Here’s an interesting headline for you: nightshade flower as effective a mast cell stabiliser as commonly prescribed sodium cromoglycate. This definitely brought a smile to my face, given that most of us in the allergic world only have to hear the word nightshade to run a mile in the opposite direction. It also confirmed that some foods we’re told are bad for histamine related conditions, may have benefits that far outweigh the modest amount of histamine they release. Unless you’re allergic to them!
A lot of people ask me how I’ve got from total histamine intolerance breakdown to where I am. While I do believe my recovery is still a work in progress, I thought I’d share how a combination of militant food planning, 30 minutes of inflammation fighting yoga and daily chanting (OM!) have allowed me to reach a far better place than I have ever been.
Thanks to my years studying nutrition (unofficially) through the teachings of Drs Fuhrman, Weil, Oz and others, I was well aware my new low histamine diet had the potential to be unhealthy and counter-productive, if applied strictly, and blindly.
To acknowledge something and to implement it are two very different things. It took me a while to get my sea legs. I floundered around for some time, terrified to add new foods or even entertain the idea of being proactive in my recovery. But I knew I had to take action when I began to approach meal time with fear and hatred, focusing on the food rather than the state of my broken body and mind. I was now eating the same five foods every single day, usually in large amounts, not understanding why I wasn’t “recovering”.
I suffered daily migraines for many years. At some point I finally came to the conclusion that my headaches, which made me bang my head against the wall on occasion, had something to do with my diet. I was vindicated by the person who diagnosed me with histamine intolerance in London, and now by the growing number of studies clearly spelling out the allergy/histamine migraine link.
I cannot even begin to properly thank my lucky stars for curing me of this blight. I was about six weeks into the low histamine diet when I was able to trash the 600mg ibuprofen that I had been scarfing daily by the handful for most of my adult life. Not to mention the migraine injections. Youch! You truly haven’t experienced hell till you’ve had a constant migraine for six months.
Interestingly, in Spain (and France), it’s commonly acknowledged that migraines are caused by a lack of the histamine-lowering enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). Seems that the US and UK are way behind the curve on this one.
But histamine can also cause migraine in “healthy” people:
Tired of your man attributing every nuance of behavior to your menstrual cycle? Well, he could have a point, but you’d die before admitting it (yup that’s me I’m talking about).
Well here’s a little nugget to wave under his nose. It’s not the menstrual cycle, it’s the histamine stupid!
Japanese researchers have (re)confirmed that the histamine lowering diamine oxidase enzyme (DAO) is influenced by the menstrual cycle.
“Serum DAO levels were influenced by the menstrual cycle. Furthermore, our findings suggest that serum DAO levels should be interpreted cautiously in premenopausal women.”
This could explain why an allergy to food or environment seems to affect you differently each time, depending on where you are in your cycle and how much histamine-lowering diamine oxidase is available to you.
We know from Maintz and Novak’s seminal histamine study, that DAO is at its highest during pregnancy (500% – 1000% higher) so it’s a not unreasonable to conclude that lower hormones = lower diamine oxidase? BUT, that’s not right…
“estrogen can influence histamine action. A significant increase in weal and flare size in response to histamine has been observed to correspond to ovulation and peak estrogen concentrations (118).” Maintz and Novak.
This would seem to point to diamine oxidase being lower during ovulation – though we’re now not taking the potential involvement of monoamine oxidase and HNMT (the other enzymes involved in histamine metabolism) into account. Phew, I’ve confused myself. What is certain is that high histamine mimics the symptoms of anxiety so if you have a histamine-related disorder, certain times of the month are going to be tougher than others.
So, where does this leave your average diamine oxidase impaired lass?
“The ultimate goal of the project is to produce detectors for expert and non-expert staff to assess when unhealthy levels of biogenic amines have accumulated in foodstuffs.” That means we’ll soon be able to measure the level of histamine at the dinner table! How incredible would that be? From the University of Brighton website… “They
Not only is Holy Basil tasty in just about any Thai or Vietnamese dish – turns out it’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine herb that’s as effective as Ranitidine/Zantac at treating H2 (histamine) induced ulcers, preventing mast cell degranulation and anaphylactic shock. How do’you like them apples? I like Holy Basil a lot better than them apples…but
*Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be dumbbells, rubber exercise tubing, your own body weight, bricks, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract. http://www.emedicinehealth.com/strength_training/article_em.htm
Interestingly, I meeting quite a few people who are being prescribed anti-histamines by their docs to deal with asthma/wheezing, abnormally high heart rate and passing out while exercising. Wouldn’t it be simpler to go on a low histamine diet? Probably not, but it would yield better (healthier) results!
What does this mean for your work out routine?
The Low Histamine Beauty Survival Guide COMING SOON… Make-up allergies got you down? Have you considered that your beloved cosmetics are causing your histamine intolerance/chemical sensitivity/mastocytosis to flare up? If you’re on a low histamine diet but still suffering from make-up allergies, rashes and migraines, don’t despair, just bin the histamine raising dirty cosmetics! I
I find it a little bizarre that not many out there are talking about the impact of cosmetics. Even when following a low histamine and tyramine diet to the letter (almost impossible but can be done for short periods) I still suffered symptom flare ups. My attitude at the time was: “hey, I’m suffering so
AN INVISIBLE WAR
Dr. Oz calls inflammation an “invisible civil war raging in your body. Undetected it can cause heart attacks, stroke and cancer.” According to him, the problem begins when inflammation does not resolve following its role in healing an injury, causing your immune system to go haywire, turning your best friend into your worst enemy. This ties in to all my reading of this last year. Yes, inflammation is a serious concern when it unnecessarily stokes the immune system into over reacting to everything. Inflammation isn’t just dangerous to those of us with inflammation-induding histamine related disorders like histamine intolerance, histaminosis, mastocytosis and mast cell activation, it’s relevant to anyone with an interest in minimising their cancer, stroke and heart attack risk.