All Posts tagged Allergies

Low Vitamin D Status Could Boost Children’s Allergy Risk

Low vitamin D levels could increase the likelihood of children developing allergies, researchers from the Department of Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago concluded after studying the blood tests of 6,500 people. Lead researcher Michal Melamed, MD, MHS, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology and population health said: “It is one link in the puzzle, or a first step. It is not the definitive study to show this link but one of the first large studies that shows that this association exists. There are many other reasons to make sure that children and adolescents receive the daily recommended intake of vitamin D—including, importantly, bone health.” Melamed and her team examined serum vitamin D levels in blood collected from a nationally representative sample of more than 3,100 children and adolescents and 3,400 adults in 2005-2006. The study defined children and adolescents as participants aged one to 21. The samples were derived from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children across the U.S. One of the blood tests assessed was sensitivity to 17 different allergens by measuring levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein made when the immune system responds to allergens. No link was found between vitamin D levels and allergies in adults. But, for children and adolescents, low vitamin D levels could be linked to sensitivity to 11 of the 17 allergens tested. Those included both environmental allergens, such as ragweed, oak, dog, and cockroach, and food allergens such as peanuts. Children who had vitamin D deficiency—defined as fewer than 15 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood—were 2.4 times as likely to have a peanut allergy than were children with sufficient levels of vitamin D—defined as more than 30 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood.

I recommend children take 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D daily. 

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Extract from pine bark may ease symptoms of hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

Phytotherapy Research Published online ahead of print.

Seven weeks of supplementation with the branded pine bark extract Pycnogenol®  reduced the level of non-prescription antihistamine medication use to only 12.5%. Fifty percent of participants in the placebo group required the antihistamines.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen or fungal spores, most commonly grass pollen. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, about 60 million people in the U.S. are affected by allergic rhinitis.

The immune system mistakes the spores for harmful invaders and white blood cells—T-helper type 2 (Th2) lymphocytes—produce protein-like cytokines, such as interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5 and IL-6, which in turn promote the synthesis of immune system immunoglobulins (Ig), which bind the pollen and fight it off.

Participants took 100 mg per day of  the pine bark extract supplement throughout the allergy season.

Results showed that IgE levels increased by 32% in the placebo group, compared with only 19% in the pine bark extract group.

Pycnogenol decreases nasal and ocular symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients.

It takes about  five weeks  for Pycnogenol to impact hay fever symptoms.  Relief from allergies was better the longer the subjects were on Pycnogenol prior to the allergen exposure. The best results were found with subjects who took Pycnogenol seven to eight weeks ahead of the allergy season. 

I have seen good results for my patients using Pycnogenol, Phyto Complete (Metagenics) and Perimine (Metagenics) for allergy symptoms.