Well the first day of spring has come and gone, and finally we are getting some sunny warmer weather! Just this morning I saw some of my bulbs and hostas starting to sprout and I can’t wait to get out there and garden. But for a lot of you, I know that the wet mouldy leaves and pollen from flowering plants means a runny nose, repeated sneezing, watery eyes, and sinus congestion headaches well into the summer months.
I have seen in my practice an increase over the last few years of patients who have never had seasonal allergies before who are now developing symptoms every spring and fall, and who have to rely on OTC anti-histamines to help them get through the day and also help them sleep at night. That is a lot of medication! So I’d like to share with you some tips I give to my patients that have helped them manage and even eliminate their seasonal allergy symptoms:
1. Start off with a good Detoxification Program. I think the reason more people are developing allergies has something to do with the increased pollutants we are exposed to in our food, skin care products, cleaning chemicals, pesticides—all of which place a huge burden on our organs of elimination (liver, colon, lungs, kidneys, skin, lymphatics). A good detox will address all these organs and improve their function. Stay clear of fasting cleanses, they have their purpose, but for most people they are too low in calories and will just make you feel tired. My two favourite detox programs are the Clear Change 10-Day Detox by Metagenics and the Whole Body Cleanse by Pascoe. Both are super easy to follow and do the job. However any detox you choose should be monitored by a naturopath to make sure it is appropriate for you, so come talk to me if you are thinking to doing a detox program.
2. Follow the Anti-Inflammatory Diet for April & May. There are some foods that are inherently inflammatory, meaning they get the immune system all worked up and can make your allergy symptoms worse. These foods are gluten, dairy, red meat, nightshades, soy, citrus, peanuts, alcohol, coffee, artificial sugars, sugar. You will find a full list here. This diet is not all-or-nothing. It will still help if you can follow it most of the time. So do your best, and don’t quit if you have a cheat. You might want to follow this all summer if your symptoms are really bad.
3. Use Pascallerg Tablets. These tablets work awesome. They are made by a company called Pascoe. Make sure to check the label for any potential allergies to the ingredients. Pascallerg is great as a replacement for your anti-histamines to help calm down the sneezing and watery eyes in the morning. When I go for long bike rides outdoors, I take two doses – 15 minutes apart (they just dissolve like candy in my mouth) and I am symptom free. This product is a must-try for all you stuffy sinus and congestion headaches out there.
4. Look after your gut with some probiotics. Did you know that 70-80% of your immune system is found within the lining of your digestive system? From your mouth to the other end J, your digestive tract is exposed to the bad bacteria of the outside world, and so we need to make sure it stays happy. Probiotics are the good bacteria that support digestive health. I try to aim for 50 billion bacteria per day during winter and spring seasons.
5. Modulate your immune system with Plant Sterols. For those of you who have several inflammatory things going on with your immune system…allergies, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma…plant sterols (found in a product called Sterol 117), have anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine properties that help bring balance to the immune system. And as a side effect, the researchers found they lower cholesterol and prevent enlarged prostate, called benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH for short)! Oh but a word of caution, don’t take this product if you have an auto-immune condition or if you’ve had an organ transplant.
That was a lot of info! And if you’re not sure where to start, come and ask me about what products and detoxification programs are right for you.
And to support you in this, for the months of April and May, book an appointment with me, Dr. Misa (fee is $180, and you can use your naturopathic benefits!) and you will receive a complimentary Whole Body Cleanse Kit and a box of Pascallerg Tablets (a value of $120) to get you on your way to a healthier and more enjoyable spring this year!