Posted 3 years ago
Combating Seasonal Allergies Naturally
Spring is around the corner and for an estimated 50 million Americans that means a return of itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing as well as a whole host of other allergy symptoms. These symptoms make us run to our medicine cabinet to pull out our antihistamine pills and allergy nose sprays. But is there anything else that an allergy sufferer can do?
Besides treating allergy symptoms with medication, there are many lifestyles, nutritional and botanical therapies that can help decrease allergies.
Limiting exposure to pollens should always be a first line approach to controlling allergy symptoms. Simple environmental modifications like avoiding the early morning hours outside (which are associated with higher pollen counts), removing your clothing and showering after coming indoors as well as getting a HEPA filter can significantly reduce symptoms.
Nutrition is also an important component of allergy control. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet that is high in fruits and vegetables (especially the darkly pigmented ones) and low in processed foods and bad fats like red meat and hydrogenated oils can be beneficial. For many of my patients, I will also have them try removing dairy from their diet for a few weeks to see if it plays a role in their symptoms.
I generally advise my allergy patients to take additional supplementation with quercetin and omega 3 fatty acids. Quercetin is a plant pigment found in fruits and vegetables that can help prevent your body’s release of histamine in response to allergen exposure.
As a supplement, I usually recommend around 600mg 1 to 3 times daily taken with bromelain to help absorption. Omega 3 fatty acids are rich fats that can be found in cold-water fish, nuts, greens, and ground flax. Also, 2-3 grams a day of EPA and DHA from omega 3 fatty acids can help decrease allergy responsiveness.
For a more natural approach, the botanicals butterbur and stinging nettle have been shown to be beneficial in treating allergy symptoms. And for many, alternative therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy have provided relief for their allergy symptoms and may be worth exploring.
So, if you are one of those 50 million with allergies, think more holistically when those allergy symptoms start to flare.
About Heidi Rula, M.D.
Medical Director of the Supportive Care Services Department
Dr. Heidi Rula joined Ironwood in 2018 to launch the Integrative Oncology program. She is board certified in family medicine and fellowship-trained in Integrative Medicine. Dr. Rula has been a practicing physician in the Phoenix area for approximately 20 years and has been recognized by her colleagues as one of Phoenix’s “Top Doctors” on multiple occasions.
Dr. Rula has played a key role in bringing integrative medicine to the Valley. She served as the medical director of the University of Arizona Integrative Health Center where she leads a team of physicians and complementary practitioners in a unique model of integrative primary care that she helped to develop along with Dr. Weil and the UA Center for Integrative Medicine.
About Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers
Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers (ICRC) is the largest multi-specialty oncology network in the Greater Metro Phoenix area. They have over 100 medical providers, a robust Integrative Services program, and a dedicated clinical research department. Ironwood Cancer & Research Centers has 15 valley locations and five comprehensive cancer care centers that offer a multi-disciplinary approach for expedited personalized patient care. For more information, please visit www.ironwoodcrc.com.