As a child, my severe pollen allergies made me crazy with histamine. One of the most annoying symptoms, both to me and others, was how itchy the roof of my mouth would get. I would itch my palate with the back of my tongue until it was raw and painful. My family could not stand the sound I made when I did this. Oh, histamine, you make everything so itchy. Too bad my childhood doctor didn’t know a thing about these supplements, because maybe I could have saved my sisters’ ears.
Below are my top 5 supplements for spring and summer allergies. I avoided dosing on purpose so that you talk to your doctor about the best dose for your health (maybe I’ll lighten up later). These supplements should also work when you’re going to a house that has a lot of dust, and 5 cats, and they never vacuum the carpet.
For those who have genetic mutations making their allergies unbearable, natural supplementation is needed to help their body clear histamine. People who are low in vitamin C or certain B vitamins also need supplementation so that the biochemical pathways for breaking down histamine can work really well.
I use these natural supplements both in my medical practice and real life—I’ve used them on myself for years. They work so well, that whenever I have a cold, I load up on them. They stop mucous production like the desert sun dries up a puddle of water.
Quercetin, a bioflavonoid, is number one for a reason. From my experience, this one works the best, but particularly when it is made by a company called Scientific Botanicals. Their quercetin product is called Maxiflav. I am careful not to mention too many brands around here, but this one deserves it. Other brands of quercetin have not worked as well as that from Scientific Botanicals. One time when I called to order some, they were just bottling it, so I had to wait an extra day to receive it. This stuff is fresh and potent and super high quality. Quercetin is a natural anti-histamine because it inhibits histamine release and it is a strong anti-inflammatory agent.
2. Freeze Dried Nettles
There’s something about freeze drying that makes nettles particularly effective for allergies. I view freeze-dried nettles as a natural anti-histamine. It inhibits mast cells from releasing histamine. It’s another strong anti-inflammatory agent (also used for arthritis) and a study showed it has some effect on histamine receptors1.
3. Fish Oil
Quality fish oil (not the stuff from Costco) is a systemic anti-inflammatory agent. It brings down total body levels of inflammation. It also modulates immune function2. I’ve noticed additional allergy relief when I take fish oil at the same time I take freeze dried nettles.
4. B Vitamins
Lots of B vitamins are involved in the many pathways available for histamine breakdown. See, when histamine is made, it doesn’t just hang out in the body! Your body has to do something with it, and what that “something” is, is break it down. Enzymes are required to break down histamine, and most of them require different B vitamins at different times. The most important ones for breaking down histamine include vitamins B5, B6, B12, and B1.
5. Vitamin C
Vitamin C wears several hats when it comes to relieving your allergies. It works to prevent histamine release and it also aids in histamine breakdown. It works best when taken with other allergy relieving supplements. I haven’t seen it do wonders by itself, but it sure doesn’t hurt.
Next up I will be talking about supplement-free ways to improve your seasonal allergies. Natural supplements are not enough to “cure” your seasonal allergies. While they help big time, there are almost always other things contributing to your allergic response. Once those “other things”, like food reactions, are addressed, the allergic response comes down a notch (or ten).
1. Roschek B Jr, Fink RC, et al. Nettle extract (Urtica dioica) affects key receptors and enzymes associated with allergic rhinitis. Phytother Res. 2009 Jul;23(7):920-6.
2. “The Textbook of Natural Medicine”. Edited by Joseph Pizzorno, ND & Michael Murray, ND. Fourth Edition, 2013.