Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Seasonal Allergies - is my immune system strong enough?

It's that time of year again. Many of us are suffering from seasonal allergies caused by any number of airborne allergens. Oak, Mold, Grass, Dust, Pollen; just to name a few! These little microscopic allergens are floating in the air, sticking to your car windows and interior, sneaking into your home on shoes and clothing, and causing mayhem with your nose, eyes and throat. Not everyone has allergies, but more and more people are becoming sensitive to these innocent little particles. We live such rushed lives and even though we try, we do not eat properly, thus leaving our bodies less able to fight off germs and bacteria like they should.

The first thing many of us do is reach for an over the counter medicine. Most commonly used over-the-counter medicines and prescription drugs are antihistamines. Histamine Blockers block the production of histamine. When your cells notice an invader (allergen) in your system, they release histamine. Histamine tells your body that it should cleanse out the mucous membranes which causes sneezing, along with itchy eyes and nose. Antihistamines are not a cure for allergies, their job is to block the histamine so that your nose and eyes don't react to the allergen. They do not prevent (or block) the other chemicals that are released from the cell along with the histamine, nor do they protect the body from being inflamed by the invading allergens. Covering up the symptoms slows the recovery and never fixes the problem.

Believe-it-or-not, your immune system has a lot to do with your allergy symptoms. If your immune system is weak, or just not running at peak performance, it leaves the door open to these allergens and other invaders. Our immune systems are not only affected by these allergens and our bodies responses to them, but other factors like obesity, diabetes, and other inflammatory conditions.

To strengthen your immune system, of course, we are going to recommend that you eat a diet high in a variety richly colored vegetables (for anti-oxidants), drink lots of water (to flush your system), eat mercury free fish and get your Essential Fatty Acids (omega 3, 6, 9) to reduce inflammation in your cells. Vegetables are great for you, they contain many vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and quercetin. Quercetin is a flavonoid and is known for its anti-inflammatory abilities. It has also been known to help stabilize the cells that are affected by allergies, rather than block histamines from being released.

Our office provides a product that is designed to reduce inflammation and help the body stabilize (or prevent the breakdown of) cells to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies. For more information call our office and ask about seasonal allergies.

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