Watery red eyes, nasal congestion, sneezing, and coughing – when your waiting room is full of patients with these symptoms, you know that allergy season has arrived! Seasonal allergies are on the rise, with 8% of U.S. adults suffering from seasonal allergies in the spring, summer, and fall.1 Rising levels of CO2 from climate change are causing plants to produce pollen more vigorously, lengthening the intensity and duration of allergy season.2 Natural antihistamines can offer dramatic relief, balancing your patients’ histamine response and allowing them to enjoy the spring and summer months without relying on over-the-counter allergy medications.
What are Seasonal Allergies?
Seasonal allergies, sometimes referred to as “hay fever” or allergic rhinitis, are allergy symptoms that occur during specific times of the year when outdoor trees, grasses, weeds, and molds release pollen and spores into the air. In some people, plant pollen and mold spores activate the immune system, causing mast cells and basophils to release histamine and other inflammatory mediators.3,4 These mediators dilate blood capillaries and contract smooth muscle, causing red, puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing.
The Problem with OTC Allergy Medications
Research indicates that 75% of seasonal allergy sufferers rely on over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications.5 Despite their popularity, these drugs are not without risks! Decongestants can precipitate hypertensive crises in people with undiagnosed hypertension; this is extremely concerning, given that 75 million Americans have hypertension and over half are unaware of their condition.6,7
Antihistamines, which reached a whopping 6.89 billion dollars in sales in 2016, may also be harmful.8 Antihistamines such as Benadryl target cholinergic receptors of the nervous system; long-term inhibition of these receptors is linked to impaired memory consolidation and dementia.9,10
If OTC drugs aren’t the answer, how can you best serve your patients suffering from seasonal allergies? Natural antihistamines offer a safe, effective alternative to decongestants and antihistamines for balancing the body’s histamine response.
Flavonoids are polyphenolic plant compounds ubiquitous in fruits and vegetables. Two flavonoids – quercetin and luteolin – have particularly powerful anti-allergy effects.
Quercetin, found in onions, berries, and apples, inhibits histamine release from mast cells and basophils. In fact, it is more effective than Cromolyn sodium, a mast cell-stabilizing drug, for inhibiting the release of histamine and inflammatory cytokines from mast cells!11,12 Quercetin also suppresses the formation of IgE antibodies, which mediate allergic sensitization.13
Luteolin, found in celery, thyme, and bell peppers, also has potent antihistamine activity.14 It decreases inflammatory cytokine production and immune cell infiltration in the lungs, balancing the body’s response to environmental allergens.15
While vitamin C deficiency is associated with an increased risk of allergies, restoration of healthy vitamin C levels rapidly decreases histamine.16 Vitamin C alleviates histamine excess by destroying the structure of the histamine molecule.17
Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a sulfur-based compound found in cruciferous vegetables and a potent activator of the Nrf2 antioxidant system. Nrf2 increases the activity of antioxidant and detoxification genes and is beneficial for suppressing allergic lung inflammation.18,19
DIM also decreases histamine by balancing hormones. Estrogen stimulates mast cells to release histamine and downregulates the DAO enzymes responsible for degrading histamine; excess estrogen can, therefore, trigger allergy symptoms.20,21 By balancing estrogen, DIM regulates histamine, providing further relief of seasonal allergies.
Importantly, xenoestrogens such as BPA and phthalates also exacerbate allergies by influencing histamine activity. DIM has a protective effect against xenoestrogen-induced estrogenic signaling, further balancing the histamine response.22
Liposomal Delivery for Rapid Histamine Relief
Research indicates that liposomal delivery systems significantly enhance the bioavailability and uptake of quercetin, luteolin, and vitamin C.23,24 Liposomal delivery is thus an optimal strategy for rapidly delivering antihistamine nutrients to your patients' cells, balancing their histamine response to seasonal allergens.
Allergy season doesn’t have to be a struggle for your patients! With the help of potent natural antihistamines, your patients can achieve a more balanced histamine response and relief from seasonal allergies.
Sponsored by Quicksilver Scientific, the makers of Hista-Aid™ a liposomal seasonal support formulation.
