Histamines…What they are…What they cause
Histamine is found in plant and animal tissue and is released from mast cells as part of an allergic reaction in humans. Release of histamine stimulates gastric secretion and causes dilation of capillaries, constriction of bronchial smooth muscle, and decreases blood pressure.
Histamines are released from mast cells as an allergic response to abnormal proteins found in the blood. The mast cells are found in connective tissue that contains numerous basophilic granules and releases substances such as heparin and histamine in response to injury or inflammation of body tissues.
Understanding Mast Cells and Immunity
Immune cells communicate by releasing chemicals messages or mediators. These chemicals carry messages from one cell group to another and invoke the most powerful of whole-body defense responses, which cause many of our symptoms. When you develop bacterial or viral infections, immune mediators produce fever, headache, generalized aching, fatigue, weakness and clouded consciousness.
The general impact of these chemical messages is to amplify a small triggering event into a large inflammatory response. We used to call this the “Philadelphia Effect” after Philadelphia police burned down several city blocks by using a smoke bomb to flush out some alleged terrorists from one apartment. If planet Earth is thought of as an organism, you can make interesting analogies with immune events.
Hypersensitivity attacks are similar. A person may be doing all sorts of terrible things to his/her body over many years until one day, apparently out-of-the-blue; he/she drops dead of anaphylaxis or a heart attack. If a reactive body, or country, makes it through the initial blaze, a chronic inflammatory state may set-in. This is the cell-mediated immune response. We can now compare the smoldering tissue destruction of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus with oil spills, oil-well fires, socio-economic disruption and other environmental devastation, following the Gulf War for example as prolonged and destructive, just as we describe immune activity often as autoimmune disease.
How severe can histamine reactions be?
It has recently been discovered that histamines may play a much larger roll in human disease than once thought. In the past, histamine production was blamed on some very common allergic reactions such as hay fever, bee sting reactions, and anaphylactic shock.
In recent studies, histamine involvement in chronic inflammatory and degenerative diseases such as Lupus, Arthritis, Gulf War Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and some skin disorders like Psoriasis and obscure Rashes, has come to light as causes of chronic inflammatory responses to abnormal proteins in the blood of chronically ill patients!
What is a food allergy?
Food allergy is an immune system response to a food that the body mistakenly believes is harmful. The body creates specific antibodies to the “harmful” food, and the next time the person ingests that food, the immune system releases large amounts of chemicals, including histamines, to protect the body from the food. These chemicals act as catalysts, triggering allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, digestive tract, cardiovascular system, and skin. People allergic to particular foods must avoid the culinary culprits, as there is no cure for food allergies. The eight most common food allergens are milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, tree-nuts (cashews, walnuts, almonds, etc.), fish, shellfish and soy.
Intestinal permeability or “leaky gut syndrome” is receiving increasing attention as the hard-to-deal factor in patients being treated for food intolerances. Hyper- permeability is also associated with Celiac disease, alcoholism, Crohn’s disease, atopic eczema, chronic giardiasis and intestinal candida, lupus, fibromyalgia, M.S. arthritis, and a myriad of chronic inflammatory diseases.
The diagram to the right shows how larger proteins can “leak” across the gut walls and enter the bloodstream…whereas in a healthy gut the larger proteins “bounce off” until they are either fully digested or they pass into the stool and out of the body through bowel elimination.
As a recovered victim of leaky gut, as detailed in my book I was Poisoned by my body, I know only too well the terror of histamine reactions and anaphylactic shock responses. I am encouraged, however, that finally more medical professionals are actually validating the possibility of leakage and the disbursed proteins that set us victims into panic mode when suddenly we’re reacting to everything!
Leaky gut syndrome has been suspected as a major factor in a wide range of food and chemical sensitivities, arthritis, asthma, headaches, constipation, digestive problems of varying seriousness and chronic fatigue. It was quickly linked to many of the problems experienced in patients with severe yeast overgrowth, since it was known that candida, in its fungal form, can put down “roots” into the gut wall, allowing comparatively large molecules to pass through into the bloodstream.
Whether these are food molecules, bacteria or chemical toxins, the result would be the same: an immune response by the body, an attack by antibodies and the start of a cycle of immune response, inflammation and antibody-antigen reactions. Intestinal permeability is now respectable, thanks to the comparatively recent developments of blood and urine-based diagnostic tests.
Food Intolerance verses Food Allergy
Countless numbers of people suffer from food intolerance – often without being aware of it. Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to foods rich in histamine due to lack of proper amount of Diamine Oxidase (DAO) enzymes. Effects can range from common digestive system problems including abdominal pain and spasms, diarrhea, constipation and flatulence, to headaches and skin rash.
It’s important to recognize the difference between food intolerance and food allergy – many people confuse one for the other.
Non-allergenic histamine food intolerance is mostly brought on by foods not processed properly in the intestinal tract. In contrast, a food allergy is an abnormal response to food triggered by the body’s immune system.
