The Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America estimates that more than 100 million people in the U.S. experience various types of allergies each year. The chances are pretty good that you or someone you know struggles with allergies and could use some relief. When your allergy symptoms flare up, you likely turn to over-the-counter or prescription-strength medications. But, pharmaceuticals, such as acetaminophen and antihistamines, only mask or hide your symptoms and do little to help you find long-lasting relief from allergies.
But the good news is that you can keep your allergies under control and tackle their root cause by understanding the role of histamine in your allergies.
So let’s banish those allergies and help you find long-lasting relief.
What are allergies?
Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to substances that are usually harmless to most people. These substances, called allergens, can trigger a response in some individuals that causes symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, animal dander, certain foods, insect venom, and some medications.
Allergic Reactions Explained
An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system mistakes a normally harmless substance for an allergen and produces an immune response.
When the immune system encounters an allergen, it produces an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE), which attaches to mast cells and basophils in the body. When the allergen is reencountered, it binds to the IgE on these cells, causing them to release histamine and other chemicals, which work by helping to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes various allergic symptoms such as itching, swelling, runny nose, and hives.
There are several broad categories of allergies based on the types of allergens that trigger the immune response. These categories include:
- Environmental allergies: These are triggered by environmental substances, such as pollen, dust mites, mold, and animal dander. Environmental allergies are often the cause of seasonal allergies.
- Food allergies: These are triggered by specific foods or food components, such as peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat, and shellfish.
- Insect allergies: These are triggered by venom from insect bites for strings, such as bees, wasps, hornets, and fire ants.
- Drug allergies: These are triggered by medications, such as antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and certain chemotherapy drugs.
- Contact allergies: These are triggered by contact with specific substances, such as latex, metals, and certain chemicals.
What is histamine, exactly?
Histamine is a chemical compound naturally produced by cells in the body as a part of the immune system’s response to foreign substances. Stored in specialized cells called mast cells and basophils, histamine is released when the body detects an allergen and is responsible for the physiological responses in the body, including increased blood flow, swelling, and inflammation.
Essentially, histamine is the chemical compound in the body responsible for many symptoms associated with allergic reactions. Unlike an allergic reaction, histamine intolerance occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of histamine in the body. So even though the symptoms of an allergic reaction and histamine intolerance can be similar, they have different underlying causes, and the treatment approaches may differ.
Common Allergy Symptoms and Causes
Allergic reactions can cause a range of symptoms, which can vary depending on the severity of the reaction and the allergen involved. Some common allergy symptoms include:
- Itching, redness, and swelling of the skin
- Hives or a rash on the skin
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sneezing and congestion
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Dizziness or fainting
What causes allergies?
So many different things can cause allergies, making it difficult to pinpoint what may be contributing to your symptoms. Some of the most common causes of allergies include:
- Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds
- Dust mites
- Mold spores
- Animal dander from pets, such as cats and dogs
- Foods, especially those known to cause the most food allergies, like gluten, dairy, tree nuts, eggs, soy, and shellfish
- Insect bites and stings
- Certain medications, such as antibiotics
- Fragranced personal care or beauty products
It’s not entirely clear why some people develop allergies and others do not, but it is believed that both genetic and environmental factors can play a role. You may be more likely to develop allergies if you have a family history of allergies. Plus, other factors like exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, and certain viral infections during childhood can increase your risk of developing allergies.
Conventional Treatments for Allergies
Conventional treatments for allergies include:
- Antihistamines, which help block the effects of histamine
- Over-the-counter treatments such as decongestants
- Eye drops
- Corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation
- Immunotherapy involves gradually exposing you to increasing amounts of an allergen to help desensitize the immune system and reduce your reactions.
- Allergy shots
It’s important to note that these treatments do not cure allergies because they do not address the underlying cause. They only help alleviate or even hide the symptoms.
Regarding allergies, your immune system produces an allergic reaction because it senses something isn’t right within your body. Taking or using prescribed medications or over-the-counter products for allergies only addresses the symptoms (itchy skin, watery eyes, or a rash, for example). They do not help build your natural defense system for long-lasting allergy relief.
So what is an allergy sufferer to do?
