The MOST Important Allergy ‘Treatment’ You Need to Pay Attention to
While I believe you certainly need to address your diet and could try any of the alternative strategies listed above, if you have asthma, optimizing your vitamin D levels is absolutely crucial. In fact, research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be a primary underlying cause of asthma. This means that many are needlessly suffering with a potentially life threatening ailment, since vitamin D deficiency is easily remedied.
Ideally, you’ll want to get your vitamin D from safe sun exposure. Beware that using sunscreen when outdoors effectively shields your skin from making any vitamin D. Another alternative is using a safe tanning bed, or if neither of those options are available, an oral vitamin D3 supplement. If you opt for a vitamin D supplement you also need to boost your vitamin K2. For more information on this, please see this previous article.
Whichever way you go, make sure to check your vitamin D levels to make sure you’re within the therapeutic levels of 50-70 ng/ml. If you get your levels to about 60 ng/ml there’s a strong likelihood — especially if you combine it with exercise and balancing out your omega-3 and omega-6 fats as described below — that you will not experience asthma anymore.
Additional Safe and Effective Strategies to Treat Allergies and Asthma
As already mentioned, addressing your diet and optimizing both your gut health and vitamin D levels should be at the top of your list if you’re suffering from allergies and/or asthma. Here are a few other basic strategies that can help treat the root of the problem as well.
- Increase your intake of animal-based omega-3 fats – I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting sufficient amounts of high-quality animal-based omega-3 fats in your diet. The fats DHA and EPA found in fish oil and krill oil are potent anti-inflammatories.
According to Mother Earth News, a German study published in the journal Allergy found people who have diets rich in of omega-3 fatty acids suffer from fewer allergy symptoms. A second study in Sweden found that children who regularly ate fish prior to age one had much lower allergies by age four. My favorite sources of omega-3 fatty acids are grass fed meat and eggs, and krill oil. (Fish has become too contaminated to rely on as a staple.)
- Reduce your intake of omega-6 fats – In addition to adding omega-3 fats to your diet, you also want to reduce the amount of omega-6 fats you consume because the ratio between these two fats is very important. If you eat processed foods daily, the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats will become distorted, which can cause the type of inflammation that leads to asthma.
- Fermented vegetables and/or probiotics – In a 2008 study, researchers discovered that people who took probiotics throughout allergy season had lower levels of an antibody that triggered allergy symptoms. They also had higher levels of a different antibody (IgG), thought to play a protective role against allergic reactions. Other researchers found evidence that giving probiotics to newborns and mothers-to-be may help prevent childhood allergies.
- Avoid pasteurized milk products, which are notorious for increasing phlegm and making asthma worse.
- Get regular exercise – Exercise (especially out in fresh air if you’re an asthmatic) is actually crucial, as it helps to moderate insulin levels.
Below are several other foods and herbs you might want to try:
- Hot peppers: Hot chili peppers, horseradish, and hot mustards work as natural decongestants. In fact, a nasal spray containing capsaicin (derived from hot peppers) significantly reduced nasal allergy symptoms in a 2009 study.
- Quercetin: Quercetin is an antioxidant that belongs to a class of water-soluble plant substances called flavonoids. Although research is sketchy, many believe quercetin-rich foods (such as apples, berries, red grapes, red onions, capers and black tea) prevent histamine release—so they are “natural antihistamines.” Quercetin is also available in supplement form-—a typical dose for hay fever is between 200 and 400 mg per day.
- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus): Another natural antihistamine, this herb has been used since ancient times to treat a variety of conditions. As far back as the 17th century, butterbur was used to treat coughs, asthma, and skin wounds. Researchers have since identified the compounds in butterbur that help reduce symptoms in asthma by inhibiting leukotrienes and histamines, which are responsible for symptom aggravation in asthma. In a German study, 40 percent of patients taking butterbur root extract were able to reduce their intake of traditional asthma medications. A British study found butterbur as effective as the drug Zyrtec.
A word of caution is needed, however. Butterbur is a member of the ragweed family, so if you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, daisy, or chrysanthemum, you should not use butterbur. Also, the RAW herb should not be used because it contains substances called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can be toxic to the liver and kidneys and may cause cancer. Commercial butterbur products have had a lot of these alkaloids removed.
- Goldenseal(Hydrastis canadensis): Goldenseal may be helpful for seasonal allergies. Laboratory studies suggest that berberine, the active ingredient in goldenseal, has antibacterial and immune-enhancing properties.
- Eucalyptus oil: This pure essential oil can be healing to mucus membranes. You can apply a drop on a cotton ball and sniff it several times a day, add a few drops to water (or to a nebulizer, if you own one) for a steam treatment, or use a few drops in your bath water.
Info courtesy of mercola.com
– Dr. Leif Olson