Vitamin Junkeys

Easy Natural Allergy Remedies - Ep07

Easy Natural Allergy Remedies
Vitamin Junkeys Episode #7 (running time 20:00)
Date: July 8, 2008
Podsafe Music: Ice Cream by Christopher Dale Courtesy of the Podshow Music Network
Show hosts: Jennifer Lyall & Dr. Jean Jacques (Dr. JJ) Dugoua, ND HBSc PhD (Cand.)

This episode examines:
What are allergies?

What are some symptoms of environmental allergies?
What are some symptoms of food allergies?

What are some natural remedies for allergies? 

How long should someone use a natural remedy for allergies?
How can you tell if you have allergies or a cold?
How can you find out what you are allergic to?
What's the difference between the IGE scratch test and the IGG blood test?  (What's the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?)
Demonstration of how acupuncture can relieve environmental allergy symptoms.
How to find a naturopathic doctor in your community.

What's Dr. JJ taking today:  Quercetin 
Quercetin is a natural product. It is a pigment from apples and onions. It is taken to help stabilize your mast cells. Your mast cells produce histamines, which give you itchy, swollen eyes and a runny nose associated with allergies.

What are allergies?
Allergies are a hyper sensitive reaction of your body, to an allergen. Put another way, your body over reacts and creates inflammation in response to an allergen. Common allergens include: cats, dust, perfume and environmental allergens.

What are some typical symptoms of environmental allergies?
When your body is exposed to allergens, an allergic reaction can be the production of histamines, which give you itchy swollen eyes, runny nose and sneezing. These symptoms can become very uncomfortable, if you continuously scratch your eyes, or are unable to sleep because of feeling stuffed up.

What are some typical symptoms of food allergies or food sensitivities?
One example of a food allergy is a dairy allergy, where you may experience diarrhea. A food sensitivity is sub-clinical, where it is not a full blown allergy, but it causes inflammation. and the result is usually your body wants to evacuate the allergen. as quickly as possible. So a symptom of a food allergy can be loose stool, diarrhea and lots of mucous in your stool. Wheat and dairy are common food allergies. In North America, dairy is not in it's natural state- it's contaminated with hormones and antibiotics. Wheat has also been genetically modified considerably. So, a lot of people tend to react to wheat and dairy. There has also been research linking wheat with psoriasis or eczema

There are dietary links with inflammatory diseases and these foods.
Dr. JJ finds that when he travels outside of North America, that he can eat wheat or dairy and he doesn't react as much as he does here at home.

What are some natural remedies for allergies?

For prevention:
Quercetin (see above)
Detoxification/Cleanses- Most people that have a hypersensitivity reaction find that they have their symptoms relieved after being on a bland diet, which eliminates common irritants, for 1 week. An example is the elimination diet, where you eliminate wheat, dairy, sugar, processed foods and other common allergens from your diet. Then after 1 week, you re-introduce one food back into your diet at a time, and monitor your body's reaction.
Probiotics- Probiotics are healthy bacteria that you get in yogurt, or pill form and even sauerkraut. They are gaining popularity. They help decrease inflammation in your bowels and your digestive track, which helps to decrease the general inflammation in your body.
Jennifer asked about whether or not it matters what type of yogurt you eat. The labels are now promoting that there are probiotics in the yogurt. Does it matter whether or not you choose organic or not, and does it matter if it is a more common brand loaded with sugar? Does the sugary option still have the benefits of the probiotic? Dr. JJ said that the probiotics have always been in the yogurt, companies are just marketing that fact more, and bringing it to your attention. It all depends on the amount of probiotics in the yogurt.

To relieve symptoms:
Acupuncture - Acupuncture is great for symptomatic relief of allergies. So if you see a naturopath with runny nose, itchy eyes and sinus pain, there are points on your face where you can put needles to help drain the sinuses.
Natural Allergy Relief Products- You can also find various natural allergy relief products in the Health Food stores. They would likely contain quercetin, vitamin C and/or butterbur
in their ingredients. They are a non-drowsy, alternative to the "conventional" allergy relief products. They typically cost around $15-$20, comparable to other "conventional" allergy relief products.

How long should someone use a natural remedy for allergies?
There are three allergy seasons. Trees in the spring and early summer. Grass in the mid-summer. Ragweed from August- September. If you know that you typically react during one of these seasons take the remedy 1 week before, then once you are done feeling your symptoms, you can stop taking the remedy.
If you start doing the elimination diet and the probiotics regularly, the next allergy season, your allergies won't be as bad.

