Archive for Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS

A Quote About the Relationship Between Restless Legs Syndrome and Inflammation from Dr. Leonard Weinstock

ImageI am honored and grateful that Dr. Leonard Weinstock, the lead author of a study titled “Restless Legs Syndrome – Theoretical roles of inflammatory and immune mechanisms.” was kind enough to send me this quote to place on my website. He is aware of some of the backlash I’ve had to endure these last few years, and was willing to support me in this way – without hesitation. I cannot thank him enough.

“I have thoroughly analyzed every known scientific study that has been done on Restless Legs Syndrome. Taking all of this data into consideration, there is no doubt in my mind that inflammation plays a major role in the occurrence of RLS. I see this time and time again with many patient types.”

-  Dr. Leonard Weinstock, Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology

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Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 7): SUMMARY

ImageBelow you’ll find a summary of the previous 6 posts.

Histamine: A heterocyclic amine released by mast cells when tissue is injured or in allergic and inflammatory reactions, causing dilation of small blood vessels and smooth muscle contraction. When a person is allergic to a particular substance, such as a food or dust, the immune system mistakenly believes that this usually harmless substance is actually harmful to the body.

In an attempt to protect the body, the immune system starts a chain reaction that prompts some of the body’s cells to release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream. The histamine then acts on a person’s eyes, nose, throat, lungs, skin, or gastrointestinal tract, causing allergy symptoms.

Histamine Intolerance: Our “histamine bucket” fills up based on factors such as genetics, allergies, medication, diet, environment, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal damage, and UV exposure. When our body cannot break down excess histamine, we suffer with histamine intolerance and increased inflammation (for Restless Legs Sufferers, the concern is the increased inflammation in the legs).

Histamine Intolerance may also be involved with your inability to sleep at night, even when your legs are taking a break from twitching. Excessive histamines could be a major contributing factor if you’re suffering from insomnia.

In a recent study at John Hopkins University, scientists discovered that histamine receptors were substantially higher in RLS patients.

ImageFoods that are particularly high in histamine and other vasoactive amines include:

Champagne, wine, beer, cider and other fermented drinks and spirits.
Sauerkraut and other pickled foods.
Vinegar and foods containing it such as dressings, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup & mustard.
Tofu and soya sauce.
Parmesan cheese and other cheeses.
Sausages and other processed meats (ham, salami, gammon, bacon).
Mushrooms and quorn.
Tinned and smoked fish (tuna, salmon, herring) and crustaceans.
Prepared salads.
Tinned vegetables.
Dried fruit, seeds, nuts.
Yeast extract, yeast.
Chocolate, cocoa, cola.

Other environmental factors that can raise histamine levels are:

mold
Electromagnetic fields (EMFs)
Nutritional imbalances
Hormones – including stress hormones
UV exposure

The best ways to counteract high histamines levels are:

1 Altering your diet to remove the worst offenders.

2. Introducing some of the many “natural” antihistamines that are available into your diet.

They include Vitamin C, Bromelain, Quercitin, Butterbur, Pycnogenol and Omega 3.

These natural antihistamines will counterbalance the high histamine levels that are causing your discomfort.

Keep in mind that over-the-counter antihistamines will SEVERELY increase the intensity of your Restless Legs.

ImageI hope that you have enjoyed this series of posts on Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and Restless Legs Syndrome.

Maybe “enjoy” is not the right word. I hope that you “learned” a lot.

I know that I gained a wealth of knowledge and have really enjoyed your feedback.

I would like to thank all the people who wrote articles and host blogs that I referred to in this series. There are some really great blogs and websites out there to help you learn about histamine intolerance, and how to overcome it. I suggest that you visit as many as you can. The more you read about this issue, the more it will become real in your life. Hopefully you’ll find the strength, courage and the will needed to make the necessary changes in your life.

I also hope for all of you that are taking pharmaceutical medications to deal with your Restless Legs, that you have gained an understanding that in order to recover from your ailment, a lot of hard work and many sacrifices are required. There is no “miracle cure” coming down the pipe. That, I can assure you.

The “Cure” is taking what you’ve learned from this and other websites, including the RLcure website, and forcing yourself to change.

Change is the hardest thing for a human being to do.

There’s no sweeter sound in the world than someone flushing their Requip down the toilet and dealing with their Restless Legs head-on. That takes true courage.

Yes, it’s scarey stuff and seems impossible to overcome, but it can be done, one small step at a time.

I wish you the very best in your journey!

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Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 6): NATURAL ANTIHISTAMINES

ImageFinding the right combination of natural antihistamines and dietary food intake is going to take a bit of time. Please don’t try and fix yourself in one day! Try out a couple of the natural antihistamines for a few days, and see how your body reacts. Make a few substitutions in your diet, and see if you can notice a difference.

It’s all about patience, the willingness to experiment, and most importantly … listening to your body.

from wisegeek.com
A natural antihistamine is a substance found in nature that can fight against histamines in the bloodstream. Antihistamines can treat allergies, colds, and sinus problems by blocking histamines and alleviating symptoms caused by excess histamines in the blood.

Histamines are a defense mechanism used by the body to protect against organisms it views as a threat. When an allergen is encountered, the body releases histamines into the blood to fight against the perceived intruder.

from Healthy Skin Care

Vitamin C
In addition to being a powerful anti-oxidant and immune booster, some studies have shown that high doses of vitamin c can help reduce sensitivity to allergens and reduce inflammation, mucus production, and wheezing. Researchers at Arizona State University indicated that taking 2000mg of vitamin c per day reduces histamine levels in the blood by up to 40%. In order to act as a natural antihistamine the dose is usually greater than 1000mg per day.

(Editor’s Note: Many studies have shown that Vitamin C is an energy booster, so I highly recommend that you don’t take it later than mid-afternoon in order for it not to interfere with your sleep).

ImageQuercitin
is a bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids are potent nutrients that help maintain the health of collagen in the body. The firmness of the skin is due to collagen and so quercitin plays a role in preventing the anti-aging of skin and more specifically preventing the sagging of skin. Because quercitin and other bioflavonoids aid in improving the health of capillaries, connective tissues, and circulation, they also help treat bruising and varicose veins. Bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants that also boost immunity and can aid in reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, cataracts, cancer, help to regulate blood sugar, help in respiratory problems such as asthma, and prevent inflammation.

In addition to the above stated benefits, quercitin falls into the group of natural antihistamines that will not cause drowsiness. Quercitin can be very effective in preventing the release of histamine from cells and can be used to treat allergy symptoms such as swollen nasal passages, congestion, sneezing, watery and itchy eyes and nose, and skin conditions such as dermatographism, psoriasis, and eczema. On the other hand, non-natural antihistamines work differently. They do not prevent the release of histamine, but rather they block the action of histamine at receptor sites.

