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Breathing Easy

Seasonal Wellness Seasonal Wellness
EuroMedica
 
Longevity By Nature

Wellness tips and natural health products that help relieve or prevent seasonal allergies and respiratory issues.

Ahhh…ahhh…ahchoo! Around the country millions of people are pulling out packages of tissues, applying cold washcloths to their foreheads, and sniffling. Beautiful, warm weather is here in much of the United States. Yet for many the warmer days and blooming flowers are a time of severe discomfort.

Allergies—to pollen, foods, drugs, insects and more—are believed to affect more than 100 million in this country alone on an annual basis according to statistics from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Approximately 81 million people according to the nonprofit, suffer from seasonal allergies specifically.

Besides over-the-counter and prescription medications, what can one do to prevent or treat seasonal allergies and respiratory issues? Thankfully, there are a lot of natural alternatives that may help. Lifestyle changes too, may bring relief for some sufferers.

Causes of Seasonal Allergies & Respiratory Issues

AAFA states that “Seasonal allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. This type of rhinitis occurs mainly in the spring and fall when pollen from trees, grasses and weeds are in the air.”1 The same triggers—for both indoor and outdoor allergies—tend to also irritate the eyes as well, information on AAFA’s website stated.

This is likely to become even more common. President of Food Allergy Consulting and Education Services and spokesperson for AAFA, John James, MD, stated that warming trends and longer, more intense allergy seasons due to climate change are impacting people with allergies and asthma more often. “In addition, the effects are lasting longer.” Longer growing seasons mean more exposure to allergens that can trigger asthma and other respiratory and allergic responses, noted Dr. James. “Research shows that pollen seasons now start 20 days earlier, and last 10 days longer, compared to 30 years ago. This means more tree pollen in the spring. Warmer summers mean more grass pollen and longer exposure to this pollen. In addition, ragweed season lasts longer in the fall because the first frost typically happens much later than it used to.”

Dr. Chris Terrell of Natural Path Silver Wings, a manufacturer located in Tennessee, stated that allergies and respiratory-related issues seem to be continually growing and affecting a wider age range across the country. “Some say this allergy problem may partly be attributed to environmental exposure that we’re living with. Airborne chemicals, pollution and even substandard food ingredients are taking a toll on our immune system which, in turn, is triggering allergic reactions,” Dr. Terrell stated.

Market for Seasonal Wellness

Senior Director of Clinical Education at Designs for Health in Florida, Oscar Coetzee, MS, DCN, believes the market for seasonal wellness products is strong. “. . . the demand for products addressing seasonal allergies and respiratory issues has been on the rise, driven by increased awareness of preventive health measures,” said Dr. Coetzee. “Consumers are seeking natural and science-backed solutions, contributing to the growth of this market.”

Barbara Apps, product manager at Boiron USA, located in Pennsylvania said that the seasonal wellness market is growing due to several factors: COVID-19, an increasing number of allergies, and longer allergy seasons. These, she stated, produce a higher pollen count, and can be attributed to climate change. “The aging population is also a factor as there is a tendency for allergies to increase as people age, as well as develop allergic reactions to medications,” said Apps.

Lifestyle Changes That May Improve Seasonal Allergies

“Individuals with seasonal allergies can follow many recommended lifestyle changes to help decrease seasonal allergy symptoms,” Dr. James noted. “Stay inside during the peak pollen times. Close windows and doors, use central air conditioning and reliable air filters in the home.” He stated that HEPA filters may help, but they should be changed regularly for the most effectiveness. “Homeowners and rental tenants can use AAFA’s Healthier Home checklist to identify areas of their living spaces that may be contributing to allergy and asthma symptoms,” said Dr. James. “This checklist includes tips to improve your indoor air quality in these spaces.”

Showering and changing clothes is a good idea as pollen can be brought indoors otherwise. “Be aware that your pets can bring outdoor pollen in their hair into the home. Perform regular home cleaning with vacuuming one to two times per week preferably with a HEPA vacuum.”

Likewise, Dr. James recommended that individuals work with a board-certified allergist to determine what is causing the allergies in the first place. The allergist can develop an effective treatment plan with the individual, said Dr. James. Also, “You can track the weather and pollen counts in your area and avoid spending too much time outdoors during days when the pollen you are allergic to is high.” He recommends that individuals with allergies also track the air quality index (AQI) by using airnow.gov. “The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health concern,” explained Dr. James. “When the AQI is high, you should consider limiting outdoor activities and wearing an appropriate facemask or covering if you do go outside.”