How can you tell if you have allergies or a cold?

  • the mucous is usually clear and itchy
  • no fever
  • lasts typically for a week +



  • there is usually colour to the mucous. 
  • you don't typically get a fever with a cold, however, if you have a viral infection, you will get a fever. 
  • Typically lasts a few days.


How can you find out what you are allergic to?
You can discover allergies through a skin prick allergy test, which is done through a medical doctor. It looks for an immediate reaction to an allergen.
You can also do a blood test which is an IGG Allergy food allergy test. A blood sample is taken and sent to a lab. The lab tests your blood against about 100 foods to see if it reacts to any particular food. This gives a naturopath an idea of what your allergies or intolerances are.
Jennifer has done this test and shared her test report with Dr. JJ. You can see her results on

In November 2007, Jennifer saw a new massage therapist, who noticed that Jennifer had lots of trigger points. The therapist (with Jennifer's permission), shared this with Jennifer's naturopath. Jennifer's naturopath suggested that Jennifer be tested for allergies, since the trigger points are a sign of inflammation. Both Jennifer and her naturopath are surprised with the results. Jennifer has a 


  • gluten intolerance
  • dairy intolerance (including goat's milk, which is surprising as usually people who have a problem with cow's milk can tolerate goat's milk)
  • eggs intolerance (this is very common, usually people have a more severe reaction to egg whites than egg yolks. This is because the whites have more protein and allergic reactions tend to happen on a protein level)
  • kidney bean sensitivity
  • pinto bean sensitivity
  • almond sensitivity
  • peanut sensitivity


Jennifer had such a weakened immune system, and always caught whatever the kids brought home. It was enlightening to see that there were a number of foods that were a huge contributing factor. Jennifer thought she was doing well by incorporating kidney beans and pinto beans into her diet. Through the test, she discovered that this wasn't helping, it was adding more problems!

Jennifer should avoid all of those items. She found that when she did, she's felt so much better. From November - February, she avoided all of the trigger foods and did not get sick, even though she was under a lot of stress, and the kids got sick- she did not! This is a huge break through for her!!

Dr. JJ said that makes sense, because your immune system should be in balance. If one part of your immune system is constantly being beaten down by a hypersensitivity reaction (a hypersensitivity reaction or allergy reaction is an immune response), obviously the other parts of the immune system that deals with infection and fighting tumors will get weakened. If you rebalance that and have a stronger immune system, then you are less likely to catch things.

What's the difference between the IGE scratch test and the IGG blood test?
The IGE scratch test looks for an immediate allergic reaction, which means you are definitely allergic to it. The IGG blood test looks for a delayed reaction. The IGG test looks for susceptibility, it doesn't mean that the allergic response will manifest itself. Jennifer's test results show that she is susceptible to these foods and it could cause an allergic reaction. Sometimes, you don't need to have a full blown allergic reaction to have something weaken your immune system. The allergic reactions can be sub-clinical, and just enough to affect your health, but not too much to make you stop breathing, for instance, and need to use an epi-pen and go to the emergency room.

The IGG blood test can be done through a naturopath or a medical doctor (Cost aprox $250 Cdn). In Ontario, it is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, but it is typically covered by company benefit plans. Call and check first! Jennifer's test was not covered by company benefits because the test was not recommended by a medical doctor.

Acupuncture for allergies demonstration:
The 2 best points for helping to clear the nose when someone has allergies, is on either side of the nostrils. The neat thing about these points is that as soon as you put them in, you will notice that your breathing is much better.
Another good point for draining your sinuses is right between the eye brows- your mind's eye. There's a chakra point here too.
During a session, you would typically leave the needles is for about 20 minutes. Often when a patient comes in with lots of congestion, he feels much better after having the needles in for just a few minutes.

In closing....
You are encouraged to consider some natural remedies to fight allergies this season. Consider working with a naturopathic doctor to develop a plan that is right for you.

You can find a naturopathic doctor through the Find a Practitioner link at


Camera: Jerome Marrin
Gaffer: Paul Zander

Editor: Jerome Marrinʉ۬
Jerome Marrin Media Productions 
Special thanks to: Slurp Media &


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Join Jennifer Lyall and Naturopath, Dr. JJ Dugoua as they have fun exploring alternative therapies and healthy living. Weekly episodes are released every Tuesday.

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