There’s no doubt about it; allergies can be overwhelming. There are various allergies from food, medicine, and bee stings to pets. Sometimes an allergy can be life-threatening, but for the most part, experiencing allergies are just annoying. Seasonal allergies can cause fatigue, itchiness, watery eyes, stuffy noses, and the list goes on. Luckily there are ways to manage allergies, and not only with allergy medication. Switching up a diet can impact a body’s response, which means experiencing fewer allergies. One diet, in particular, that is helping people get and stay healthy (and reduce allergies) is the keto diet. Keep reading to learn how the ketogenic diet, which is a high fat, low carb diet may help combat allergies and also encourage people to stay healthy simultaneously. Also, be sure to check out the Body Reboot book to learn how else the keto diet can improve your health!
Egg yolks and liver
Egg yolks and liver are two keto-friendly food items, and Perfect Keto discusses how these foods can also reduce allergies. Since they have retinol, it can help balance your immune system and make it less responsive to allergins.
Egg yolks and liver are the best dietary sources of retinol, or preformed vitamin A.
Many folks struggle to get enough retinol through diet. Plant-based vitamin A, or beta carotene, is more abundant in common foods — but depending on your individual biology, it may not get converted to retinol in your body. For that reason, preformed vitamin A is better.
Retinol is a precursor to retinoic acid, a compound that helps regulate your immune system. Specifically, retinoic acid mediates T-regulatory cell function — and T cells are involved, along with antibodies, in causing allergic reactions.
Egg yolks and beef liver are the two best sources of retinol. They may help balance your immune response so it doesn’t respond excessively to allergens.
How the keto diet may help with allergies
Perfect Keto explains how the keto diet may help with allergies. The keto diet means cutting out sugar and instead focusing on eating food that’s high in fat and low in carbohydrates. Since allergies tend to disrupt your gut, sticking to a clean diet can help combat allergies and prevent them from taking place.
Can keto help with allergies? While there’s no science specifically addressing this question, keto may nonetheless be a useful tool in the allergy-reduction toolbelt. There are a couple reasons why.
For one, allergies can be aggravated by food intolerances. When you eat a problem food, it disrupts your gut, which in turn hampers immune function.
But on a clean keto diet, you’re gluten-free, restricting carbs, eating lots of healthy fats like olive oil, and avoiding processed junk. With fewer potential problem foods, you may find your allergy symptoms decrease.
“If you are a Westerner with some gut issues,” writes Dr. Michael Ruscio in his widely-acclaimed 2018 book Healthy Gut, Healthy You, “a high-carb and prebiotic-rich diet might be the exact opposite of what you need. It may feed bacteria that your immune system is attacking.”
In other words: Folks with gut issues may fare best on a low-carb, low-prebiotic fiber diet. And anything that helps the gut should theoretically help with allergies.
That said, the best diet for allergies depends on your individual biology. You may do best on a high-fiber diet rich in fermented foods, or a low-histamine diet, or you may thrive on a keto diet.
Do some experimentation and find out what works for you. You may find surprising relief this allergy season.
Here’s an example of how the keto diet helped one person:
Wondering if anyone has reported that their allergies have improved on the keto diet? The Diet Doctor mentions a keto dieter who wrote to the site explaining why they feel the keto diet has all but eliminated their allergy symptoms. He also cites a study below that supports his argument that the keto diet can combat allergies, which we discuss next.
Anyway, I have been in low carb for about 6 years and for some reason I decided to try ketogenic diet in May this year. Same time my first allergy session was starting (birch) and I just started medication for that. Then something happened, as soon as the Ketostick started to turn red, all my eye itching and sneezing stopped totally. So I drop the meds and still ok.
After over 30 years of allergy medication, the first summer practically without! To be sure I asked my friend if she needed meds as usually, and she did, so the amount of pollen was as usually.
I found one rat study of the issue here.
In that study, the finding was that beta-hydroxybutyrate attenuated hypersensitivity by inhibition of mast cell degranulation. In other words the secretion of histamine was inhibited. IgE was high but histamine release was attenuated, so the allergic reaction started but no symptoms. Also I noticed a mention in one of Jeff Volek’s slide about inhibition of mast cell degranulation during keto diet.