Peak pollen times are in the early morning hours and late in the day. If exercising, gardening or otherwise enjoying time outdoors, try to do it during the midday hours, said Dr. James. “This can help prevent exposure to high levels of pollen. Wear sunglasses to limit the amount of pollen that gets into your eyes. Finally, staying well hydrated is very important during your allergy season, especially when you are experiencing symptoms.”

Trends in the Seasonal Wellness Market

Dr. Coetzee noted a few trends in seasonal wellness. “Recent trends in treatment and prevention focus on holistic approaches, including personalized nutrition, immune support and lifestyle modifications. Plant-based remedies and products with multiple beneficial ingredients are gaining popularity,” he noted.

Dayna Dye, education content writer at Life Extension (Florida), stated that post-pandemic more companies are continuing to utilize remote work options for employees. This, she believes, is helping to prevent respiratory diseases that are common during the winter season. Another trend that Dye has noticed is that blood testing for allergies is more common than in the past. “Life Extension was among the first to offer mail-order blood testing, which is now available from many companies,” Dye said. “People can order blood testing through the mail to detect seasonal and other allergic responses. A blood sample provided by a simple finger stick can provide information concerning antibody response to common airborne allergens, including grasses, trees, molds, weeds, animal dander and dust. Identification of the source of respiratory responses can aid in their prevention during allergy season and year-round.”

A trend that Apps has noticed? Self-medication, self-care and personalization in society. She believes that all three contribute to a greater desire for natural seasonal wellness products.

Additionally, she stated, “Personalization is key especially when it comes to homeopathic single medicines. They allow for treatments to be customized since they are based on individual symptoms,” Apps explained. She stated that individuals are looking for more natural or better-for-you solutions versus conventional over-the-counter medications, especially those that don’t have negative side effects. Individuals are also looking for alternative delivery forms for their medicines, Apps stated. “They want those that are convenient and easy to take, and travel-friendly with portable packaging. This is especially valuable because allergy symptoms can strike at any time—when traveling, eating at restaurants, trying new foods, or engaging in outdoor activities.” She believes many of these trends are driven by younger consumers in the 20- to 40-year-old range.

At Xlear Inc., a manufacturer in Utah, Lisa Stillman, RDH, BS serves as regional education manager. She stated that the pandemic has heightened interest in natural immunity boosters, with a specific focus on respiratory health products. “Public awareness of the importance of daily nasal hygiene to reduce upper respiratory infections became paramount during efforts to prevent COVID.” Stillman stated that as an educator for Xlear, she’s noticed an increase in awareness of both health care practitioners and consumers regarding nasal hygiene. “The inquiries that are raised now are mainly centered on product availability,” said Stillman.

Ingredients That May Help Seasonal Allergies & Respiratory Issues

Dr. Terrell of Natural Path Silver Wings stated that the company has launched a nasal spray, Sinus Relief, which is available in both 50 ppm (parts per million) and a stronger 250 ppm. “It cleanses the nasal passage from aerial irritants, relieves sinus congestion by thinning the mucus in the nose, and improves airflow for clearer breathing,” said Dr. Terrell. The product, he stated, is family-safe for ages four and up. “These 1-oz. nasal spray bottles are convenient for people on the go,” he stated.

At Life Extension, Dye noted that probiotics have entered the spotlight as a potential treatment for allergies. She stated that Lactobacillus acidophilus strain L-92 has been associated with both seasonal and year-round respiratory allergies.2 Another popular ingredient that has been around for decades, Dye said, is brewer’s yeast. “More recently, fermented brewer’s yeast has been found to support a healthy immune response to seasonal environmental challenges. A trial that found an increase in seasonal allergies and serum IgE in a placebo group found no increase among those who received fermented yeast,” she said.3 Additionally, Dye noted that the “old standby” vitamins C and D are believed to be very helpful in supporting immune health. “They can be used by people with seasonal allergies as well as to help prevent or combat colds and influenza, which have seasonal outbreak cycles,” said Dye.

Dye is most excited about Life Extension’s product, “FLORASSIST Immune & Nasal Defense which she said offers the recently discovered benefits of EpiCor fermented brewer’s yeast and the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus CRL-1505. As she noted earlier, “fermented brewer’s yeast has been found to support a healthy immune response to seasonal environmental challenges,” said Dye. “A randomized pilot study found an increase in seasonal allergies and serum IgE in a placebo group but not among those who received the fermented yeast EpiCor.4

Dr. Coetzee stated that there are several key ingredients that may best promote seasonal wellness. These include quercetin, bromelain, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), vitamins C and D, probiotics, nettle extract from the stinging nettle plant and omega-3 fatty acids.