Natural antihistamines such as quercitin can be found in apples, grapefruit and some other citrus fruits, cherries, raspberries, red grapes, yellow and red onions, leafy vegetables, red wine, green tea, black tea, evening primrose, squash, shallots, courgettes and broccoli, blue-green algae, and capsium or “chili peppers”.

Uritca urens is an herb that has been used for many centuries because of its natural antihistamine properties. This herb is a rich source of quercitin.

Quercitin also helps boost the benefits of vitamin c and visa versa and therefore are often taken together.

There is no set dosage for how much quercitin should be taken. Some recommend 1,200mg per day, while others suggest not going over 500mg per day to be absolutely sure of no problems, although no side effects have been reported. Dosages should be discussed with a physician and/or in consultation with a qualified nutritionist.

Bromelain
is an enzyme from pineapples that is an effective natural anti-inflammatory compound. It improves the absorption of quercitin and other bioflavonoids and therefore, natural antihistamine products often contain bromelain as well.

(Editor’s Note: Some companies like NOW Brand have supplements that are a combination of Quercitin and Bromelain).

ImagePycnogenol
also falls into the bioflavonoid group of natural antihistamines. Like quercitin, this bioflavonoid will not make you drowsy and is very effective at preventing the release of histamine from mast cells. Some laboratory studies have shown that this natural antihistamine can block up to 70 per cent of histamine released when an individual is exposed to an allergen.

Pycnogenol is obtained from the extract of the bark of the French maritime pine, which grows in Les Landes in southwest France. Suggested dosage is around 300mg per day.

Many studies have been performed on pycnogenol and have shown that it is very safe. In addition to being one of the very effective natural antihistamines, it also is a powerful antioxidant and helps with a variety of conditions from diabetes to cholesterol control, menstrual disorders, asthma, other skin care problems, etc.

Grape Seed Extract
can be used as a natural antihistamine. The main active component is its high content of proanthocyanidin (OPC or PCO). Proanthocyanidin is found in red, white, and purple grapes, blueberries, cherries, and plums. The PCO is found mainly in the peels, skins, or seeds. Food processing and storage is detrimental to the amount of active proanthocyanidin available.

The PCO bioflavonoid complex can also be found in the barks of the lemon tree and the Landis pine tree, as well as the leaves of the hazelnut tree. The highest known concentration (95 per cent) of the PCO complex is found in purple grape seeds, and the second highest (80-85 per cent) in pine bark.

In addition, it has other benefits for the skin and body as well, such as: use as an anti-inflammatory, improves circulation and therefore good for varicose and spider veins and bruises, promotes healing, restores collagen and elasticity of the skin and thus good for anti-aging of the skin, strengthens weak blood vessels, arthritis, etc.

Dosage is usually 75 to 300mg daily for 3 weeks, then a reduction to a 40 to 80mg daily maintenance dose.

Butterbur (petasites hybridus)
is an herbaceous plant found in Europe and parts of North Africa and Asia. It is a plant with heart shaped leaves that enjoys damp marshy areas and sometimes is referred to as bog rhubarb.

For many years, butterbur was used to treat migraines. Recent research (in 2005) by Swiss and German scientists compared the butterbur extract versus other non-natural antihistamines. The conclusion from the study was that butterbur was as effective as an antihistamine as the other products, but with fewer side effects such as drowsiness.

Extracts from the butterbur plant need to be processed in order to eliminate some of the existing toxic components. This is the main concern about the use of butterbur, although proper processing of the extract would eliminate this problem. Many would like to see more safety information and research being produced before recommending it for long-term use.

Butterbur extracts are not recommended for individuals under 12 years of age, people with kidney or liver problems, or pregnant or lactating women. Consultation with a physician is highly recommended before considering the use of this product.

Green tea
also falls into the group of natural antihistamines. Green tea contains quercitin and catechins, which possess antihistamine properties. Two to three cups of green tea a day is required in order to obtain the antihistamine benefits. Green tea extract supplements are also available.

Honeycomb
can be used as a natural antihistamine. The active component in honeycomb that possesses mild antihistamine properties is propolis.

Simply chew a small square of honeycomb up to three times daily or add honeycomb to tea, etc., instead of sugar.

Magnesium
Natural antihistamines may also include certain minerals. For example, magnesium is one such mineral. Dosage as a supplement is typically in the 400 – 800mg per day range. Certain foods are also good sources of magnesium – plants, grains, meat, and fish. More specifically the top magnesium containing foods are: pumpkin and squash seed kernels, Brazil nuts, bran cereal, halibut, quinoa, spinach, and almonds.

L-Histadine
is an essential amino acid in the body that can prevent excessive histamine production. One or two 500mg capsules three times daily are usually required.

from Allergy Relief Help

Modern Alternative Health

and better nutrition

ImageStinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
has been used for its herbal quality for centuries. Other than being used for allergies, nettle is commonly used for inflammation and water retention. The leaves contain biologically active compounds that reduce inflammation. They can also be used as a diuretic. The leaves have also been used to treat conditions such as arthritis, high blood pressure, and Alzheimer’s disease.  The roots contain unique and helpful qualities in similar and different ways from the leaves. Also useful as a diuretic, the root has been known to assist in prostate problems and treatment, including BPH (an enlarged prostate). An infusion of the plant also stems intern bleeding and can be used to lessen and control excessive menstruation.  Similar infusions have also been used to treat hemorrhoids and skin complaints like eczema.

Stinging nettle’s leaf contains a quality that blocks histamine receptors. This quality means that the leaf can function just as a common allergy treatment such as Allegra or Claritin as a histamine blocker but has none of the side effects that those drugs carry.

The best ways to receive the benefits of the plant as a histamine blocker are to either take a supplement or make a nettle infusion. Taking a supplement of freeze dried extract provides you with the best possible option as a supplement – the activity of the leaves are biologically preserved in the freeze drying process. A dosage of 300 mg 2-3 times a day should keep allergies at bay.

Making an infusion of the leaves is also a successful way to treat and prevent allergies, much more effective than a tea. A trip around the web will give you multiple recipes for infusions. Most lead to a recipe of 1 cup of dried leaves to 1 quart of water. Some people recommend boiling the water and then having the leaves steep/set for 8-10 hours. Others recommend using the sun as the heating element for the process. I’m going to start with hot water while the temperatures are still unpredictable and then move to sun steeping once spring is solidly here. (I am also waiting until this little boy is born before I start taking infusions.)

The primary antihistamine herb is STINGING NETTLE, which is one of the most popular herbs among those seeking natural allergy relief.  One study found that it may offer relief to people with hayfever.  Sixty-nine patients completed the study.  Of these 58 percent rated the freeze-dried preparation of stinging nettle effective.  Forty-eight percent said it worked as well or better than their conventional medications.  Typical dosage:  300 mgs. of freeze-dried nettle in capsules two or three times per day.

