Natural Solutions for Seasonal Allergies
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
If you suffer from allergies, you’re not alone–seasonal allergies affect an estimated 40 million to 60 million people yearly. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. There are several underlying factors that make a person more prone to having allergies, and several natural solutions to increase your resistance to these immune triggers.
What Causes Allergies?
All aspects of health are important pieces of the puzzle: air quality, diet, exercise, sleep, stress, etc. Whenever we burden our body with stress–whether it be eating a gluten-containing muffin, or having a fight with a loved one–it adds a drop into our stress bucket. Too many drops, and the bucket is going to overflow. When our immune system is overloaded, it will react to an otherwise harmless substance, like pollen, as if it were a dangerous foregin invader.
The risk of developing seasonal allergies is increased in individuals with a co-existing condition, like asthma, food allergies, pregnancy, and even stress and trauma. These conditions affect your immune system, contributing more drops to the stress bucket.
Allergies are an immune system disorder. The body overreacts to a harmless substance by producing antibodies to attack, causing common allergy symptoms.
Common Seasonal Allergy Symptoms:
- Post-nasal drip
- Excess mucus
- Runny nose
- Itchy, watery eyes
- Scratchy throat
- Decreased concentration and focus
- Fatigue, problems sleeping
- Mood swings, Irritability
- Skin issues like hives or eczema
In addition to the above pre-existing conditions, anything which weakens the immune system will contribute to the stress bucket, leading to allergies. Recent surgery, physical trauma, underlying illness, and lack of sleep included!
What are other stressors on the immune system? A poor diet is a biggie. Gluten, sugar, alcohol, and processed foods all weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to gut imbalance (which affects the immune system), sickness, and yes–seasonal allergies.
Natural Remedies for Seasonal Allergies
- Treat your nostrils with a Neti Pot or Saline Spray– Sterile saline solution can flush out allergens and calm inflammation in the nasal passages.
- Quercetin: Quercetin can significantly lower inflammation and modulate immune response. Research also shows quercetin stops the production and release of histamine!
- Nettle: Nettle blocks histamine production and reduces inflammation. A natural antihistamine, nettle can be used as a tincture or tea to calm allergy symptoms.
- Probiotics: Allergies are linked to immune health–and so is the gut. By balancing gut health, the immune system benefits and allergies subside. Try a quality probiotic and consume fermented foods to boost beneficial gut bacteria.
- Local raw honey: In a study published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology, those who received honey had better allergy relief than those on allergy medication! The key here is local and raw. Local honey contains the pollen causing your allergies, and raw honey contains vitamins and enzymes. If you want to use it in your tea, allow the tea to cool before adding honey to prevent killing the beneficial compounds.
- Sleep: Getting ample sleep is crucial for the body to repair itself. The immune system thrives when the body gets adequate rest. Aim for 8 hours per night. Sleeping n a pitch black room, slightly cool (aim for 65-68 degrees), with white noise can help foster a good sleeping environment.
- Essential oils: Peppermint eucalyptus, lavender and peppermint essential oils can help clear the nasal passages. Diffuse them, or apply with a carrier oil to the chest to help ease breathing and open the lungs
By eating an anti-inflammatory diet, getting enough sleep, and implementing some of the remedies above, you can reduce your allergy symptoms significantly. Allergies are not a sentence–you have the power to take charge of your health.
Infections, Digestive Issues, Brain Fog and What To Do Next – Podcast #61
Dr. Justin Marchegiani and Evan Brand talk about gut bugs and multiple gut infections in this interview. While you’ll see some symptoms when a person’s experiencing a gut infection, remember it’s not always the case as there are times when people don’t get any symptoms at all. Find out what types of specialty labs to order to test for gut infection by calling your functional medicine practitioner.
Get in-depth information on what the usual suspects are for gut infections and watch out for where you could possibly get them. Learn more about allergy medications and discover the effective treatment protocols to knock out these gut bugs by listening to this podcast.
In this episode, topics include:
3:03 Where do gut infections come from
11:15 Compromised gut health immune system
13:32 Allergies and allergy medications
16:30 Treatment protocols, enzymes and HCl
18:56 Infections and recovery
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey, Evan! What’s going on, man?
