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Allergy A-Z

Monday April 12, 2021

The number of people in the UK suffering from symptoms of at least one allergy seems to be constantly on the rise. Allergen exposure triggers the immune system to release histamine and antibodies in the body, causing the onset of allergic symptoms.


One of the most common allergic responses is hay fever, triggered by pollen from trees, flowers or grass. Meanwhile other allergy triggers can include foods; animals and mites; different materials such as wool or metals; chemicals such as cleaning agents and cosmetics1.


Don’t let symptoms like itchy eyes, runny noses and sinuses take over this hay fever season. Overcome your allergies with natural remedies that may help provide effective relief against irritating symptoms.  

Apple Polyphenols

Polyphenols derived from apples have been reported to suppress histamine release from cells, reduce auricular swelling and alleviate skin inflammation. Apple polyphenols have been studied for their promising effects in reducing the severity of symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis – also known as hay fever. 

 

Wild Apples are a source of apple polyphenols

 

Allergic rhinitis typically causes sneezing and a blocked, itchy and runny nose. Hay fever symptoms can be severe and persistent, causing sleep problems and effecting day-to-day tasks. This condition occurs when an allergen such as pollen is inhaled by an individual with a sensitised immune system.


In a study of individuals with allergic rhinitis, significant improvements were observed in sneezing attacks and nasal discharge in a high-dose polyphenol group, and in sneezing attacks in a low-dose polyphenol group. Treatment with apple polyphenols was proven effective in improving symptoms of allergic rhinitis2, subsequently encouraging consideration that they can be listed among natural remedies for hay fever.

 

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

These deep purple berries are native to Europe with an array of researched health benefits. They are a rich source of antioxidants, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, anthocyanins and flavonoids.

In addition, elderberries are an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that have been shown to provide relief to those who suffer with common symptoms associated with allergies. Scientific evidence suggests elderberries have proven to be useful by improving the function of mucous membranes.


Sambucus nigra - Elderberry 

It is suggested that elderberries contain high levels of vitamin C which have shown to act as a natural antihistamine, reducing the amount of histamine the body produces in response to an allergen. In a study, high dosage vitamin C reduced the severity of symptoms in patients with allergy-related respiration3.


Vitamin C

Fundamental to a variety of functions in the body, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that has been shown to act as a natural antihistamine. Therefore, vitamin C supplementation may promote allergy relief and reduction of symptoms.


Vitamin C may also suppress inflammation caused by allergic reactions, by increasing the function of immune cells. In a study conducted in South Korea, high vitamin C intake was associated with a reduced risk of hay fever symptoms in schoolchildren4.


Vitamin D

As vitamin D deficiency is prevalent, Public Health England recommends all adults and children to take a supplemental dose of 400IU per day. Also referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is critical in our immune system, due to its important role in modulating the immune response and reducing inflammation. Due to this effect, vitamin D is thought to reduce the severity of allergic reactions.


In the UK, lack of exposure to sunlight during the darker months from October to March can lead to vitamin D deficiency. Meanwhile, hay fever season can begin as early as February, reaching a series of peaks in pollen-release from March onwards. This risks an intersection between low vitamin D status but with high exposure to pollen in the early springtime.

 

Recent research has emerged about vitamin D in connection with allergic diseases. In a study, findings revealed a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in children who suffer with asthma and allergic diseases, in comparison to healthy children5.


Black Seed Oil

Utilized for thousands of years for its myriad of therapeutic benefits, black seed oil is believed to ‘treat everything but death’ and traditional uses include natural remedies for hayfever. Black seed oil comes from Nigella sativa, a small plant with blue or white flowers, native to Western Asia. Nigella seed are small black seeds with a pungent flavour.


Black seeds of Nigella sativa can be pressed for their oil


Bursting with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory active ingredients such as thymoquinone, black seed oil supplementation may reduce the severity and duration of hay fever symptoms. In a promising trial conducted on hay fever sufferers, supplementation with 0.5ml of black seed for 30 days resulted in a marked reduction of nasal congestion, itching and sneezing6.


Nettle Leaf

 

Stinging Nettle 

Accidentally brushing your leg against a stinging nettle is a painful and unfortunate encounter. However, oral administration of the nettle leaf may pose major health benefits, according to scientific research. It is suggested that nettle leaf contains therapeutic active compounds that may relieve inflammation and allergies when taken orally. In a trial conducted on 98 individuals suffering from hay fever, nettle supplementation supported the relief of allergic symptoms and nasal congestion7.


Quercetin

A naturally occurring bioflavonoid, quercetin can be found in a variety of plant sources, including onions, broccoli, peppers, apples, berries grapes, herbs and some types of tea.


Quercetin is commonly used as a remedy to relieve seasonal allergies. It is suggested that quercetin may stabilize the release of histamines and therefore naturally reduce allergic symptoms. The anti-allergic and anti-inflammatory properties of quercetin have been examined in numerous studies. Quercetin has anti-allergic functions that are known to inhibit the production and release of histamine and other allergic substances, possibly stabilising cell membranes of mast cells.


It is suggested that higher quercetin intake is associated with a decreased risk of asthma incidence, this was clear in subjects who consumed apples twice a week, suggesting a beneficial effect of apple flavonoids, especially quercetin8


Author: Rupinder Dhanjal is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and Health.


References

1. Allergy UK, Statistics, Available from: https://www.allergyuk.org/information-and-advice/statistics.


2. Enomoto, T., Akazome, Y., Kanda, T., Ikeda, M and Dake, Y. (2006) Clinical effects of apple polyphenols on persistent allergic rhinitis: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled parallel arm study. Journal of investigational allergology & clinical immunology. 16, (5). 


3. Vollbracht, C., Raithel, M., Krick, B., Kraft, K., Hagel, A. (2018) Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of allergies: an interim subgroup analysis of a long-term observational study. Journal of International Medical Research. 46, (9).


4. Seo, J.-H., Kwon, S.-O., Lee, S.-Y., Kim, H. et. al (2013). Association of Antioxidants With Allergic Rhinitis in Children From Seoul. Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Research, 5(2), 81–87. 


5. Bener A, Ehlayel MS, Bener HZ, Hamid Q. The impact of Vitamin D deficiency on asthma, allergic rhinitis and wheezing in children: An emerging public health problem. J Family Community Med. 2014 Sep;21(3):154-61. doi: 10.4103/2230-8229.142967.


6. Nikakhlagh, Soheila Fakher Rahim, Faezeh Hossein Nejad Aryani Amir Syahpoush, Mehri Ghafouryan Brougerdnya, Nader Saki. 2011. Herbal treatment of allergic rhinitis: the use of Nigella sativa. American Journal of Otolaryngology , Volume 32 , Issue 5 , 402 – 407.  


7. Paul Mittman,1990 Randomized, Double-Blind Study of Freeze-Dried Urtica dioica in the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis Planta Med 1990; 56(1): 44-47 DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-960881


8. Mlcek, J., Jurikova, T., Skrovankova, S., Sochor, J. (2016) Quercetin and its anti-allergic immune response. Molecules. 21 (5).



This article is for information purposes and does not refer to any individual products. The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.  

 

TAGS: NewsAllergy, Hay fever

 

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