Food allergies are not much different than seasonal allergies in that something, a trigger, causes mast cells to release histamine and other inflammatory agents. The resulting reaction can be frightening and deadly (in the case of severe allergy - or anaphylaxis). While many of us try to avoid the foods that cause such reactions, we often fail to realize is that you can strengthen your body to defend against the triggers. There are numerous supplements that can help.
Here is a short, basic list of items that when taken regularly, can lessen your chances of experiencing allergic reactions.
Food Allergy Fighting Supplement List:
- Vitamin C is a general, anti-allergy supplement.
- Large doses of quercitin, such as 4 to 6 grams per day, may also be helpful to some allergy patients. We offer quercitin in our Ortho Molecular D-Hist capsules. Each capsule provides 200mg. Quercetin, found in wine and some fruits and vegetables, may work as a mast cell stabilizer (strengthening cell walls and inhibiting the release of histamine). It helps block the release of histamine that causes inflammation. It seems to work well for prevention. Some experts doubt that enough quercetin is absorbed during digestion to have much of an effect. Recent studies have demonstrated that it is absorbed in sufficient amounts to be helpful.
- Bicarbonate preparations are useful as a “quick fix” for food reactions. The pH of the body becomes more acid during an allergic reaction, and these supplements help alkalinize the blood, thus making you feel better. Maintaining an alkaline pH is good. It’s ironic, but citrus fruits seem to be effective in raising pH levels. Don’t consume grapefruit if you are using any drugs. There are many interactions between grapefruit and medicine.
- Butterbur is sometimes called, “the Singulair of the herbal world". It is particularly helpful in relieving headaches (chronic and migraine). I have a colleague that uses it daily and his chronic headaches have diminished by 90%. Butterbur appears to work as a leukotriene inhibitor, which blocks some chemicals that trigger swelling in the nasal passages. Some research shows that extracts of butterbur root are just as effective at relieving nasal symptoms as prescription drugs like Zyrtec and Allegra. Butterbur has the advantage of not causing sleepiness, a common side effect of antihistamines. Look for brands of butterbur supplements that are labeled UPA-free; a certain percentage or milligrams of the compound petasin may also be mentioned. Keep in mind that experts aren’t sure about the safety of using butterbur supplements in the long term.
- Stinging Nettle. Often used as an allergy treatment, this botanical contains carotene, vitamin K, and quercetin. There’s some evidence that using stinging nettle after the first sign of allergic symptoms can help. Be sure to choose extracts of stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) leaf, not the root, which is used to treat prostate troubles. Despite its common use, however, there’s not a lot research backing up stinging nettle’s effectiveness as an allergy remedy.
- Bromelain. Some studies have found that bromelain is helpful in reducing nasal swelling, making it easier for people to breathe. It may be particularly useful when added to drug treatment for sinus infections.
Our D-Hist, by OrthoMolecular, contains Vitamin C, Quercitin, Stinging Nettles Leaf, Bromelain, and N-Acrtyl Cysteine. It is a very good combination. All of the active herbals seem to work synergistically with each other. I would think D-Hist would be a great combination - taking several per day over extended periods of time. While some parts work to relieve symptoms, other pieces (quercetin) may actually be remodeling cells to be less sensitive.