At the time of this writing, in some parts of the nation -Polar Vortex excluded- Spring is getting ready to be sprung.
Already, tender shoots are poking through chilled soil, tree branches are bulging everso slightly with evidence of the new life to come and spring birds are arriving, filling the air with song. (If these wonders aren’t taking place yet where you live, hang on… they’re on the way!)
But these verdant wonders bring with them a down side… allergies and the histamine they trigger.
We’ve all heard of histamine and have probably at one time or another, fought it by dosing ourselves with ANTIhistamines.
But the problem of histamine is far more serious than just a seasonal allergic reaction, and its presence in the human body can wreak havoc- especially as we hit Midlife.
Not heard of Histamine Intolerance before? You soon will. Recognition of this condition- and the ill health it generates- is picking up steam, bringing relief to millions of folks suffering from misdiagnosed and/or mysterious ailments. Have you traveled from Dr. To Dr. with myriad debilitating symptoms, only to be told that your tests ‘have come back normal and there’s nothing wrong with you’? Are you Sick? Tired? Sick and Tired? Well, it’s my hope this article will help.
First, let’s start with the basics:
Histamine is a compound released by the body when it has an allergic reaction to something. Doesn’t matter what the ‘something’ is. If you’re allergic to it or tissues find it irritating, your body rallies a defense that triggers histamine release.
We’re all familiar with the itchy eyes and runny nose that come with pollen allergies- and perhaps we’ve been stung and have experienced the swelling and itch that accompanies bug bites and stings but histamine often develops without these triggers and if allowed to build up within body tissues causes a wide range of rather serious and debilitating symptoms.
We’re talking things like: Digestive issues such as IBS/bloating/gas/diarrhea, constipation, cramping, nausea, chronic indigestion and/or heartburn, hives and other skin conditions like eczema/psoriasis/ongoing itching/Rosacea.
Psychological issues like: anxiety and/or feelings of chronic stress/irritability/poor concentration, depression and/or moodiness.
How about: ongoing headaches/migraines, fatigue, edema, eyes that water, lips that stay chapped… fluttering heartbeat, low blood pressure that doesn’t seem to have a diagnosable cause… chills, dizziness, vertigo… inability to handle a lot at once without feeling like you’re short-circuiting…
Been diagnosed with fibromyalgia? Histamine Intolerance just might have a role to play.
What’s especially interesting about Histamine Intolerance:
- It’s extremely common in people suffering with digestive issues, especially Celiac disease, IBS, Crohn’s Disease and colitis. (Some studies show that upwards of 58% of people with chronic gut issues present with the condition.)
- As we age, especially as we hit Menopause/Midlife, our tissues saturate with the stuff because it ceases to break down and clear the body sufficiently. Perhaps this accounts for so many of the mystery ailments and complaints we develop as we move through Menopause…? Just sayin.
So, by now you might be thinking ‘I don’t have seasonal allergies so this issue doesn’t impact me.’ Think again. Histamine is found all around us. It’s triggered by inhaled pollen, spores and environmental pollutants and histamine is present in A LOT of the foods we eat- and the drinks we drink. And certain things impact its release differently.
There are foods that contain histamine, foods that liberate histamine and foods that actually block the primary enzymes necessary to keeping histamine development in cheque. All lead to trouble.
If you’re ingesting any of the following, you’re ingesting histamine:
Alcoholic beverages, canned foods, pickled foods like kraut/olives/pickles, cheeses, smoked meats like bacon/salami/sausage/ham, beans, chocolate/cocoa, walnuts and cashews, prepackaged and prepared meals, tomatoes, spinach, avocados, cabbage, papaya, wheat germ, vinegars, black/ green and mate teas, energy drinks and possibly even yogurt.
It’s also thought that yeast-containing baked goods contribute to histamine development because of the manufacturing process.
Are you consuming these things? Are you suffering from symptoms no one can properly diagnose? Perhaps you might want to look into histamine as the culprit to what ails you!
But here’s where it gets a bit tricky.
There’s no real clinical diagnostic test for Histamine Intolerance. It’s more about trial and error and the elimination/control of symptoms.
There are 4 predominant factors that contribute to the development and progression of Histamine Intolerance. They are:
- Enzymatic Degradation. Simply put, this means how efficiently your body breaks down and flushes out histamine. Certain enzymes are necessary for this process, chief among them DAO (diamine oxidase) and HNMT (histamine N-methyltransferase). If you have a compromised gut it’s a fair certainty you are deficient in these 2 enzymes. If you’re deficient in these 2 enzymes, you will more than likely also have issues with histamine intolerance.
- Level of Histamine Consumption. Breathing air? Drinking alcohol/tea/water? Ingesting any of the foods referenced earlier? You’re consuming histamine and very well could be adding to your overall histamine load.
- Mast Cell Function. Mast cells are responsible for releasing histamine as a reaction to allergens. If mast cells are unstable and/or malfunctioning, they release higher than normal levels of histamine.
- Bacterial Production. Bacteria produce histamine. Even probiotics can add to the dilemma that is Histamine Intolerance. If you suffer from this condition, it’s imperative to get any and all infections (including gut issues) under control and then pay extra care and attention to consuming only those probiotics made for people with histamine intolerance. To overlook this step is to all but guarantee an exacerbation of the issue.
Perhaps this is a good place to remind you I am NOT a Doctor. This article is not written with the intention of prescribing and/or diagnosing! Instead, it’s written to serve as a sign post along the way in your journey to deep and complete healing.
Many Midlife women are out there suffering and searching. Many of them fear they’re losing their mind. I was one of them. It’s a loathsome, fearful and lonely place to be, especially when there’s so much Life to be had.
If any of the symptoms discussed earlier sound like you- and if you’ve been dragging yourself endlessly to doctors and specialists only to be told there’s nothing wrong with you, please go online and research Histamine Intolerance to see if it resonates with you and your MD/ND.
The best way to gauge if this condition has a grip on you is to go on the standard Low Histamine diet and/or possible prescription antihistamine therapy and monitor how you feel as the days and weeks roll by.
Once your gut is healed, any possible enzyme deficiencies corrected and histamine levels within the body reduced, you just may find yourself feeling better than you’ve felt in years.
Now, that’s nuthin’ to sneeze at!
Copyright 2019 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years.
Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist.
She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.
Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author and Co Host of a nationally syndicated radio show.
Together with Life Coach Kris Cavanaugh Castro, Carrie has co created a coaching program created especially for Midlife women- and the men who love them. Called ‘Making Peace With Menopause’ this program covers the myriad health, beauty, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the Menopause journey.
It’s Carrie’s mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife!