If you suffer from allergies, you may have noticed some nasty symptoms this time of year. We normally think of hay fever and other seasonal allergies in the Spring. While Spring is probably the worst time of year for allergies, the Fall has its own set of allergens as well. Most doctors will tell you to try Sudafed 24-Hour, Singulair, or some other allergy drug. Even many integrative physicians will recommend these drugs. That's because they do work, especially for immediate relief.
Back in 2007, a study showed that the over-the-counter Sudafed worked just as well as the more expensive Singular. If you need to use drugs, using Sudafed could bring just as much relief from hay fever as the prescription Singular. Singular typically costs nearly three-times as much as the Sudafed.
As good as these drugs are, they just treat symptoms. They don't solve your allergy problem. And many people don't tolerate it well. So if drugs aren't the way you want to go, or if you don't tolerate them well, there are some nutrients that work extremely well for a lot of people. Most people can tolerate them just fine. And they can fix your allergy problem over time, rather than just treating the symptoms.
The best way to boost your resistance to seasonal allergies is to improve your nutrient intake. On top of a good diet, start with a multivitamin like Healthy Resolve to ensure that you get vitamin A (15,000 IU), selenium (200 mcg), zinc (15 mg), vitamin B6 (100 mg), and vitamin E (400 IU) every day for immune support.
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In addition to basic immune support, the selenium, zinc, and vitamin A help protect mucous membranes, which usually become inflamed during allergic reactions. These membranes provide our frontline defense against allergens, microbes, and pollution. If you don't protect these membranes, they can become more vulnerable to allergic reactions.
But what about immediate relief? When you're having an allergic reaction, are there nutrients that can help fight the acute reaction? The answer is yes! For quick relief, vitamin C helps. So do flavonoids like Pycnogenol and quercetin. They won't make you drowsy. And they work great.
Vitamin C lowers levels of histamine in the body, so high doses can work very quickly. In one study, people who had either low vitamin C levels or elevated blood histamine levels took one gram (1,000 mg) of vitamin C daily for three days. Blood histamine levels dropped in every individual. In another study, vitamin C decreased hay fever symptoms in three out of four patients.
Quercetin is one of the most powerful natural antihistamines we know. In many studies, quercetin effectively stopped allergic reactions by inhibiting the release of histamine from mast cells. But quercetin works even better in preventing allergies. You should start taking it before the allergy season begins and continue it through the season. You'll need to take 500 mg of quercetin daily.
Together with vitamin C and quercetin, start taking N-acetyl cysteine or NAC. NAC neutralizes free radicals and it soothes inflamed lungs and nasal passages. The usual dosage is 400 mg three times a day. You can find any of these nutrients at your local health food store and online.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Archives of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, February 2006.