(NaturalNews) I lived with the common allergy symptoms of runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing for most of my life. In fact, I was pretty miserable during allergy season.
After many years of allergy tests, dietary changes, and natural remedies, I came to the conclusion that I was probably going to have allergies for the rest of my life -- and I had no intention of taking medications for them. Thus, I learned to manage the allergies primarily through diet and natural supplements.
Hope for Allergy Sufferers
The good news and hope for other allergy sufferers is that my allergy symptoms virtually disappeared a few years ago by "accident" and have not returned. I now know that my solution may be helpful to many others -- and that solution is water.
Even though I had understood the importance of drinking water for many years, no matter how much water I drank, I just couldn't seem to get hydrated. My skin was dry and my mouth was often parched. Sound familiar?
Studies estimate that 75% of our population suffers the ill health effects associated with chronic dehydration. I now believe that I was dehydrated for many years (since childhood) and my body was in severe drought management mode.
Dehydration and the Histamine Reaction
So, what's the connection between dehydration and allergies?
Allergies are caused by a histamine reaction in the body. Thus, most people typically reach for over-the-counter antihistamines to alleviate symptoms. Unfortunately, the antihistamines merely mask the problem and often compound the ill effects over time.
The question all allergy sufferers should be asking is: "What causes the histamine reaction associated with allergies?"
In Water: for Health, for Healing, for Life, author Dr. Batmanghelidj writes: "Histamine is an important neurotransmitter that primarily regulates thirst mechanism for increased water intake. It also establishes a system of water rationing for the available water in the drought-stricken body."
When the body is dehydrated, histamine production increases significantly. Histamine's primary job is to make sure that the available water in the body is preserved for the most vital functions. Thus, increased histamine is not the problem; it's one of the body's ingenious adaptations for survival.
Dehydration Also Affects Antibody Production
In addition, the process of drought management in the body creates a long chain of events that affects numerous functions in the body, including the suppression of antibody production. This means that the body will simply not be as well equipped to deal with unhealthy invaders, such as pollen and other antigens.
Thus, when pollen season is in full swing, our eyes are invaded with the pollen agents, and the dehydrated body lacks the antibodies to adequately neutralize the pollen. Thus, the tear-producing glands of the eyes work overtime to wash the pollen away from the delicate membranes.
The histamine reaction and suppression of antibodies are just two of the many ways the body adapts to dehydration. Obviously, this is not to say that dehydration is the only cause of allergies, but I believe it is the primary cause. And in my case, rehydrating my body was the only thing that really worked for me.
6 Simple Steps to Rehydrate Your Body
The following steps are simple and inexpensive. But don't be fooled--if you truly want to give water a chance, I encourage you to follow these guidelines strictly for at least three months. In other words, it's not a quick fix.
If your body has been in drought management for many years, it won't readily believe the drought is over. You can think of pouring water over dry, parched desert ground. At first the water would just run off it like concrete. But as you keep pouring, hour after hour and day after day, some of the water is going to start absorbing into the cracks and eventually the soil will begin to soften.
I believe this is what happens in the body. In the beginning, the water will most likely "run off" your body, too -- increasing your need to urinate. But stick with it! The frequent urination will subside over time and your body will start to absorb and utilize the water better at the cellular level.
1. Drink water instead of other fluids. I believe the primary reason so many people are dehydrated is because we have been enticed to drink other fluids (especially the sweet ones) instead of water. Nothing replaces water in the body!!! Note: caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating in the body, so try to avoid them. If you do drink them during this re-hydration program, you would need to drink an extra glass or two of water just to gain back what you will lose.
2. Drink enough water daily. In order to rehydrate a dehydrated body, you need to drink at least one-half ounce per pound of body weight daily. So, for example, if you weigh 180 pounds, you would drink 90 ounces (about 3 quarts) of water. During exercise or hot weather, you should increase your water intake significantly, depending on how much you sweat, how long you exercise, or how hot the temperature is.
3. Measure and record your water intake. I know many people will resist this step, but it's the only sure way to know how much water you are really drinking. People tell me all the time that they drink "a lot of water." But when they actually start to measure it, most are surprised that the amount was much less than they thought. I recommend using a glass quart jar (like a juice jar) for your drinking water and measuring your water intake that way. Quarts are much easier to keep track of than 8 ounce glasses. Then record the amount daily for at least one to two weeks until you have a good sense that you are drinking enough water.
4. Filter your drinking water. I recommend drinking high-quality filtered water rather than tap water, bottled water, or de-mineralized water (such as reverse osmosis or distilled). I am positive that the reason I experienced such quick and unexpected results in alleviating my allergies is because I had just started drinking filtered that was also ionized. The ionization process (via electrolysis) restructures the water so that it becomes far more hydrating than regular water. However, even tap water that has been selectively filtered of contaminants, but still contains its naturally occurring minerals will hydrate your body over time, while maintaining electrolyte balance in your body.
5. Drink regularly throughout the day. The body can only absorb about 12 to 16 ounces of water a time. The most important time to drink water is first thing in the morning. After you wake up, drink 16 ounces right away. (You can add one-fourth of a lemon to your water for added cleansing benefits). Wait 20 to 30 minutes and drink another 16 ounces before breakfast if you can. Sip only small amounts of room temperature water with meals. Drink most of your water in between meals, so as not to dilute your digestive juices.
6. Add high-quality salt to your drinking water. When you increase your water intake, you will initially need to increase your salt intake to replace the sodium lost due to increased urination. Salt itself is a natural antihistamine. I recommend adding either Himalayan crystal salt, or Celtic salt, or Sea salt (not processed salt) to your filtered water. Add about one-fourth tsp. of salt per quart of water. I would also recommend taking a multimineral supplement to ensure electrolyte balance.
Disclaimer: If you are on medication or have been diagnosed with a specific health condition, you should always consult with your medical doctor or other health professional before making any dietary changes, including increasing your intake of water or salt.
About the author: Nancy Hearn is a certified health and nutrition consultant, fitness advisor, yoga instructor, EFT practitioner and hydration specialist. Nancy specializes in cancer prevention and recovery, weight management, stress reduction and personal development. Nancy is author of Golden Keys to Slow Aging eBook and is the editor of WaterBenefitsHealth.com, 4TotalWellness.com, and AntiagingWisely.com.