Allergies, adrenals and antidotes…probably not the first things to come to mind when you think of spring, when everything comes back to life and flowers begin to bloom. However, as a sufferer of seasonal allergies springtime may be more of a drag than a delight. Pollen from blooming trees, flowers, and grasses can bring on a tide of runny noses, coughing, sneezing, burning eyes, and foggy brain, aka hay fever. For many, this discomfort can last well into the cooler months, when flora ceases to flourish and bloom. So, why do seasonal allergies afflict some more than others? How do they become so severe and what can be done to alleviate the misery? There are many components to the occurrence of seasonal allergies, but the adrenal glands play a large part in allergy onset. While there are many pharmaceuticals on the market to treat allergy symptoms, we’ll explore some natural remedies that can be found at a local natural foods store.
Allergies and the Adrenal Glands
Cortisol is an anti-inflammatory hormone secreted by the adrenal glands in response to experienced stress. Its purpose is to activate glucose secretion in the liver and control inflammatory responses. Cortisol is normally secreted throughout the day, with highest concentrations in the morning and dropping until nighttime. However, chronic stress or ongoing blood sugar instability can lead to adrenal dysregulation and depleted cortisol stores. Low levels of cortisol throughout the day is termed hypocortisolism or adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is implicated in several inflammatory disorders, including allergies. Furthermore, several studies exploring the relationship between cortisol levels and symptoms of allergies found a correlation between cortisol suppression and an increase of allergy severity. , There are two ways of connecting poor adrenal function to the onset of allergies. The first provides an explanation for adult-onset allergies. As cortisol is a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical, adequate cortisol levels are necessary to counter immune responses to allergen-associated histamines. Adrenal fatigue, a consequence of chronic psycho- and physiological stress, leaves the body defenseless to histamine. The adrenal glands will do their best to secrete what little cortisol they can to minimize inflammation, leaving them more worn out. If the adrenals are never replenished or if stress continues, this becomes a vicious cycle leaving the adrenals further depleted. The second recognizes allergies that begin at infancy and continue into adulthood. When compared to infants without allergies, sensitive subjects were seen to have cortisol surges in response to allergens. However, this untimely cortisol surge led to suppressed cortisol throughout the day, causing adrenal fatigue at an early age. This pattern will likely continue as the child matures if symptoms are not addressed. Luckily, several allergy remedies exist that can alleviate the discomfort of allergies and improve well-being.
Although there are several drugs on the market used to treat allergy symptoms, some may prefer more homeopathic remedies for addressing allergy concerns. Multiple studies have found quercetin to be an effective allergy treatment.,,, Quercetin is a type of chemical known as a bioflavonoid and is found in red wine, onions, mulberries, and teas. It is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, such as the ability to suppress inflammatory molecules, facilitate immune responses, and inhibit histamine release. As previously mentioned, histamine inhibition is important for blunting an immune response to allergens. Quercetin has allergy-mediating properties beyond the scope of treating the hay fever that affects sensitive groups during allergy season. Remarkably, studies have found quercetin to effectively reduce peanut-induced anaphylaxis. Quercetin shows potential in treating other food allergies, asthma, and allergic rhinitis/hay fever with no apparent toxic effects on the body. Like quercetin, extract from nettles (Utrica dioica) has been seen to inhibit histamine release, block inflammatory pathways, and support immunity. Research finds nettle extract to alleviate symptoms of allergic rhinitis, specifically. These symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion, and itchy and watery eyes. However, interacting with nettle leaves can initiate itchiness and edema, as they are commonly referred to as “stinging nettles.” Therefore, it is important to purchase nettle supplements rather than forage for nettle leaves to avoid further discomfort. While products containing quercetin, nettle extract, N-acetyl-L-cysteine, vitamin C, and bromelain been found to improve allergies, addressing cortisol imbalances may also mitigate the emergence of allergic reactions. Supplements containing ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) and other adaptogens, such as Sanesco’s Adaptacin™, have been seen to regulate cortisol secretion and improve complaints with allergies. Allergies are a complex biological process and often-times so is their treatment. Fortunately, there is hope in nutraceuticals for treating symptoms and allowing springtime to be fully enjoyable.
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 Op. cit. Kwashibara et al. 2016; Shishehbor et al. 2010; Oliveira, T. T., Campos, K. M., Cerqueira-Lima, A., Carneiro, T. C. B., Velozo, E. d. S., Melo, I. C. A. R., . . . Figueiredo, C. A. (2015). Potential therapeutic effect of allium cepa L. and quercetin in a murine model of blomia tropicalis induced asthma. Daru, 23(2), 1-12.
 Op. cit. Shishehbor et al. 2010; Wilson, 2001.
 Op. cit. Shishehbor et al. 2010; Kwashibara et al. 2016.
 Op. cit. Shishehbor et al. 2010; Kwashibara et al. 2016
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Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.