Millions of Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year. The numbers continue to rise and have actually doubled in the last 50 years. Scientists believe that this can be attributed to global warming. Plants reproduce and pollinate more on high temperatures. Studies have shown that a daily diet that consists of Vitamin E is an excellent way to ward off seasonal allergies.
Seasonal allergies, aka Hay Fever aka Allergic Rhinitis, are short-term inflammatory conditions caused by the body’s abnormal reaction to environmental factors, such as airborne spores from molds and pollens from trees, flowers, plants and grasses. Allergens enter the body through the eyes, nose and throat. Usually, the body’s immune system will not consider spores and pollens as a threat. However, for sensitive people, their immune system views these allergens as foreign and harmful. The overprotective immune system will then launch a massive release of an antibody known as histamine from the mast cells. Mast cells are resident cells of several types of tissues. An overproduction of histamine can cause damage to surrounding tissues leading to inflammation. Some of the symptoms of inflammation include sneezing, nasal congestion, watery eyes and rashes.
The Connection between Vitamin E and Seasonal Allergies
Vitamin E is a powerful source of antioxidant. Antioxidants play an important role in preventing and combating seasonal allergies. As an antioxidant, vitamin E is capable of neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are harmful substances that the body produces each time it uses oxygen for body functions. If mast cells are exposed to free radicals and pro-oxidants, they become sensitive and are more likely to release histamines and other inflammatory compounds.
Vitamin E also acts as an anti inflammatory by inhibiting the formation of leukotrienes, fatty molecules of the immune system that contribute to inflammation. As a result, symptoms are suppressed. An experiment was conducted to determine the effects of vitamin E in the symptoms of seasonal allergies. Result of the experiment showed that people with high levels of vitamin E have lesser occurrences of nasal symptoms than those with low levels of vitamin E. People with a strong immune system are less vulnerable to allergies. Although not as powerful as vitamin C in immune system boosting capability, vitamin E can still hold its candle.
Sources of Vitamin E
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin E in adults is 30 IU or 20 mg. Vitamin E can be found in dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts such as almonds, seeds, safflower oil and whole grains. It can also be found it brown rice, cornmeal, eggs, milk, oatmeal, organ meats, soybeans, sweet potatoes, watercress and wheat. As for the herbs, dandelion, flaxseed and rose hip contains a considerable amount of vitamin E.
It is estimated that Americans spend almost $400 million dollars every year on allergy medicines. An astounding amount that could have been put to a better use if only people were more vigilant in the quality of food they eat. A balanced diet of vitamins and minerals is the best preventative weapon to ward of seasonal allergies.