Beyond the Sneezing and Runny Nose

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Allergies can affect mood and lead to depression

Spring strikes 40 million Americans with seasonal allergies each year bringing on the usual coughing, sneezing and red itchy eyes. But researchers report that allergies may also cause psychological harm. Studies show allergies worsen mood, cognition and quality of life and can double the likelihood of depression.

Allergy-Depression Link

On the surface, if you can’t sleep well and you’re rundown and miserable, it’s bound to worsen your mood and make you more vulnerable to depression. Moreover, when you’re congested and have to breathe through your mouth to get oxygen, it’s irritating and unattractive. Sufferers often avoid socializing and isolate themselves which further increases their risk of depression.

Biological Connection

There’s no evidence that allergies actually cause people to feel depressed, but emerging studies reveal allergies can be a risk factor for depression. Beyond the sleep problems that can lead to poor concentration and depression, research suggests that there’s a biological component to the “allergy blues” that afflict so many allergy sufferers.


Allergic ‘rhinitis’, or commonly known as a stuffy nose, causes specialized cells in the nose to release cytokines. These small protein molecules rev up the immune system response whereby proinflammatory cytokines “inflame” your cells and tissues.   Continue reading “Beyond the Sneezing and Runny Nose”

How to Prevent Aging and Cancer (Synthetic Fragrances)

Q:  I am really sensitive to perfume and fragranced body products (especially soaps and lotions).  I get a rash and I cough when I spray on perfume or am near someone wearing heavy cologne.  What’s in them that is so irritating? ~ K.A., Huntington Beach, CA

Artificial fragrances are common allergens and irritants
Artificial fragrances are common allergens and irritants

A: Artificial fragrances are synthetically-derived substances used solely to impart an odor.  They are a common offender of adverse allergic reactions.

In a study by the North American Contact Dermatitis Group, fragrances were the number one cause of allergic and irritant reactions to cosmetics.  (Preservatives were the second most common cause of cosmetic allergies.)

Does This Smell Good To You?

Fragrance manufacturers are exempt from disclosing ingredients
Fragrance manufacturers may use any raw material in fragrance formulas

Pre-market approval of fragrance materials is NOT required.  With the exception of color additives and nine prohibited ingredients, fragrance manufacturers may use any raw material in a fragrance formula and are exempt from disclosing the chemicals on their label.

Fragrance ingredients need only be listed on the label as “fragrance” thereby limiting the FDA’s surveillance and actual authority over the fragrance industry.

Fragrance Free or Unscented…..Are They Really?

Fragrance freeThere are no official government definitions for “fragrance free”, “unscented”, or “natural fragrance”. In short, manufacturers can formulate their own interpretation of such label claims.

Commercial “fragrance free” or “unscented” products are rare and may only mean they have no discernible scent. Companies may add a masking fragrance to a product to conceal the odor of its raw ingredients without adding a discernible odor to it.   Continue reading “How to Prevent Aging and Cancer (Synthetic Fragrances)”