By Rika Keck: Certified in Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, also a CMTA Speaker, Corporate Wellness Consultant and Holistic Life Coach.
However, with Spring come allergies and they certainly can put a damper on that ‘Spring Feeling”! But let’s look beyond allergies and also consider respiratory irritations that are also diagnosed as Allergic Rhinitis, Asthma and any another symptoms or secretions that manifest in the ears, eyes, nose, throat, skin and lungs.
Spring is also the time when we hear more about detoxes and liver cleansing, I am ‘onboard’ with that already, it is essential part of every cancer treatment protocol. I actually believe that everyone needs liver support, as our 21st Century environment is extremely toxic. We need to support the liver where hormones, allergens, meds chemo and toxins are metabolized!
Besides the focus of detox, it must also be considered that the liver plays a large role regarding the histamine metabolism, an overreaction of the immune system. A sluggish gallbladder and liver function will be more susceptible of histamine build-up resulting in acquired sensitivity, esp. with a compromised gut flora. Genetics do play a role and seasonal allergies will be passed on from the parents to the kids – blame the parents !
I am aware that often anti-histamines are given in conjunction with chemo to offset an allergic response to he drugs. However, I am also aware that there is chemo-sensitivity testing for that reason. It is wise to consider all options…..
Should you be challenged additionally with Spring allergies, here are a few pointers that might help you during the Allergy Season:
- Bifidia (probiotic): Your gut flora can play a large role in immune function and environmental adaption. A specific strain of probiotic, called Bfiidia, is helpful to modulate an overactive environmental immune response. Do consider adding the probiotic Bifida into your daily regime.
- Omega -3: Anti-inflammatory essential fatty acid that will also be supportive in cancer treatment. Do discuss this with your physician if you are on blood thinning medication or are undergoing any surgery.
- Vitamin D: An immunomodulatory hormone, immune system modulator, anti-inflammatory. Deficiency is rampant. Do get your blood levels checked regularly as it really is cancer protective
- Adrenal Support: The stress glands, also known as adrenal glands, come into play with allergies or an overactive immune response. With environmental allergies, I do recommend to add an adrenal tonic. The herb, Rehmannia, is also a great combination of an adrenal support and an immune system modulator. I use a variety of immune modulators, drainage support and adrenal support in my practice.
- Diet: The daily nutrition exerts a major influence on immune function. Elimination of inflammatory foods (processed foods, sugar) and dairy is very helpful. Dairy promotes mucous formation.
Environmental Allergies are associated with inflammation. Here is a list of targeted nutrients that can be helpful:
(Do avoid if sensitive to any nutrients listed below).
- Quercitin: yellow anti-oxidant (onions esp. red, tea, red grapes, apple skins, berries, tomatoes) Inhibits release of histamine, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory (Also used in contact Dermatitis and to offset photosensitivity)
- Anti-inflammatory herbs: incl. Rosemary, nettles, cleavers, marshmallow root (not with stains), dandelion, milk thistle, aloe vera,
- Boswellia is my favorite anti-inflammatory for swollen mucous membranes and associated sinus or bronchial pain. (Note: Does have blood-thinning properties.)
- Curcumin and turmeric: Two well-known anti-inflammatory spices. (Note: Does have blood-thinning properties.)
- Other supportive anti-inflammatory and detox supplements include: ALA, NAC, and CoQ10
- Zinc: immune support
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: support liver function and optimizing pH
- Vitamin C Complex and A Complex: mucosal integrity and function
- Sea salt or Himalayan salt – natural anti-histamine properties
Even though the Spring feeling with it’s longer days makes everyone feel more cheerful, I do know that Spring allergies can be an additional stressor when going through cancer treatment. As the gut health and flora become more compromised with chemo, meds and radiation, it is really important to support the gut lining and the gut flora.
Modulation of the immune system is important; I work additionally with specific supplements that address inflammation, immune modulation. Drainage and supporting lymphatic drainage is a big part of preventing secondary bacterial infections. Use of a netti pot and ‘oil pulling’ with coconut oil can be helpful.
Other important helpful measures to decrease exposure and supporting the respiratory system include using an air filter at home and taking a shower at night to wash off the allergens before climbing into bed with the allergens.
Have a Happy Spring, Rika.
ACN, FDN, Metabolic Typing
Rika Keck, FDN, ACN, CMTA
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