During the allergy season, you may find yourself addicted to your over-the-counter antihistamine medication and that can lead to many unwanted side effects. Let’s not even mention the possible long-term health risks with chronic use of these medications.
The truth is that natural antihistamine supplements can work MUCH better for people who suffer from allergies.
All that these OTC antihistamine drugs do is block the mechanism for production of the chemical histamine. Your immune system makes this compound when an allergic reaction is triggered. Histamine then promotes inflammation at the source of the reaction. If it’s in your nose, you’ll get sneezey and congested. If it’s in your eyes, you’ll get puffy and itchy. (1)
Natural and organic antihistamines can do the same job as the drugs, except they can provide many other health benefits and nutritional value without side effects.
This is because they are real foods.
What are the long term risks of taking OTC antihistamine drugs?
The actual answer to this question is the same for a lot of medical risks: we really don’t know or have concrete proof for an answer.
However, we have well-researched examinations of the side effects that can occur in up to 90% of people taking them. If you are in your thirties or forties, you’ll probably resonate with the common use of first-generation antihistamines: Benadryl, Claritin, etc.
In this past decade, many parents were frightened to hear that conclusive research came out that links use of first generation antihistamines with the development of Alzheimer’s and central nervous system problems.
I think that this information is very disturbing because a lot of parents during that time were given these medications to their children daily. Since it took about 20 years for this conclusive research to come out, I am very skeptical about the safety of newer generations of antihistamines like cetirizine and levocetirizine.
We are just talking about these new scientific journals about nervous system damage, which have been going on for quite some time. Plus, this was a concentrated effort that costed millions of dollars.
Consumers of these drugs can also suspect that there are dependency risks involved with antihistamine medications. When you stop taking your OTC medication daily, you can experience withdrawal effects that can be very uncomfortable for a few days. Also consider your children having to go through this as well.
Dealing with the acute symptoms of exposure to these drugs that we all recognize like drowsiness, insomnia, memory loss, dry sinuses and eyes, and more is always uncomfortable.
Do Natural Antihistamine Supplements Actually Do Anything?
Yes, these organic extracts and nutrients can actually be much more effective than drugs. They can do the same job as ALL of the other antihistamines: block the production of histamine and facilitate in the removal of it from your body.
That’s pretty much what all of the OTC antihistamines do anyway. Each newer generation of antihistamines pretty much do the exact same thing, except with a few factors that vary, including:
- Safety of the medication
- Duration of the medication
- Types and severity of side effects
- Year that it was approved for sale
The general trend of antihistamine generations has been an increase in safety and duration of the medication. First generation antihistamines like diphenhydramine are going to be riskier and less effective than third generation drugs like fexofenadine (Allegra). (2)
If you feel like you need an OTC antihistamine during the day because your allergies are so bad, I would recommend that you take a newer generation drug like Allegra or Zyrtec. These look like they have the least risk right now and prove to be much more effective than older generations.
If you’ve taken a “natural” allergy supplement before and it didn’t work for you, then this is probably because the actual antihistamine compound in the supplement was not high enough concentration for your allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle is a good example of this because its effects may be mild.
Many old-fashioned natural allergy supplements include vitamin C or other vitamins claiming that they will help with allergies. The raw truth is that vitamin supplements will do nothing for your allergies because they haven’t been proven in research to do that. Vitamin C as an isolated supplement has actually not been proven to do ANYTHING to your body. (3)
So which natural and organic antihistamines actually work?
There are a few things to consider when trying to get rid of your allergies. First, you must know that your diet and lifestyle dramatically affect the severity of your symptoms. If you do harmful things to your body like not sleep, overeat, drink alcohol, or do drugs for example, your symptoms are much more likely to be worse.
When you are treating your allergy symptoms, you should see that as an opportunity to “mask” or lessen the severity of the symptoms for a few hours. Then, you should try to focus on your health to treat the foundation of your allergies: your immune system. This might take some time, but as your general health and immunity improves, your allergies can be treated at their root until they don’t bother you or even phase you.
These natural antihistamines are safe for long-term use so that you can take your time with finding out what is beneficial for your unique health and immunity.
Quercetin is a natural flavonoid that is responsible for the beautiful silver color of some vegetables and flowers. It is heavily concentrated in onions and can be attributed to the unique feeling of freshness that you get when eating them.
