Treating histamine intolerance
A large proportion of people with histamine intolerance are middle-aged. This is because histamine intolerance is often recognized late.
DO YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE?
Histamine intolerance (HIT) and mast cell activation disorder, mastocytosis, systemic mastocytosis are histamine disorders. Other conditions with a histamine element include: Multiple Sclerosis, fibromyalgia, cancer, narcolepsy, IBS, Crohn’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and migraines.
The severity of symptoms varies from person to person. It is quite possible that the symptoms may not appear for a day. This makes it difficult to determine the cause of the symptoms. Histamine is largely stored in mast cells. Mast cells are white blood cells that are in places that are in contact with the outside world. An example of organs in contact with the outside world are the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and skin.
Anxiety can stem from histamine being too high, so it does not (always) have to be between the ears.
WHAT IS HISTAMINE?
Histamine is a compound released by mast cells (white blood cells are a good part of the immune system) when we are injured, infected with something, or as needed for nearly twenty-five physiological functions in the body.
Histamine plays an important role in the body. It can affect blood pressure and libido, protect us from seizures and, as a neurotransmitter, it affects how (or if) we sleep. Interestingly, how well we sleep also affects histamine levels.
WHEN DOES HISTAMINE POSE A PROBLEM?
Histamine is also found in foods. A genetic mutation of the histamine-degrading diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine-N-methyltransferase (HMNT)-enzymes that lead to lower breakdown than normal and can then cause histamine to accumulate in the body and cause allergy-like symptoms. This is known as Histamine intolerance. Instability of mast cells (which contain histamine and other inflammatory agents, such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins) can cause them to dump inflammation into the bloodstream when it is not needed. This is known as mast cell activation, and it is quite unpleasant. I have treated several patients with this. A woman over 50 had anxiety all her life for no reason. This turned out to be a histamine problem. Two other patients experienced cardiac arrhythmias. Both did ablation, but that didn’t help enough.
HISTAMINE & SLEEP
Histamine is an activating neurotransmitter. Histamine in the brain is cause of too much dopamine and adrenaline, which can interfere with sleep.
Researchers have found that mast cells, which are white blood cells that contain histamine and other inflammatory agents, play an important role in running our internal clock.
The human body has histamine receptors everywhere: the heart, intestines, breasts, lungs and brain, to name a few. These receptors, numbered H1-H4, allow histamine to do its work. Because histamine has a number of unpleasant roles, such as causing allergy symptoms, drugs have been made to block its effect. Medications such as Claritin and Zantac are both antihistamines. They block H1 and H2 receptors, respectively.
Symptoms depend on where histamine is released. Histamine in the skin causes the symptoms we know of swelling, redness and itching. In the intestines, it can cause all sorts of problems. And in the bloodstream for lowered blood pressure and palpitations. Histamine in the brain causes release of dopamine and (nor)adrenaline.
If histamine cannot be broken down properly in the brain because the enzyme HNMT (histamine n-methyl transferase), does not work properly, then due to small problems, attacks of stress and anxiety can already occur.
If such a person consumes a lot of histamine-rich foods, and histamine breakdown in the gut is not optimal, it can also cause over-alertness and sleep problems.
HISTAMINE AND MEMORY & ANXIETY
Histamine receptors in the brain act as a neurotransmitter affecting serotonin, dopamine and GABA This explains how histamine can mimic symptoms of anxiety and cause depression and other psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar. Many people have brainfog or a cotton head.
HISTAMINE AND ASTHMA
Histamine is highest in the early morning (about 3 or 4 hours in my experience). It is believed that this may be the reason that asthma attacks are common at this time.
Sleep-wise, the histaminergic system is located in the hypothalamus and exerts its effects on all major areas of the central nervous system. Using antihistamines that work on the H1 receptor promotes sleep, while drugs that maximize histamine signaling at the H1 receptor keep us awake (or make us feel agitated ). Similarly, manipulating the H3 receptor can promote either sleep, or wakefulness.
Interestingly, a drug called Provigil / Modafinil, which is used to keep people like pilots awake, or tech-types who work with tight deadlines, works in large part by stimulating histamine in the brain.
HISTAMINE AND CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIAS
For some time it has been known that excess histamine in the heart plays a role in heart failure and other less serious problems such as palpitations and heart rhythm disorders (irregular heartbeat). In particular, histamine binding to H2 receptors in the heart may contribute to hypotension (low blood pressure). Histamine is naturally found in the high concentrations in the heart. The histamine receptors appear to be created to balance each other in the heart, with the H1 receptor causing vasoconstriction and the H2 receptor causing an increase in heart rate and vasodilation. This may explain why some suffer from low blood pressure and others high blood pressure
One of the functions of histamine that it performs is that it is a vasodilator, meaning it enlarges blood vessels. With the dilation of the blood vessel, the resistance to the heart pumping blood through the body decreases – it is like dilating a hose ;you get less resistance to the water as it is pumped through, so the heart speeds up in order to get the same volume of blood through these widened channels.
First, you get a drop in blood pressure and then an increase in heart rate, and as the blood flows through the body, you get an increase in body heat, redness, and, of course, this triggers that panic feelings. Some patients end up in the emergency room because they think they are having an anaphylactic reaction, or a heart attack. But actually it is excessive histamine because of the dilation of blood vessels and the increase in heart rate. A histamine diet helps with this. Here are some of the foods I recommend in this regard: moringa tea, black currant, coriander, basil, thyme, ginger, onion, mangosteen and nigella sativa.
SYMPTOMS OF HISTAMINE-RELATED DISORDERS:
Skin rash, spots, redness, hives, persistent fatigue, itching, flushing and severe sweating, joint pain, bone pain, headache, tachycardia (heart arrhythmia), eye tears/dryness, eye pain, difficulty moving, dizziness , low body temperature, unexplained vitamin B12 deficiency, sensitive to light/odors/chemical reactions, difficult menstruation, numbness and tingling in the face and limbs, skin feels burning , unexplained anxiety, sudden drops in blood pressure, fainting, persistent diarrhea, vomiting, unexplained weight loss, cognitive impairment, sinus problems, chest pain, vision problems, hair loss, mouth sores, nausea, swelling and inflammation, strange reactions to insect stings, anesthesia problems, anemia, thyroid problems, decreased bone density, unexplained weakness, shortness of breath, sensitivity to sunlight, temperature (hot/cold) sensitivity, problems with food, drinks, , anaphylaxis, gastrointestinal complaints , bloating ( SIBO), unexplained reactions to medication, enlarged liver / spleen, liver / spleen / bladder / kidney pain, enlarged lymph nodes, frequent urination, recurrent infections, neuropathic pain, constipation (MCAS), iron deficiency, unexplained bruising, bleeding, malabsorption, intermittent tinnitus or hearing problems, skin lesions or ulcers (mastocytosis).
These symptoms would rotate. Why so much? This is because Mast cells are involved in almost every body process and can even be found in the brain.
Complimed can help you test for histamine sensitivity. During treatment, you will learn to better convert, inhibit histamine and adjust diet. By improving the intestinal mucosal system, histamine can also be better processed.