- “Allergy Statistics.” American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. 2019. www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/allergy-statistics.
- Schmidt CW. Pollen overload: Seasonal allergies in a changing climate. Environ Health Perspect. 2016; 124(4): A70-A75.
- He SH, et al. Mast cells and basophils are essential for allergies: mechanisms of allergic inflammation and a proposed procedure for diagnosis. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2013; 34(10): 1270-128
- Ando N, et al. Allergen-specific basophil reactivity exhibits daily variations in seasonal allergic rhinitis. Allergy. 2015; 70(3): 319-322.
- “Statistics on OTC Use.” Consumer Healthcare Products Association. 2019. www.chpa.org/MarketStats.aspx.
- Salerno SM, Jackson JL, Berbano EP. Effect of oral pseudoephedrine on blood pressure and heart rate: a meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2005; 165(15): 1686-1694.
- Mariani PJ. Pseudoephedrine-induced hypertensive emergency: Treatment with labetalol. Am J Emerg Med. 1986; 4(2): 141-142.
- “Top 10 OTC Brands for Allergies by Revenue in the U.S. in 2016 (in million U.S. dollars).” Statista. www.statista.com/statistics/296120/top-ten-us-over-the-counter-brands-for-cough-and-cold/. Accessed 22 May 2019.
- Nonaka A, et al. Impairment of fear memory consolidation and expression by antihistamines. Brain Res. 2013; 1493: 19-26.
- Gray SL, et al. Cumulative use of strong anti-cholinergics and incident dementia: A prospective cohort study. JAMA Intern Med. 2015; 175(3): 401-407.
- Weng Z, et al. Quercetin is more effective than cromolyn in blocking human mast cell cytokine release and inhibits contact dermatitis and photosensitivity in humans. PLoS One. 2012; 7(3): e33805.
- Chirumbolo S, et al. Bimodal action of the flavonoid quercetin on basophil function: an investigation of the putative biochemical targets. Clin Mol Allergy. 2010; 8:13.
- Mlcek J, et al. Quercetin and its anti-allergic immune response. Molecules. 2016; 21(5): pii: E623.
- Shaik Y, et al. Impact of polyphenols on mast cells with special emphasis on the effect of quercetin and luteolin. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2018; 43(4): 476-481.
- Jang TY, et al. Anti-allergic effect of luteolin in mice with allergic asthma and rhinitis. Cent Eur J Immunol. 2017; 42(1): 24-29.
- Vollbracht C, et al. Intravenous vitamin C in the treatment of allergies: an interim subgroup analysis of a long-term observational study. J Int Med Res. 2018; 46(9): 3640-3655.
- Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and immune function. Nutrients. 2017; 9(11): 1211.
- Pall ML, Levine S. Nrf2, a master regulator of detoxification and also antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and other cytoprotective mechanisms, is raised by health promoting factors. Acta physiologica Sinica. 2015; 67(1): 1-
- Nagashima R, et al. Nrf2 suppresses allergic lung inflammation by attenuating the type 2 innate lymphoid cell response. J Immunol. 2019; 202(5): 1331-1339.
- Zierau O, et al. Role of female sex hormones, estradiol and progesterone, in mast cell behavior. Front Immunol. 2012; 3:169.
- Fogel WA. Diamine oxidase (DAO) and female sex hormones. Agents Actions. 1986; 18(1-2): 44-45.
- Thilagavathi S, et al. Protective effect of 3,3-diindolylmethane on bisphenol A activated GPR30, RAS, PI3K/Akt estrogenic signaling pathway in female Sprague-Dawley rats. J Med Toxicol Clin Forensic Med. 2017; 3(1):6.
- Huang M, et al. Encapsulation of flavonoids in liposomal delivery systems: the case of quercetin, kaempferol, and luteolin. Food Funct. 2017; 8(9): 3198-3208.
- Parhizkar E, et al. Design and development of vitamin C-encapsulated proliposome with improved in-vitro and ex-vivo antioxidant efficacy. Journal of Microencapsulation. 2018; 35(3): 301-311.