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If you are allergic to pollen, this is of great interest to you

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    In recent years, the frequency of pollen allergies has increased worldwide. Rising temperatures and prolonged pollen seasons have contributed to more pollen being produced and dispersed in the environment. As a result, the number of people affected by colds, rhinitis, congestion, etc. is increasing and the need for relief from the annoying symptoms is growing.

    In addition, new studies show that the allergy season has become longer and more severe in many regions.

    Some important facts about allergies:

    • According to AllergyUK the prevalence of allergies in the English adult population is 44%. Around half of suffers have more than one allergy – that’s around 10 million people here in the UK alone
    • Allergies are the most common condition in the whole of Europe
    • Almost a third of allergy sufferers have implemented a change to their lifestyle in order to reduce their allergic reactions

    How do I recognise whether I have a pollen allergy?

    To diagnose a pollen allergy, analysis of medical history and skin or blood tests are carried out to identify allergic antibodies.

    How to alleviate a pollen allergy

    Allergy treatments aim to alleviate symptoms and in some cases reduce sensitivity to allergens.

    AVOID CONTACT WITH THE ALLERGEN

    The first step in treating an allergy is to avoid the allergens that trigger the symptoms as much as possible. This may include the following:

    • Stay indoors when the pollen count is high.
    • Use air purifiers to reduce allergens in the air.
    • Opt for special diets to avoid food allergens.
    • Use mite-proof covers for your bedding.

    MEDICATION

    Various medications can help to control allergy symptoms. These are the most common:

    • Antihistamines: They reduce sneezing, itching and a runny nose by blocking the effect of histamine.
    • Decongestants: Relieve nasal congestion and are useful for short-term symptoms.
    • Nasal corticosteroids: Nasal sprays treat inflammation and are effective in controlling allergic rhinitis.

    IMMUNOTHERAPY AND BIOLOGICAL TREATMENTS

    Immunotherapy or “allergy shots” (subcutaneous or sublingual) is a long-term treatment that can reduce sensitivity to allergens. It involves the regular administration of increasing doses of the allergen, which can contribute to the development of tolerance.

    For severe allergic asthma or atopic dermatitis, biological treatments may be an option. These medications, such as monoclonal antibodies, target specific parts of the immune system to control allergic reactions.

    What is the best natural antihistamine?

    Mushrooms can help with allergies as they contain substances such as beta-glucans, which act as regulators of the immune system.

    The sun mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murrill) is a mushroom with a high proportion of beta-glucans, which can support the immune system.

    Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

    Its effect has been proven in several clinical studies. Specifically, in 2019, the study Agaricus blazei-Based Mushroom Extract Supplementation to Birch Allergic Blood Donors: A Randomised Clinical Trial was conducted. After a 7-week supplementation of 60 people (average age 38.5 years) with Agaricus blazei, an improvement in certain parameters was observed.

    More precisely, people who took it:

    • Reduced allergic symptoms overall.
    • They took less conventional allergy medication (antihistamines, nasal corticosteroids and degranulation inhibitors).
    • Their immune system reacted more mildly to the spring allergy. They produced fewer specific antibodies (IgE) and the basophils were less reactive. 

    Natural supplements containing ingredients such as Sun Mushroom are a complementary option for the natural treatment of allergies. Its ability to balance the immune system can make a difference from the very first symptoms. In addition, thanks to its prebiotic affect, it can help to change the gut microbiota, which supports its anti-allergic effect.

    Quality additives

    A study carried out in the USA in 2017 and published in the journal Nature found that only 25% of medicinal mushroom products, i.e. 1 in 4, contain the amount of reishi stated on the label. The other 75% contain only traces of reishi or no mushroom at all.

    When choosing a dietary supplement containing sun fungus, the consumer must have confidence in the manufacturer. In this respect, the bioactive substances contained must be indicated on the packaging in terms of quality and quantity. For more information on how to choose the best natural food supplements, see our section on quality.

    Hifas da Terra is a Spanish biotech company with more than 20 years of experience in the development of organic food supplements, characterised by its quality and excellence criteria. If you would like to find out more about our food supplement based on sun mushroom extract, click here.

    The role of prebiotics in pollen allergies

    Prebiotics are substances that are not digested and are found in foods such as medicinal mushrooms, kefir and fermented foods. They help good bacteria to grow in the gut and can be helpful for allergies.

