Seasonal Allergies

Carol B. Blair, BS, DiHom, CNC
Wellness Educator

An allergen is a substance that has been targeted by the immune system as a carolforeign invader. The receptor on the mast cell binds to an allergen, and the body produces antibodies to this invader. The mast cells then release histamine that causes the typical allergic responses such as red, itchy eyes/coughing/nasal congestion/runny nose.

Most allergy medications work as anti-histamines, and there are many natural anti-histamines and anti-inflammatories that will help reduce symptoms without side effects.

Quercetin, a flavonoid found in apples, buckwheat, onions, and green tea, helps keep mast cells from releasing histamine. The absorption of quercetin is enhanced by bromelain, which potentiates its action, so you will often find them combined for best results. This combination is one of the most commonly used natural therapies for allergies.

Nettle leaf tea has been used for centuries to relieve allergies especially hayfever. It has been recommended highly by Dr. Andrew Weil. Nettle tea or the extract inhibits pro-inflammatory pathways related to allergies, and it has an impressive number of other benefits for the immune system.

Osha is an herb used for its anti-histamine-like properties. Osha will often quickly reduce allergic reactions; it also soothes a sore throat. Recent studies also show the herb, Butterbur, to be excellent for allergy symptom relief.

Antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Grapeseed extract, MSM, and fish oil can also help reduce inflammation, and therefore, symptoms.

Allergy relief is an area where homeopathy shines. Homeopathy is based on the theory that “like cures like.” Many homeopathic formulas contain the allergens, such as pollen, in minute doses that are prevalent in a certain region of the country, and formulas exist for allergies in our area. There are other allergy formulas available as well for individuals who have sensitivities to animal dander or dairy, for instance. These can be a big help for allergy sufferers.

Last but not least, new studies are showing the role of probiotics in down-regulating the immune system to help reduce allergies!

All of these supplements are quite effective in reducing congestion, sneezing, itchy eyes, headaches, and fatigue that are associated with seasonal allergies. The best part is that, instead of side effects, most of these supplements will have other beneficial uses for your immune system as well

Maximize Your Magnesium for the Heart of the Matter

MagnesiumBy Shannon Morehouse, MA CHHC

Magnesium is often referred to as the miracle mineral. Some statistics indicate that more than 75% of us are deficient in this incredibly valuable mineral.

Magnesium deficiency symptoms include: leg cramps, eye twitching, fatigue, constipation, insomnia, anxiety, racing heart, and chest pain. Magnesium is a natural relaxant; research shows that it can help keep insomnia at bay, relieve muscle cramps, get things moving through your digestive tract, ease anxiety, and can even lower your risk for diabetes. Another important fact about magnesium is that it provides amazing benefits for your heart. In honor of National Heart Health Month, we would like to share with you some facts about magnesium submitted by renowned doctor Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. If you find her facts interesting, she has many more facts on magnesium available in a free downloadable guide at http://www.nutritionalmagnesium.org.

  • The heart is a very large muscle. Calcium causes muscles to contract and magnesium causes them to relax. If the body is deficient in magnesium, the heart can go into spasm causing a fatal heart attack; beat erratically causing arrhythmia; or beat too slowly (bradycardia) or too quickly (tachycardia). Magnesium balances calcium.
  • Magnesium prevents blood clot formation and muscle spasms of the heart’s blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack. One major cause of angina is spasming of the heart’s coronary arteries that are lined with smooth muscles that react to a deficiency of magnesium.
  • Magnesium prevents muscle spasms of the peripheral blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, another risk factor for heart disease.
  • Magnesium prevents calcium buildup and cholesterol plaque in arteries, which leads to clogged arteries.
  • Your body requires magnesium to maintain healthy elastin, which provides essential elasticity in your arteries. Loss of elasticity is a risk factor for heart disease. Loss of elasticity causes inflammation of heart blood vessels, which interferes with blood flow and leads to heart disease.
  • High blood pressure can cause stroke and heart attack. Tension in the smooth muscle of blood vessels throughout the body due to magnesium deficiency is a major cause of high blood pressure.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): An Essential Supplement Especially for those on Statins

By the Natur-Tyme Wellness Team87717861_Small

A nutrient commonly depleted by medications is CoQ10. With Lipitor® being the leading selling prescription drug in the United States, one can see why. Lipitor® (Atorvastatin) along with Zocor® (Simvastatin), Mevacor® (Lovastatin), Pravachol® (Pravastatin), Lescol® (fluvastatin), Crestor® (rosuvastatin), and Vytorin® (ezetimibe/simvastatin), also known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors or statin drugs, decrease the production of cholesterol, but they also decrease this very important cofactor naturally produced by the body. Other medications have also been implicated in CoQ10 depletion.