Some researchers think one of the active components is a bioflavonoid, others think polysaccharides are responsible, still others say lectins deserve the credit. But whatever the final determination of the active ingredients, nettle loses its antiallergy power if not harvested and processed correctly. Look for a high-quality powdered product that has been freeze-dried or specially processed to retain the active ingredients. This special processing costs more, so don’t be seduced by cheap imitations.

Use nettle when you would otherwise use an antihistamine drug to stop your misery. Many people take up to 3,000 mg per day of nettle leaf powder in capsules to relieve the temporary symptoms of hay fever and other allergic reactions, including animal allergies. Symptoms often begin to improve within 15 minutes, and the effect typically lasts for about four hours. The studied dosage is 300 mg twice a day of freeze-dried nettle leaf.

from Cybele Pascal on CybelePascal.com

Flavonoids
such as Quercetin are a group of plant pigments that are largely responsible for the colors of many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Quercetin is a natural antihistamine that helps stabilize mast cells to prevent both the manufacture and release of histamine, as well as other allergic and inflammatory compounds. Good sources of Quercetin are citrus fruits, onions, garlic, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, legumes and berries.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
are thought to reduce allergic reactions through their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are found in such foods as cold-water fish (think salmon), and walnuts, but since this is a blog devoted to food allergy sufferers, I prefer to recommend you get your Omega-3s from less allergenic sources, such as hemp seeds, flax seed oil, canola oil, and grass-fed meat.

from One Good Thing By Jillee

ImageLavender, Lemon and Peppermint
For a couple of months now I have been dealing with the most random ailments. Things I’ve never dealt with before. But the two most tormenting things have been itching (all over) and swelling in my ankles. No matter WHAT I tried I couldn’t find relief! I would find temporary relief with a few natural remedies for the itching…but since it wasn’t dry skin related they really didn’t last. The swollen ankles were impervious to anything I tried!

UNTIL my sister Rebecca (Camp Wander) recommended I try something new. Through her work and research with essential oils she has become more and more convinced that many chronic medical issues stem from an allergic response our body is having to toxins. Toxins that our bodies are bombarded with every day from our drinking water, to our health and beauty products, to the materials used to build and furnish our homes!

So by following this line of thinking it makes sense that an antihistamine of some sort would help with this allergic reaction. No? YES! And, according to my sister, the combination of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint essential oils can create a powerful all-natural antihistamine. These three oils together can cool down body inflammation resulting from the body’s allergic response.

I’m going to get technical for just a minute…so bear with me. From what I understand, when an allergen of some kind (which could be a myriad of different things) enters the body, something called IGE antibodies begin releasing histamines that trigger an inflammatory response in the body. Cells start to release fluid and SWELL. The exact symptom I was having.

After Rebecca explained all this to me it made so much sense, and I was eager to give it a try! I’ve been taking the LLP combination faithfully since then and have seen an almost COMPLETE elimination of my symptoms. The itching is MUCH better (with just an occasional flare-up) and my ankles are finally back to their normal size and shape! I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am about this!

While the typical recommendation for using LLP as an antihistamine is to combine equal parts Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint essential oils with 1 part fractionated coconut oil and rub it on your feet twice a day, my sister suggested I try taking it internally. At first I was a bit worried about this because I know how STRONG those oils are! But then she told me about these “gelatin capsules” (which I found at my local health food store for about 5 bucks) and I was off and running and haven’t looked back! I faithfully fill and swallow 3 capsules a day with 3 drops each of Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint in them. For me, it has made all the difference in the world.

from LiveStrong

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
can be found growing in the woodlands and meadows of many parts of North America. Its gnarled underground root is collected for medicinal use. Goldenseal possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in combating the effects of histamine. Goldenseal has been nicknamed the “cure-all” herb because it can be used for a wide range of ailments, including periodontal problems, eczema, heartburn, infections and painful menstruation. AltMD.com advises only taking goldenseal for short periods — not more than three weeks at time — because it can build up in your tissues and become toxic.

Horny Goat Weed
is a member of the Epimedium genus of plants; in traditional Chinese medicine, it is known as yin yang huo. This herb is native to parts of China and Korea, being used to relieve some of the symptoms caused by the body’s release of histamine. Horny goat weed has some anti-inflammatory properties, which may account for its effectiveness in treating hay fever. Horny goat weed should only be used for a short time, and it should not be used if you are pregnant, nursing, have heart disease or are taking any type of steroids.

Papaya
is very rich in vitamin C; each piece of whole fruit contains more than 300 percent of the recommended daily allowance, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods website. In addition to the antioxidant vitamins, enzymes found in papaya can help regulate inflammatory response in your body. “The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook” suggests that eating papaya or drinking its juices may act as an antihistamine and relieve the itching associated with hives.

from Colette Bouchez on WebMD  

ImageAcupuncture
In addition to whatever natural treatments you try on your own, you may also find significant relief visiting a practitioner of the ancient Chinese medical practice known as acupuncture. Based on the idea that stimulating points outside the body can change or initiate reactions inside, in this case treatment is thought to affect the immune system, where allergic reactions begin.

In a small but significant study of 26 hay fever patients published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine, acupuncture reduced symptoms in all 26 — without side effects. A second study of some 72 people totally eliminated symptoms in more than half, with just two treatments.

Acupuncture can be particularly useful if you are suffering from multiple allergies, since it works to quiet the areas of the immune system that are overstimulated by exposure to multiple irritating factors.

from Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac. on acufinder.com

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
is rich in anti-histamine properties. The flowers can be crushed and used as a poultice for inflammatory swelling. Make a tea and drink 2-3 times a day. Chamomile can cause histaminic allergic reactions in some very sensitive people. If this occurs, simply discontinue.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
is a widely used herbal remedy for treatment of upper respiratory tract infections. This purple coneflower has shown to have antihistamine properties.

Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
Hailed the “mushroom of immortality”, one of my favorite natural remedies is Reishi (Ling Zhi). Japanese researchers have found that reishi acts as an antihistamine, making it useful for treating allergies. “Lanostan”, a compound found in reishi, appears to control the release of transmitting chemicals in the body, thereby inhibiting the release of histamine. Since reishi also promotes the adrenal function and immune reaction, it has added effectiveness in controlling the body’s reaction to an allergen.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
is a natural antihistamine, as well as having antiseptic properties to help purge infections. The essential oil has been shown to have antimicrobial activity against a host of different bacteria and fungi.

from Jeanie Lerche Davis on WebMD

ImageTea
is considered a superfood — whether it’s black, green, white, or oolong tea. All those tea types come from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. The leaves are simply processed differently. Green tea leaves are not fermented; they are withered and steamed. Black tea and oolong tea leaves undergo crushing and fermenting processes.

