This is my first post featuring one of the many issues I used to suffer with.
The frequent use of antibiotics in my adolescence, the sleepless nights, alcohol consumption, smoking, taking the pill, and many years of unhealthy food choices during my twenties all contributed to the range of issues I developed in my late twenties and early thirties! Hay fever was one of them…
Hay fever was one of them (amongst many other issues!)
Sadly, hay fever is on the rise and since it is so relevant for this time of the year, I am super excited to share my anti-hay fever gun with you!
In a nutshell, hay fever is an allergy attack because the immune system is a bit too eager in protecting us. I am sure you are wondering why some people get it and others don’t?
There are several reasons, actually! Finding the root causes of this condition is not all short and sweet…I believe we need to look around these:
Global Warming: the rising CO2 levels encourage certain trees to produce more pollen, the higher temperature results in longer springs and so it prolongs the allergy season, and the increase in floods creates more mould spores in the air.
Gut Microbiome: the gut microbiome is thought to play a big part in how our immune system develops and functions. This is because 70% of our immune cells, believe it or not, live in the gut! The gut favours and happily hosts wider ranges of species! The more strains are the merrier. What factors affect the composition of the gut microbiome?
Delivery method: vaginal birth and breastfed babies get the mother’s beneficial bacteria, however, if the mother also suffered from allergies then the baby will be more prone to it.
Antibiotics usage: frequent usage of antibiotics is unfavourable, especially in the first two years of life. It can completely wipe out the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Nutrition and Lifestyle factors: consider the histamine load from food choices. Sleep disturbance, lack of exercise and poor stress management are contributing to poor gut health.
Lung Microbiome: recent researches have confirmed that the lungs also house bacteria but the lungs prefer a small audience, in contrast with the gut.
Hygiene Hypothesis: lack of exposure to microbes in early life may negatively affect the immune defences.
Leaky Gut: leaky gut is very common these days. It suggests potential food allergies that might contribute to hay fever. Hold on Anita…I am not sure what leaky gut is? Between the gut wall and the bloodstream, there is a meshy structure with tiny holes in them, forming a protective barrier. This barrier decides what particles should get to the bloodstream to be absorbed. When this structure gets damaged, the holes widen and bigger particles may leak into the bloodstream. Poor nutrition, alcohol consumption, stress, infections, pollution and so on may cause the widening of the holes. This is NOT NORMAL and will cause diseases!
Sensitization: when we are exposed to an allergen, the allergen can go two ways depending on how the immune cells, namely, the T cells differentiate. One way leads to the production of IgG antibodies which have a protective function. On this journey, the allergen is immobilized and destroyed without causing a reaction.The other way leads to the production of IgE antibodies where the allergens bind to mast cells (a type of immune cell that releases histamine) priming the body to recognise the allergen the next time. This is called sensitization and results in an allergic reaction. Research is not conclusive as to why some people are sensitized and others are not.
Genetics: recent researches found a total of 141 genes that may cause hay fever, asthma, and eczema. These three conditions are highly connected, and in many cases, one will suffer from all three! Children whose parents suffer have a high chance of suffering too.
THE MEDICAL SOLUTION: The main and first-line orthodox treatment is the ANTIHISTAMINE pill. If this does not work, you are advised to avoid the allergen, go for immunotherapy and/or surgery. Popping these pills daily is pretty normal for many people. But, antihistamine is a drug, and so it has been linked to a whole range of new side effects and/or medical conditions. It is really just covering up the symptoms instead of looking at the root cause. Besides all the unwanted side effects (which I won’t list here), I recently learnt from an animal study that antihistamine users experienced a more violent reaction to each subsequent flare up from the previous one.
What really happens in the body during a flare-up?I HEAR YOU ASK…
There are two phases to the reaction. The early one which comes about within 30 minutes after being exposed to the allergen. This is due to the production of IgE antibodies, stimulating sneezing, watery nasal discharge, and watery eyes. The late reaction is more severe. The nasal and sinus area become inflamed and congested as the inflammatory agents are released to “fight off” the allergen. Headaches, sinusitis, and ear pain are all common symptoms. In time, chronic allergic inflammation becomes the norm!
Chronic Allergic Inflammation is a problem because it leads to tissue alterations in the body as well as systemic inflammation and so joint pain and fatigue are on the cards too!
WHAT FOODS YOU SHOULD BE EATING? Foods that are both reduce inflammation and dampens the histamine madness!
Let me be completely honest with you friends …this is so fricking complicated!
Foods that are over-ripen, processed, aged, and fermented are high in histamine.
Sadly, some otherwise very beneficial fruits and veggies are naturally high in histamine. That is just right confusing and annoying! That is why I think it is super needed to supplement extra to reduce the histamine production so you can still enjoy the beneficial health effects of fruits and veggies!
And this is how I manage mine with a pretty good success!
MY FOOD CHOICES
I Reduce, Avoid or Eliminate these guys as they are high histamine:
Over-ripened fruits and veggies
Pre-prepared salads and veggies
Canned and tinned products such as fish and legumes
Anything on the shelves with artificial colourings and preservatives
I do eat my mum’s homemade cakes every 3 months though:) Thank you MUM!
I Go crazy with these friends as they are nature’s antihistamines:
Garlic, Onion, Leek, and Asparagus: incorporate them in side dishes
Dill, Fennel, and Oregano: perfect in salads
Apple and Ginger: juice them
Chilli, horseradish, pepper, and thyme: they all contain capsaicin that acts as a natural decongestant
MY TOP 5 SUPPLEMENTS
each of these act as natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory remedies. They relieve the nasal inflammation and joint pain associated with allergic inflammation!
Isn’t that AMAZING? I hear you say YASSS!
Vitamin C: besides supporting a strong immune system, studies have shown that low Vitamin C levels are linked to high histamine levels in the blood. After supplementation, the histamine levels have decreased. It is also a powerful antioxidant. Inflammation always cause oxidation in the body and so antioxidants are very welcome! High doses of 3,000-5,000mg needed for the desired effect. My preferred brands are Altrient Liposomal Vitamin C and Neutrient Buffered Total C. The combination of these two babies are doing some much magic for my health!
Quercetin Complex: I have tried a couple of different brands over the years. Each complex uses a different blend of ingredients. TerraNova Quercetin Complex works wonders for me! Because of the high Quercetin content per capsule, you only need 2 capsules daily. This complex is blended with Nettle, Turmeric, and Elderflower. So you got extra anti-inflammatory support as well!
MSM (methylsulfonylmethane): a sulfur-containing organic compound that is mostly known for relieving joint and muscle pain. But that’s not all! It significantly reduces nasal congestion, supports leaky gut and detoxification. I have 3g daily in 3 divided doses. Initially, you may experience loose stools and feeling increased alertness so make sure you don’t take your last dose later than 5 pm. I use VegaVero MSM Powder from Amazon.
Probiotics: certain strains of bacteria produce more histidine decarboxylase than others. Histidine decarboxylase (an enzyme) converts histidine (an amino acid) to histamine. If you have too many of these colonies in the colon, the higher the histamine in the gut! ProBiota HistaminX from Seeking Healh developed this blend which excludes those strains of bacteria that increased histamine production. This is the only probiotics I take! Anyone with hay fever suspected SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and histamine intolerance need to be careful with the choice of probiotics.
Aromatherapy: Having an air humidifier in the house with a quality essential oil such as doTERRA Air makes all the difference! Cleanses the airways so well!
Thank you for reading!