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At this time of the year, allergies are a seasonal problem for many people. With the coming of pollen also comes itchy eyes, a runny nose, an annoying cough and maybe more serious conditions such as asthma or hives. Cells in our immune system called mast cells produce histamine, which triggers an inflammatory response. Our blood vessels dilate and fill with fluid to help get rid of allergens and to counteract the narrowing causes by the build up of mucus. Unfortunately, our bodies tend to overreact and produce way too much histamine. Most of us take antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl), which block the production of histamine. For those with chronic allergies, daily glucocorticosteroids are often effective. Others prefer not to take medications as they can make us drowsy or dry out our sinuses. Some just don't like taking drugs.
Our body has a few mechanisms that can remove excess histamine from our body. One of the most important is the enzymatic action of histamine N-methyltransferase. HNMT catalyzes the methylation of histamine using the universal methyl donor S-adenosylmethyltransferase (SAM) as its source of methyl groups. Methylation stops histamine triggering more inflammation, and methylhistamine is removed from our body in our urine. People with polymorphisms in the gene encoding HNMT often present with a runny nose, hives and peptic ulcer disease.
Vitamin U is a natural treatment for allergies. Vitamin U carries two methyl groups that contribute to the formation of SAM. Taking Vitamin U in the form of fresh cruciferous or stalky vegetables, or as a supplement, helps replenish methylation capacity when you are struck by allergies. Allergens can have a draining effect on the whole body, with low methylation capacity reducing our ability to maintain good health and prevent other low methylation conditions such as peptic ulcers and histamine intolerance.
Vitamin U is not a drug: it will not stop a runny nose dead in its tracks like antihistamines can. Nor will Vitamin U be effective in treating anaphylactic shock. If you have a severe allergic reaction, please immediately rush to the hospital for treatment. Vitamin U simply aids our body's natural mechanism for removing excess histamine. Ensuring your dietary intake of Vitamin U is adequate will complement drugs in your battle with seasonal and persistent allergies.
Take care and good luck,