Spring, Fall and nearly every day in between, I was miserable. I didn’t even know what I was allergic to but I was a walking ad for allergy medication. I used to take Singulair, Sudafed and use Nasonex or other nasal sprays. I even had sinus surgery twenty five years ago because I couldn’t get rid of sinus infections. Congestion, foggy thinking, fatigue, post nasal drip, watery eyes…you name the symptom, I had it. Everything bugged me – every smell, natural or otherwise, mold, cleaning products, wherever I went I was painfully aware of my environment. It was completely annoying and unhealthy. I didn’t like taking all of the medications but I didn’t know what else to do. This was before I started doing medical intuition and before anyone talked about gut health, gluten or sensitivities.
My path to being medication free started over twelve years ago when an out of the box physical therapist suggested I try going gluten free to help with my life time of stomach pain and other issues. I tried it and was surprised when a pleasant side effect occurred. I was able to drastically reduce the amount of allergy medications I needed. They weren’t alleviating the symptoms completely anyway, so I was thrilled. A few years later, I eliminated dairy. Guess what? More symptom reduction and hardly any allergy medication. I was on to something, but not completely for the reasons you might think.
Reducing gluten and dairy, reduced the inflammation in my gut and helped it heal. I probably had leaky gut since I was a child, especially being an empath growing up sensing every subtle unspoken feeling of my dysfunctional world. Even with the diet changes though, I still felt like I was missing a piece of the puzzle and it was revealed when I learned about histamine intolerance. Histamines are compounds produced by mast and other cells to let the body know that it is being “attacked”. They create immediate inflammation as a defense mechanism. The problem is that often, we are not being attacked and the inflammation does more harm than good and the symptoms are annoying and can even be life threatening. Since I have been following the histamine intolerance diet (you don’t have to do it perfectly once you feel better) and using the steps below, I haven’t needed medication in years. That is miraculous, since pollen is currently covering every surface outside and when I hosed off our porch, the water streaming down was actually yellow.
Histamine intolerance is the bodies inability to break down histamines sufficiently so we end up with too many in our body. DAO is the main natural anti-histamine made by the body and if you are deficient, you may have symptoms of histamine intolerance. The reason that avoiding gluten and dairy helped me was because many foods containing these substances create histamines in the body and my body couldn’t break them down. If you Google histamine intolerance, you can find an entire list of foods to avoid, like fermented foods for example, which are supposed to be healthy, but might not be if you have this problem.
What else can you do to help prevent allergy symptoms whether or not you have histamine intolerance?
- There are supplements like Histablock and others that help make natural anti-histamines in our gut. Nettles and quercitin are helpful herbs and turmeric is also helpful like this one from Lyfe Botanicals.
- You can use natural nasal sprays like X-Clear that is made with xylitol and saline to keep mucus from sticking to your sinus cavities
- AVOID ANTIHISTAMINES and other allergy medications. They deplete the natural anti-histamines in the body and make you dependent.
- Choose your probiotics carefully. Some can encourage the production of histamines.
- Attend to your gut health, especially if you have leaky gut. People have written entire books on this subject including reducing inflammation here.
- Eliminate all artificial and chemical cleaning products, make up, sunscreen, scented products, etc. These put extra stress on your immune system and a strong immune system makes it easier to fight allergens.
- Hormone balancing often helps with allergy symptoms
- Get enough rest and reduce stress
- Energetically, think about who or what is “bugging you”.
- Do healthy, light detoxes using homeopathic remedies, sauna, liver cleanses and smoothies
- Eat a primarily plant based diet
These are just a few suggestions. Please feel free to add any that have been helpful for you . You can be medication free too!
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