Runny nose, sneezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Sound familiar? Many people experience seasonal or year-round allergy symptoms, and most treat themselves with over-the-counter antihistamines. But did you know that these medications could be making you gain weight?
Histamine is well known to affect body weight by diminishing appetite. The appetite control center of the brain is the hypothalamus and contains receptors for histamine. When histamine receptors are blocked by an antihistamine medication, the brain doesn’t receive the “I’m full” signal like it normally would. These biochemical changes result in increased appetite, overeating, higher insulin levels, and weight gain. Antihistamines can also make you feel tired and unmotivated to exercise.
Antihistamines that can cause weight gain include:
- Diphenhydramine (Benadryl and others containing it, such as Tylenol PM)
- Cetirizine (Zyrtec)
- Levocetirizine (Xyzal)
- Fexofenadine (Allegra)
- Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril)
- Chlorpheniramine maleate (Chlor-Trimeton)
If you need to take an antihistamine, your best bet is loratadine (Claritin). This is because loratadine does not cross into the brain and, therefore, cannot stimulate the appetite center of the brain and does not cause fatigue.
Alternative allergy treatments include:
- Quercetin supplements- are an anti-inflammatory compound found in apples, onions, and many other plants. Take 400 mg twice a day.
- Stinging Nettle herb- Look for freeze-dried extracts of the leaves, sold in capsules or as a tea. Follow package directions.
- Salt-water nasal washes or Neti pot.
- Cromolyn sodium (Nasal Crom) nasal spray.
- Allergy shots/drops from an allergist.
- Steroid nasal spray (Flonase) and eye drops.
- Reducing exposure to allergy triggers like pollen, dust, mold, or pet dander.
- Natural Bio Health’s Natural D-Hist includes quercetin, a powerful flavonoid, to support healthy histamine levels. This natural supplement promotes healthy nasal and sinus passages for individuals with elevated histamine and respiratory irritation.
Learn more about how Natural Bio Health can optimize and improve your health. Our wellness team offers in-person and telemedicine consultations. To schedule your complimentary consultation, contact us here. We serve patients in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Round Rock, and College Station.
MSN, APRN, FNP-C
Natural Bio Health Wellness Team