Evan Brand: Hey, not much. I’m excited I got to talk with you this week. I was curious if we were gonna get together and do this thing. I was like, “Oh, man! I need my–my weekly dose of inspiration.” So glad we’re getting to do this.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Vice-versa. I always enjoy talking to you as well. What did you have for breakfast?
Evan Brand: I woke up and my wife said, “Hey, I made some sausage for you.” So it was just some of the Applegate, no hormones, no antibiotics, sausage links. Had about 5 of those puppies and just some lemon water and that’s it so far and I’m still feeling good and that was a couple hours ago.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Nice. Yeah, myself, I did a great little green drink. So I took some celery and some parsley. Took a whole lemon, one carrot, some kale, cucumber and about 3 or 4 ginger cloves and I had them all juiced up, but you know, nice coffee-mug size. I drink that. Had some coffee, butter, and MCT oil all blended up and then I’m also sipping on a whey protein shake. So I got a lot of micronutrients in my green drink. I got some good fats in my butter and MCT coffee, and then I got some extra protein and amino acids in my grass-fed whey protein.
Evan Brand: That shake sounds pretty potent.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, it was very spicy with the ginger. I love ginger. I mean, ginger is phenomenal. I have it part of my programs with any gut killing program because ginger is very anti-inflammatory. It’s a prokinetic so people that have delayed gastric emptying or digestive issues, and also keeps the lymphatic system moving. It’s an anticoagulant so people get inflamed–either things move in the body much slower from a lymphatic and detox perspective so keeping the ginger in there really keeps things moving.
Evan Brand: Ah, that makes sense. Yeah, I’ve had some ginger kombuchas–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Love those.
Evan Brand: Like some home-made. I’ve had some of the ones that are in the bottles but I’ve had a couple like home-made ones at some health fairs and it’s enough to make you squint your eyes after you drink it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I was quite hot after I drink it.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So that’s what I had. I’m actually heading to Kansas City this weekend. What are you up to?
Evan Brand: I don’t know yet. I know I’m gonna be here in town. My buddy, Matt, was in town last weekend from Charlotte, so I think I’m just gonna do a rest and relaxation, engage my parasympathetic mode all weekend.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Very cool, very cool. We talked again pre-show–we wanna talk about gut bugs a little bit. I’ve done a lot of shows and posts on parasites and gut bugs. Again, we’ll try to look at it from a different perspective, so anyone that’s listened to our old stuff it won’t be repetitive. And again we wanna walk–we wanna have people walk away with some, you know, take home application, but I see a lot of people with gut bugs and gut infections and they don’t even have any digestive symptoms at all. They have no diarrhea, no bloating, no gas, no constipation, no reflux, none of that stuff. But on the test we find gut infection. Sometimes even multiple gut infections.
Evan Brand: So where do these things come from? I mean, when I–I first hear that I think of people traveling to a tropical place but I know that’s not necessary to get a gut bug.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so I’ll give you for instance. I had a patient–we can go back in time to let’s say the mid-2000s when this person was in Brazil and they noticed they got sick and things were–weren’t quite the same. Had gone to multiple different GI docs, after the fact and nothing came back. Now this person’s main symptom and they some digestive symptoms but their number one symptom was fatigue. Fatigue. So we ran some tests. We did some of our functional, more specialty labs, and this is kinda where it gets hairy because I have a lot of people that come in that have digestive issues and they say, hey I’ve gotten my conventional blood work done or my conventional stool test at my local hospital done and I did not come back with an infection. Let’s not go this route. And I say, “Huh.” I’ve done this thousands of times. I’ve had this conversation like it’s Groundhog’s Day, right? And I’ve seen people come back with infections where they’ve already been tested by their conventional labs and hospitals and they–they come back negative there but they come back positive on mine. So moral of the story, this guy that had the chronic fatigue came back with a couple different infections and we were able to catch it on the test. We just started to treat the infection, his fatigue started getting better. Now if we just relied on the conventional setting, we’d never would have even got the info to know that his person had a major infection and conventional medicine doesn’t look at these infections of even existing in a chronic state. Infections are acute. You have diarrhea. You have, you know, all of the traveler’s diarrhea, you know, things like that, maybe even throwing up and once that’s gone, you’re–that’s it. You’re over the infection. That’s kind of the mindset.