All teas from the Camellia plant are rich in polyphenols, antioxidants that detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body. Tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables, according to long-time tea researcher John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, N.Y.

Studies of humans, animals, and petri-dish experiments show that tea is high beneficial to our health. Research suggests that regular tea drinkers — people who drink two cups or more a day — have less heart disease and stroke, lower total and LDL cholesterol, and recover from heart attacks faster. There’s also evidence that tea may help fight ovarian and breast cancers.

Tea also helps soothe stress and keep us relaxed. One British study found that people who drank black tea were able to de-stress faster than those who drank a fake tea substitute. The tea drinkers had lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

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Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 5): TREATMENT

ImageI have thoroughly scoured the web to see if there is a supplement or herb on the market that can naturally and effectively increase the level of DAO (you’ll read below that this is the enzyme the keeps the histamine levels in check). There are a few products on the market, but the reviews are POOR. I don’t recommend that you purchase them. My belief is that you’ll find more success in using natural antihistamines along with a low histamine diet.

However, there have been several scientific studies that show how copper increases the activity of the DAO enzyme. There is a direct relationship between the two.

“Copper supplementation of adult men: effects on blood copper enzyme activities and indicators of cardiovascular disease risk.” Jones AA, DiSilvestro RA, Coleman M, Wagner TL. Department of Human Nutrition and Food Management, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1295

“Although copper had no significant effects on any parameter for the entire study group, it did significantly increase two enzyme activities (SOD and DAO), as well as lipoprotein oxidation lag times, in 10 subjects in the lower half of a median split for precopper values. Thus, copper supplementation appeared to influence some types of measurements in subjects beginning with less than median values.”

There are a lot of options available to you (many of them are listed below). There are tests available, diets, books, websites and blogs that can guide you and help you to lessen your histamine level. By lessening your histamines, your inflammation will lessen, which in turn will lower the intensity of your Restless Legs. It will also help you to sleep better. What more could you ask for.

Because you have Restless Legs, you’ll have to keep in mind that sugary histamine inhibitors like chocolate are not an option for you. It’s important to keep the main Restless Legs triggers in mind (sugar, msg, alcohol, caffeine, gluten etc.) when you’re developing your low histamine diet.

It’s a bit of a challenge, but it’s not hopeless. I’ve done it, as have many others. All I can tell you that it’s worth every sacrifice and effort that you’ll need to make.

PART 5 of this series on Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS will feature a MASSIVE list of natural antihistamines for you to choose from.

from Healthy Pixels
Copper is required to form the DAO enzyme and copper deficiency associates with low DAO enzyme activity in animals. More research is necessary to confirm that copper supplementation increases DAO activity. Foods high in copper include fresh basil, cocoa powder, cashews, soybeans (mature), herbal tea, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, garbanzo beans and lentils.

from Dr. Janice Vickerstaff Joneja, Ph.D., R.D. on Swanson Health Products
Diamine oxidase (DAO) is an essential enzyme in the body that breaks down histamine. The body then takes the break-down products (called imidazole compounds) and excretes them through the kidneys into the urine. When the body’s level of histamine exceeds its requirements, DAO breaks down the excess so that histamine is kept within the “normal” level. A normal level of histamine is required for its vital control of some brain and digestive tract functions, and immune defenses. If a person has a slightly lower level of DAO, or has eaten too many foods with high levels of histamine that exceed their enzyme’s capacity to break down the excess quickly enough, signs of histamine excess result. Each person has his or her own “limit of tolerance,” which is determined by his or her DAO’s ability to keep histamine at a tolerable level.

Once a person feels comfortable, he or she might try one histamine-rich food, while continuing to take DAO. If they do not develop the familiar signs of histamine excess, they should be able to eat the occasional histamine-rich food while continuing to take a DAO supplement. This should allow them to be less rigid in their dietary choices and to eat some of the high-histamine foods they especially enjoy on occasions. It’s important to recognize, however, that while DAO can help maintain a healthy histamine tolerance, a person can still exceed his or her limit.

Finding a balance really depends on your body’s ability to handle histamine. People who have very low levels of natural DAO will need to restrict their histamine-rich foods as well as taking a regular DAO supplement. If you experience only the occasional “histamine reaction” after indulging in too many histamine-containing foods you should be able to simply take a natural supplement when you plan to consume high-histamine foods and beverages such as wine and cheese at a party, or a large pepperoni pizza with double cheese and tomato sauce.

It is possible for anyone to exceed his or her DAO’s capacity to break down their excess histamine. For example, people who have quite normal levels of DAO may break out in hives after eating a large basket of strawberries. I have a client who breaks out in hives due to histamine excess when she eats ripe cherries from the tree in her garden; however, she can eat unripe cherries without difficulty because the unripe fruit has not yet produced a high level of histamine. Many people seem to develop a stuffy nose after consuming alcohol, especially if they consume a high-histamine food at the same time. Beer and pizza is a common combination that often results in headache, not so much from too much alcohol (although of course that will happen on occasion!) but from the excess histamine. If a person regularly experiences these signs after eating high-histamine foods it would be a good idea for them to try taking DAO prior to eating, and to find out if this helps. But again, I do want to caution that it is important to visit a health professional if your experience seems like it may be due to an allergy. We certainly do not want to encourage people to self-diagnose something that could truly be a medical condition. But in those instances where allergy is ruled out, histamine excess could be in play and in my experience, DAO has proven to be very helpful for many people.

Imageby Jamie Scott on That Paleo Guy
The main treatment is adherence to a low histamine diet. This is quite a separate entity to a histamine-free diet which would be practically impossible to adhere to, nor is it required for the patient to enjoy relieve from the typical symptoms of histamine intolerance. The key is to identify low histamine-containing and inducing foods and to bulk up the diet with these foods. I advise people to run a three day rolling average with their histamine loads. This allows a degree of freedom to perhaps consume some higher histamine foods, e.g. bacon, but still stay on top of histamine levels overall.

Once awareness is created around which foods are highest in histamine, constructing a low histamine ‘paleo’ diet is actually relatively easy to do. It is also important to recognise that a degree of additional tolerance is gained by removing the major inflammatory agents from the diet (grains, sugars & vegetable oils) – something that should already be taking place within the context of a paleo diet and which may explain either the full or partial relief people experience when they begin eating such a diet.

Where high histamine foods are unavoidable (e.g. you want to drain a bottle of red one night), then prophylactic dosing with antihistamines may buy you a bit of extra breathing space. However, in the general run of things, the taking of antihistamines appears to not add any additional benefit over the adherence to a low histamine diet. If an individual has been following a low nutrient diet for some time, then perhaps additional vitamin B6, copper and vitamin C may be of benefit. Diet should be assessed to ensure it is providing these nutrients in adequate amounts moving forward.

