What Next!?

Ok – so here’s a quick update.

  • Have had a few rough nights lately … thank goodness for my big chair. Often not able to sleep because of the itching! My face is getting really bad and I’m pretty much not going to want to go out in public soon … not that I wanted to that much recently anyway 😦 … but this is gettin’ ugly!
  • Since being off the BioK+ (almost a week now) the bowels are pretty much back to where they were before I started … not much fun.
  • Had my suspicions yesterday after some reading about my itchy skin, that I’ve become Histamine Intolerant … What next!!!  I was pointing the finger at BioK+ being the culprit of the Histamine problem (it’s fermented dairy, plus Id’ been given the go-ahead by the natural consultant to eat good quality yogurt and cheese for the bacteria and enzymes – more dairy), BUT while these recommendations may be part of the problem or the tipping point, in hind-sight I did some more research about Histamine Intolerance and it looks like the AIP Diet can be having just as BIG a hand in this problem (if not more so) as well. So YAY to that too! Additionally, it was suggested I come off a lot of the supplements because they’d be hard for the stomach to digest … again, unfortunately, a bunch of these help the body to manage Histamines! Someone PLEASE JUST SHOOT ME!
  • I stumbled on some articles that talk about the AIP diet and how this has become Functional Medicine and Nutritionists “go-to” suggestion for anyone with Autoimmune Disease(s) … however … and isn’t there always a “however” … as with everything one-size does NOT fit all! I’m currently looking into this and just read a book about a combined “diet” approach and joined a support group online that the author follows … shockingly enough she just personally messaged me after reading the post about my experience and told me NOT to follow the dietary suggestions outlined in her book that I just read! WOW! Honest of her to tell me her approach wouldn’t work for me! She’s given me some suggestions and asked some questions … we’ll see where this goes. Kinda wish I could hire her! I’ve answered her questions and run the other suggestions by her that I received from the natural consultants. Can’t wait to hear back.

Summary … for now we’re back to being stumped and more than ever I’m so tired and ticked off with this all.

As a little health lesson for the day, here’s what Histamine Intolerance is all about …

What is histamine?
Histamine is a chemical involved in your immune system, proper digestion, and your central nervous system. As a neurotransmitter, it communicates important messages from your body to your brain. It is also a component of stomach acid, which is what helps you break down food in your stomach.

You might be most familiar with histamine as it relates to the immune system. If you’ve suffered from seasonal allergies or food allergies, you may have noticed that antihistamine medications like Zytrec, Allegra or Benedryl provide quick relief of your symptoms. This is because histamine’s role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It serves as a red flag in your immune system, notifying your body of any potential attackers.

Histamine causes your blood vessels to swell, or dilate, so that your white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. The histamine buildup is what gives you a headache and leaves you feeling flushed, itchy and miserable. This is part of the body’s natural immune response, but if you don’t break down histamine properly, you could develop what we call histamine intolerance.

Because it travels throughout your bloodstream, histamine can affect your gut, lungs, skin, brain, and entire cardiovascular system, contributing to a wide range of problems often making it difficult to pinpoint and diagnose.

Common symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Hypertension
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Arrhythmia, or accelerated heart rate
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Flushing
  • Nasal congestion, sneezing, difficulty breathing
  • Abnormal menstrual cycle
  • Hives
  • Fatigue
  • Tissue swelling

What Causes High Histamine Levels?

In addition to the histamine produced inside your body, there are also a variety of foods that naturally contain histamine, cause the release of histamine, or block the enzyme that breaks down histamine, diamine oxidase.

  • Fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer
  • Fermented foods: sauerkraut, vinegar, soy sauce, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, etc
  • Vinegar-containing foods: pickles, mayonnaise, olives
  • Cured meats: bacon, salami, pepperoni, luncheon meats and hot dogs
  • Soured foods: sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, soured bread, etc
  • Dried fruit: apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins
  • Most citrus fruits
  • Aged cheese including goat cheese
  • Nuts: walnuts, cashews, and peanuts
  • Vegetables: avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes
  • Smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, mahi-mahi, tuna, anchovies, sardines

Histamine-Releasing Foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Shellfish
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Wheat Germ
  • Many artificial preservatives and dyes

DAO-Blocking Foods:

  • Alcohol
  • Energy drinks
  • Black tea
  • Mate tea
  • Green tea

Whew! That was a long list. You might be wondering now what on earth you CAN eat, so I’ve made a list of low histamine foods as well. Remember that freshness is key when you have histamine intolerance!

Here’s a list of low-histamine foods:

  • freshly cooked meat, poultry (frozen or fresh)
  • freshly caught fish
  • eggs
  • gluten-free grains: rice, quinoa
  • pure peanut butter
  • fresh fruits: mango, pear, watermelon, apple, kiwi, cantaloupe, grapes
  • fresh vegetables (except tomatoes, spinach, avocado, and eggplant)
  • dairy substitutes: coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk
  • cooking oils: olive oil, coconut oil
  • leafy herbs
  • herbal teas

How do I break down histamine?

Once formed, histamine is either stored or broken down by an enzyme. Histamine in the central nervous system is broken down primarily by histamine N-methyltransferase (HMT), while histamine in the digestive tract is broken down primarily by diamine oxidase (DAO). Though both enzymes play an important role in histamine break down, the American Society for Clinical Nutrition found that DAO is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down ingested histamine. So if you’re deficient in DAO, you likely have symptoms of histamine intolerance.

Causes of Low DAO

  • Gluten intolerance
  • Leaky gut
  • SIBO
  • DAO-blocking foods: alcohol, energy drinks, and tea
  • Genetic mutations (common in people of Asian-descent)
  • Inflammation from Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Medications:
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, aspirin)
    • Antidepressants (Cymbalta, Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft)
    • Immune modulators (Humira, Enbrel, Plaquenil)
    • Antiarrhythmics (propanolol, metaprolol, Cardizem, Norvasc)
    • Antihistamines (Allegra, Zyrtec, Benadryl)
    • Histamine (H2) blockers (Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac)

Although histamine blockers, a class of acid-reducing drugs, seem like they would help prevent histamine intolerance, these medications can actually deplete DAO levels in your body.

 

Source: Mind Body Green

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