Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is Your Allergy Medication making You Fat?

Modern medicine has given us many life extending and life saving gifts.  A major component of allopathic is the use of drugs to treat the various medical conditions.  Many of the drugs help to alleviate medical problems, but each drug carries the negative potential of side effects.

A recent study conducted at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut found that prescription antihistamine users were more likely to be overweight or obese than non-users.  One of the motivating factors for the study was the link between atypical anti psychotic drugs such as olanzapine or risperdone which tend to have antihistamine effects even though they are used to treat schizophrenia.  People on these drugs tend to have weight gain as a side effect.

Dr. Joseph Ratliff who led the Yale study explains that antihistamines are used to block the inflammation response associated with allergic reactions.  The body produces histamine on its own to block the allergic response but this produces uncomfortable allergy symptoms like sneezing, watery eyes, etc.  Cells in the brain have receptors in the brain for histamine.  Histamine has other physiological functions like appetite control and calorie burning.  The antihistamine drugs could cause one to overeat and burn fat at a slower rate.  Fortunately, the antihistamines are not linked to higher risks of elevated blood sugar or cholesterol.

People with allergies should discuss side effects of different treatment options with their doctor. 

Ayurveda treats allergies by using foods and herbs to limit the body's inflammatory response.  Astringent and cooling foods like pomegranate and cilantro are helpful.  Turmeric is also recommended.  Nasal treatments with herbalized oils and or neti pots are used as well. 

Whenever one takes medication, they should evaluate different treatment options thoroughly to minimize side effects we do not want.

Stay healthy & well,

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