Allergy season is here, and it’s taking its toll on my son with autism. How about your kids?
In this post, I’m going to talk about:
- lesser known allergy symptoms
- potential ways to manage the histamine response
- ways to help your kiddo feel better
**Remember, I’m not a doctor, so don’t take this post as medical advice. It’s for informational purposes. Do your own due diligence and talk with your doctor when making medical decisions.**
Seasonal allergies are a huge trigger for mast cell activation and inflammation. We know that inflammation affects the way our kids think, feel, and behave, so naturally, many of our kids aren’t feeling their best these days.
Uncommon Signs Of Allergies
You may have noticed more irritability, mood swings, or increases in problem behaviors. Other kids can have less problematic symptoms like brain fog, fatigue, or lack of focus.
My son has definitely been more moody the last couple weeks, and as the pollen count rises, so does his crankiness.
At the same time, one thing we’re noticing creep back in is constipation. Having clogged pipes isn’t something typically associated with seasonal allergies, but remember, anything that triggers inflammation can disrupt the bowels.
His sleep is probably the biggest issue for us. He’s been getting up at least once every night for 30-60 minutes. Constipation tends to disrupt sleep for Ethan, but high histamine can also cause insomnia.
Are Old Issues Coming Back For You?
Inflammation affects the body’s weakest link, and for my son constipation has been an almost lifelong struggle.
If you’ve noticed an old symptom creep back up, it may be due to allergies and increased inflammation.
Plan To Manage Seasonal Allergies
- Stabilize Mast Cells
- Support Breakdown Of Histamine
- Get To The Root Cause Of Histamine Overload (aka Histamine Intolerance)
- Provide Temporary Relief
- What Can You Do
We’re likely going to have to wait a few weeks before we can totally extinguish this inflammatory fire, but, in the meantime, there are plenty of things we can do to manage symptoms and hopefully help our kids feel better.
Your goal is to stabilize the mast cells (the guys that control the histamine release), lower histamine, and help the body get rid of excess histamine.
Natural Allergy Remedies: Reduce Histamine
Now might be a good time to add a few mast cell stabilizers to your child’s supplement regimen. The mast cells are the cells that produce and release histamine, and stabilizers make them less reactive. This means they may not release as much histamine when the body starts breathing in all those allergens.
Top Mast Cell Stabilizers
I spoke with Dr Elisa Song about mast cell activation and mitochondrial dysfunction and these were the top mast cell stabilizers she mentioned.
Quercetin is probably the most widely used and well known supplement that helps with MCAS. Not only is it an effective mast cell stabilizer, it is also a powerful antioxidant!
*Luteolin & PEA
Luteolin & PEA are other great compounds that help and can be particularly helpful to reduce brain inflammation. There are a few supplements that contain a mix of things that can help.
Powerful Combo Supplements
Mirica includes PEA & Luteolin
HistaminX also includes quercetin, luteolin, and rutin as well as other helpful compounds.
*Chinese Skullcap can also be helpful.
When Preventative Measures Aren’t Enough
Mast cell stabilizers can go a long way at reducing the severity of your symptoms, but it likely won’t prevent them entirely.
Once histamine is released by mast cells, the body needs to either break it down or block receptor sites.
Supporting The Breakdown Of Histamine
- Support Methylation
- Reduce Inflammatory Triggers (and thus reduce histamine triggers)
- Low Histamine Diet
- Improve Gut Health
- Lower Stress
Support The Methylation Cycle
Think of the methylation cycle as a “gear system” and everytime it turns it switches things on and off. This process happens millions if not billions of times a day and is one of the most critical pathways for our body.
In order for us to detox histamine, it must be methylated. Then, the body can then get rid of it, so supporting the methylation cycle is critical in reducing the histamine load on the body.
Personally, my son and I have begun taking this multivitamin that has the optimal forms of methylfolate, B vitamins, and several other nutrients.
However, I do have a separate methylfolate supplement that I keep on hand when I think our methylation needs a little extra support.
**For some people too much methylfolate can cause symptoms such as irritability & anxiousness, so pay attention to behavior when taking supplemental methylfolate (or any supplement really).
