Histamine is so much more than allergies!
PMS, headaches, chronic pain, IBS, leaky lung, and so much more. This podcast helps you understand how to test for histamine and how to support your body and stop the inflammation. Dr. Alison discusses the histamine connection to allergies, headaches, PMS, IBS, and more! How do we test for excess histamine and how do we manage it through functional medicine.
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Hello. I am Dr. Alison and today we are talking about histamine. So most people are familiar with histamine because of allergies. They’ve taken an anti-histamine when, especially right now with fall allergy, spring allergies, runny nose, headaches, those things like that. But if you struggle with those things, but you might also have hormone issues that aren’t getting better, like estrogen dominance, or PMs issues. If you have a chronic headaches that aren’t responding, if you have longterm lung issues like coughing, asthma, bronchitis, and you say, every year you come down with something, this is always a problem. And nothing is working for your gut either. And you have chronic IBS or there’s something going on. Histamine might be the culprit in your issue. So today we’re going to talk about what it is a little bit, what symptoms to look for, how we test for it and how we can go about treating it.
All right. So humans have histamine. It’s actually found in all tissues of the body. So it’s not just mast cells, even though those are the primary source of them, of the immune system that releases histamine, any tissue can really release histamine, if there’s an issue. And once it’s released, it can contract smooth muscle is like in the gut or the uterus. It can cause inflammation, which is good because it helps our body recover and heal as well. It will also dilate blood vessels so it can lower blood pressure and increase your heart rate. Histamine is also a neurotransmitter, which means it can affect your mood. So if you’re taking an antihistamine, it might affect your mood. It might increase depression or anxiety. And if you have more histamine, it might also cause that as well. So there’s a lot to go with mood swings, histamine gut health, lung health, right?
So like I said, in the beginning, the most common symptoms are allergies, sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, things like that. Another one is women who struggle with estrogen dominance, PMS, heavy bleeding, cramping, endometriosis. This can all be linked back to histamine. If you have hormone headaches, this is another really big one that come every month. We can look into histamine as an issue for you. If you have digestive issues like IBS or chronic diarrhea that aren’t responding to, things like enzymes or aloe, the typical things that we use for gut health, it might be because histamine is just constantly driving the contraction of your smooth muscle in your gut. And we can look into that as well. Now, leaky lung is just like leaky gut, where the lining of the lungs can open and close and you can have more inflammation from inhalants like pollen or chemicals or mold in your home or where you’re working.
If you have blood pressure issues, this is another reason to get this checked out. And if you have bladder issues like interstitial cystitis, chronic infections that aren’t responsive, or even just really pain when you’re going to the bathroom, that isn’t an infection. Histamine might be one of the culprits you need to look into as well. Longterm issues, we think of like fatigue, chronic pain, chronic headaches. Most of my patients who have MCAS, which has mast cell activation syndrome typically have hormone headaches, PMS issues, but also chronic neck and shoulder pain that isn’t responding to chiropractic massage, acupuncture, all of the herbs, we do everything, but the inflammation never goes away. And so that is a really good sign that we should test for histamine. So the way we do this is to do a simple blood test and test for whole blood histamine.
We can do this through Lab Corp test. It’s very simple added on to any lab order that you’re running. There’s a lot of other ways to test for it, usually urine or a 24 hour test. But those are long they’re complicated. They’re not always covered by insurance, which means they’re really expensive. So I like to do the blood test to keep it really simple. All right. So how do we fix this? Right? Once we diagnose that once we know what’s going on, the number one most important thing is to remove the triggers as much as possible. So if it’s a seasonal issue, we might need to get an air filter and your home and your work and make sure that you’re taking care of that. There, if you’re cleaning with chemicals, we need to get the chemicals out of your home. So we’d get rid of the irritations in your lungs and your sinuses.
And we also need to do testing to figure out exactly what is affecting your body. So we can do mold testing. We could do chemical testing. That is really simple. That’s a urine test as well. So you’re putting out and that way we can be really specific and figuring out what chemical, what irrititant, what is coming into your body? Where is it coming from and fix it from there? Okay. Another test that we can do is the GI map from diagnostic solutions. So that’s a stool test, but what that helps us figure out is, is the histamine coming from opportunistic bacteria overgrowth in your gut. So is there bacteria in your gut? That’s just blooming and taking advantage of the situation. And it’s just creating a ton of histamine. I see this often with people who have eczema, that’s not responsive allergies that aren’t responsive and maybe not even responsive to anti-histamines because there’s so much bacteria that needs to be cleared out first, before we can go in with an antihistamine for it to work.
