Saturday, March 14, 2015

March Update + Handling Spring Allergies

Just thought I'd rattle off a little update while I'm being a lazybones on this gray Saturday. Last time I checked in, Nashville was in the midst of the (hopefully) last gasp of winter. It has warmed considerably since then and some trees are sprouting buds. I'm happy for the warmer weather and spring in Nashville is my absolutely favorite season- it's so beautiful once all the flowering trees burst into bloom. But, for me, there's a dark side to spring: allergies. Nashville is an allergy hotspot and they say that if you don't have allergies before you move here, you eventually will get them. I didn't believe it when I moved here in '97 but, true to the warning, I did develop them after a few years of living here. They've waxed and waned over the years depending on my state of health and whether I've done any acupuncture for them. I've even managed to give them the slip a few years.

When my spring tree pollen allergies hit, they usually hit me like a ton of bricks. I get somewhat atypical symptoms. Instead of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, or sinus infections, I end up with whole body fatigue which feels akin to being drugged, often a scratchy throat, headaches that extend way beyond my sinuses into my neck glands, and a vaguely wheezy in my lungs. Basically, I always think I must be coming down with something and then realize that it's just allergies.

Having had worked in supplement retail for 10+ years, I've had the opportunity to try many natural allergy remedies, but only one kind has worked well for me: Biollers homeopathic formulas. The formulas contain traces of the allergens that they're targeted toward and you can switch out formulas seasonally if you're unlucky enough to suffer from multiple types of allergies. The Tree Pollen formula is for spring, summer is Grass Pollen, late summer and autumn are weed pollen (Pollen/Hayfever formula is for this), and Mold can be any time. I've found that the best way to use it is once per hour until I feel relief when my symptoms first come on, and then first thing in the morning, before I have a chance to go outside and breathe any pollen. I usually only have to take one or maybe two more doses throughout the day if I dose first thing in the morning. A couple of helpful anti-inflammatory supplements to reduce sinus pressure are CurcuminRich and Serrapeptase.

Flare Update:

On to the update. In the post about my recent flare, I had detailed my blood work results. I had my D and CRP-hs retested recently and they were both back in good ranges, thank goodness. I've been quite fatigued lately, though- in fact, I mostly haven't been getting my usual second wind in the evening but feeling quite tired instead, so I suspected I might have some adrenal fatigue going on. I took the adrenal quiz in The Adrenal Reset Diet and scored "crashed." The book has some interesting recommendations for dealing with different stages of adrenal dysfunction, such as when to use light box exposure, how to reset sleep rhythms, herbs for each specific stage of adrenal dysfunction, etc. Because I'm still doing AIP, I'm not going to be eating according to the diet, but I have adopted the macronutrient timing outlined in it (basically, less carbs in the morning, a bit more at lunch, and the most with dinner). Incidentally, this is what I seem to do best with. Adrenal fatigue can definitely cause allergies to worsen, and I think that's the case with me right now, since I hardly had any last year (I think AIP helped a lot).

Why are my adrenals tanked right now? I suspect it has to do with sleep quality- i.e. excess dreaming and lack of slow wave deep sleep, and sometimes just waking up too early and not being able to fall back to sleep. I go through seasonal cycles of sleep issues; my spring sleep issues being liver energy related. I'm working on these with some herbs recommended to me by an L.Ac. who deals with Hashimoto's. I also have this weird thing where two of my bottom molars (same one on each side) have a sharp twinging pain when I chew, which comes and goes. I've had this symptom before from having some sort of pathogen hanging out in my parotid lymph nodes and causing inflammation in the tooth nerves. The twinges lessen or disappear when I do lymphatic drainage massage along my jaw and down my neck. So, maybe whatever it is is also putting a strain on my adrenals...

I had been taking melatonin for a few months because it was so helpful in aiding my night-owl self in falling asleep quickly, but I was recently informed that it can act as a TH1 immune stimulant, which is exactly what I don't need. So, it may have also been contributing to my flare.

In the midst of all of this, although I have my moments of resentment, I have to say that my mood has overall been really good. Usually low energy = low moods for me, but my neurotransmitters seem to be hanging in there (I credit TMG for that). Practicing mindfulness and gratitude also really help. I'm still in the midst of my 100-day qigong challenge and I find that if I'm feeling not so good, a qigong session usually helps me to feel at least a little better. Epsom salt baths with essential oils (geranium and vetiver are my favorite restorative EO's) also work wonders when I'm feeling really depleted.

So, that's how I'm doing right now. Hopefully I'll be able to report better news soon. In the meantime, I welcome Spring, even if it brings me allergies.


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