"There are two ways to approach a seasonal allergy, managing symptoms and underlying causes," says Chad Larson, ND, a naturopathic doctor in private practice in Solano Beach, Calif. Stress and sugar inhibit the immune system, and poor gut health — often a result of food sensitivities — creates a predisposition.
Gluten, dairy, soy, corn, and eggs are the most common offenders, but a naturopathic or integrative physician can perform tests to determine the precise cause of your troubles. (See joincyrex.com for test information.)
Probiotic supplements and bromelain, a digestive enzyme, can enhance gut and immune health, especially if you start taking them a month or two before allergy season begins.
Nature's Best Antihistamines
"Mast cells release histamine," says Larson, and too much histamine leads to a runny nose, irritated eyes, or other manifestations. To stabilize mast cells and reduce symptoms, take these, three times daily:
- Vitamin C: 500-1,000 mg. A buffered or ester C is easier on the stomach, but any form will work. Children can take ⅛-¼ of this amount. If you experience loose bowels, take less.
- Quercetin: 300 mg
- Nettle Leaf: 400 mg
For eye irritation: Take a tincture of eyebright, a full dropper mixed in 1-2 ounces of water.
More Supplements to Try
NAC (N-acetyl cysteine), a form of the amino acid cysteine, increases our internal production of antioxidant glutathione and helps balance the immune system. Take 50-100 mg, three times daily.
In addition, curcumin enhances immune function and other aspects of health, and can be taken year-round. Or, says Larson, "Start taking it a month before allergy season." For more info see A New Way to Look at Turmeric.