My Allergies Are Terrible....So Let's Make Them Better Naturally!
With summer comes longer days, abundant sunshine (want to know how to prevent sunburn naturally), and blooming plants, lots of blooming plants. For many, this leads to the inevitable and dreaded allergy season. Whether mild or severe, the symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating. Folks will often go to great lengths to find any relief, with different strategies working better for some and doing little for others. Most people are familiar with, and use, over the counter antihistamine drugs and others resort to decongestants, or even corticosteroids. These products can be effective, yet they also come with unpleasant side effects as they do not support normal physiology. This may not seem significant in the short term when symptoms are severe, but repeated dosages over a few weeks to months can see build-up of the drug in your body causing more problematic side-effects. However, there are natural strategies that do not produce those side-effects, that can provide similar levels of relief while supporting the body's normal response to pollen, dander, dust, and mold. If natural strategies can promote a healthy response to histamine reactions with equal, if not greater, effectiveness, why not start there?
Why are Antihistamines so bad?
Many of the short term side effects of antihistamines are common and can include:
dry mouth and eyes,
low blood pressure,
feeling nervous, excited, or irritable.
Generally, these side effects are reversible and cease when the medication is stopped. But some of these side-effects are no better than the irritating allergy, and these side-effects can affect our jobs, relationships, and ability to function in daily life. Needless to say, these side-effects can have a net negative influence on our health. How that cost/benefit ratio with regards to symptom relief is evaluated is, of course, subjective to each person. How exactly these side effects contribute towards our long term health is controversial, and recent research suggests there are some side-effects that could turn into long-term symptoms.
And Now For The Scary Stuff!
A more serious concern is the long term, and potentially permanent, side effects of various antihistamine drugs available on the market, both prescription and over the counter. Some research is suggesting a strong correlation between anticholinergic drugs, such as Benadryl™ and first generation antihistamines, (as well as tricyclic antidepressants, some antipsychotics, antispasmodics for GI complaints, antimuscarinics for bladder control, and some antiparkinsonian drugs) and risk of developing cognitive impairments, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s disease (1,2,3,4,5). This research has shown a dose response relationship where the highest intakes taken over the longest periods of time are linked to higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (1,2,3,4,5).
Additionally, multiple human trials have shown that diphenhydramine impairs cognitive functions such as alertness(7), attention(8), memory(8), executive function(9), reaction time(7), and vigilance(7). These studies also reported that diphenhydramine increased fatigue and sleepiness while decreasing motivation(5). In an observational study of geriatric hospitalized patients, it was reported that diphenhydramine treatment significantly increased risk for delirium symptoms, including inattention, disorganized speech, and altered consciousness(9).
There is also some research that suggests adults have an increased risk of developing gliomas, a malignant brain tumor, with antihistamine use 6. Long term, and arguably short term, use of these drugs does not support an optimal response to allergies or good health.
What Are Your Healthier Options?
Aim to reduce your body's exaggerated histamine response by supporting the body’s ability to mitigate the reaction. This deserves a little explanation. While some over the counter remedies provide instant relief, they do not support the body's ability to clear histamine, and the symptoms histamine causes. Instead, antihistamines block your body's natural production of histamine. And histamine's whole job is to attach itself to pollen, dust, mold, dander, etc and thus signaling to the body that the particle needs fast removal. (This is like NSAID’s blocking an inflammatory reaction and not allowing a more optimal resolution of the inflammatory cycle, but that is a different story and a good candidate for a future blog post.). A more optimal strategy is to lower the immune burden and support the body’s ability to clear the histamine, thus providing relief of congestion, sneezing, watery eyes, and feeling miserable.
Wait, my allergies are connected to my immune system?
Yep. Lowering your immune burden is often best achieved through avoiding contributing dietary factors, most notably dairy, gluten, or other food sensitivities and refined carbohydrates. Eating foods that overwhelm the immune system makes it less able to process foreign particulate. If you are not sure if you have a food sensitivity and have uncomfortable allergies or skin problems, you might find consultation with a natural health practitioner who can help you discover what foods might be burdening your immune system. When we partner with a patient who is experiencing moderate to terrible allergies or skin rashes and eczema, we look for their internal fires that are driving their external allergies. Commonly, we find a food sensitivity that is burdening the immune system and stressing and inflaming the gut.
