Seasonal Allergies and Candida

by Tarilee Cornish, Nutritional Practitioner

Do your seasonal allergies feel worse than ever since you've been struggling with candida?

Do you find you've got food allergies that worsen in the spring and/or summer?

Does it seem like your hay fever "gets worse" when you eat certain foods?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be struggling with cross-over allergic or intolerance reactions between fungus/yeast issues, food allergies and seasonal pollens. The connections between these challenges can represent some perplexing allergy relationships. An understanding of how these problems impact each other can empower us to find relief.

There are a number of food and lifestyle adjustments that we can make in order to strengthen the "terrain" of our bodies and thus raise our allergic threshold, (the level of exposure to an allergen required to cause an uncomfortable reaction.). To complement our efforts at strengthening our body terrain, we can utilize specific anti allergy supports. With an understanding of allergies and candida, a gentle candida reduction program combined with a careful process of self observation, food therapy, anti allergy supplements and homeopathy we can gain control over these symptoms and enjoy health indoors and out, even during allergy season.

As most of us know, what we eat can impact our recovery from the candida overgrowth. What is less understood is that some food choices can specifically trigger increased sensitivity to related airborne pollen allergens. There are foods that are actually related to some of the problem pollen plants. There are foods and beverages that create vulnerability to allergies in other ways. Demystifying how to best feed and care for ourselves during allergy season can prevent or minimize the intervention strategies required to cope with allergy symptoms.

Five Step Plan to Enjoy the Spring, Summer and Fall - Allergy Free.

1 Candida Reduction ~ to reduce immune stress and inflammatory mycotoxin accumulation caused by the yeast; to clear the colon for better breathing; and to improve intestinal integrity for greater immune strength and digestive power.

2 Attention to Food Therapy ~ to emphasize healthy, alkalizing and nutrient rich foods while minimizing foods and drinks (and medication) that amplify allergic propensity or sensitivity to specific pollens via cross-over reactions.

3 Detoxify for immune optimization ~ to reduce the overall toxic load and resulting immune suppression to enable a healthful reaction to allergens.

4 Use Supplements to strengthen tolerance specific to allergic response~ use herbs that bolster the immune system as well as nutrient supplements that counteract the histamine response and support immune resilience.

5 Desensitize with homeopathy ~ to gently trigger the immune and respiratory systems to defend against allergenic irritants.

6 Hydrate ~ to supply adequate hydration levels for the mobilization of oxygen carrying red blood cells and to optimize energy production and immune function.

1 The need for candida reduction

Candida intestinal damage increases susceptibility to food allergies. The imbalance in intestinal ecology caused by candida overgrowth also dramatically affects the immune system and the ability to digest foods well. Beneficial bacteria that supports our immune resilience and our digestion, normally present in a healthy digestive tract, is usually absent in cases of CRC.- Therefore, we are vulnerable already.

Also, the mycotoxins produced by yeast and fungus (the toxins released as the yeast metabolize carbohydrates from the food we eat) lead to our digestive and immune functions being suppressed by the candida, which can aggravate immune function further as well as the nervous system. In addition, our elimination suffers and it is not uncommon for constipation to result. This produces further toxicity as the wastes that need to leave the body remain behind, clogged in a sluggish colon.

If our colon is sluggish, our lung function can also be affected. In ancient Asian medicine (Ayurvedic and Chinese), a blocked colon is understood to impact lung function. One of the key approaches in Eastern medicine to resolving asthma includes cleansing the colon. The impact can be a heightened susceptibility for both food allergies and inhalant allergies (such as hay fever).

Reducing candida populations and cleansing the colon are key to increasing our resilience.

2 Foods and Hay Fever

Eating foods you are allergic or intolerant to during allergy season can trigger or worsen allergies. Some foods are obviously unsuitable for people with candida overgrowth and these are discussed at length on the Whole Approach website. Individuals recovering from illness (yeast or otherwise) are encouraged emphasize fresh, whole, unprocessed foods that are high in digestible, low mucous-forming proteins in order to facilitate detoxification and a more alkaline, healthful body chemistry. For people struggling with hay fever allergies as well as candida, this is even more crucial because of the need for a healthy mucous membrane defense in the respiratory system.

It can also be very helpful to learn about plant relationships between tree pollens, grass pollens and certain foods that might trigger cross reactions. Some of them can be confusing because they may change seasonally; worsening in the spring (tree pollens) or the summer (grass pollens.)