    1. Contribute to the regulation of the gut microbiota: Prebiotics promote the growth of certain beneficial bacteria in the gut, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. A healthy gut microbiota is essential for the proper development of the immune system and can help prevent exaggerated immune responses to allergens.
    2. Prebiotics help to strengthen the intestinal barrier by promoting a healthy microbiota. This reduces permeability and prevents allergens from entering the bloodstream and triggering allergic reactions.

    Prebiotics can help to balance immune responses and reduce susceptibility to allergies by modulating the Th1 and Th2 responses of the immune system.

    Symptoms of a pollen allergy

    A pollen allergy is an overreaction of the immune system to pollen from trees, grasses and flowers during their reproduction. The immune system of allergy sufferers incorrectly recognises these harmless particles as a threat, triggering a series of allergic reactions.

    The symptoms of a pollen allergy can range from mild to severe and include

    • Sneezing
    • Nasal congestion or runny nose
    • Itchy eyes, nose or throat
    • Red, watery and/or swollen eyes
    • Tiredness, often due to poor sleep because of nasal symptoms

    Types of pollen allergies

    • Allergies to tree pollen such as oak, birch, cypress, ash, olive, sycamore etc.
    • Allergies to grass pollen such as couch grass, dandelion, nettle, ragweed, plantago, etc.
    • Allergies to grass pollen such as fescue, lolium (ryegrass), poa (bluegrass), sorghum, etc.

    Pollination calendar

    If you recognise the above symptoms, it is helpful to know the pollination dates of some species.

    • Winter: Arizona, thuja and cypresses
    • March-April: Shade banana tree
    • May-June: Grasses and olive trees
    • Autumn and Spring: Parietaria
    • Autumn: Sage bush

    An excess of pollen weakens the immune response in the airways, so it is important to use an immunomodulator, especially at this time of year. Recent studies have shown that coronavirus infections increase with higher pollen counts.

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    Summary

    Living with a pollen allergy can be difficult. However, with the right diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms can be brought under control. This allows you to lead an active and fulfilling life.

    If you suspect that you have a pollen allergy, you should consult an allergy specialist to create a personalised treatment plan. Remember that it is always worth investing in your health and well-being.

    Fungi are immunomodulators that can help to increase or decrease the immune response. From a therapeutic point of view, this modulating ability harbours great potential for the treatment of allergic processes. The sun mushroom is one such mushroom, characterised by its high beta-glucan content, which makes it the preferred species for modulating the immune system.

    Studies show how Agaricus can balance the Th1 and Th2 response. In the study An extract from the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill can protect against allergies, tests show a reduction in IgE (allergy-specific antibodies triggered by a pro-inflammatory reaction).

    • 1st – García Hernández, Marisela, et al. “Inmunomoduladores como terapia adyuvante en la enfermedad infecciosa.” Medicina Universitaria 11.45 (2009): 247-259.
    •  2nd -Damialis, Athanasios, et al. “Higher airborne pollen concentrations correlated with increased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, as evidenced from 31 countries across the globe.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118.12 (2021).
    •  3rd -Biedron, R., et al. “Agaricus blazei Murill-immunomodulatory properties and health benefits.” Functional Foods in Health and Disease 2.11 (2012): 428-447.
    • 4th -Hetland G, Tangen JM, Mahmood F, et al. Antitumour, Anti-Inflammatory and Antiallergic Effects of Agaricus blazei Mushroom Extract and the Related Medicinal Basidiomycetes Mushrooms, Hericium erinaceus and Grifolafrondosa: A Review of Preclinical and Clinical Studies. Nutrients. 2020;12(5):1339. Published 2020 May 8.
    • 5th -Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Kvalheim G. The Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill Elicits Medicinal Effects on Tumour, Infection, Allergy, and Inflammation through Its Modulation of Innate Immunity and Amelioration of Th1/Th2 Imbalance and Inflammation. Adv Pharmacol Sci. 2011;2011:157015. 
    • 6th -Ellertsen LK, Hetland G. An extract of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill can protect against allergy. Clin Mol Allergy. 2009;7:6. Published 2009 May 5. 
    • 7th Mahmood F, Hetland G, Nentwich I, Mirlashari MR, Ghiasvand R, Nissen-Meyer LSH. Agaricus blazei-Based Mushroom Extract Supplementation to Birch Allergic Blood Donors: A Randomised Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 2;11(10):2339.

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