Think of it like this. Imagine a nice little campfire (seasonal allergies) that is under control and very little to worry about. What if you add a cup of gasoline (food sensitivity)? The once under control little fire just got bigger and is burning hotter! Now keep adding more gasoline (food sensitivity eaten again and again) and wow that fire just might be jumping out of the fire ring and burning the forest around it.
Often, if we can remove the food sensitivity (gasoline), the seasonal allergy can be very mild or none existent.
But my allergies are bad now! What can I do?
One way to support the body’s ability to clear histamine symptoms is through the use of Antronex®. This is a whole food concentrate that contains Yakitron, a liver fat extract discovered by Japanese researchers in the early 20th century shown to be a powerful physiologic pro-histamine and acts as a detoxifying hormone. In plain english, Antronex® helps the body clear histamine out of your body faster so that your body can detoxify pollen, dust, danders, etc safely, naturally, and effectively! Antronex® is superb at reducing the symptoms of allergies and is best taken daily during seasonal allergies to maintain the positive effects. In fact, if you experience seasonal allergies, ideally, it is best to start a month or two prior to the onset of your seasonal allergies to ramp up the body's ability to clear particles. That way when the hit of the allergy season hits, you are already supporting the removal of histamine and generally will have a less profound allergy response.
Antronex® is very effective if taken after allergies have started too. A larger initial dose may be needed to achieve relief, and then a lower maintenance dose will help keep the symptoms at bay. With this whole food concentrate, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to overdose. In fact, when symptoms are severe, one could take one tablet every five minutes until symptoms are manageable and the dosage can then be lowered.
Antronex® is fast acting, effective, and natural. More importantly, it promotes health and well-being without any known side effects or increasing one’s risk for developing cognitive deficits. It is better to improve a person's strength and capacity, not degrade it. Building up health and helping the body do what it needs to do should be the focus of every person. Antronex® is another great tool to help do just that!
1.) Gray SL, Anderson ML, Dublin S, et al. Cumulative Use of Strong Anticholinergics and Incident Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(3):401–407. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7663
2.) Bell JS, Mezrani C, Blacker N, et al. Anticholinergic and sedative medicines - prescribing considerations for people with dementia. Aust Fam Physician. 2012;41(1-2):45-49.
3.) Bhattacharya R, Chatterjee S, Carnahan RM, Aparasu RR. Prevalence and predictors of anticholinergic agents in elderly outpatients with dementia. Am J Geriatr Pharmacother. 2011;9(6):434-441. doi:10.1016/j.amjopharm.2011.10.001
4.) Chatterjee S, Mehta S, Sherer JT, Aparasu RR. Prevalence and predictors of anticholinergic medication use in elderly nursing home residents with dementia: analysis of data from the 2004 National Nursing Home Survey. Drugs Aging. 2010;27(12):987-997. doi:10.2165/11584430-000000000-00000
5.) Lee EK, Lee YJ. Prescription patterns of anticholinergic agents and their associated factors in Korean elderly patients with dementia. Int J Clin Pharm. 2013;35(5):711-718. doi:10.1007/s11096-013-9793-9
6.) Scheurer ME, El-Zein R, Thompson PA, et al. Long-term anti-inflammatory and antihistamine medication use and adult glioma risk. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008;17(5):1277-1281. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-2621
7 Kay GG, Schwartz HI, Wingertzahn MAet al. (2016)Next-day residual effects of gabapentin, diphenhydramine, and triazolam on simulated driving performance in healthy volunteers: a phase 3, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.Hum Psychopharmacol31, 217-226.
8 Kay GG, Berman B, Mockoviak SHet al. (1997)Initial and steady-state effects of diphenhydramine and loratadine on sedation, cognition, mood, and psychomotor performance.Arch Intern Med157, 2350-2356.
9 Sands L, Katz IR, DiFilippo Set al. (1997)Identification of drug-related cognitive impairment in older individuals. Challenge studies with diphenhydramine.Am J Geriatr Psychiatry5, 156-166.
10 Katz IR, Sands LP, Bilker Wet al. (1998)Identification of medications that cause cognitive impairment in older people: the case of oxybutynin chloride.J Am Geriatr Soc46, 8-13.