Mucous Producing Foods
Eating mucous or acid producing foods like dairy (butter, cheese, yogurt, milk/cream products),soy and gluten (from grains like wheat, spelt, kamut) can cause problems. The same is true for excessive amounts of meat or protein (even nuts and seeds). All of these foods cause a thickening of mucous throughout the body, including the nose and lungs. For a high allergy threshold, it's important to have healthy, responsive mucous membranes in the nose and lungs that can be clear and healthy enough to identify any potential allergy "threats", and defend us appropriately without overreacting and feeding into an adverse histamine response.

Cross Reactions with Tree and Grass Pollens
Grasses and cereal grains are less than ideal foods during spring and summer (or any allergy exposure time) for a couple of reasons. Because cereal grass foods can be closely related to some of the summer grass and weed pollens, this is a particularly bad time to eat them. Just as with any type of allergen, overexposure to it can amplify allergic response. Avoiding grains in our foods can help us be stronger against the grass pollens in our air. There are also some food plants that are related to spring tree pollens . For example, people who are allergic to birch pollen can have cross-reactions to apples and other fruit

Oats, barley, rice, wild rice, millet, rye, spelt, wheat, kamut, corn (maize), and wild rice are grasses and cereal grains commonly eaten as foods. We may also be exposed to related airborne pollen in the summer. Eating the above plants or relatives can aggravate inhalant allergens while inhaling them can increase allergic response to consuming these foods. There are also a few other, more obscure cross reactions that have been clinically verified. This is where it all starts to seem a bit complex and nebulous. For example grass pollen allergic people may react to melon, cereals and tomatoes.

Salicylic Acid in Food
Salicylic type medications (aspirin, ibuprofen) or foods containing salicylic acid are commonly known to trigger asthmatic symptoms in sensitive individuals so if your hay fever tends to manifest as lower respiratory stress, you'd be wise to steer clear of the salicylic containing foods. Below are lists of these foods according to high or very high salicylic acid content.
High: alfalfa, broccoli, cucumber, fava beans, spinach, sweet potato, granny smith apple, pickles, avocado fresh, cherries, grapes red, mandarin (fresh), tangelo (fresh), pine nuts, macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts
Very High: champignon, green pepper, olive, mushrooms, tomato, radish, chicory, apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, dates, guava, raisins, almonds, peanuts, canella, cumin, curry powder, dill dry, garam masalla, oregano, paprika (hot), rosemary, thyme, turmeric, mustard
The Nightshade Food Family
The nightshades are a family of fruits that are usually referred to as vegetables. They contain solanine, which is a toxin. In sensitive individuals, solanine can contribute to or cause various kinds of inflammatory response. This inflammatory response can interact with inhalant allergens to create a serious situation. Also, if you suffer with rhinitis or asthma, inflammatory substances should be treated with care and awareness. The most common nightshade plants include: tomato, sweet pepper, paprika, pimento, potato, Tabasco, brinjal, cayenne, capsicum, eggplant, ground cherry, banana pepper, bell pepper, chili pepper, green pepper, red pepper, tobacco.

If the impact of your diet on your seasonal allergies becomes a brain twister for you, this is a reminder to use a recording strategy like your food diary to plan and keep track of your food therapy approach. See the MemoryMinder Health Journal in the WholeApproach online store.

The above cautionary food lists may seem complex or expansive to you, especially if you are already eating a specific candida reduction food protocol. I think they are too! Keep in mind that very few people would need to abstain from all of these foods. I only list them all here so that you can pay special attention to this family of foods during seasonal allergy periods. Awareness helps you to eat these foods with informed self-observation.

In order to insure diversity and interest in the food therapy regimen, it is very important to carefully identify which foods are good for us and which are not. The process requires a period of commitment to careful record taking using a food or health diary. A health diary is where you can record all that you eat, all supplements or treatments or changes you make to health care regime, and how you feel; even the daily weather. This is usually done three times a day or however many times a day you eat. One hour after finishing your food is a good time to do this.

Vitalizing Whole Foods
The more vegetables we eat, the more alkaline and healthful our body chemistry will be. I recommend aiming for a vegetable intake that represents fifty percent of your total food intake (in weight or quantity - not in caloric value). If tolerated, try to eat much of your vegetable intake raw. Raw produce aids cleansing and immune strength. Insure you eat adequate protein, especially if you are vegetarian. Choose healthful proteins that are easy to digest and won't gum up the digestive tract. Sprouted quinoa (if tolerated), sprouted beans, gentle cooked eggs and quality meats are all recommended sources.

