Since I was about 12 years old I had to deal with hay fever every summer and often it was really heavy. So heavy that during some times I had to get up earlier in the morning as my sneezing otherwise would have kept me from getting ready for school in time. My record was sneezing about 85 times in a row. Some days I could not put my contact lenses in because my eyes were too swollen and were itching way too much. Just to give you an idea of how bad it was..
I went vegan around March/April last year, so right before summer. I can definitely say that last year my pollen allergy was a lot weaker than it had been the years before. And this year? Well.. normally I can feel my allergy coming in May and ending by the end of July. Now summer is almost done and actually I didn’t really have any symptoms at all from May until now. A few times my nose and eyes had been itching a little bit but that’s it.
You could say now that this has nothing to do with me going vegan, that maybe it’s a coincidence and my hay fever is just slowly disappearing naturally as I’m not taking any medicine and my body gets used to it or builds antibodies. Or that maybe the pollens or climate changed for my benefit.. well, could be possible, of course. I’m not saying that I’m a 100% sure that my vegan diet caused this improvement of my allergy. Anyway.. I believe it did, otherwise it would be a great coincidence, wouldn’t it?
Even if I have no proof for this and even if my vegan diet is not the reason for me feeling better, it won’t hurt to give it a try, right? For people who are not vegan yet and who really suffer from a pollen allergy it could be a new therapy trial. And if it does not work, well.. a vegan diet is good for your health anyway and maybe you even enjoy it, discover the ethical reasons for you as well and stick with it. 😉
Research already showed though that a vegan diet can indeed help with allergies of all kind. Allergies come up when the mucous membranes inside the nasal passages become inflamed because of triggers such as pollen for example. Because of that, the body releases histamines and other chemicals which lead to the typical allergy symptoms. Taking antihistamines can help but can lead to other symptoms instead. During an allergic reaction, leukotrienes (fatty molecules) are released along with histamines. Arachidonic acid, that is exclusively found in animal products, has a big influence on the production of leukotrienes. So, excluding animal products from the diet can help preventing reducing the production.
A healthy vegan diet often also provides more important vitamins and minerals that may be beneficial for allergies as more fruits and vegetables are eaten. Quercetin, a phytochemical that can be found in a lot of fruits and veggies can control the release of histamine and leukotriene in a natural way. Vitamin E can prevent the heavy reaction of the immune system to pollen and grass seeds. A vegan diet also often makes people lose weight and as obesity and allergies are closely linked, this can also be a reason why a vegan diet can help with allergies.