CoQ10 is necessary for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which makes energy, is a cofactor necessary for cellular respiration, and an antioxidant.

Some of the consequences of CoQ10 depletion include:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Periodontal disease
  • Weakened immunity
  • Loss of cognitive function (Alzheimers, Dementia, Parkinsons)

There are many animal and human studies demonstrating the effectiveness of this coenzyme. A double-blind, three-year trial involved administering 100 mg of CoQ10 daily to patients suffering from cardiomyopathy. Results showed a significant increase in ejection fraction (the amount of blood pumped through the heart), increased cardiac muscle strength, and fewer instances of shortness of breath by the 12-week mark. The effects lasted only as long as CoQ10 was being administered. There was 89% improvement in the 80 patients treated.

A direct correlation of CoQ10 deficiency with increased risk of periodontal disease has been established. Symptoms include swelling, bleeding, loose teeth, redness, pain, deep gingival pockets, and exudates.

Tissues involved with immune function require a significant amount of energy. CoQ10 has an “immune enhancing” effect on the human body according to a study that showed an increased immunoglobulin G in the serum of patients taking the nutritional supplement daily for 27 to 98 days. Improving immune function is necessary when treating AIDS, chronic infections (Candidiasis), and cancer. There are no adverse interactions between CoQ10 and any other drug or nutrient.

CoQ10 is typically dosed at 50-300 mg/day, although doses of over 3,000 mg daily have been proven safe and effective. It works very well in conjunction with vitamin E and L-carnitine.

B Complex – We Can’t Live without Them

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By Carol B. Blair, BS, CNC, DiHom

The B complex family of vitamins is extremely important for the nervous system, and a deficiency of even one can cause malfunction of the nervous system. Of course, they play other roles too because they are essential for all bodily functions from energy production to the formation of healthy red blood cells. The B vitamins are water-soluble so they are not stored in the body and need to be replenished regularly.

Some individuals have difficulty processing the B vitamins, and for those individuals I recommend co-enzymated forms that are more bioavailable. These are not typically found in the average B-complex vitamin, but our knowledgeable staff can help you find one. Food-based Bs are also easy for the body to assimilate.

Here is just a sampling of what the eight B vitamins in a typical B-Complex can do for you:

  • B-1 (thiamine): one of the chief nerve relaxants; required to burn glucose and turn carbs into energy; deficiency can cause an enlarged heart.
  • B-2 (riboflavin): necessary for red blood cell formation and for the metabolism of carbs, fat, and protein; reduces wrinkles around the mouth.
  • B-3 (niacin): helps regulate gene expression, the synthesis of fatty acids, and cholesterol; a severe deficiency causes the 3 Ds–dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia.
  • B-5 (pantothenic acid): a major stress nutrient; important for fatigued adrenals; converts choline to acetylcholine for proper brain function; reduces insulin resistance.
  • B-6 (pyridoxine): responsible for more enzymatic reactions than any other B vitamin; important for the brain because it aids in proper gene expression, and the synthesis and function of neurotransmitters. Important minerals like zinc and magnesium can’t work without B-6.
  • Folic Acid: helps form new cells; low folic acid causes certain anemias, some forms of restless legs, high homocysteine levels, and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
  • Biotin: is best known for hair, skin, and nails but it is also necessary for adrenal and thyroid function and balancing blood sugar. Requires vitamin E to work.
  • B-12 (cyanocobalamin): must be converted in the body to the active form methylcobalamin so the latter is the better form. B-12 is necessary for proper cell division, good memory and energy. Methylation is important for detoxification and cancer prevention. B-12 helps reduce homocysteine and helps regulate the sleep cycle. Deficiency is associated with fatigue and poor memory as well as pernicious anemia which is fatal if undetected. This is best taken sublingually in the morning.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what B vitamins can do for you. Food sources include: legumes, nuts, brown rice, egg yolks, dairy, fish, and chicken. If you feel fatigued, depressed, or have a poor memory, I would highly recommend starting with a good B-complex. My favorite is Natur-Tyme’s B-Healthy which contains some co-enzymated forms for better bioavailability. It also has higher amounts of biotin for the hair and extra amounts of pantothenic acid for stressed adrenals.

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