Natural Solutions for Seasonal Allergies

Good news: you can manage your seasonal allergies naturally!

Naturopathic News: there isn’t one natural medicine that works for everyone.


What’s good for allergies? Seasonal allergy symptoms occur when the level of inflammation in our car-exhaust590_284x213bodies reaches a certain threshold. For some, this is purely due to extreme sensitivity to pollens, along with dust, animal dander, etc. For others, it relates also to the level of smog they are breathing in, the amount of stress they are currently swimming in, and any foods they might be eating that aren’t a good fit for their systems.

Personally, my “seasonal allergy” symptoms go away when I go camping, as this is a happy, no-stress place for me, and there is way less smog in the back woods. (Luckily, pine pollen is not a trigger for me!). Others notice that when they are in other provinces, even in a city, their symptoms vanish. This can be related to the change in local pollens, the air quality, decreased stress of vacation, or any combination of these things.


allergies_flowers&tissueOn a physiological level, seasonal allergy symptoms relate to increased histamine release in the upper respiratory system. Thus, many people find relief by using natural antihistamines such as quercetin and nettles. For others, though, the inflammation needs to be stopped at a different point in the inflammatory pathway. A common intervention point for seasonal allergies is the liver. Using herbs such as milk thistle and antioxidants such as N-acetyl cysteine for liver support can vanish allergy symptoms completely for a subset of people.

Other people’s symptoms respond immediately to a targeted homeopathic remedy, or to gemmotherapy, while still other people find acupuncture gives them the best relief.

While there are some common prescriptions for allergy relief, the right fit for you will be as unique as your life situation, your history, and your current physiology.

My advice? Don’t guess, and don’t suffer needlessly. Book a consult to get your body ready for allergy season, sneeze & sniffle-free.

Prenatal Vitamins: Do you have the right insurance?

By Dr Mahalia Freed, ND

Why do you take a prenatal multivitamin?

Does it have everything you need to stay healthy during pregnancy? (No!)

Does it contain all the nutrients your baby needs for optimal growth? (No!)

Multivitamins are sometimes described as a supplement “insurance policy”. Do you have the right insurance?

People don’t question whether or not to take a prenatal multivitamin. Even those who wouldn’t think to take a vitamin when not pregnant or trying to conceive assume they should take a prenatal. The intention behind this is noble, if somewhat symptomatic of the health concerns I see in practice: when nurturing another life, people are way more responsible than they are for themselves alone. Riding this trend, I encourage you to use the motivation of pregnancy or pregnancy preparation to enhance your own health. I also encourage you to work with a practitioner to determine what nutrients YOUR body needs, and in what dose.

Fact: nutritional needs change during pregnancy.

You need more protein, more calories, and more of a variety of specific nutrients (for those of you who like the details, see chart below for an incomplete list of top nutrients).

Continue reading

Calcium Concerns? Tahini Sauce on steamed greens!

Tahini, or sesame seed paste, is a great source of calcium, and an excellent non-dairy base for creamy dips, dressings and sauces. Two simple options are below.

Tahini-Garlic Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1 clove Garlic, pressed or chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 – 1 Lemon
  • Water

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar, adding enough water to reach your desired sauce consistency. Adjust seasonings to taste. Mix well. Pour over steamed veggies, grains, beans, salads… For a maximum calcium boost, try tahini sauce over steamed kale & broccoli!

Variation: use tamari (~ 2 tbsp) instead of salt and lemon juice

Tahini-Miso Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1/4 cup Miso (light or dark, depending on the taste you want – light is sweeter, dark is stronger)
  • Water

Combine tahini and miso in a jar, adding enough water to get your desired consistency. Adjust ratio of ingredients to taste. Use less water to make a great dip for raw veggies, or thin to make a sauce for cooked greens, grains, broiled fish, etc.

Vitamin D and Pregnancy: Research Findings & Recommendations

Trying to conceive? Higher concentrations of Vitamin D in follicular fluid are an independent predictor of the success of IVF treatment. Vitamin D is hypothesized to support ovarian/uterine hormone production.

Pregnant? Women given adequate supplemental Vitamin D during pregnancy are less likely to develop high blood pressure or preeclampsia. Their babies are less likely to develop type I diabetes. Vitamin D helps support healthy immunity, and prevents autoimmune conditions like type I diabetes from developing.

How much do I take? Current Canadian guidelines vary between organizations, and what you need to take will depend on (i) your blood levels; (ii) the amount of sun exposure without sunscreen you get; (iii) your skin colour; and, (iv) the season. Please consult your ND for an individual prescription.

Babies: 400 IU per day, with more (800 – 1200 IU per day) in winter months, and after 1 year (as weight increases, so does necessary dose).

Breast Feeding: Current study recommendations are for supplementing as high as 6400 IU, though common prescriptions are for 2000-4000 IU per day.

Adults, non-pregnant: Recommendations range, as do individual needs. *Get your blood levels checked first. Common supplemental doses range from 2000- 5000 IU per day, although some people do not require supplementation.

(Study References Available Upon Request)