3 Detoxify

If we want to feel our very best during pollen season, it's important to "clean-up" our environment. Work to create a natural, healthy home, car and workspace environment. Strive for a chemical and additive-free, fresh diet that is rich in nutrients. Reducing the number of allergenic and toxic irritants to our body frees our immune system to more effectively cope with pollens as we progress into a more tolerant health status.

Toss out the artificially-fragranced room deodorizers, car fresheners, laundry products, shampoos, soaps and cleaning products. Whenever possible, avoid unnecessary medications and seek natural medicinal solutions that will harmonize with your body's healing process. Many pharmaceuticals inhibit natural healing actions and can result in tissue accumulations of undesirable substances. If indoor air pollution issues exist, such as pollution particulates from outside, pet dander, dust etc, - you may wish to purchase a quality hepa air cleaner for your space. If you suffer from pet allergies, hay fever season may inspire you to find allergy reduction strategies around pets, including making sure they are kept away from your bedroom at all times.

If you choose to add fragrances to your world, use healthy, organic essential oil products that are solvent and pesticide free, and be aware that even some plant concentrates can cause allergies.

4 Nutritional and Herbal Supplements for a More Healthful Allergy Season

Some of the herbal and nutrient supports that you may consider using to help raise your allergy threshold include buffered vitamin C, MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane), grape seed extract, an immune boosting herbal blend, and a high potency multivitamin/mineral.

Buffered Vitamin C, such as Yellow Sun Ultra-Pure Buffered Vitamin C sold in the Whole Approach store, contains ascorbic acid and buffering, alkalizing minerals. The minerals help the body assimilate the ascorbic acid (vitamin C) while neutralizing its acidity. A good quality buffered vitamin C will contain ascorbate mineral(s) in addition to the ascorbic acid. Lower quality supplements will have a cheap alkalizer such as calcium carbonate, which can have negative consequences.

Vitamin C is well suited to an anti-allergy program. It has antihistamine activity and has been shown to reduce allergy symptoms. Two grams a day has been shown to improve bronchial tolerance to histamine as well as lowering blood levels of histamines. It was also proven to reduce histamine release and increase the detoxification of histamine. Histamine release by the body is the trigger for most of our allergic discomfort.

Yellow Sun Ultra-Pure MSM (Methyl Sulfonyl Methane) is a naturally occurring compound related to DMSO, a well known anti inflammatory. It is thought that MSM may be the active ingredient that has given DMSO its reputation for being so effective. MSM is 34% sulfur which is an important mineral for many physiological processes. Easily digestible proteins are good sources of sulfur and so are many vegetables grown on well-balanced, organically cultivated soil.

Times of illness, healing or detoxification increase the body's need for sulfur and supplementation is helpful for many therapeutic applications. The most common uses include inflammation reduction and support for skin, hair, nails, mucous membrane support (including allergies) and detoxification. The Yellow Sun Ultra Pure MSM sold on the Whole Approach store is free of chemical additives and each capsule contains 1000mg of MSM.

MSM has become an enormously popular supplement and has caught the attention and interest of some nutrition researchers, leading to a couple of very promising pilot studies. These studies have shown a significant benefit to people suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis as well as osteoarthritis. As with most nutritional supplements, those choosing to use MSM on a long term basis should take a break either one day a week or one week every six to eight weeks. This may assuage any concerns, while also allowing for a deeper integration of the product as a result of cyclic use. The use of this product for a few months during allergy season would not be of concern and may provide some significant relief from symptoms.

Grape Seed Extract is a powerful antioxidant that provides many strengthening benefits to support the body during allergy season. It is particularly helpful against illness or allergy induced free radical damage, as it improves the exchange of gases in the respiratory system and throughout the body. Grape seed extract has been the subject of a number of very exciting university studies verifying several very useful, specific therapeutic actions. Grape seed extract has been shown to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease (by reducing low density lipoproteins (LDL's) from oxidation that is associated with heart disease), reduce the risk of heart attack, reduce oxidative stress (associated with various forms of cancer), reduce post operative swelling, inhibit cancer cells and strengthen capillary walls. It's also been shown to "generally support tissues containing collagen and elastin", (proteins found in blood vessels, skin, muscle and cartilage.)

Whole Approach sells a combination product called Activin with L-Opti Zinc. It contains a high potency, solvent and additive free formula of grape seed extract with additional support from zinc, an immune supporting essential mineral.