It is useful to assess all medications that are being used, including the oral contraceptive. It is quite on the cards that many of the medications that might be in play and which may interfere with histamine metabolism, are being used to treat individual symptoms of histamine intolerance, e.g. blood pressure medications, anti-depressants, and (ironically) histamine antagonists.

from Purehealth Clinic
Histamine intolerance (HIT) is defined as an intolerance to histamine. The cause can be a lack of the DAO enzyme needed to break down histamine, or be a discrepancy between DAO and histamine. In other words, you could have a high or normal level of blood histamine but not enough DAO to break it down. There is a test to measure the levels of DAO enzyme you have in your system to see if the lack of enzyme is your problem.

from Allergy UK
It should be noted that allergy tests measuring IgE levels, such as skin prick testing and specific IgE blood tests for these foods will be negative. This is because reactions to histamine are not caused by an IgE food allergy – the cause is histamine intolerance.

Diagnosis of histamine intolerance is usually made by a person trialling a low-histamine diet for a couple of weeks, and seeing if their symptoms improve. Blood tests that claim to be helpful in measuring levels of histamine or the level of the enzyme that normally breaks histamine down are not reliable.

Food exclusion should always be followed by a period of reintroduction in order to confirm a diagnosis. If this is not done the diet can easily become over restricted and unmanageable.  At worst it can become nutritionally deficient.

Imagefrom Healthy Pixels
If any type of food allergy is suspected, consult with an allergist and start carefully taking notes about diet and symptoms. ChartMySelf.com can help you keep online records of your health. Blood tests for both immediate and delayed food allergies are available to doctors from Great Plains Laboratory, US Biotek and many others. Depending on the type of allergy exposure and related damage, a body may require days, weeks, or even months to fully recover.

Histamine on the horizon
We can now begin to imagine how to change our diet, avoid certain drugs, and adjust our lifestyles to better regulate our histamine levels. By first identifying our allergens through food or skin tests, we can reduce exposure and dramatically empty our “histamine bucket” and lower inflammation. Even if we have no allergies to avoid, we can improve our ability to breakdown non-allergic histamine with C and B vitamins. Ideally we can better prepare our bodies to handle histamine “spikes” as needed for fighting disease, increasing motivation, or simply tolerating delicious leftovers.

We desperately need a way to identify and “scan” histamine content in our food and supplements prior to purchase and consumption. Packages can differ widely based on their microscopic bacteria content – even within expiration dates. Austrian scientists have made suggestions for tolerable levels for certain foods including sausage, fish and cheese, but we need global standards for all foods and awareness of the risks surrounding fish, fermented foods, canned meats, alcohol, prepackaged meals and other high-risk products.

Similarly, daily tracking of our own histamine metabolism would help guide our diet and lifestyle. Recognizing the triggers can help us map our journey to good health and beyond!

Imagefrom Judy Tsafrir, M.D. of Boston Holistic Psychiatrist
I stopped eating left overs. I cooked smaller pots of food and froze the left overs in individual containers. I stopped eating cheeses, bacon and avocado. I began eating more salads. Most foods contain histamine, so you cannot have a histamine free diet like you can have a gluten free diet. But it is the relative quantity of histamine in relationship with your own capacity to handle it that translates into symptoms. I clearly was overwhelming my capacity to metabolize the histamine quantity that I was ingesting.

Within days of instituting the dietary changes, I slept better than I have in years; very deeply and I dreamt. This is unusual for me. I have had insomnia since I was a child, probably due to life long undiagnosed histamine intolerance. A sense of calm and peace replaced the chronic anxiety I was experiencing, my spirits lifted and I felt much less tired and more alert. Given the strength and immediacy of my response to lowering the histamine content of my diet, I believe that histamine intolerance should be considered in every case of anxiety disorder, depression, sleep and attentional disorders, especially if a person is aware of food sensitivity issues. My father could not tolerate eggs, shellfish, strawberries and alcohol, all which either contain high levels of histamine or liberate histamine. There may be genetic vulnerabilities.

Imagefrom The Failsafe Diet
FAILSAFE stands for Free of Additives, Low in Salicylates, Amines and Flavour Enhancers. It was originally designed to treat ADHD children, but has proven useful for a wide range of symptoms.

FAILSAFE is Sue Dengate‘s term for the low-chemical exclusion diet formulated by allergists at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Australia. It is designed to treat sensitivities to specific natural and man-made flavouring, colouring and preservative chemicals found in foods.

Sensitivities to food chemicals are pharmacological and dose-related (like the side effects of drugs), rather than immune-mediated like allergies. Different people have dramatically different tolerance levels to salicylates, amines, glutamates, sulphites, food colourings and other additives, and sensitivity symptoms (intolerances), occur when a person’s tolerance levels are exceeded.

The symptoms caused by food chemicals appear to be allergy-like which can make determining their true cause very confusing. Despite food chemical intolerance being more common than true allergy, a lack of knowledge about this syndrome means that the symptoms are rarely understood properly by the layperson or the medical practitioner. There are specific metabolic reasons for these symptoms.

The failsafe diet excludes strong tasting and smelling foods and environmental chemicals, in particular:

About fifty additives including colours (like tartrazine, sunset yellow), flavours, preservatives and antioxidants (sulphites, nitrates, benzoates, sorbates, parabens).
Salicylates (aspirin) and polyphenols (natural flavours, colours and preservatives) found in a wide range of fruits and vegetables as well as in man-made NSAIDs and COX II inhibitors.
Neurotransmitters: free glutamates (MSG) and amines (histamine, serotonin, dopamine, phenylethylamine, tyramine and others) in aged proteins and fermented foods like cheese, game and hung meat.
Environmental chemicals and strong smells like perfumes, most commercial cosmetics, scented and coloured toiletries and especially mint and menthol products.
Some pharmaceutical drugs, including aspirin, all NSAIDS including ibuprofen, and the methyl-salicylates found in decongestants and anti-inflammatory creams.

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Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (PART 4): INSOMNIA

ImageRestless Legs Syndrome and Insomnia go hand in hand. However, the insomnia is not caused by the restless legs. The restless legs result in a “lack of sleep”, which sounds like the same thing, but really isn’t.

Insomnia is caused by a racing brain, a stress or an overall intensity within. Having suffered from both insomnia and RLS, I can tell you that when my legs got better, my insommnia lived on. It took a long time and a lot of work, but I managed to retrain my mind and body so that I was able to get to sleep relatively quickly at night. I was also able to totally change my sleep cycle and get to bed and fall asleep before midnight almost every night.

Having said that, I still have periods of unexplained intensity, racing mind and stress that prevent a good night’s sleep. I think I now know why.  
 
In this segment of the series on histamine, I am presenting information on how increased histamine levels lead to a “racing” mind often resulting in insomnia.