Evan Brand: Yeah and the problem is, even if the conventional model were able to identify it, they’re not gonna be able to properly address it with some of the things we–that we may talk about today as the treatment options for lack of a better term.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so there’s an antibiotic out there called metronidazole or Flagyl and we run a specific genetic stool test and we find a lot of people that come back with infections are also resistant to that antibiotic. I see it all the time. So you’re typical doctor is just gonna prescribe Flagyl and say “Here you go. Infection be gone.” But I see a lot of my stool tests that this comes back resistant. Now before I even was doing genetic testing for antibiotic sensitivity, I already intuitively noticed that a lot of people were being treated with Flagyl and–and metronidazole and tinidazole and other antibiotics like this and they weren’t working. Like meaning that person would feel a little bit better for a bit of time and then the symptoms would come back so I knew intuitively something wasn’t right and then now with some of this newer technology we can see that there’s actually antibiotic resistance. So that kinda makes sense, my intuition was kinda proven right and that’s why a combination of herbs specific to what the infection may be is gonna be the optimal way to–to knock out the gut bug.
Evan Brand: Yup, so let’s dig a little deeper. Where do these things come from? You mentioned the Brazil case. That’s definitely interesting, but say somebody that’s not traveling internationally? Where are they gonna pick these things up or how are they gonna get into the system and allow to become problematic?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Great question. So a lot of these infections are just opportunistic, right? There needs to be some level of immune stress, adrenal stress, stress in that person’s life for these infections to kind of take foothold. That’s kind of one scenario. Scenario number two is you just get exposed to a lot of that parasite or a lot of that infection and–and the–the bolus, the amount on that infection that’s there is just overwhelming to the system to begin with. So it’s typically either a small amount where the body is just not able to handle it because of chronic stress. A large amount that really overwhelms the body and typically one or two tend to be kind of, you know, in effect. And then most of the time people go to their conventional doctor and doesn’t come up for the–all the–the many reasons that we talked about. So reason number one, chronic stress. Their immune system is somewhat compromised to begin with and then number two, there just a very large amount of the infection there and then what tends to happen is the infection starts to compromise the body’s ability to breakdown food. So then we have stress in the gut. The first thing that happens when our sympathetic nervous system starts activating is the inability to secrete hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is needed for protein digestion. HCl for short is what activates our proteolytic, right? Remember medicine uses big words to make you confused. Proteo, protein. Lytic, cutting or break down. So activates your proteolytic or protein breaking down enzymes called pepsin in the stomach. The nice low pH of all of that acidic chyme. Chyme is just mixed up food. Take the food, put it in the blender, that’s chyme. When that food comes out that stomach into the small intestine, that nice low pH does two things. It causes a stimulation of secretion of cholecystokinin which causes the gallbladder to contract and produce bile salts or stimulate the release of bile salts and that CCK also causes the pancreas to produce a whole bunch of lipase which breaks down fat, right? That LIP, right? Lipid, that’s the–the fat abbreviation and then it also stimulates the pancreas to produce some proteolytic enzymes–trypsin, chymotrypsin, etc. So we have this whole digestive domino rally effect here and when the gut becomes inflamed, when there’s stress in the gut, one of the first thing that gets compromised is hydrochloric acid secretion and once HCl secretion gets compromised, enzyme secretion gets compromised, bile salt secretion gets compromised and then foods tend to sit and rot and ferment and putrefy and rancidify creating more stress. So this–it’s this downwards spiral cycle and then over time the gut lining becomes thinner and thinner, leaky gut starts occurring, more and more food allergy start occurring, and then the patient symptoms get worse and worse and worse overtime.
Evan Brand: Mmkay. So you–so you kinda answered that in a long winded way which is good. So basically–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Sorry about t