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  • Writer's pictureDr. Michele Black

Keep Seasonal Allergies at Bay with Naturopathic Medicine



Seasonal allergies got you hiding indoors?


Seasonal allergies often start with the onset of spring and for some unfortunate folks last though the summer months and into fall. The culprits range from pollen to grasses and even mold in those rainy fall months. These normally innocuous airborne particles can cause itchy watery eyes, plugged sinuses, constantly dripping noses and worse yet, brain fog and fatigue (1). It’s difficult to enjoy the beauty of the seasons while hiding indoors. Although, over the counter and prescription antihistamines may be effective short term, some antihistamines especially those using diphenhydramine have serious repercussions such as a risk of dementia with long term use (2). Naturopathic medicine offers some easy solutions to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms without relying on antihistamine medications.


Naturopathic Solutions


Naturopathic medicine offers a multifaceted functional approach to tackling seasonal allergies. First, look to the root cause of those itchy, stuffy symptoms - mast cell destabilization caused by histamine release. Mast cells release allergic mediators that cause those seasonal allergy symptoms. There are many options in naturopathic medicine for stabilizing mast cells provided by the healing power of nature. Naturopathic medicine has a rich history of using herbal medicine and nutraceuticals to provide relief for allergy symptoms as well as investigating deeper through functional testing to find irritants which may be putting the immune system out of balance.

 

Functional Healing


The plant kingdom has been the source of many powerful medicines for thousands of years. Even pharmaceutical drugs such as aspirin are derived from plant medicines(3,4). Plant phytochemicals can also be used to stabilize mast cells to alleviate allergy symptoms. Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) has a high concentration of mast cell stabilizing and antioxidant phytochemicals such as quercetin and apigenin. These phytochemicals help allergic rhinitis and itchy watery eye symptoms (5,6). Naturopathic physicians may utilize these herbal remedies in conjunction with nutraceuticals such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E to help stabilize mast cells and relieve allergy symptoms (7). Additionally, research shows that probiotic supplementation can not only alleviate, but also prevent allergic rhinitis, atopic disorders such as eczema, as well as food related allergies (8,9,10).


Additionally, heavy metal toxification and household mold exposure may increase the reactivity of the immune system causing exacerbation of allergy symptoms (11,12,13,14). Naturopathic medicine offers a multitude of functional testing and methods of mold and heavy metal detoxification which may help alleviate symptoms in acute and chronic allergy sufferers.  


For further information on how naturopathic medicine can help you with your allergy symptoms, contact Parksville Naturopathic Clinic today.


By Dr. Michele Black, ND


 

References:  

1.     Leung AK, Hon KL. Seasonal allergic rhinitis. Recent Pat Inflamm Allergy Drug Discov. 2013 Sep;7(3):187-201. doi: 10.2174/1872213x113079990022. PMID: 23829414.

2.     Wong HCG. Long-term use of diphenhydramine. CMAJ. 2015;187(14):1078. doi:10.1503/ cmaj.1150066  

3.     Jack DB. One hundred years of aspirin. Lancet. 1997 Aug 9;350(9075):437-9. doi: 10.1016/ S0140-6736(97)07087-6. PMID: 9259670.

4.     The Aspirin Story: Retrieved June 7, 2022: https://www.aspirin-foundation.com/history/theaspirin-story/  

5.     Finn DF, Walsh JJ. Twenty-first century mast cell stabilizers. Br J Pharmacol.

2013;170(1):23-37. doi:10.1111/bph.12138  

6.     Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, McMichael M, Alberte RS. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2763. PMID: 19140159.  

7.     Anogeianaki A, Castellani ML, Tripodi D, Toniato E, De Lutiis MA, Conti F, Felaco P, Fulcheri

M, Theoharides TC, Galzio R, Caraffa A, Antinolfi P, Cuccurullo C, Ciampoli C, Felaco M, Cerulli G, Pandolfi F, Sabatino G, Neri G, Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb YB. Vitamins and mast cells. Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2010 Oct-Dec;23(4):991-6. doi: 10.1177/039463201002300403. PMID: 21244748.  

8.     Prakash S, Tomaro-Duchesneau C, Saha S, Rodes L, Kahouli I, Malhotra M. Probiotics for the prevention and treatment of allergies, with an emphasis on mode of delivery and mechanism of action. Curr Pharm Des. 2014;20(6):1025-37. doi: 10.2174/138161282006140220145154. PMID: 23701572.  

9.     Furrie E. Probiotics and allergy. Proc Nutr Soc. 2005 Nov;64(4):465-9. doi: 10.1079/ pns2005466. PMID: 16313688.

10.  Lopez-Santamarina A, Gonzalez EG, Lamas A, Mondragon ADC, Regal P, Miranda JM. Probiotics as a Possible Strategy for the Prevention and Treatment of Allergies. A Narrative

Review. Foods. 2021 Mar 25;10(4):701. doi: 10.3390/foods10040701. PMID: 33806092; PMCID: PMC8064452.  

11.  Wang, J., Yin, J., Hong, X. et al. Exposure to Heavy Metals and Allergic Outcomes in Children: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Biol Trace Elem Res (2022). https:// doi.org/10.1007/s12011-021-03070-w  

12.  Park S, Lee EH, Kho Y. The association of asthma, total IgE, and blood lead and cadmium levels. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Dec;138(6):1701-1703.e6. doi: 10.1016/ j.jaci.2016.04.030. Epub 2016 Jun 4. PMID: 27394912.  

13.  Wells EM, Bonfield TL, Dearborn DG, Jackson LW. The relationship of blood lead with immunoglobulin E, eosinophils, and asthma among children: NHANES 2005-2006. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2014 Mar;217(2-3):196-204. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.04.010. Epub 2013 May 9. PMID: 23726529.  

14.  Edmondson DA, Nordness ME, Zacharisen MC, Kurup VP, Fink JN. Allergy and "toxic mold syndrome". Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2005 Feb;94(2):234-9. doi: 10.1016/ S1081-1206(10)61301-4. PMID: 15765738.

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