Q. Dear Terry, “My allergies have been so bad this year. I’m constantly sneezing, blowing my nose, and nothing seems to be helping. I tried a couple over-the-counter medications, but the relief was temporary and I don’t want to use medications every day. What other options are there for allergy relief?” – Victor D., Rochester, MN
A. Dear Victor, I think that quercetin and vitamin C can be very beneficial for allergies. Quercetin acts on a compound in the body called histamine. Histamine is a major player in allergies and contributes to common allergy symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose. Quercetin inhibits the release of histamine from our immune cells (mast cells and eosinophils), which can translate to a significant reduction in allergy symptoms. Additionally, quercetin has antiviral properties and may help prevent sinus infections, which are primarily caused by viruses. A powerful partner for quercetin is vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for immune system balance, reducing allergy symptoms, and can also help reboot quercetin levels in the body.
For all its potential power, quercetin is not easily absorbed. It needs a boost. That’s why I prefer quercetin combined with a plant-based delivery system (gamma cyclodextrin), which gives the fat-soluble nutrient the qualities of a water-soluble one. I would take 50 mg of quercetin from the Japanese pagoda tree with 250 mg of vitamin C once per day.
For additional support, you may want to consider boswellia. Research shows that boswellia is also a mast cell inhibitor, which can decrease histamine release. Additionally, boswellia excels at decreasing inflammation resulting from the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) pathway. The 5-LOX pathway creates compounds, such as leukotrienes, that can cause respiratory inflammation. When choosing a boswellia extract, I believe an extract standardized for AKBA content is essential. This is one of boswellia’s most powerful components, which is why it is so often the focus of research. However, there is another compound in boswellia that is actually pro-inflammatory, called beta-boswellic acid (BBA). The boswellia extract I recommend is standardized to high levels of AKBA and virtually free of BBA. I would take 500 mg of boswellia twice per day.
Terry . . . Naturally