It’s not all bad news. The next post will feature many natural solutions to histamine intolerance and the “racing brain” that the increased histamine levels can cause.

from Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson
I’ll bet your concept of histamine is of some vague body fluid that gets released in allergic reactions and causes sneezing, mucous and swelling. You may not realize what serious mischief this chemical can do. Inside the brain it has an important role, in all sorts of reactions. It causes our tears to flow, determines our pain sensitivity, and our sexual libido. If brain levels get too low we become paranoid and suspicious, our ears may ring, we may see or hear things abnormally. We will probably make grandiose plans but never have the energy to carry them out.

ImageWhen brain histamine levels soar out of control, other frightening symptoms occur. The tendency to hyperactivity, compulsive behavior and black depression increases as histamine rises abnormally. We may grow obsessive about sex, have abnormal fears, compulsive rituals, cry easily and may even think about suicide often.

Many high-powered, energetic politicians and public figures show this high histamine combination of obsessive drive and high sexual libido. Without their abnormally high histamine, they would lack the stamina to fuel their careers so intensely. Unfortunately, their accompanying high sex drive sometimes is their undoing, despite being splendid statesmen in every other way. Once we see ourselves and others in the light of the chemistry we are dealt, we tend to become more understanding about the corresponding behaviors.

In your hypothalamus, histamine stimulates the release of the important neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Another role of brain histamine is to counterbalance dopamine in that area of the brain that filters sensory information coming into your brain. With too little histamine, dopamine levels are elevated. The result of too low histamine can be thought disorders or even hallucinations that feel like your mind is playing tricks on you.

Other psychiatric symptoms develop when too MUCH histamine heightens and distorts the release of these key neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. When abnormally high, histamine will cause over stimulation, aggressiveness, compulsivity, and a racing brain (among other symptoms).

Imagefrom the Histamine Intolerances Blog
A lot of histamine patients seem to have issues sleeping. As my allergist so eloquently put it and I quote: “histamine is a wake-amine”. As for me, I wake up from the slightest light or sound. It gets so bad I wake up multiple times per hour. You can imagine this is quite hard. It means waking up just as tired as when you went to bed. I’ve tried a wide variety of tricks, but nothing really does seem to do the trick.  

from Medical News Today
A study by scientists with the Veterans Affairs’ Neurobiology Research Laboratory and UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute shows that brain cells containing the chemical histamine are critical for waking.

Detailed in the May 27 edition of the journal Neuron, the findings show that the cessation of activity in histamine cells causes loss of consciousness during sleep The findings also help explain why antihistamines, often taken to control allergies, cause drowsiness.

from American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Histamine is found in the brain and helps keep you alert and awake. An “anti”-histamine crosses over into the brain and makes you sleepy. In addition to helping treat allergies, antihistamines are also known to make you very sleepy.

Antihistamines are the most common ingredient in sleep aids that you can buy at a local drug store.

Studies show that antihistamines do help patients sleep better.

(Editor’s Note: Please keep in mind that as a RLS sufferer you cannot take over-the-counter antihistamines. You have to take “natural” ones. There are hundreds of articles and studies that demonstrate that over-the-counter antihistamines increase the intensity of Restless Legs dramatically!).

from The Last Psychiatrist
Most people think of sleep as the opposite of wakefulness, a line with two poles, you slide the switch back and forth.

In fact, there are two regions in the brain, working at the same time. A wakefulness promoting region and a sleep promoting region, battling each other, and your mind, for supremacy.

Simply as a convenience to me for the purposes of writing this post, I’ll call the “wakefulness promoting region” the tuberomammillary nucleus, and the “sleep promoting region” the ventrolateral preoptic area of the hypothalamus.

The tuberomammillary nucleus (TMN) is the sole source of histamine in the brain. The TMN sends histamine projections all over the cortex. Histamine causes arousal, increased attention, perhaps increased learning and memory.   

Imagefrom Dr. Judy Tsafrir MD.  
I have had insomnia since I was a child, probably due to life long undiagnosed histamine intolerance. A sense of calm and peace replaced the chronic anxiety I was experiencing, my spirits lifted and I felt much less tired and more alert. Given the strength and immediacy of my response to lowering the histamine content of my diet, I believe that histamine intolerance should be considered in every case of anxiety disorder, depression, sleep and attentional disorders, especially if a person is aware of food sensitivity issues.

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Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (Part 3): WHAT CAUSES AN INCREASE IN HISTAMINE LEVELS?

Imagefrom Healthy Pixels
The most common food allergies include dairy, wheat, shellfish, eggs and nuts. Contact allergies can include a wide range of substances such as rubber, nickel (in jewelry), acrylates (artificial nails), pine resin, and sunscreen or shampoo ingredients (such as benzophenone). Some people experience an early response to allergens, while others might only notice a late-phase response that can appear up to 10 hours later. Symptoms of this delayed response can last up to 24 hours.

If any type of food allergy is suspected, consult with an allergist and start carefully taking notes about diet and symptoms. ChartMySelf.com can help you keep online records of your health. Blood tests for both immediate and delayed food allergies are available to doctors from Great Plains Laboratory, US Biotek, and many others. Depending on the type of allergy exposure and related damage, a body may require days, weeks, or even months to fully recover.

Air pollution and pollen
New research shows that air pollution contributes to cardiovascular disease by the increase in histamine and inflammation. Genetics also play a role in a person’s susceptibility to pollution.

These collective studies suggest that both short- and long-term PM inhalation can enhance thrombotic and coagulation tendencies, potentially via increases in circulating histamine and inflammatory cytokines and/or activated white cells and platelets.  

Interestingly, new research shows that some of us can experience inflammation from pollen without any specific allergy! Future studies will undoubtedly reveal how particles in our environment can affect our immune system beyond the classic allergy response.

Water pollution
Studies have shown that common environmental contaminants trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene raised histamine levels in lab rats by increasing their sensitivity to allergens.

Symptoms can often be prevented by avoiding foods high in histamine

ImageFermented foods like wine, aged cheese, aged or smoked meats, fermented soy products (including tofu and soy sauce), vinegar (including pickles, ketchup and prepared mustard) and sauerkraut.
   

Foods exposed to high amounts of bacteria such as fish/shellfish.
   

Leftover meats can quickly accumulate microorganisms which result in histamine formation.

Chocolate/cocoa, spinach, eggplant, nuts, pumpkin, tomato, strawberries, citrus fruits, and seasonings like cinnamon, chili powder, and cloves can stimulate the release of histamine.

Wheat-based products.

Beverages such as tea (herbal or regular) and soy milk are high in histamine.

Any type of alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to break down histamine.

Prepackaged meals.