Doc's Best Multi Vitamin/Mineral When our bodies are well nourished, our immune and nervous system function at their best to increase resiliency to stresses like allergies. Our skin, bones and cardiovascular system benefit as well. Doc's Best high potency, full spectrum multi formula is an excellent example for overall nutritional balancing health support.

St Francis Herb Farm Astragalus Combo/Deep Immune This formula supports the immune system with several herbs that each boasts many centuries of traditional use in Eastern (and Western) herbal medicine. Detailed product information is available in the Whole Approach online store describing the remarkable qualities of each of the herbs in the formula. This formula is recognized as an anti-viral and anti-allergic remedy that enhances the immune system, and may help overcome frequent or chronic infections. It can help to keep up the white blood cell count during chemotherapy and it is also useful for the liver, acting as a liver restorative and protective.

5 Homeopathic Desensitization

Homeopathic medicine involves treating symptoms with a dilution of an irritant which, when undiluted, causes the very symptoms present in the patient. In the case of seasonal allergies, the appropriate remedy consists of the actual allergenic plants combined with other plants that cause hay fever-like symptoms, such as allium cepa (onion) - which causes burning, watery eyes. Most homeopathic hay fever and pollen formulas also contain histamine, which is the substance our bodies release in response to an allergen. It is the histamine that causes most symptoms of hay fever.

Homeopathic support for allergies is best begun well before exposure. Taking the homeopathic remedy for about two weeks before the pollens will be in the air can reduce our response to the pollens by preparing our body with a "teaching exposure." When we are exposed, our body has already either become desensitized to it, or prepared the necessary immune defenses to cope with it.

Homeopathic medicine is very safe. It is produced using a process called "dilution and succussion." All of the original material is eventually diluted until what remains is merely an imprint of the magnetic vibration of the substance. In fact, homeopathic remedies do not contain any of the original substance they are sourced from. For this reason, no overdose, contraindications or allergic reactions are possible. The remedies come in liquid or in pellets.

The pellets are typically made from sugar, which could be a concern for some. However, they are tiny and the dosage only requires the consumption of one to three pellets for full benefit. For those with candida, the benefit in this case, most likely outweighs the challenge of the sugar. The intensity of homeopathic treatment is increased by taking more doses not by taking more pellets or drops.

Each remedy is made to a particular potency. The higher the number, the stronger the effect. Self prescribed remedies that are bought "over the counter" at a pharmacy or a health food store are typically low to moderate doses of 12ch to 30ch. Homeopathic doctors work with these as well as higher doses.

Look for a formula containing local pollens, and histamine and possibly thymus. If symptoms cannot be controlled by all six methods included here, a couple of complementary supports include the Thorne homeopathic (quercetin) nasal spray and the Similsan homeopathic allergy eye drops.

6 Hydrate

During healing or detoxification (such as the need to detoxify histamine), adequate water is essential for health. Immune function will also be much more efficient if body fluids are optimum. A general rule is to drink an amount of water (in ounces), equal to half of our weight (in pounds) each day. If you consume any diuretic teas or coffee or sodas, be sure to replace with an equal amount of water.

For Improved Health -

If your hay fever worsens along with your candida issues and/or worsens as you start to experience die off, try not to panic. As explained above, candida overgrowth significantly worsens our sensitivity to hay fever.

As you progress through recovery from candida-related illness, your overall health will improve. You will likely find your seasonal allergies greatly reduced. They may even disappear! If you have a severe propensity, you might need some support in subsequent seasons. As you get stronger and more experienced with the applications of these strategies, you will likely feel better with less than you've needed this season.

Understanding the relationship between candida, the consumption of certain foods and seasonal allergies is an important step on the path to feeling better. Learning to utilize some of the above tools and strategies at the right time of the year can help minimize our suffering. If we build on these skills and habits, we strengthen the "terrain" of our bodies and thus decrease our vulnerability to allergens. Along with an understanding of the underlying characteristics and a careful process of self-observation food therapy, anti-allergy supplements and homeopathy can all combine to help us look forward to the joy of the changing seasons!

Tarilee Cornish is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner with a special interest in immune and digestive recovery including general detoxification and recovery from food allergies and candida overgrowth. She is especially passionate about pure healing food choices that have a democratic, ecological and compassionate production and distribution chain. Tarilee is a moderator on the WholeApproach Support Forum.