Effects of Food Intolerance
Individuals who suffer from food intolerances often experience one or more of the following effects, but not limited to:
- Minor abdominal cramps
- Unordinary fatigue
- Skin rash/redness/welts
- Gastrointestinal effects
- Running nose/watering eyes
- Unordinary constipation/diarrhea
- Chills or extreme heat sensation
Histamine levels will vary based on the maturation process and the degree of freshness – the longer food is stored or left to mature (left-over’s), the greater its histamine content.
Histamine-Rich Foods and Substances
- Alcohol, particularly red wine, champagne and sparkling wine, and beer
- Smoked, canned fish and fish sauces. Tuna fish, mackerel, sardines, anchovy, herring, catfish and salmon are the most concentrated sources.
- Smoked and processed meats; salami, ham, hot dogs, bratwurst and bacon
- Vegetables high in histamine-reactive contents; tomato, spinach, eggplant, commercially prepared salads, canned vegetables, and mushrooms
- Fruits high in histamine-reactive contents; strawberries, bananas, papayas, pineapple, mango, tangerines, grapefruits, red prunes and kiwi
- Red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar
- Chocolate and cocoa
- Coffee and black tea
- Aged cheeses
- Soy sauce (NOT Bragg’s Amino Acids)
- Some mustards and ketchup
- Sunflower seeds
- Bread and confectionery made with yeast
- Peanuts, cashews and walnuts
Drugs/Substances that may BLOCK Intestinal DAO
► N-Acetyl Cysteine
► Amino guanidine
Examples: Fresh meat contains no or very little histamine – when processed, however, the maturation process results in accumulation of biogenic amines. The same is true for fish – fresh fish contains no or very little histamine. However, fish spoils very easily and this leads to a rapid accumulation of histamine due to formation of bacteria. Further processing, including salting, smoke-drying, marinating and preservation, increases histamine content.
My Experience: Recently I was on a very strict medical detox diet to assist in ridding my body of heavy metals. I defrosted a piece of halibut and cooked half of it, reserving the other half in the refrigerator for the next day, without thinking. I had no reaction the first day. However, the second day the fish tasted the same but within one hour of completing my dinner; I had terrible intestinal distress and at first couldn’t connect the cause. At first sign of symptoms, I immediately used my normal protocol for intestinal bacteria which includes a homeopathic and a high-potency probiotics of 200 Billion organisms. I felt relief within 2 hours of taking my supplements but still didn’t connect the reaction. Later, I realized the defrosted fish had probably created a histamine response…lesson re-learned…forewarned is forearmed so beware!
Help for Histamine Responses, Naturally
Finally available in the U.S. (available in Europe for many years) a natural supplement clinically shown to reduce histamine levels that cause food intolerances.
This proprietary formula is the first worldwide to decrease histamine levels that cause food intolerance by replenishing the body’s digestive enzyme Diamine Oxidase (DAO). Histamine is a widely distributed biogenic amine, found in many foods. DAO, the intestinal tract histamine-degrading enzyme, breaks down ingested histamine – helping to lower overall histamine levels. A deficiency of DAO causes an increased histamine exposure inside the body – resulting in symptoms of histamine-related food intolerances like my response to the fish that was defrosted 24 hours.
This dietary supplement is clinically shown to regulate histamine levels in the body (lower intestine), unlike antihistamines which only block the histamine.
This supplement should be taken NO MORE than 15 minutes BEFORE a meal containing histamine-rich foods that are known to cause food intolerances. The recommended dose is two capsules for adults, one for children under age 12. This product is not recommended by manufacturer for children under age 5.
The Way I See It…
Now that this unique supplement, Histame is available in the U.S., don’t subject your body to allergic responses as described above….it’s easy to carry with you, safe, natural and cost-effective! Order some today.
Uncovering Clues to Add LIFE to Your Years…NOT Merely Years to Your Life, Naturally
Dr. Gloria Gilbère (aka Dr. Gloria), D.A.Hom., Ph.D., D.S.C.,
EcoErgonomist, Wholistic Rejuvenist
Dr. Gilbère is renowned worldwide for her work in identifying and finding natural solutions to chemically-induced and inflammatory disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Gulf War Syndrome, and digestive disorders that defy conventional diagnosis and treatment. She consults worldwide via telephone and at her Institute in north Idaho. Visit her website at www.gloriagilbere.com for details about consulting with her.
Creator of certificated courses to become a Wholistic Rejuvenist™ (CWR) and for post-graduate education for health and spa professionals. Go to www.gloriagilbere.com and click on Wholistic Skin & Body Rejuvenation (WSBR™) for course outline. Available on-site at worldwide locations, and via distance-learning at your convenience globally.
Published by Institute for Wholistic Rejuvenation – © 2011 Gloria E. Gilbère, LLC, a Private Healthcare Membership Association, all rights reserved.
Information in this newsletter is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by medical professionals, nor is it intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent a disease or disorder. The FDA has not reviewed or endorsed the contents of this educational publication.
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