As spring allergy season emerges in the northern part of our country over the next few months, some 40 million Americans will suffer from seasonal allergies: animal dander, mold spores and tree pollen. Many will experience: itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and congestion, accompanied by sinus headaches, even asthma attacks, for several weeks or perhaps months, ugh! Most of these allergy sufferers, including myself, will suffer from less well known symptoms, including (but not limited to) irritability, mood swings, increased fatigue and, quite possibly, symptoms of depression! Recently, allergists have teamed up with psychologists to better understand these “allergy blues”. Their answer is… (wait for it) a combination of immune system proteins and a lack of adequate sleep, although it’s still up for debate.
The Mind-Body Link:
During the past decade there has been a myriad of research that suggests, allergic reactions can cause feelings of fatigue and depression due to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins released by an allergic persons immune cells that rush to assist the body from the foreign invaders. According to Paul Marshall, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, “It’s thought that those cytokines directly affect the nervous system, causing the release of a chemical in the brain we call IL-1beta that induces sickness behavior, such as weakness, lethargy, low mood and the inability to concentrate.” Marshall further states that research strongly indicates that having allergies increases the likelihood of having depression-like symptoms twofold! I myself wonder if the medical profession is truly aware of this research when they’re so quick to prescribe anti-depressants.
I’m aware that many people will look to over-the-counter medications for relief, but this may also contribute to the problem. Some individuals turn to products like Benadryl to help them fall asleep at night. While they may induce sleep temporarily, their effects wear off within a few hours, which allow symptoms to return, in turn waking you from your slumber and leaving you with “medicine-head”. (A “hangover” feeling typically experienced with conventional medications.)
What can us allergy sufferers do to get adequate relief?
Know your triggers and do your best to avoid them. For me it’s mostly dog dander and fur, so at this time of the year I’m diligent at grooming my dogs more frequently and making sure I vacuum and dust my home often. Also, I make sure my diet consists of the foods that will benefit me the most. Personally, I follow the blood type diet with personal variances that are appropriate for my individual needs to ensure that my body is receiving the best possible nourishment allowing it to better ward off the “bad guys” when they do decide to invade. For me, seasonal asthma is a big issue, so in addition to my usual spring time supplements, I take a combination of Lung Caps (http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/lung-caps-by-solaray/) and Respiration Blend SP-3 (http://www.professionalnutritionshop.com/product/respiration-blend-sp-3/). This combo has allowed me to use my rescue inhaler less frequently! I also, no longer have a need for my daily maintenance inhaler, which means less foreign chemicals I put in my system, yay!!
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