Yeast – even though it does not contain histamine as such, yeast serves as a catalyst for histamine generation during manufacture. There is no yeast in the end product

New studies show that fat absorption may dramatically increase the release of histamine and contribute to chronic inflammation.

ImageNutritional imbalances
When the body is low in B vitamins, vitamin C, and copper, histamine may not break down sufficiently to overcome symptoms of intolerance. Foods high in Bs include potatoes, sunflower seeds, and soybeans. Foods high in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, and kale. Researchers found that vitamin C may work by increasing the activity of the DAO enzyme.

Some foods like potato are also high in oxalate which can release histamine in certain people. Keep in mind that while citrus is high in vitamin C, it releases histamine within the body and can aggravate symptoms. A food allergy to any of the above foods will also increase histamine.

Heat and UVB light
Studies show that UVB light caused histamine release in vitro, though it was protected by ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Some people notice that rashes and skin conditions can worsen with exposure to sun and heat.

Exercise
Some episodes of anaphylaxis have been triggered by moderately intense exercise, particularly in warm environments. These extreme reactions are typically related to food allergens that were consumed prior to physical activity. Strict avoidance of allergens may help prevent symptoms of histamine intolerance that occur during exercise – particularly dynamic exercises such as jogging, running, and aerobics that involve less resistance. Recent studies indicate that the amino acid L-carnosine is released during these exercises and then converted to histamine.

Hormones – including stress hormones
Rising estrogen levels have been associated with elevated histamine, and women might notice increased sensitivity and symptoms of histamine intolerance at different times in their monthly cycle. Periods of high estrogen link to sinus sensitivity to histamine. Environmental estrogens such as pesticides, agricultural growth hormones, and PVC in plastics may also activate histamine release. Conversely, histamine appears to stimulate estrogen levels as well and exacerbate symptoms. Diamine oxidase levels are much higher in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, theoretically reducing the risk of excess histamine during that phase.

The “stress” hormone cortisol appears to increase histamine in stomach and intestines in lab studies. Reducing stress can lower the amount of stimulating hormones that activate mast cells which release histamine and other factors of inflammation.

Imagefrom Stephanie Faris of Healthline Networks

Basic Symptoms of Mold Allergies
If you’re allergic to mold, you’ll likely experience histamine reactions similar to those from other types of airborne allergies. Those symptoms include: sneezing, coughing, congestion, watery & itchy eyes and postnasal drip

You may initially mistake your mold allergies for a cold or sinus infection, since the symptoms can mirror each other. If your allergies are compounded by asthma, you may notice your asthma symptoms worsening when you’re exposed to mold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You also may experience wheezing and other signs of an asthma attack.

Mold Allergies in Children
If your children are the only ones in the family suffering histamine-related allergy symptoms, it may not be related to mold in your home. Some school buildings have unchecked mold, resulting in asthmatics suffering increased attacks while at school. But it could also be that your child has a sensitivity to mold, whereas no one else in the family does.

Since some children spend time playing outside in areas parents might not venture, mold may be prevalent in the outdoor air. Asthmatic children may experience more attacks while playing outside for this reason and you may note more symptoms in the summertime months, when your children are playing outside more often.

Is Mold Toxic?
You may hear many myths about the toxicity of mold—for example, that inhaling mold can cause permanent damage. The truth, according to scientists, is that it would be very difficult for someone to inhale enough mold to do that kind of damage. If you aren’t sensitive to mold, you may never even experience a reaction.

Furthermore, the mold that asthma has been associated with is generally found outdoors, not indoors. So that leaky window at work isn’t likely to cause you to develop asthma. Outdoor mold will only exacerbate symptoms for asthmatics, and not cause asthma itself. However, a serious condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis is rare, but attributed to prolonged mold inhalation in patients who are sensitive.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis
Hypersensitivity pneumonitis can develop over time in patients who are sensitive to mold spores in the air. One of the most often seen types of hypersensitivity pneumonitis is known as “farmer’s lung.” Farmer’s lung is a serious allergic reaction to mold found in hay and other types of crop material. Because farmer’s lung is so often undiagnosed, it can cause permanent damage in the form of scar tissue on the lung. This scar tissue, called fibrosis, can worsen until the patient begins to have trouble doing simple tasks.

Once farmer’s lung progresses to a more chronic form, symptoms may become more severe than simple histamine reactions. Farmer’s lung patients may experience fever, chills, blood-streaked sputum, and muscular pain. Those who work around potentially moldy crop materials on a regular basis should watch for early histamine reactions and seek treatment if they suspect farmer’s lung may be developing.

While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive—that is, over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Masks that will protect your respiratory system from being affected by mold spore exposure are available.

Histamines and Electromagnetic fields (EMFs)

Image“A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans.” Gangi S, Johansson O. Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

 

ABSTRACT
The relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and human health is more and more in focus. This is mainly because of the rapid increasing use of such EMFs within our modern society. Exposure to EMFs has been linked to different cancer forms, e.g. leukemia, brain tumors, neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, asthma and allergy, and recently to the phenomena of ‘electrosupersensitivity’ and ‘screen dermatitis’. There is an increasing number of reports about cutaneous problems as well as symptoms from internal organs, such as the heart, in people exposed to video display terminals (VDTs). These people suffer from subjective and objective skin and mucosa-related symptoms, such as itch, heat sensation, pain, erythema, papules and pustules. In severe cases, people can not, for instance, use VDTs or artificial light at all, or be close to mobile telephones. Mast cells (MCs), when activated, release a spectrum of mediators, among them histamine, which is involved in a variety of biological effects with clinical relevance, e.g. allergic hypersensitivity, itch, edema, local erythema and many types of dermatoses. From the results of recent studies, it is clear that EMFs affect the MC, and also the dendritic cell, population and may degranulate these cells. The release of inflammatory substances, such as histamine, from MCs in the skin results in a local erythema, edema and sensation of itch and pain, and the release of somatostatin from the dendritic cells may give rise to subjective sensations of on-going inflammation and sensitivity to ordinary light. These are, as mentioned, the common symptoms reported from patients suffering from ‘electrosupersensitivity’/’screen dermatitis’. MCs are also present in the heart tissue and their localization is of particular relevance to their function. Data from studies made on interactions of EMFs with the cardiac function have demonstrated that highly interesting changes are present in the heart after exposure to EMFs. One could speculate that the cardiac MCs are responsible for these changes due to degranulation after exposure to EMFs. However, it is still not known how, and through which mechanisms, all these different cells are affected by EMFs. In this article, we present a theoretical model, based upon observations on EMFs and their cellular effects, to explain the proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans.

