Hay fever, or seasonal allergic rhinitis as it is officially known, is a common immune reaction to pollen, with typical symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, an itchy runny nose and even fatigue when sufferers come into contact with the allergy trigger. It is now the most common allergy in Western countries, affecting an estimated 20% of the population in Britain and statistics show that it has been on the rise worldwide for the past two decades - all the more reason to be armed with effective natural strategies.
Hay fever – 10 Steps to Symptom Relief
1. Plant Sterols - best known for cholesterol-balance, yet recently interest has shifted to their immune-balancing properties. Many people report that plant sterols are an effective natural relief for hay fever symptoms.
2. Omega 3 – the benefits of omega 3 are seemingly endless. Skin, heart, cognitive and joint health can all benefit from adding these beneficial fats to your diet; and they have also been found to help keep inflammation in check. You need to start early with omega 3 supplementation though, to notice a difference in hay fever season. It can take up to 3 months for omega 3s to take effect.
3. Vitamin C & Bioflavanoids – Much research has shown that select flavanoids possess anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and antioxidant activities. Both vitamin C & bioflavanoids are key nutrients to consider for hay fever support as they have been shown to inhibit histamine release. You may need to take up to 3g daily for beneficial effects.
4. Quercetin helps to balance histamine levels, has potent antioxidant activity and may help to potentiate the actions of vitamin C.
5. Bromelain supports healthy nasal and respiratory airways, may help to increase absorption of quercetin and supports balanced inflammation responses and histamine processes.
6. CoQ10 - Althoughmore commonly associated with energy production and antioxidant support, CoQ10 is also involved in balancing immune function and may help to inhibit the release of histamine.
7. Adrenal support – The amino acid methionine, in combination with calcium, vitamin B6, zinc and selenium may help to reduce histamine and strengthen the immune system.
8.. Many hay fever sufferers find relief from switching to a diet low in wheat, dairy and sugar to support optimal immune function.
9. Thousands of people swear by the fact that a spoonful of local honey daily, preferably starting well before the pollen season, has transformed their lives as far as hay fever is concerned. There’s no real evidence either way but for some people it really does seem to work. The principle behind it is desensitisation – the pollen that bees collect is the heavy-grained variety that doesn’t cause problems and appears to work well as an effective anti-allergen.
10. Avoid traffic fumes as much as possible – Incidences of hay fever have risen dramatically in cities, compared to rural areas. Although allergic reactions to pollen are identified as the main cause of hay fever, some researchers have suggested that pollutants such as exhaust fumes may actually prime the immune system to react. It is therefore recommended that hay fever sufferers avoid exposure to pollutants such as exhaust fumes as much as possible.