This completely natural and healthy supplement works by eliminating histamine from your body by stabilizing mast cells. Natural quercetin also gets rid of other allergic compounds that your produce inflammation like leukocytes.
Good sources of quercetin in your diet are onions, garlic, apples, tea, broccoli, leafy greens, and berries. Eating these foods regularly may be enough to treat your allergy symptoms through the days. However, if your allergy symptoms get severe, then a concentrated quercetin supplement would definitely be great for you.
Concentrated quercetin also has other health benefits to consider as well, including:
- Increased energy levels
- Increased mental alertness
- Nervous system stimulation
I found a great supplement here for the cheapest price I could find. I’ll update if I find a cheaper one. Let me know in the comments if you have one that you really recommend.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements
Omega fatty acids have been proven in research to reduce inflammation in the body. One mode of this action is by reducing allergy symptoms by making the effects of allergy chemicals like histamine more subtle.
These healthy fats can be found in cold-water fish (salmon) and nuts. Omega-3 deficiency can also commonly occur in people who eat a lot of fried meat. If you think that you need Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, you can try a natural oil supplement that has been proven for efficiency and absorption. This is important because many low-quality omega fatty acid supplements do not get digested and absorbed due to its processing.
The most healthy fish oil supplement is going to be krill oil because absorbency and efficiency has been proven to be very high, unlike others that are only a placebo. I get this well-reviewed supplement at a great price here. Krill oil supplements can be very pricey in stores.
Other health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Better heart health
- Better memory and ability to learn
- Beauty benefits
- Increased mood and sleep quality
- And many more are possible.
Natural bromelain and other digestive enzymes can help a lot with seasonal allergies and be revolutionary for food allergies. It is an enzyme that is found in pineapple that can assist your digestive system in breaking apart proteins. When taken internally as a supplement, it can assist in digestion of food proteins that cause allergic reactions, preventing the problem entirely. The same can be done in the bloodstream for external allergies like pollen.
Organic bromelain is also effective at treating respiratory disorders that are associated with seasonal allergies. This enzyme will block the action that causes inflammation and swelling.
It is recommended to take 2,000 mg throughout the day to reduce mucous production if that is a problem for you.
A great supplement at a great price can be found here. This one actually works in a way that you can feel a few hours after. Unlike other low quality bromelain supplements, it’s not a placebo and can be considered organic and high-potency.
This nutrient called methylsulfonylmethane is something that I can’t recommend enough. It is a supplement for high-quality bioavailable sulfur, basically. About 60-80% of people are actually deficient in this mineral because they don’t eat foods from organic soils. Industrial farms use practices that can leach the soil of nutrients and make them bio-unavailable for the crops.
Sulfur is extremely important for your immune health and can dramatically improve your health in many ways that you can feel. It can be essential for your general well-being if you don’t eat organic or your own home grown foods.
It’s been almost 2 years since I started taking MSM for my food and seasonal allergies, and it feels as it I don’t have them anymore.
Studies suggest that MSM can completely halt the allergy process for up to 12 hours.
It’s important that you buy the crystal form of MSM because the capsules and powders likely do not get fully absorbed by the body, or the nutrient is destroyed by stomach acid. MSM crystals can quickly be absorbed by the bloodstream.
Other health benefits of organic MSM include:
- Beauty benefits
- Nervous system benefits
- Digestive benefits
- Elimination of infections and parasites
- Increased energy levels
- Improved sleep quality
I’ve tried many different MSM supplements, and I can say that this one really works for me. It’s a great price on Amazon that you can’t beat at any other store.
Those are my most recommended methods for treating allergies naturally. It is likely that you are looking for seasonal allergy relief and all of these methods will help tremendously.
Again, it’s probably beneficial to avoid natural allergy relief supplements that use isolated vitamins and minerals. I am saying that supplements like airborne or emergen-c that claim that they boost your immune system are a scam. They are likely just a placebo if you think that they work. I know that you enjoy the bubbles and the taste, so sorry to disappoint you.
Dramatic change to your health couldn’t be that inexpensive and easy anyway. But it’s not hard work!
Other products that have promise for treating your allergies include:
- Stinging nettle
- Olive leaf extract
- Transfer factor
- Apple cider vinegar
- Local raw honey
- Bee pollen
- Essential oils
I am always here for you, so if you have a question or something to add about natural antihistamines that work for you, please leave me a comment below!
Talk to you soon,