How to Stop Sneezing, Sniffling and Hayfever

  • 14 Oct 2009
  • Reading time 6 mins
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Do you dread the hayfever season? Do you suffer with allergic reactions or have other allergy-linked problems such as eczema, asthma, dermatitis, itchy eyes, chronic nasal congestion or catarrh? 

These symptoms are miserable, but the good news is there are a number of substances that can reduce your allergic potential which you can either eat or supplement. What’s more, it’s also possible to reduce your allergic potential so you’re less likely to have these symptoms in the first place, reduce their severity if you do have them and can also help when you have an ‘attack’.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the most important anti-allergy vitamin. It is a powerful promoter of a strong immune system, immediately calms down allergic reactions and is also anti-inflammatory. Blood levels of vitamin C have been shown to be low both in people with treated and untreated asthma. It’s really recommended for everyone at an absolute minimum of 1,000mg (1g) a day, although 2,000mg (2g) or more is optimum for most people, whether or not you have allergies. If you are suffering from allergic symptoms, you might want to take twice this amount on a regular basis. Since vitamin C is in and out of the body within six hours, it’s best taken in divided doses, either 1g in the morning and 1g at lunch or, if you’re taking larger amounts, 1g four times a day.

You can also increase your vitamin C intake through food by eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, although you would have to eat an enormous amount to get up to 2g. For example, 100g of peppers contains about 100mg of vitamin C, 100g of broccoli contains 110mg and 100g of strawberries 60mg, and that’s assuming they are fresh. Foods that contain vitamin C typically also contain antioxidant bioflavonoids such as hesperidin, rutin and quercetin, and these bioflavonoids may actually help the body absorb vitamin C – another good reason to eat vitamin-C-rich foods.


Omega-3 fish oils are one of nature’s best natural anti-inflammatory nutrients, with countless other benefits besides. Although you can and should obtain these from eating unfried, unbreaded oily fish, I also recommend you supplement omega-3 fish oils every day as an insurance policy.

To give you a rough idea, I recommend you take in the equivalent of 1,000mg of combined EPA and DHA (these are the two most powerful omega-3 fatty acids) a day, or 7,000mg a week. A 100g serving of mackerel might give you 2,000mg, while a serving of salmon might give you 1,000mg. So, if you eat fish three times a week you’ll probably achieve 3,500mg a week. To make up the remaining 3,500mg, I recommend you take an omega-3 fish oil supplement providing 500mg of combined EPA and DHA a day. This is good advice for anyone, even if you’re not especially allergic.


Quercetin is another bioflavonoid and is a potent antioxidant that promotes a healthy inflammatory response. Animal studies also show that quercetin regulates histamine production. One study found that of all the flavonoids, quercetin was the most effective at inhibiting histamine. The best food sources of quercetin are red onions, apples and berries, but you’ll be hard pushed to eat more than 20mg a day. So supplementing therapeutic amounts is also necessary if you’re suffering with allergies. Take 500mg three times a day if your symptoms are severe, then drop down to 500mg once a day once your reaction is under control. This maintenance dose is also effective for reducing allergic potential. The best results are achieved by supplementing 250mg twice a day, with some bromelain (a digestive enzyme from pineapple) and vitamin C.


MSM has so many benefits for allergy sufferers that it’s hard to know where to start. In one study, 55 volunteers diagnosed with seasonal allergies were given 1,300mg of MSM twice daily for 30 days. A significant reduction in symptoms of both the upper respiratory tract (including nasal congestion) and lower respiratory tract (including cough) was seen. As long as you’re still suffering from any allergic symptoms, or are in pain, it’s well worth supplementing MSM on a daily basis. While therapeutic intakes go up to 6,000mg a day, I recommend you start with 1,000mg, or half this if in combination with the other anti-allergy nutrients.


Glutamine is an essential part of any regime designed to quickly restore healthy mucous membranes and reduce allergic potential. It is also a powerful nutrient for supporting proper immune function and protecting the liver. For this reason, I not only recommend it as part of healing a leaky gut – thereby reducing your allergic potential – but also for anyone experiencing allergy symptoms. As part of a daily anti-allergy regime take 500mg. Or if you suspect you have a leaky gut (which usually goes hand in hand with allergies), increase this dose to 8g a day for three weeks. If you use glutamine powder, stir it into cold water – a heaped teaspoon is about 4g. For best results, drink this solution on an empty stomach first or last thing.


Bromelain is a collection of proteolytic (literally meaning protein breakdown) enzymes found in pineapple stems that have considerable anti-inflammatory and anti-swelling properties. In a double-blind clinical trial, participants given 160mg of Bromelain daily experienced significant improvements in nasal drainage, swelling and restored free breathing, compared to those on dummy treatment. Take up to 300mg daily if you are having an allergic reaction or 100mg daily to reduce your allergic potential.

Allergy diet

• Avoid mucus-forming, pro-inflammatory foods such as dairy and meat.
• Further reduce your allergic potential by avoiding highly allergenic foods such as wheat, gluten (rich in wheat, rye and barley) and yeast.
• Get tested for food allergies so that you know if there are any other foods you need to avoid. And sort out any digestive problems. Disruption in the gut enhances allergic potential. Read my book Hidden Food Allergies to get to the bottom of your food allergies and improve gut health.
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