It’s that beautiful time of year again when we are more inclined to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine of the warmer months of the year. Summer allergies can also pop up at this time of year and cause severe symptoms for some sufferers, and can be just as bad as the spring and autumn seasons. So how does Hydration affect our allergic responses?
Most of us know that Histamine is a chemical involved in your Immune System, as its role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It notifies your body of any potential attackers and causes your blood vessels to either dilate or swell and is a natural immune response. This is what gives you puffy eyes, runny nose or skin rashes.
Histamine also has another role within the body. It is a very important protein and neurotransmitter which helps to regulate the amount of water in our body. When there is an insufficient amount of water for the healthy functioning of the body, a greater amount of histamine is produced to manage the limited water in our body and make sure that we survive. It does that by shutting down areas of the body that are not fundamental to live (muscles, bones and skin), so that the brain, lungs, kidneys, liver and glands can receive and use the limited supply of water. The more dehydrated we are, the more histamine our body produces. As histamine shuts water off in areas of the body that are not essential for life, it also creates the perfect environment for an allergy or asthma attack.
According to Dr. Batmanghelidj (Author of 'Your Body's Many Cries for Water'), dehydration is the main reason for histamine release. Histamine is a neurotransmitter - If you experience chronic dehydration from drinking insufficient water, or from drinking water-depleting drinks (coffee, beer or sugary drinks) — your body tries to prevent water loss by producing histamines, which has an overall effect in your body i.e closing off the capillaries in your lungs and other histamine related symptoms. Water and salt (also known as electrolyte minerals*) are the best anti-histamines there are, but in combination. You also don’t just need water and salt; you need other electrolyte minerals that are inside the cells to ensure adequate Hydration.
Dehydration and Hay Fever: Hay fever occurs when there is an allergen in the air which comes into contact with your eyes. A normal reaction of a well hydrated body would be to produce tears and wash off the intruder. However, if there is not sufficient water in the body, a great amount of histamine is produced. As the eyes are not as essential to life as the brain or the kidneys, histamine severely limits the supply of water to the eyes which then become red, swollen and itchy because of the allergen.
Dehydration and Asthma: If there is not sufficient water in the body, the increased histamine production will cause the Bronchioles in the lungs to constrict. Lung tissue is very vulnerable to dehydration due to the thin walls of the airs sacs that need to stay moist for proper functioning. If under functioning, an asthma attack or shortness of breath can occur.
Proper hydration with the right quality and quantity of water should help to relieve symptoms of the above, and help correct the possible triggers of the allergic response (dehydration). This Summer, keeping up water intake is crucial. I recommend drinking at least 2.5 - 3 litres of zazen Alkaline Water each day to stay hydrated and ward off allergy symptoms.