blood. The authors conclude intravenous vitamin C may be a good option to reduce histamine levels and associated symptoms such as allergies (6).
At Vitalia Health Care, the Intravenous vitamin C formulas are customized by our Naturopathic Doctors. Call us today to book your iv treatment
Although OTC antihistamines do offer relief from seasonal allergies, many people are looking for more natural ways to reduce their symptoms. The supplements I have mentioned may be a great addition to your spring daily vitamin regime. Additionally, an intravenous infusion of vitamin C weekly or bimonthly may give the extra anti-histamine benefits.
Don’t let your allergies keep you from enjoying our beautiful city this spring!
Yours in health,
Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND
- (1) Sakai-Kashiwabara, Abe, et al. Suppressive activity of quercetin on the production of eosinophil chemoattractants from eosinophils in vitro. In Vivo. 2014 July-Aug; 28(4): 515-522.
- (2) Weng, Zhang, et al. Quercetin is more effective than cromolyn in blocking human mast cell cytokine release and inhibits contact dermatitis and photosensitivity in humans. PLoS One, 2012;7
- (3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314669/
- (3) Schapowal. Treating intermittent allergic rhinitis: a prospective, randomized, placebo and anti-histamine controlled study of Butterbur extract. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16114089
- (4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28228426
- (5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29950123
- (6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23666445