Running with Allergies

Running with allergies can certainly effect your performance because aside from making it difficult to breathe, allergies can make you super tired, resulting in chronic fatigue.

How can you perform well if you’re all clogged up? In many cases, allergies isn’t a spring or summer-time thing, some suffer from seasonal allergies. Unfortunately, many allergy meds are counter-productive for runners because most of these meds cause drowsiness or some other side-effects that runners can do without.

Fear not, I have found some natural remedies for allergies that are study-backed to significantly reduce your aggravating, tiresome symptoms.

Running with Allergies: A List of Natural Allergy Remedy Recommendations

Running with Allergies


One of the best first steps you can take to resolve your allergies is by eating more berries!  According to Columbia University researchers, eating 3 cups  weekly of berries could reduce your nagging allergic symptoms by 35%.  The researchers noted that berries are ultra-rich in an allergy-axing plant pigment called anthocyanins which acts as a powerful antihistamine, therefore preventing allergy symptoms from escalating.


Citrus is another real, credible food that helps to provide massive allergy relief by protecting your airways, thereby strengthening and improving your breathing capacity.  According to Arizona State  University researchers, citrus may prevent spring allergy flare-ups by 40% . This is because citrus is an incredibly potent source of bio-flavonoids and vitamin C, both work to boost production of a healthy compound called gluthathione in the body, which works to block inflammatory events in the airways, thereby helping you breathe more deeply and clearly without bothersome allergic symptoms like throat tickling, coughing and wheezing.

MSM (methylsulfonylmethane) 

Why should you take stock of MSM? Because MSM brings enormous allergy relief by calming an over-responsive immune system, helping your body ignore allergens more effectively.

MSM is a natural sulfur compound that can really transform your immune reactions to outdoor allergens. According to Oregon Health and Sciences University research, a daily dose of a 2000 mg to 3000 mg of an MSM supplement helps reduce severe spring allergy symptoms by up to 90%!

  • The researchers noted that when your immune system encounters an allergen, it triggers a wave of symptom-triggering inflammation
  • The good thing about MSM is it helps suppress this over-response of the immune system, even before it makes you miserable!

Dr. Josh Axe also raves about the endless health benefits of MSM on his blog here!


Ginger was proven to be a sufficient to assistance in allergy relief. According to the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, adding ½ teaspoon of ground ginger in your daily diet may reduce allergy-related congestion, itchiness, and sneezing by nearly 65%. This is because the active ingredient in ginger, 6-ginerol, helps drive calmer immune cells, so that allergens are less likely to trigger the production of symptom triggering histamine  


Do a lot of hacking? Are you clogged up with phlegm in the back of your throat? This is also a form of allergy related-nasal congestion. A prime way to reduce nasal/throat congestion is by taking 500-mg of turmeric, which is a spice that works as a natural antihistamine and provides enough fire power to help you breathe better.


A natural alternative to Claritin and Zyrtec is curcumin. According to the journal Cell Immunology, curcumin can work just as effective as over-the-counter allergy meds in chewing through histamine, making you feel significantly less clogged.


Bromelain is a pineapple extract that reduces inflammation in the membranes of the sinuses, and because of it’s swelling reducing properties, bromelain is considered a natural first-line treatment for sinus infections. Reports have found that taking 500-mg of bromelain a day, increases germ-killing white blood cells, helping reduce sinus damaging inflammation.


You can use a nasal spray containing xylitol which dramatically decreases stuffy, sore sinuses because it contains natural sugars that chew through inflammation-triggering biofilms (protective coatings bacteria uses as a shield from your immune system), according to reports in the journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Allergies affect people in different ways. For instance, common reactions to an allergen are itchy sinuses and sneezing. Luckily, taking 2,000-mg to 3,000-mg of bioflavonoids (a natural plant compound), will help calm your immune system, reducing histamine levels.

Vitamin D3

A study in the journal Asia Pacific Allergy found that increasing your vitamin D3 in the blood can reduce allergy flare-ups by 50%. It works by improving your immune systems ability to distinguish between harmless pollen and true invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.

Drink These 3 Teas

According to Canadian researchers, drinking 2 cups of green tea, peppermint tea or rooibos tea helps flush out troublesome histamine, helping reduce congestion and other nasal symptoms. Research out of Stanford University also found that these tea’s function similar to decongestants, reducing wheezing.

Nasal Cleaner

One of the best advice’s for helping my allergies was to use a saline solution to clean out my sinuses. Saline is a gentle nasal cleaner, flushing out pollen that triggers congestion.


Carotenoids, found in foods such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash and apricots, are natural compounds absorbed by the tissues that line the sinuses and airways, making their membranes more stable and less likely to become irritated, inflamed, or constricted by allergens.


Eating certain fruits with seeds, such as tomatoes, green beans, cucumber and zucchini will help you run more allergy-free! According to the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology found that gobbling 3 cups of these fruits weekly could improve your allergy symptoms by 38% because these fruits contain key nutrients that greatly lower tissue inflammation.

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Gou et al. Herbal medicines for the treatment of rhinosinusitis: a systematic review. Otolaryngol. Head Neck Surg. 135(4):496-506 (2006).

Taussig SJ and Batkin S. Bromelain, the enzyme complex of pineapple and its clinical application: an update. J Ethropharmacol, 22, 191-203 (1998).

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!