The next step is beginning a healthy regimen with your lifestyle, with exercise, with exercise, cleaning up your foods, eating more whole foods. And there’s some great resources that I have for a clean histamine or low histamine diet. So the main foods that no one wants to hear is red wine is typically one of the biggest triggers for histamine, especially for women with estrogen and histamine red wine will trigger that. And it will not give you a break from PMs, heavy bleeding headaches. So we need to cut that out. Wheat and gluten, of course, no one wants to hear that either, but it’s a big trigger and things that are fermented like kombucha fermented foods. And what really stinks is that you might have been eating all these things like dried fruits, nightshades, avocados, meats, soured foods, things like that, age, cheeses thinking we’re eating really healthy and meeting my probiotic food, but it turns out that you’re actually feeding the opportunistic bacteria in your gut, which is creating more and more histamine and it’s causing a lot of problems.
So we can put the sheet into your meal, plan, your diet plan, cut some things out. As some things in some good foods that are low histamine are non dairy milk alternatives, right? Ginger eggs, tumeric, coconut oil, garlic and onions are also great. But if you have SIBO, they might not be so great. So we do, we have to be very careful of how we balance out food. This is not a one size fits all low histamine diet because we have to incorporate, what else is your body going through? If you have Crohn’s or colitis, there’s a lot of different foods you might not be able to eat. If you have SIBO, you might not be able to eat those foods. So we have to do a dance and really figure out what your body needs. And then we can always do food sensitivity test to figure out, are there foods that your body has an immune sensitivity to, that is causing inflammation?
And we can just really custom create a personalized meal plan for you. So that’s really nice to have. Okay. And now, especially for smokers, those with heart and lung disease and chronic gut issues, this is a really important option to consider just to run that whole blood histamine and make sure that you do have your histamine under control, because if you have heart lung or gut issues and they’re dilating your blood vessels, you might be at higher risk for a heart issue, a lung issue, and for auto immune issues. So we want to make sure that we clear that up, especially with the healthy lifestyle, quit the alcohol, quit smoking, and really take care of yourself and limit your exposure to things that can inflame you. And that also includes toxins, mold, things that increase histamine. And now then we go into supporting specific systems through functional medicine.
My favorite over the counter supplement to use the histo X by apex energetics, it has a multitude of different herbs in it. So you’re getting more than just a anti-histamine. So when we have course atten butterbur, mangosteen, ginger, stinging, nettle, and tumeric, those things can support the entire body, not just the histamine, but it’s also going to go directly for each cell to help calm the inflammation, calm that histamine reaction. And not only does it work for histamine, it works on leukotrienes. And all of the other things in that cascade of histamine histamine is not only to blame. It has a bunch of other compounds that it works with and releases, and it triggers this whole system. So when we can calm that system’s reaction, we can really support the whole body. And now we can’t just take a supplement and then drink all over the line and eat all of the cheese, right?
Me still have to most importantly, work on the lifestyle. And then we retest that histamine or really retest for the stool test or the inflammatory markers test or the environmental sensitivity tests, whatever it is for you, because we want to make sure that those numbers are going down, that we’re affecting the right thing because of the histamine is an allergy sensitivity. And we go, okay, well it’s fall or it’s spring. This is the season we got six weeks. We’re just going to take the supplements. We’re going to get through this versus that’s one situation, right? Versus I’m living in a home that’s toxic to my body or eating foods that are toxic to my body, or it may having hormone reaction that needs to be supported. We have to figure out which one we’re not going to take a supplement to override. We’re going to get to that root cause because we don’t want you taking a supplement for the rest of your life.
That’s not the goal. The goal is to figure out what’s going on with you. So that is your little crash introduction to histamine what to look for, how to test for it was underlying. So always remember, we want to get to that root cause for you to figure out why your body’s responding the way it is through functional medicine. So if you have any questions, reach out to me on Facebook, schedule a free introductory consult. So we can brainstorm. Talk about what’s going on with you is how to set you out with the right testing and help you move forward with your health. Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you next time.