Do you sometimes feel like you have seasonal allergies that just never end? If you’ve tried all the things recommended when you search Google and over-the-counter remedies and any other suggestion your friends and loved ones offer, and still have no relief, it might be time to consider something else. You might have histamine intolerance.
What are histamines?
Histamines are chemicals your body’s immune system makes to help get rid of allergens that have in some way contacted or infiltrated your body. This defense mechanism jumps into action when it receives a signal that your body needs to get rid of something—the allergen—and the result is often itching, sneezing, runny or stuffy noses.
Here’s how the process works. First, your body interacts with an allergy trigger and your body’s defense system sends a chemical message to your skin, lungs, mouth, gut, blood or nose telling these “mast” cells to release histamines.
So, the mast cells do. Histamines boost blood flow to the area where the allergen interacted with your body and creates inflammation. Inflammation then signals other chemicals to start to do repair work and then the histamines stay put in your body’s “receptors.”
The result for you? Typically, the allergy symptoms that you suffer from such as sneezing, runny or stuffed nose and the like. If you have food allergies, histamines are involved as well. This time when you eat or drink something you’re allergic to, your gut will trigger an allergic reaction.
What is histamine intolerance?
By its name, you might assume that if you’re histamine intolerant, you are sensitive to histamines. But histamine intolerance actually means that your body just has too much of it. When that’s the case and your body is unable to break down excess histamines properly, it can affect the normal operation of bodily functions.
Not only does your own body make histamines, but you are exposed to additional histamines through the food and drinks you consume such as aged, smoked or fermented foods and alcohol such as red wine. Insect venom also has histamines.
Additionally, there are situations that can impact how your body can get rid of a buildup of histamines including medical conditions; medications you consume including antibiotics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, diuretics, muscle relaxants, over-the-counter pain medications, and others; nutritional deficiencies and environmental forces.
The enzyme DAO as well as HNMT (although to a lesser extent) break down ingested histamine. When it does, it prevents histamines from getting absorbed by the gut and entering the bloodstream. When these enzymes are interfered with and aren’t able to do their job adequately, an abundance of histamine can stay in your body leading to histamine intolerance.
What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?
The reason many people don’t identify they have histamine intolerance is that its symptoms are similar to an allergic reaction. Here are common symptoms of histamine intolerance:
How do you treat histamine intolerance?
There is no one test to take to determine histamine intolerance. The diagnosis is usually determined after a process of elimination of other medical causes.
Dietary changes can be very helpful in making you feel better. There are foods and drinks that contribute to higher histamine levels and there are others that interfere with the body’s process to break down histamines that should be minimized or avoided.
After assessing your diet, a consultation with a professional such as Dr. Monique Martin can help determine if additional supplements, medications or diet adjustments would be beneficial in your case. If you want to learn more about histamine intolerance, please contact Dr. Martin.
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