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Natural Allergy Remedies for Athletes

by Dr. Jason Barker July 21, 2016

Natural Allergy Remedies for Athletes

Here in the United States, an estimated 20-40 million people suffer from seasonal allergic disease. Roughly 67% of those people also suffer from asthma as well.

Because of exposure to pollen-clogged outdoor air and increased breathing during exercise, athletes in particular can have significant allergic symptoms.

Allergy symptoms include watery, itchy eyes, nasal congestion and sneezing, cough, itchy throat, asthma and fatigue. In fact, fatigue may even be more common than all the other typical allergic symptoms.

An allergy is really nothing more than an inappropriate response by the immune system to a normally harmless substance. Think about it – our bodies react to things like pollen, molds and animal dander by producing huge amounts of histamine and other chemicals.  It’s these chemicals –and the immune cells they recruit – that cause those nasty symptoms.

Many people come into the clinic in the spring with vague complaints of fatigue; they often think they have some kind of ‘bug’ thats making them sick, but they really don’t have the typical symptoms that an infectious illness (like a cold or flu) causes like fever, congested lungs and sore throats to name a few.

Instead, they feel “off” and are more tired than usual. They may have a slightly runny nose or watery eyes, with little to no sneezing. They may report having trouble getting a complete breath in, or feel winded.

In Colorado, we’ve had an especially rough spring because of last fall, when we had tremendous amounts of rain in September, which then allows molds to grow and flourish in the cooler temps and wet earth.  Once the temperatures warmed up, many people who don’t typically experience seasonal allergies complained of the above vague, yet telltale symptoms of allergies.

So what’s a person to do? This can be a rough time of year for active and athletic people, because once the weather warms up we want to get out and enjoy the weather with a run, ride or hike.  When the air is heavy with pollen and molds, allergy symptoms can slow you down and even cause symptoms you may not of experienced before, such as wheezing or incredible fatigue.

If you do have symptoms like these, chances are you have some sensitivity to seasonal allergens. So how can you minimize allergy symptoms?  Here are three areas where natural allergy remedies can help.

Diet

Eat more phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant-based chemicals found in fruits and vegetables. They act like natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories in our bodies.

    • Onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower contain quercetin and other flavonoids that lessen allergic symptoms.
    • Citrus fruits (oranges, pineapple, lemons, limes, grapefruit) contain vitamin C and bioflavonoids, which are potent antihistamines.
    • Beets, berries, cherries and red grapes contain the anti-inflammatory anthocyanins.
    • If you can't eat them, use a supplement like Greens First or Aller-G is our top supplement for treating allergies – it contains bioflavonoids, quercetin, vitamin C and stinging nettle leaf, an effective herbal anti-allergy.

Last but not least, stay on top of your symptoms. It’s easier to prevent allergies rather than trying to stop them when they start up. Follow the above advice every day so you can lessen the allergic burden on your body – you’ll have fewer symptoms and you won’t be as fatigued, allowing you to enjoy the spring weather!

Dr. Jason Barker
Dr. Jason Barker


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