Finding a solution that resolves symptoms and avoids unwanted side effects may feel impossible, but many natural remedies can relieve allergies by improving the immune system’s function.
And even though it may take several weeks for your symptoms to subside, you’ll likely be able to keep your allergies under control in the future because you’re working to tackle the root cause, not just the symptoms.
7 Ways to Naturally Treat Your Allergy Symptoms
Try these eight ways to treat your allergy symptoms naturally.
Quercetin is a type of flavonoid, a plant pigment with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is found in many foods, such as onions, apples, berries, citrus fruits, grapes, broccoli, green tea, and red wine though you can also take it in supplement form.
Research suggests that quercetin may have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidant effects, immune system support, heart health, and brain health. Try my HistoRelief supplement, which contains quercetin, nettle, vitamin C, and potassium, to help naturally support your histamine levels.
2. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle is a plant native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Despite its name, stinging nettle has a variety of uses and health benefits. Singing nettle, consumed as a tea, treats conditions such as arthritis, allergies, and urinary tract infections.
Stinging nettle contains various nutrients and bioactive compounds, including vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and flavonoids. Plus, it is a natural source of histamine, which can help alleviate allergy symptoms in some people.
3. Local Bee Pollen and Raw Honey
Local honey contains small amounts of pollen from local plants, which can help desensitize the immune system to allergens and reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. One study discovered that patients taking honey “reported a 60 percent lower total symptom score, twice as many asymptomatic days, and 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms.”
Bonus, raw honey also contains enzymes that help boost your immune system.
4. Anti-inflammatory and Low Histamine Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet may help alleviate allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and your risk for allergies and many other health problems. Providing your body with nutrient-dense foods allows your immune system to repair itself, bringing it back to balance to fight common environmental allergies.
A low histamine diet focuses on reducing the intake of foods that are high in histamine or trigger the release of histamine in the body. Many foods recommended on an anti-inflammatory diet, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, are also low in histamine. Additionally, some foods high in histamine, such as processed and packaged foods, are also likely to promote inflammation in the body.
Here are some anti-inflammatory and low-histamine dietary recommendations:
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants
- Choose healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in fresh, fatty fish, chia seeds, and flaxseeds
- Avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and sugar
- Limit dairy
- Use spices and herbs like ginger, turmeric, garlic, and rosemary for their anti-inflammatory properties
- Drink plenty of water
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
- Avoid fermented foods, smoked meats, and aged cheeses
- Avoid or limit citrus fruits, tomatoes, spinach, and chocolate
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is primarily known for its role in bone health, but it may also have a role in reducing allergy symptoms. Some studies have suggested that vitamin D can help modulate the immune system and reduce inflammation, alleviating allergy symptoms.
Increase your vitamin D intake by spending 10-15 minutes in the sun daily or utilize a vitamin D supplement.
A strong immune system starts with a healthy gut because more than 80 percent of your immune function is stored there. So, it’s no wonder that research supports using probiotics to reduce allergies.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are good for your digestive system and boost the immune system. Which, in turn, helps reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. However, many probiotics are high in histamine, so selecting a histamine-degrading probiotic is essential. One of the best probiotics is by Seeking Health, as it contains only strains shown to be histamine-friendly.
7. Nasal Irrigation
Nasal irrigation, or nasal lavage or wash, involves flushing the nasal passages with a saline solution. This can help relieve nasal congestion, reduce inflammation, and alleviate allergy symptoms by removing allergens, irritants, and excess mucus from the nose.
Banish Your Allergies and Reset Your Body
Deep and lasting healing is only possible when the root causes of illness are addressed. Understanding the core systems of the body, how they are related, and how your function can be restored can prevent allergies.
Banishing your allergies with these 7 natural treatment options is a great place to start. But resetting your body for true healing can require further investigation and support to uncover the root cause of your symptoms.
When you work with us, we partner to identify the underlying patterns contributing to your symptoms and devise a plan to provide lasting outcomes. Our revolutionary care model allows you to give your body the care and love it needs to feel like yourself again.
Schedule a new patient consultation today to get started.
Are you still preparing for a consultation? Try our Histamine Reset Online Program to begin healing your body on your time.
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