Reduce Histamine Triggers
Improve Gut Health (work with your doctor to address candida, SIBO, parasite infections, rebalance the microbiome, and heal leaky gut)
Diet: Avoid leftovers, fermented foods, citrus, fish (unless fresh), alcohol, cheese, processed meats -Limit Protein as protein provides histidine. Histidine transforms to histamine. Dr Elisa Song has a great article on foods to add and foods to avoid.
Probiotics: Avoid most commercial probiotics that contain histamine producing bacteria like Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. These strains are also found in most yogurts and fermented foods.
Lifestyle: Lower stress: reduce sensory input when possible (flashing lights ie TVs/iPad and other screens EMFs, sounds can all trigger stress hormones especially for kids with ASD)
Breathe: Breathing stimulates the rest and digest and calms stress neurotransmitters, so take lots of deep breaths, meditate, do yoga..etc. For your kids, try blowing bubbles, balloons, create a game where kids blow a marble with a straw, anything to help them breath deeper and fuller.
Environment: Histamine is the fuel that keeps inflammation burning. Chronic inflammation and histamine intolerance often go hand in hand, so reduce as many potential inflammatory triggers as possible.
I discussed ways to reduce inflammation in my post, “Inflammation and Autism“, so check that to learn how to reduce possible sources of inflammation at home. You can also replace pillows or buy dust mite covers, clean air ducts, add plants or air purifiers in the house.
Easing The Burden On Your DAO Gene
High pollen counts cannot be controlled or avoided, but you can help to minimize other things that trigger histamine release. You want to reduce the load on your DAO gene (which is responsible for managing histamine in the gut).
Following the steps above will take time, but once you address them, the body will be better able to handle histamine. You may even notice seasonal allergies improve (over time) as you address the root cause of histamine overload.
When You or Your Child Is Already Suffering
Over the counter antihistamines can be very helpful (on a temporary basis)
If you’re experiencing traditional allergy symptoms (itchy eyes, sneezing…), then H1 blockers should help. (claritin, Zyrtec, Benadryl)*
Adding an H2 blocker could also be helpful especially if you’re having gut related symptoms like reflux. Famotidine, AKA Pepcid, may give you some relief.*
For those of us that like to avoid medications, you can try DAO Enzymes that are believed to break down histamine in the gut.
Keep in mind allergy meds only prevent histamine from binding to receptors, they do not reduce histamine.
Once you stop taking the OTC meds, symptoms return. Make sure you’re also supporting the breakdown of histamine and getting at the root cause of histamine overload.
It’s usually not just seasonal allergies that are to blame. Pollen and other allergens overwhelm an already sensitive system.
My Favorite Natural Allergy Remedies
- Homeopathic histaminum
- Urban Moonshine Aller Blast
- Buffering Agents (baking soda & ACV, electrolytes)
Below are my go to natural allergy remedies (one is an herbal tonic and the other is homeopathic). They’re mostly mast cell stabilizers, but they also appear to make my son more comfortable too. We do give dye-free benadryl at night when he’s really suffering.
Aller Blast by Urban Moonshine (contains nettle and red reishi that can help with the histamine response)
Buffering Agents Can Be Huge
Things like baking soda, potassium bicarbonate, apple cider vinegar, and electrolytes can be very helpful and often can bring about immediate relief.
I saw my son really struggling. His eyes were so red and watery. He was very temperamental, crying off and on about nothing, and just feeling miserable. I gave him a shot of ACV with a pinch of baking soda, and a bottle of S Pellegrino water (for sulfates and minerals).
Within an hour his eyes were no longer red and he was in a much better mood the rest of the day.
Allergy season is never fun, but there are things you can do to make your child more comfortable and reduce symptoms in the long term.
While behaviors and lack of sleep can be incredibly challenging on us parents, do your best to remember that it’s not your kid’s fault. They feel miserable and have stress hormones coursing through their veins.
Make sure you’re taking good care of yourself and up your self care game, so you can be the parent you want to be for them.
These mindfulness exercises might help.
Disclaimer: One More Time
**This post should not be considered medical advice. I am just relaying information I’ve learned when trying to help my son, but I am not a doctor. Do your own due diligence and talk with your family’s doctor when making medical decisions.**