Allergies affect millions of people worldwide, and the symptoms can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of allergies can include runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and skin rash. Allergic reactions are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to a perceived threat, such as pollen, dust, or food.
There are several ways to treat allergies, including antihistamines, decongestants, and corticosteroids. However, these medications can have side effects and may not be effective for everyone.
Probiotics and herbs are two natural alternatives that are gaining increased recognition for their ability to relieve allergy symptoms.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are beneficial to human health, they are often found in fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
Probiotics are known to have a positive impact on digestive health, but recent studies suggest that they may also be helpful in relieving allergies.
While herbs are plants or plant extracts that have medicinal properties and have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including allergies.
In this article, we will explore how natural remedies like probiotics, nettle, and quercetin may offer benefits and play a role in treating allergies.
The Role of Probiotics in Allergy Relief
Probiotics work by balancing the bacteria in the gut. When the bacteria in the gut are imbalanced, it can lead to inflammation and immune dysfunction. By restoring the balance of bacteria in the gut, probiotics can reduce inflammation and improve immune function, which can help to alleviate allergy symptoms.
Studies have shown that probiotics may help to relieve allergy symptoms and improve conditions such as allergic rhinitis, food allergies, seasonal allergies, and histamine intolerance.
Histamine intolerance is a condition in which the body is unable to properly metabolize histamine, leading to an excess of histamine in the body. This can result in unwanted symptoms like headaches, hives, itching, flushing, and digestive issues.
Some strains of probiotics have been shown to help regulate histamine levels in the body. These probiotics work by producing an enzyme called diamine oxidase (DAO), which breaks down histamine in the digestive system before it can enter the bloodstream.
Allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, is a common allergic condition that affects the nasal passages. It is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens such as pollen, dust, and animal dander. Allergic rhinitis can cause a variety of symptoms, including sneezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Through the modulation of immune markers and the reduction of inflammation, probiotics have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis in both adults and children.
Although some probiotic trials have yielded mixed results, the majority have demonstrated clear benefits for the use of probiotics in managing seasonal allergies.
What’s more, the infant gut microbiota plays an important role in the development of allergies. Studies have shown that the composition of the gut microbiota in early life can influence the development of the immune system, and alterations in the gut microbiota can increase the risk of developing allergies.
Administered prenatally, probiotics may hold the potential to reduce infant allergies, particularly in children at a higher risk of developing allergies.
Food Allergies & Intolerances
Food allergies occur when the body's immune system mistakenly identifies a particular food as harmful and triggers an allergic reaction. Symptoms of food allergies can range from mild to severe and can include hives, swelling, itching, digestive issues, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Food intolerances are different from food allergies in that they do not involve the immune system. Rather, food intolerances occur when the body has difficulty digesting or processing certain foods, leading to uncomfortable or unpleasant symptoms like bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
Probiotics may be particularly beneficial for individuals with food allergies and intolerances as they can reduce intestinal inflammation and modulate the immune response.
Lactose intolerance, which is related to dairy products, is the most prevalent type of food intolerance. Research suggests that certain strains of probiotics can be particularly helpful in managing the symptoms of lactose intolerance, a common food intolerance where the body is unable to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products.
Nettle is an herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including allergies. The leaves of the stinging nettle plant contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties, which can help to alleviate allergy symptoms and support the management of conditions such as allergic rhinitis.
Hay fever and seasonal allergies are caused by an overactive immune system response to environmental allergens such as pollen, dust, and animal dander. This immune response triggers the release of histamine, which causes inflammation, itching, and other allergy symptoms. Nettle has been shown to reduce the amount of histamine produced by immune cells, which can help to mitigate allergy symptoms.
In addition to its anti-inflammatory effects and ability to reduce histamine levels, nettle is also a natural diuretic. This means that it can help to reduce fluid retention in the body, which is a common symptom associated with allergies. By reducing fluid buildup, nettle can help to ease swelling and congestion, making it an effective natural remedy for seasonal allergies.
Quercetin is a natural flavonoid compound found in various foods such as apples, onions, and tea. It has gained popularity in recent years as a natural remedy for allergies due to its ability to reduce inflammation and act as an antihistamine.
One of the main benefits of quercetin for allergies is its ability to inhibit the release of histamine, the chemical produced by immune cells in response to allergens. By reducing histamine release, quercetin can help to alleviate these symptoms.
Quercetin is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce inflammation in the body, another common effect of allergies.
Cytokines are proteins produced by immune cells that help to regulate the immune response. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are responsible for promoting inflammation, while anti-inflammatory cytokines help to reduce inflammation.
Quercetin has been shown to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), which are often elevated in individuals with allergies. By reducing the production of these cytokines, quercetin can help to reduce inflammation and alleviate allergy symptoms.
Quercetin is available in supplement form, as well as in various foods such as apples, onions, capers, grapes, citrus fruits, green tea, and black tea.
Reducing allergy symptoms can greatly improve an individual's quality of life during allergy season and in their day to day life.
Natural alternative treatments to managing allergy symptoms and conditions such as probiotics, nettle, and quercetin show promising results for those suffering from allergies. However, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medications. While natural remedies may provide relief, it is still essential to manage allergies through proper medical care and a personalized treatment plan.