Pollen is everywhere during the summer months, which means that allergens get extremely difficult to avoid. Thankfully there are vitamins for allergy relief that can help to relieve some symptoms naturally.
What Are Allergies?
An estimated 21 million adults in the UK suffer from at least one allergy, with numbers continuing to rise year on year! Allergies are caused by an exaggerated immune response to substances that aren’t actually harmful to the body such as pollen, mould and dust. Both genetic and environmental factors play a role in this over sensitive immune response that causes itching, swelling skin irritation/rashes, coughing, runny noses and muscle spasms.
How To Treat Symptoms?
Avoiding the allergen itself is the best way to avoid symptoms however this can be incredibly difficult if the allergen is something like dust or pollen which you are inevitably going to come across in your daily life. If you go and visit your doctor, they will probably prescribe you an antihistamine tablet (these can also be purchased over the counter). They can be taken as tablets, in a liquid form, a nasal spray, or eye drops depending on the allergy and associated symptoms.
Antihistamines work by blocking histamine, a substance which is released by the immune system cells, which then attaches to the receptors in blood vessels, causing them to enlarge. Histamine also binds to other receptors causing other symptoms such as redness, swelling and itching. By blocking histamine and keeping it from binding to receptors, antihistamines prevent these symptoms.
While antihistamines can be effective at treating the symptoms of mild and seasonal allergies in particular, there are a number of potential side effects or issues associated with taking them. They can cause you to feel drowsy and cloud the thinking, but more significantly they do not stop the problem from happening in the first place, they just mask the symptoms.
There is, however, a natural alternative in the form of vitamins for allergy relief.
Vitamins For Allergy Relief
Traditional western medicine and alternative health practitioners agreeing that nature’s top edible antihistamines are found in foods. The top two recommended vitamins for allergy relief are found in foods like fish and citrus fruits.
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Vitamin C is considered as a natural antihistamine. It works by destroying the molecular structure of histamine, thereby decreasing the amount of histamine in the blood.
It has also been suggested that taking bioflavonoids alongside Vitamin C actually enhances the action of this vitamin which means that allergy relief symptoms will be even greater. Bioflavonoids can be added to a supplement form of Vitamin C and are also found in rose hips.
The absorption of Vitamin C is highly dependent on the amount ingested therefore it is recommended that more than 500mg per day is taken. For anyone who doesn’t like to table tablets, there are also chewable tablets and powder available.
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As an essential fatty acid, Omega 3 has anti-inflammatory effects. Natural anti-inflammatories, like Omega 3, are believed to reduce immune responses associated with allergies.
It is thought that Omega 6 is less helpful in controlling allergic symptoms. That’s because it can encourage the production of arachadonic acid, which led to your immune system reacting with allergic inflammation. So a diet low in Omega 6 but high in Omega 3 is recommended.
A supplement, like Cod Liver Oil, is a more convenient (and potentially less smelly) way of increasing Omega 3 intake whilst avoiding increasing Omega 6 intake. As a vegan-friendly alternative, Algae Oil is a great source of Omega 3.
- Cathcart, R. F. (1986). The vitamin C treatment of allergy and the normally unprimedstate of antibodies. Medical Hypotheses 21(3) 307-321.
- Kompauer,I., Heinrich, J., Wolfram, G., & Linseisen, J. (2007). Association of carotenoids, tocopherols and vitamin C in plasma with allergic rhinitis and allergic sensitisation inadults. Public Health Nutrition 9 (4) 472-479.
- Willers,S. M., Wijga, A. H., Brunekreef, B., Scholtens, S. (2010). Childhood diet and asthma and atopy at 8 years of age: the PIAMA birth cohort study. European Respiratory Journal, 37 (5) 1060-1067.