The study “Fasting mitigates immediate hypersensitivity: a pivotal role of endogenous D-beta-hydroxybutyrate.” Nutrition & metabolism, from August 2014, explains how a healthy diet has several health benefits. One of those benefits may be a decrease in allergies. If you’ve been considering making better diet decisions, you may want to consider going on the keto diet to decrease your allergy symptoms.
Fasting is a rigorous type of dietary restriction that is associate with a number of health benefits. During fasting, ketone bodies significantly increase in blood and become major body fuels, thereby sparing glucose. In the present study, we investigated effects of fasting on hypersensitivity. In addition, we also investigated the possible role of D-beta-hydroxybutyrate provoked by fasting in the attenuation of immediate hypersensitivity by fasting.
Effects of fasting on systemic anaphylaxis were examined using rat model of toluene 2, 4-diisocyanate induced nasal allergy. In addition to food restriction, a ketogenic high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet that accelerates fatty acid oxidation and systemic instillation of D-beta-hydroxybutyrate were employed to elevate internal D-beta-hydroxybutyrate concentration. We assessed relationship between degranulation of rat peritoneal mast cells and internal D-beta-hydroxybutyrate concentration in each treatment. Changes in [Ca2+]i responses to compound 48/80 were analyzed in fura 2-loaded rat peritoneal mast cells derived from the ketogenic diet and fasting.
Immediate hypersensitivity reaction was significantly suppressed by fasting. A significant reduction in mast cells degranulation, induced by mast cell activator compound 48/80, was observed in rat peritoneal mast cells delivered from the 24 hours fasting treatment. In addition, mast cells delivered from a ketogenic diet and D-beta-hydroxybutyrate infusion treatment also had reduced mast cell degranulation and systemic D-beta-hydroxybutyrate concentrations were elevated to similar extent as the fasting state. The peak increase in [Ca2+]i was significantly lower in the ketogenic diet and fasting group than that in the control diet group.
The results of the present study demonstrates that fasting suppress hypersensitivity reaction, and indicate that increased level of D-beta-hydroxybutyrate by fasting plays an important role, via the stabilization of mast cells, in suppression of hypersensitivity reaction.
Well and Good recommends for people who suffer from allergies to cut back on high-histamine foods. Want to know what some of the low-histamine foods are? You’re in luck if you’d like to go on the keto diet! Many of the “clean” foods are also keto friendly, though, be aware that some of the foods on the list below are high in carbs, so research wisely.
Completing an elimination diet requires some serious planning. To help soften the blow of a few weeks without ‘booch and sourdough avocado toast—and to reduce your likelihood of slip-ups—Gargiulo recommends stocking your pantry and refrigerator with your favorite low-histamine staples. These include rice, quinoa, all fruits and vegetables (other than those previously identified as being high in histamine), leafy herbs (thyme, cilantro, oregano), and meats and poultry. In order to maximize the likelihood of success on your program, consume the freshest food available, as fresh food has the lowest histamine content.
Finally, talk to your doctor or dietitian about supplements. They might be necessary to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need during your program.
What happens if you’ve eliminated all high-histamine foods for a month, but you’re still experiencing symptoms? Gargiulo says that certain supplements—including quercetin, vitamin C, and stinging nettle—may lessen the effects of histamine build-up in the body. She also noted that local bee pollen has surprisingly positive effects on allergy symptoms. But check with your care team first to make sure they’re right for you.
Look, histamine intolerance is never pleasant, and it can be an especially bitter pill to swallow when getting rid of the symptoms requires major changes to your habits and lifestyle. If the elimination diet gets tough, just think about how empowering it’ll be to finally figure out your personal trigger foods. Because feeling better would be so much sweeter than any of the high-histamine foods you choose to kiss goodbye, no?
The keto diet has many benefits, and one of them, as you just learned, is to lessen or eliminate allergy symptoms. To learn more about keto, simply help us cover shipping and receive the Body Reboot book free.
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