Two Designs for Health products that Dr. Coetzee is excited about in the seasonal wellness arena include HistaGest-DAO and ProbioMed. HistaGest-DAO is “a synergistic blend of nutrients that support a balanced immune response, including quercetin, nettle leaf, and vitamin C,” stated Dr. Coetzee.* “ProbioMed 50 [is] a highly potent immune supportive probiotic including the strain Lactobacillus casei known to positively impact immune responses via immune modulation,*” he stated.

Stillman explained that Xlear has noticed key ingredients for combatting seasonal allergies and respiratory issues are those that cleanse nasal passages without disrupting the beneficial microbiome. “Notably, xylitol, saline solution, sodium bicarbonate and grapefruit seed extract have proven effective,” she said.

What’s New in Seasonal Wellness?

Dr. Terrell said that he’s encouraged by recent clinical trials and studies around the effectiveness of patented raw materials like EpiCor. Atomic silver—used as nasal sprays for both seasonal and respiratory support—is something else he’s excited about. “I’m also a fan of the Utzy brand product called Allurtica and Buried Treasure’s Aller Ease for seasonal support,” said Dr. Terrell. “Both are excellent products that I personally take when needed.”

Stillman stated that the market for seasonal allergies and respiratory relief is strong now. “Consumers are increasingly turning to natural and organic products for health and wellness, particularly in allergy and respiratory care,” she said. “This trend is fueled by concerns about side effects of conventional medications, prompting a desire for holistic approaches.” Stillman added that ingredients like xylitol and saline solution contribute to the appeal of these products. “Despite limited high-profile advertising and promotion, the reliance on word-of-mouth, case studies, and anecdotal experiences underscores the trust and organic growth potential, especially within communities seeking natural alternatives.”

Apps said that at Boiron, several homeopathic products may be beneficial to individuals suffering from seasonal allergies or respiratory issues. “Ambrosia artemisiaefolia 30C relieves symptoms of ragweed allergy such as runny nose, irritated eyes, sneezing and itchy throat,” Apps stated. “Galphimia glauca 30C relieves itchy or runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes caused by allergic rhinitis from seasonal pollens and indoor allergens,” she noted. Lastly, “Histaminum hydrochloricum 30C relieves a wide range of allergy symptoms, including hives, from indoor and outdoor allergens, mold, dust mites, pet dander, insects, latex and food allergies,” said Apps.

Whether through lifestyle changes or incorporating natural products that may help to promote seasonal wellness, wouldn’t it be great to experience spring, summer and autumn without sneezing, coughing, runny nose, or headaches? Perhaps this will be the year that your patients enjoy a warm-weather season without all its seasonal allergy woes.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

References:

1 “Allergy Facts,” Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America; https://aafa.org/allergies/allergy-facts/#:~:text=How%20Common%20Are%20Seasonal%20Allergies,(14%20million)%20of%20children.

2 Ishida, Y., et al., Clinical effects of Lactobacillus acidophilus strain L-92 on perennial allergic rhinitis: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Dairy Sci, 2005. 88(2): p. 527-33.

3 Jensen GS, P.K., Barnes J, Schauss AG, Beaman R, Reeves SG, Robinson LE, A double-blind placebo-controlled, randomized pilot study: consumption of a high-metabolite immunogen from yeast culture has beneficial effects on erythrocyte health and mucosal immune protection in healthy subjects. The Open Nutrition Journal, 2008. 2: p. 68-75.

4 Borella, E., et al., Vitamin D: a new anti-infective agent? Ann N Y Acad Sci, 2014. 1317: p. 76-83.

Healthy Take Aways

• Longer growing seasons mean more exposure to allergens that can trigger asthma and other respiratory and allergic responses.
• Allergies—to pollen, foods, drugs, insects and more—are believed to affect more than 100 million in this country alone on an annual basis according to statistics from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Approximately 81 million people suffer from seasonal allergies specifically.
• Stay inside during the peak pollen times if possible. These include daybreak and dusk.
• Close windows and doors, use central air conditioning and reliable air filters in the home, HEPA filters are best if possible.

For More Information:

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, www.aafa.org
Boiron, www.boironusa.com
Designs for Health, www.designsforhealth.com
Life Extension, www.lifeextension.com
Natural Health Silver Wings, www.npswsilver.com
Xlear, www.xlear.com