Hayfever is the most common allergy in the UK, and the unpleasant symptoms (itching, a lot of snot, etc) are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to pollen.
Immune cells release histamine which causes inflammation - this increases blood flow to aid immune function which is an important reaction when we encounter pathogens!
The pollen allergen isn’t really a risky pathogen of course, but the immune reaction goes OTT, causing itching, redness, inflammation, sneezing and mucous.
Beta-glucans for hayfever
Luckily there are some remedies to temper this immune reaction.
Research shows that taking beta-glucans daily for 4 weeks can reduce symptoms of hayfever - likely due to:
improvements in Th1/Th2 balance
(the activity of Th2 immune cells are out of balance in allergy sufferers);
and a decrease of inflammatory cytokines
(chemical messengers promoting inflammation).
So it's a good idea to keep taking your Immune Support for the transition from cold & flu season through to hayfever season.
Beta-glucans reduce allergy symptoms
In one study, ragweed allergy sufferers taking Beta-Glucan 1,3/1,6* for 4 weeks reported these improvements compared to placebo:
reduced total allergy symptoms (28%)
reduced symptom severity (52%)
decreased sleep problems (53%)
reduced nasal symptoms (59%)
reduced eye symptoms (57%)
reduced non-nasal symptoms (50%)
Importantly, sufferers reported significant improvements in their overall quality of life and emotional wellbeing.
(Ragweed is a high-pollen plant in the US which seems to be spreading in the UK due to warmer weather)
* note that this specific beta-glucan called 1,3 1,6, derived from yeast, is the only relevant one here. There are other types of beta-glucan, found in oats, and used to lower cholesterol.
Natural hayfever remedies
As well as taking my Immune Support with Beta Glucans, I find the following useful for reducing hayfever symptoms:
Stérimar natural seawater nasal spray
Haymax allergy balm - I also use a beeswax lip balm, pretty similar thing. A balm around the nostrils reduces how much pollen physically gets in.
Ideally, start taking beta-glucans before the hayfever starts; if already suffering, you may find the need to continue with your standard anti-histamines as well.
But you should enjoy symptomatic relief pretty quickly.
Have you managed hayfever symptoms well this year? Let us know! Thanks for reading,
Last updated 11/05/2023