Ever heard of histamine intolerance?
This condition is relatively new and difficult to diagnose. In fact, some people only hear about it when the symptoms show up!
Before that happens to you or anyone you love, I hope today’s newsletter will help you stay your healthiest.
First on all, what is histamine?
You are probably familiar with histamine in the context of allergens or allergy triggers, but histamine is quite important.
Histamine is a crucial part of the immune system’s defense system. If you encounter allergy triggers such as pollen, pet dander, or dust, your immune system sees them as a threat and causes the release of histamine. This release starts a chain reaction to defend you from the perceived threat.
This release of histamine causes all known allergic reactions, like runny nose, itchy eyes, and hives. However, you can still have histamine intolerance even when you don’t have allergies.
Histamine is found in almost all tissues of your body, including your stomach mucosa lining, brain cells, mast cells (type of white blood cells in connective tissues), and basophils (also a type of white blood cells).
So other than causing allergic reactions, here are other roles of histamine in your body:
- Helps in muscle contraction
- Excites the brain
- Dilates blood vessels
- Signals the sensory nervous system (vision, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and balance)
Since histamine is involved in sensory system signaling, that explains how having motion sickness or nausea can result from over-activation of histamine receptors. That is why there are over-the-counter antihistamine drugs for nausea and vomiting as well as motion sickness. They work to keep your inner ear from fully sensing motion.
Now, what is histamine intolerance?
Histamine intolerance occurs when there is an abnormally high amount of histamine in your body. Usually your body is good at regulating histamine levels.
When you produce histamine or eat foods with histamine, your intestinal cells produce and release an enzyme that break down histamine. This enzyme is called Diamine Oxidase or DAO and it is responsible for metabolizing histamine. Histamine intolerance occurs when there is a dysfunction in the regulation of histamine because there isn’t enough DAO being produced to sufficiently bring histamine levels down and your body gets overloaded with histamine.
So how does this happen?
One explanation is that the DAO enzyme may weaken, slow down, or be genetically varied due to:
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Overuse of NSAIDS
- Leaky gut (excessive permeability in the gut mucosa)
- Bacterial imbalance or SIBO (Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: certain types of bacteria produce excessive histamine
Among the common symptoms of histamine intolerance are headaches, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, sudden low blood pressure, hives, eczema, swelling, runny nose, nasal congestion and irritation, sneezing, shortness of breath, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.
Histamine intolerance can be treated with DAO supplementation, antihistamines, and a low-histamine diet. Vitamin C can also play a helpful role as it helps DAO production.
As with any symptoms, it’s best to get to the root cause rather than just treating the symptom. Diet and lifestyle modification is at the root of almost any symptom and is an excellent place to begin for achieving any health goals. You may want to discuss this with a professional health provider so that you can receive thorough guidance.
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully.
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Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!
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