When it comes to allergies, spring can be a daunting time of year. I know firsthand, as I’ve been battle tested both personally and professionally by them. Ultimately, for many, the personal sacrifices and dietary and lifestyle changes required to best this menacing adversary longterm prove far too difficult and demanding.
My experiences with allergies started as a young boy: I had allergy-induced bronchial asthma that lasted through my teen years, hay fever in spring and a severe allergy to cats. That’s on top of life’s regular growing pains.
It got worse as I got older: I suffered for years because family gatherings were mostly at my cat-loving sister’s house. Benadryl was always waiting for me at the door.
That’s when I resolved to get a handle on the problem: it was a difficult road and took an entire year of effort, but, for a decade now, I have been completely allergy-free. My sister still looks on in amazement as I sit in her living room with the family cat on my lap—symptom-free without medicine.
Beating allergies is possible. I’m living proof. Here is how:
First, it is important to understand that a multi-pronged, tailored approach is required. So, please be patient and trust the process.
What Causes Allergies?
Before we dive headfirst into allergens, here's a crash course on what actually happens inside the body when an allergy attack strikes: Let's use pollen and ragweed for example. If you look closely at these under a microscope, you'll see why they are so troublesome. They resemble marbles with spikes. When inhaled, these prickly intruders embed themselves into our protective mucous membranes and cause irritation. Our body uses a built-in mechanism to respond to this inflammatory irritant! That’s when the allergies kick in.
Within our protective mucous membrane is an army of specialized immune cells called MAST cells, which come heavily armed with the histamine that gets such a bad rap. Actually, histamine is not the enemy. It helps dilate the capillaries, increases local swelling and attracts other inflammatory cells to the site of release. Yes, it is the cause of the unpleasantness, but it is there because there is an underlying imbalance and, if the histamine is blocked, the invader has carte blanche to do whatever it sees fit. The resulting symptoms, though unpleasant, enable the body's immune cells to target the area and properly respond to the allergen.
Treating The Symptoms
Pharmaceutical anti-histamines and cortisone shots (please say no!) may provide momentary relief, but ultimately only mask the underlying issue. This potentially causes the imbalance to travel deeper within the body, making matters worse in the long run. Luckily, I have compiled a list of quality natural alternatives that may help provide symptomatic relief and prove helpful in mitigating an attack:
- Aller-leaf by Gaia Herbs
- Immune Defense by Herb Pharm
- Pollen Defense Compound by Herb Pharm
- Natural D-Hist by Ortho Molecular Products
- Seasonal Clear by Priority One
- Thieves Essential Oil or Throat Spray by Young Living
Therapeutic Herbs and nutrients of proven benefit include echinacea, goldenseal, elderflowers, stinging nettle, marshmallow root, astragalus, quercetin, vitamin C, probiotics, fish oil and parsley.
As you can see, there is no shortage of quality natural alternatives out there!
Research and some trial and error testing will be required, as is always the case with natural remedies. Please be patient and listen to your body. It will not lie to you.
Still, these supplements may provide temporary symptomatic relief, but, in my experience, no single supplement, nutrient, herb or combination of products will permanently eliminate the underlying cause. That’s a different issue. In fact, there is no guarantee that the above supplements will help each individual in every case at all, given our uniquely individual needs and complexities.
Some Underlying Causes
That being said, I would like to raise awareness about some interesting common denominators I have noticed over the last decade when it comes to allergies. I have not seen many cases of allergies without the presence of the following two deeper imbalances, which must be addressed in order to achieve longterm health:
- Systemic toxicity and sluggishness
- Auto-immune hyperactivity
When I say “systemic toxicity,” I mean a great many things, but, for simplicity's sake, I’m talking about moving the bowels regularly. In order to ensure that the body can rid itself of the allergens accumulated over a lifetime of exposure, the entire alimentary tract must be in optimal working order. Thus, including a bowel cleansing component to any allergy relief protocol is critical.
Another factor is the issue of immune hyper-reactivity. Once this mechanism gets started, it becomes quite difficult to override. Current research and empirical evidence suggests a quite convincing link between allergies and autoimmunity.
This hypersensitivity will continue indefinitely—often disappearing on its own only to return in the future or manifesting in the form of other conditions—unless we clean the body and nourish and strengthen the immunological response.
The truth is that your fight is not with histamine, it is with yourself and the current state of your body. Blocking histamine only overrides our body's natural response mechanism and enables the allergen to delve deeper into the body, creating further disharmony and never alleviating the true issue at hand.
Handling The Real Issue
If you want to stop managing symptoms and get serious about fixing the underlying issue, a multi-pronged approach, wrapped in layers of patience, is a must. Diet, exercise, supplementation, cleansing and more will be needed.
This is not an easy fight and, I can assure you, it will involve great personal inconvenience, sacrifice and unfortunately, at times, some suffering. I say this in no way to discourage, but to prepare you with the unadulterated truth about this journey.
I have seen more times than I can count what happens when a person is suffering from allergies: hasty decisions are made, quick fixes chosen. Ultimately, that just means more suffering down the line. I know because I once relied on such solutions.
If you are currently suffering from allergies, please carefully consider the above. The supplements I have listed are the best quality and greatly assist in providing symptomatic relief, but eliminating an allergy for good is a long journey of self-exploration, discovery and dedication. It is possible! It's just a process!
Keep an eye out for my next article, which will delve deeper into cleansing out the underlying organ systems, which helps to provide longterm relief during allergy season and beyond.