Along with Vitamin C, its supportive bioflavonoids could be added. Many have anti-inflammatory and antiallergy affects. Quercetin is a particular one that has been shown in research to reduce histamine levels and allergy symptoms. My experience with myself and many patients is very favorable. An amount of 250–600 mg. daily in several doses is needed for the effect. Quercezyme Plus, a product by Enzymatic Therapy, is one I particularly like.
In addition to these above mentioned nutrients, other B vitamins are also helpful. Folic acid, B6, and B12 all support antibody formation. The pyridoxal-5-phosphate form of vitamin B6 may be particularly helpful in the allergic patient. It has an apparent anti-inflammatory effect, and as the active metabolite of pyridoxine, it works more directly. It is possible that allergy patients do not phosphorylate pyridoxine very easily. Repeated, small doses of niacin (10–50 mg.) will cause release of histamine and may contribute to increased allergy symptoms initially. Regular niacin flushes, though, will within days reduce stores of histamine, which may then help lessen allergic symptoms; then, continued niacin use will maintain those lower levels of histamine and allergy symptoms.
Vitamin A, about 20,000 IUs per day, and zinc, 50–100 mg., are both helpful in alleviating allergy symptoms and in preventing infections. They also help to heal the gastrointestinal mucosa, along with vitamin C, and they improve or normalize the antibody response to antigens, which is often "out of whack" in people with allergies. Other minerals besides zinc, particularly manganese, may also be useful. Magnesium, selenium and chromium are also frequently beneficial.
The fat-soluble nutrients are also needed. Vitamin E, about 800 IUs per day, is a helpful protectant of membranes. Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) from evening primrose oil, borage, or black currant seeds, is being found to be an effective nutrient in the reduction of allergic symptoms. This is probably due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the Series 1 and 3 prostaglandins that are formed from GLA. Six to eight capsules daily (200–400 mg. total GLA), divided into several portions, are usually effective. Other anti-inflammatory nutrients include EPA, vitamins A, B5, B6, and C, bioflavonoids, zinc, and the enzyme bromelain. The antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, vitamin C, and dimethylglycine, may also help with inflammation and immune support.
L-amino acids can also be helpful by stabilizing energy levels and supporting immune components and functions. As mentioned earlier, people with allergies often have poor digestion, particularly for proteins; L-amino acids are a simple, quick way to obtain these building blocks. Digestive support is also very useful in allergic patients. Better breakdown, assimilation, and metabolism of foods reduces allergic components and irritations in the gastrointestinal tract and has often been seen to reduce symptoms as well. Taking hydrochloric acid tablets with meals, followed by digestive enzymes after eating, is a good beginning plan; of course, for anyone with hyperacidity, ulcer symptoms or other abdominal pains, this is not recommended. Many formulas, such as Zypan, made by Standard Process Labs, combine both digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid in one tablet. When such formulas are used, usually two or three tablets (depending on meal size) can be taken just after meals (especially after meals that contain high amounts of proteins and fats).
Additional fiber can provide mild colon detoxification. Supplemental psyllium and bran can be added to a good high-fiber diet. Garlic in the diet can also help with detoxification, as can the supplement sodium alginate, which lessens possible heavy metal toxicity. Betonite clay (montmorillonite) is a strong absorbent that binds chemicals, metals and other impurities in the gut. It also, as do most of the fiber molecules, has the potential to bind minerals such as calcium and zinc.
A recently formulated physiological sulfur, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the mucous membranes. Thus, it may be helpful for both food allergies (by helping to heal the gut) and for inhalant allergies. It also may be a useful nutrient for those with arthritis. MSM is a naturally occurring sulfur metabolite in human tissues and is present in high amounts in breast milk. A beginning amount is one 500 mg. capsule daily, going up to three or four capsules daily.
Other possibly helpful supplements, especially in the acutely allergic patient, include organic germanium (Ge-132) and possibly Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), as per the experience of many practitioners, including Lester Rose, M.D., of San Jose, California. Dr. Rose has recommended for allergies, as well as for chronic candidiasis and chronic Epstein-Barr syndrome, a combination of Ge-132 (600 mg. daily tapering to 150 mg. over three weeks), CoQ10 (60 mg. twice daily), SOD (3 tablets upon arising), and a multiple without iron.
Many people also try a glandular supplement approach in treating allergies. Adrenal is often the first choice to support the body’s ability to handle stress and allergies. Thymus gland tablets may help strengthen cell-mediated immunity, though this is not well proven. Liver extracts are also used sometimes. Another approach is to conduct a general evaluation of organ strengths and weaknesses and then to use particular glandulars to create the proper balance. If glands or extracts of glands are chosen, they should be free of pesticides, herbicides, and other agricultural chemicals as well as free of viruses.
Many herbs are commonly used in the treatment of allergies, to strengthen the immune system and lungs, to promote detoxification, and to reduce inflammation and histamine-mediated allergy symptoms. A good herbal allergy formula consists of ephedra, echinacea, wild cherry bark, white willow bark, mullein leaves, cayenne pepper, and garlic. Ephedra (ma huang) and echinacea are often used together. Ephedra causes vasoconstriction, echinacea improves the white blood cell response, and both have been shown to lower IgE levels. Wild cherry bark, coltsfoot leaf, and mullein leaves are lung-strengthening herbs; white willow bark is an anti-inflammatory; cayenne supports circulation; and garlic assists in detoxification.
Some other lung-strengthening herbs include pleurisy root, horehound, and licorice root. Licorice also supports the adrenals and soothes the digestive tract. Other soothing herbs include slippery elm bark and marshmallow root. Comfrey root, which contains the tissue-supporting nutrient allantoin, is useful for helping to heal the intestinal lining.
Some people have reported experiencing a reduction of local hay fever and pollen-allergy symptoms by the use of small amounts of bee pollen. Eating one to three grains at first and increasing the number of grains slowly over a period of a few weeks seems to have benefited some pollen allergy sufferers. I do not recommend this, however, because the types of pollens present may vary, and some may cause a temporary worsening of symptoms.
Herbal Allergy Formula
|Wild cherry bark||White willow bark|
|Mullein leaves||Cayenne pepper|
Mix equal amounts into "00" capsules or a tea.
Take two capsules three times daily.
The following table presents suggested daily amounts, taken in several portions, of the essential nutrients and other supplements for reducing allergic potential and minimizing allergy symptoms.
Allergy Nutrient Program
|Vitamin A||20,000 IUs*||
|Vitamin D||400 IUs||
|Vitamin E||800 IUs||
|Vitamin K||300 mcg.||
|Thiamine (B1)||50 mg.||
|Riboflavin (B2)||50 mg.||
|Niacin (B3)||100 mg.||
|Niacinamide (B3)||50–100 mg.||
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||1,500 mg.||
|Pyridoxine (B6)||50–100 mg.||
||L-amino acids||1,500 mg.|
(Excerpted from Staying Healthy with Nutrition ISBN: 1587611791)
|Elson M. Haas, MD is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more