Best Food for Hay Fever (Seasonal Allergies)

Best Food for Hay Fever (Seasonal Allergies)
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What did a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of a food that costs pennies a day for ragweed allergy sufferers find?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“[A] great deal is asked of [our] immune system. On one hand, it has “to respond rapidly and violently to invaders, but at the same time limits both the…response and the collateral damage to the host.” Anaphylactic shock, like when someone with a peanut allergy drops dead after eating a peanut, is an example of an overactive immune response. The flipside is an underactive immune response, which can put you at risk for infection.

If you suffer some severe trauma, for example, it’s not enough to get to a level 1 trauma center. Death related to sepsis, blood infection, is still a major problem. And, a major factor is the depression of our immune system caused by the stress of the trauma. So, what these researchers did was try to stimulate immune function in trauma victims by injecting them with beta glucan, a type of fiber found in yeast—mostly car crash victims, but also gunshots and stab wounds. And, not only did the beta-glucan group suffer less sepsis overall, they had five times fewer complications, and no deaths—compared to nearly one in three dying in the control group.

I’ve talked about the role of oral beta glucans in the form of nutritional yeast to boost immune function in adults and children. But if it’s so immunostimulatory, then might it increase inflammation, worsen allergies? Actually, dietary yeast may offer the best of both worlds, possessing both anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial activities. On one hand, activating the immune system to prevent infections; “on the other hand,…capable of reducing…inflammatory reaction…” Given their best-of-both-worlds nature, enhancing immune defense while “simultaneously down-regulat[ing] inflammations, beta…glucan[s are suggested as a replacement] for immunosuppres[ant] drugs to treat inflammatory diseases,” like inflammatory bowel disease. Turns out that’s a bad idea for Crohn’s disease, since it can make things worse. Same with another disease called hidradenitis suppurativa. But what about allergies, like hay fever?

They did a “nasal provocation test” with tree pollen, and then siphoned off some mucus, and those that had been taking beta glucans had lower levels of some inflammatory compounds (or should I say inphlegmatory compounds). And, based just on that, they suggested it might help people with hay fever. But you don’t know—until you put it to the test.

A “randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study compared the effects of daily supplementation” for a month with about a teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta glucans versus placebo on the “physical and psychological health…of self-described ‘moderate’ ragweed allergy sufferers.” The ragweed family is one of the leading causes of hay fever. Give people a placebo and nothing much happens. But, in the beta-glucan group, a significant drop in symptoms and symptom severity. Fewer runny noses, fewer itchy eyes, and fewer sleep problems. So, no wonder: less tension, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion, and more vigor. So, improved allergy symptoms, overall physical health, and emotional well-being with the beta glucans found in a single teaspoon of nutritional yeast, which would cost about five cents a day.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: meineresterampe via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

“[A] great deal is asked of [our] immune system. On one hand, it has “to respond rapidly and violently to invaders, but at the same time limits both the…response and the collateral damage to the host.” Anaphylactic shock, like when someone with a peanut allergy drops dead after eating a peanut, is an example of an overactive immune response. The flipside is an underactive immune response, which can put you at risk for infection.

If you suffer some severe trauma, for example, it’s not enough to get to a level 1 trauma center. Death related to sepsis, blood infection, is still a major problem. And, a major factor is the depression of our immune system caused by the stress of the trauma. So, what these researchers did was try to stimulate immune function in trauma victims by injecting them with beta glucan, a type of fiber found in yeast—mostly car crash victims, but also gunshots and stab wounds. And, not only did the beta-glucan group suffer less sepsis overall, they had five times fewer complications, and no deaths—compared to nearly one in three dying in the control group.

I’ve talked about the role of oral beta glucans in the form of nutritional yeast to boost immune function in adults and children. But if it’s so immunostimulatory, then might it increase inflammation, worsen allergies? Actually, dietary yeast may offer the best of both worlds, possessing both anti-inflammatory as well as antimicrobial activities. On one hand, activating the immune system to prevent infections; “on the other hand,…capable of reducing…inflammatory reaction…” Given their best-of-both-worlds nature, enhancing immune defense while “simultaneously down-regulat[ing] inflammations, beta…glucan[s are suggested as a replacement] for immunosuppres[ant] drugs to treat inflammatory diseases,” like inflammatory bowel disease. Turns out that’s a bad idea for Crohn’s disease, since it can make things worse. Same with another disease called hidradenitis suppurativa. But what about allergies, like hay fever?

They did a “nasal provocation test” with tree pollen, and then siphoned off some mucus, and those that had been taking beta glucans had lower levels of some inflammatory compounds (or should I say inphlegmatory compounds). And, based just on that, they suggested it might help people with hay fever. But you don’t know—until you put it to the test.

A “randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study compared the effects of daily supplementation” for a month with about a teaspoon of nutritional yeast worth of beta glucans versus placebo on the “physical and psychological health…of self-described ‘moderate’ ragweed allergy sufferers.” The ragweed family is one of the leading causes of hay fever. Give people a placebo and nothing much happens. But, in the beta-glucan group, a significant drop in symptoms and symptom severity. Fewer runny noses, fewer itchy eyes, and fewer sleep problems. So, no wonder: less tension, depression, anger, fatigue, and confusion, and more vigor. So, improved allergy symptoms, overall physical health, and emotional well-being with the beta glucans found in a single teaspoon of nutritional yeast, which would cost about five cents a day.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: meineresterampe via Pixabay. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

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