CONCLUSION
Results from the above-mentioned studies show that EMFs affect the MCs and may result in MC degranulation and release of inflammatory substances, including histamine. It is obvious that the MC, and also the dendritic cell, population is affected by EMFs. However, it is still unknown whether EMFs affect these cells directly or indirectly. EMFs may primarily affect the MCs, and they will consecutively release mediator substances which, in its turn, activate dendritic cells and their release of somatostatin. However, EMFs could affect the dendritic cells directly and these cells could then activate MCs’ release of inflammatory substances, such as histamine, heparin, serotonin, VIP, etc. The third possibility would be that EMFs affect both MCs and dendritic cells directly and degranulate these cells.

The release of inflammatory mediators from MCs in the human skin results in a local erythema, edema and sensation of itch and/or pain, and maybe the release of somatostatin from the dendritic cells in the skin gives rise to subjective sensations of on-going inflammation and the reported sensitivity to ordinary light. All the above-mentioned cutaneous symptoms are the common symptoms.

SUMMARY OF KNOW EFFECTS OF ELECTROMAGNETIC FIELDS (EMFs) ON MAST CELLS (MCs)
Interactions of EMFs with MCs may result in MC degranulation and release of inflammatory mediators, such as histamine. In addition, cardiac symptoms have also been reported. MCs are, as described before, also present in human heart tissue. From the results of studies on the interaction of EMFs with the cardiac function, it is clear that relevant changes are present in the heart after exposure to EMFs. These changes may be due to the influence of EMFs on the cardiac MCs and their release of inflammatory mediators. One could argue that the cardiac MCs, with their intimate relationship to the nerves, could be affected and degranulated directly by the EMFs, or indirectly through a neuropeptide pathway.

Thus, it is clear that certain changes occur in different MC populations after electromagnetic / magnetic exposure, and these changes may consequently be a direct cellular response to EMFs. The results of the previously discussed study of Donnellan et al.confirms this assumption.

Finally, if the above reported effects, seen in different laboratory animals, such as mice and rats, as well as in various in vitro situations, would occur in human beings exposed in similar ways, it is not surprising at all to find persons claiming different subjective and objective symptoms, such as itch, flare, edema, etc., after exposure to e.g. mobile telephones, VDTs or fluorescent light. On the contrary, these persons may very well function as biosensors, thus revealing to the rest of the human population a warning signal that has to be taken seriously!

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Histamine Intolerance, Inflammation and RLS (Part 2): WHAT IS HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE?

ImageWhat is a Histamine?

from Wikipedia
Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter. Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils and by mast cells found in nearby connective tissues. Histamine increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins, to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues.

from the Department of Biology, Davidson College
The release of histamine (hist = because it’s made up of histidine residues, amine = because it’s a vasoactive amine) causes several allergic symptoms.  1)  It contributes to an inflammatory response.  2) It causes constriction of smooth muscle.

Histamine can cause inflammation directly as well as indirectly. Upon release of histamine by an antigen activated mast cell, permeability of vessels near the site is increased. Thus, blood fluids (including leukocytes, which participate in immune responses) enter the area causing swelling. This is accomplished due to histamine’s ability to induce phosphorylation of an intercellular adhesion protein (called (VE)-cadherin) found on vascular endothelial cells (Andriopoulou et al 1999). That is why histamine is known as being vasoactive.  Gaps between the cells in vascular tissue are created by this phosphorylation, allowing blood fluids to seep out into extracellular space.  Indirectly, histamine contributes to inflammation by affecting the functions of other leukocytes in the area. It has been suggested by Marone et al that histamine release triggers the release of cytokines and inflammatory mediator by some neighboring leukocytes (1999). These chemicals in turn increases the inflammatory response.

ImageWhat is Histamine Intolerance?

from Allergy UK
We all have an enzyme (diamine oxidase) which breaks down any histamine that we absorb from a histamine-containing food. When we eat a food which contains histamine it does not affect us. However, some people have a low level of this enzyme. When they eat too many histamine-rich foods they may suffer ‘allergy-like’ symptoms such as headaches, rashes, itching, diarrhoea, and vomiting or abdominal pain. This is called histamine intolerance.

from Healthy Pixels
I am astounded at how many of us unknowingly suffer from excess histamine. Some of us itch or sneeze while others get headaches, migraines, joint pain, or nausea – within minutes or several hours after exposure! Our “histamine bucket” fills up based on factors such as genetics, allergies, medication, diet, environment, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal damage, and UV exposure. When our body cannot break down excess histamine, we suffer with histamine intolerance and increased inflammation. When we realize what is really happening, we can better prevent and treat this misunderstood condition!

Histamine and its receptors are constantly engaged in a vital balancing act, preventing excessive inflammation while promoting homeostasis and healing. A variety of inflammatory diseases involve histamine activity.

Most of us know histamines through antihistamine drugs that relieve our suffering from allergies to pollen, insect bites, and even foods. Histamine is naturally produced in our body by mast cells or white blood cells, and it performs different functions by binding with histamine receptors. Depending upon their location, histamine receptors control very different body functions.

ImageSo why haven’t we heard about this?
Histamine intolerance is hugely underestimated in the population. Most people respond to symptoms of histamine intolerance with an aspirin, antacid, or other quick-fix pill that does not address the root problem. Sometimes histamine levels are raised due to allergy, but histamine intolerance is not a true allergy and it won’t show up on allergy tests.

Unlike allergy testing, confirming a serious histamine intolerance isn’t easy or profitable for doctors. An elaborate study discovered that “histamine-intolerant subjects reacted with different organs on different occasions.” Each person has a unique set of symptoms that may not always recur in the same location or intensity. The only true test for histamine intolerance requires a strict histamine-free diet followed by a double-blind food challenge. With a true diagnosis, the standard treatment is even more dismal – a low-histamine diet for life. But don’t give up yet!

WHAT CAUSES HISTAMINE LEVELS TO RISE?

Reduced or Inhibited Enzymes
One of the more common reasons we suffer from histamine intolerance is the lack of enzymes diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine-N-methyl transferase (HNMT). These enzymes break down histamine and keep it in check. DAO and HNMT levels may be genetically low in some individuals, blocked by drugs, or reduced from intestinal damage or diseases such as celiac. Caffeine also inhibits DAO.

Many factors affect the body’s histamine levels, and there are ways we can help reduce the load. Our exposure to allergens, diet, drug use, temperature, hormones, and nutritional deficiencies dramatically impact our histamine levels throughout the day. Imagine your histamine as a “bucket” that fills up and only reveals symptoms after overflowing.

Allergies
Large amounts of histamine are promptly released when we are exposed to our allergens, and the most common allergens include mold, dust mites, animal dander, pollen, medications, insect stings, latex, and food. Interestingly, scientists are beginning to suspect that these allergies have developed in order to protect us from environmental toxins. It is important to avoid exposure to known or suspected allergies, especially when histamine levels are a potential problem. Get tested and avoid the triggers to start emptying the bucket!

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