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 by binding H1 receptors. 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. Antihistamines like loratadine (Claritin), cetirizine (Zyrtec), diphenhydramine (Benadryl) work by blocking the binding of histamine to these receptors.
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. Methylated histamine can no longer bind to the H1 receptor and cannot trigger more inflammation. 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 support for decreases in methylation capacity caused by 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 can lead to 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.