Dr. Alison shares what you need to know about histamine, is it the cause of your weird symptoms, how to test for histamine reactions, and learn about natural support.
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Hello and welcome today. We are talking about histamine, which is a really common issue that most people have. Histamine is a normal part of our health and our body, but when it becomes a problem is when our body cannot eliminate histamine from our system when it shows up and when it becomes overreactive and causes a lot of issues. So today we are going to be talking about some common symptoms and also some really uncommon symptoms that might be associated with histamine, as well as how do we diagnose it? How do we test and our top treatments that we use through functional medicine?
So you might have a histamine overreaction, if you notice that your heart rate increases after you eat or after you drink some wine, because wine is actually a high histamine type of food. So I would suggest taking your pulse, get like a pulse ox and take it before you eat, and then take it about 30 minutes after you eat.
And if you notice that your heart rate is spiking, this means that you’re having a food sensitivity issue. Number one, two is probably related to a histamine type reaction. Most commonly, people who have overreactions and over sensitivity to bug bites, where they swell up, it gets really red and itchy. They commonly have headaches. Some people have hyperhidrosis with sweating, so they’re constantly sweating as uncontrollable. And a lot of people do Botox shots for this, but you actually don’t need to do that because it might be related to histamine. Chronic acid reflux or chronic coughing, where it’s not really related to anything, or just always had that post-nasal drip constantly.
Hormones issues like dysmenorrhea, painful periods and fertility, chronic miscarriage issues may be related to histamine as well as the genetic pathways and how our body modulates histamine creates histamine and responds as well with the immune system.
Motion sickness is also related to high histamine or histamine issues as well as frequent eye blinking. So if you notice that either yourself or your kids are always blinking their eyes, this might be a sign that they have a histamine issue.
So how do we diagnose this? Most commonly it’s just comes up in symptoms and we really find that it’s very obvious that there’s a histamine issue taking your pulse. They do have a lot of people do a diet diary where we tracked their food and noticed reactions and sensitivities as well. We can do a skin scratch test. So if you just lightly run your fingernails over your skin and it creates red lines almost immediately, your skin is that sensitive. That’s a great sign that you have at histamine reaction issues.
You can do a blood test for whole blood histamine. That is something that I use in my practice. However, is not always 100% accurate where I see people who have histamine issues, but it doesn’t show up. And it’s also dependent on the day. And when were you last activated with histamine or have a reaction to food, things like that. We can also look at GGT, which is a common blood marker that we look at because it metabolizes glutathione as well as histamine compounds. If that is increased, there may be a connection with histamine overload.
We also have to look at underlying causes, which include things like bacteria infections. So we like to do tests for mold and viruses. We have to look at again, food because food is a major trigger. We have to look at probiotics. A lot of people are taking probiotics that cause histamine reactions like L. bulgaricus, fermentum, casei. And they’re found in almost every brand and every type. But if you struggle with histamine, this may actually be causing that.
Of course stress can increase histamine reactions as well as genetic issues like MTHFR, low B12. And that’s why we like to do genetic testing, because we can see if the genetics are playing a role. If you have MTHFR variants, is that affecting how your body is processing? I already talked about mold, so mold and the gut will throughout the body can be an issue hormones as well. So an increase in estrogen can increase histamine. Histamine can increase estrogen. So it becomes a really vicious cycle that we need to monitor. Whereas many people will just try to get estrogen out of their body and get it down. The estrogen might not be the issue. It might actually be a symptom of high histamine and along with food smoking and caffeine can also increase histamine reactions in the body.
So cutting out those triggers can be really important. And then lastly, a final trigger that most people don’t recognize is over-training. So if you’re exercising multiple times a week, multiple times a day, even you may be triggering your body to go into a hyper histamine state, which reduces your recovery. It increases muscle soreness. You’re not going to see the changes in your weight and your strength and your physique. So if you’re in the gym and you’re killing it, but your body isn’t changing and maybe you’re feeling worse, you’re probably over-treating or over-training, I’m sorry.
So what do we do about this? Number one is the easiest part. And also the hardest part, which is following a low histamine diet, which includes no alcohol and includes taking out those triggering foods. It does involve a lot of monitoring. I go back and forth on food sensitivity testing because the people I thought 100% had a food sensitivity, and we have to figure out which one they tend to not have anything come up on their testing. And that was a $400 test that they just spent all that money on and it didn’t show up. So I like to do that pulse before and after, as our main test for food sensitivities.
As far as supplements go, I would suggest number one, looking at what you’re already taking and making sure that it is not overloading your system. Like we talked about taking probiotics that might be causing histamine release Keefer and kombucha can also cause that histamine relief if you’re sensitive. So you want to stop the Kefir, stop the kombucha and see how that affects your histamine levels.
Now, B vitamins are very, very important because it helps modulate this process of histamine release and as well as getting histamine out of your body once it’s been released. So a B complex is a great place to start. I always love to use patchmd.com. I’m not affiliated with them, but I love them. They’re nutritional patches. They find that their B complex patch seems to be more effective because it bypasses the gut gets directly into the bloodstream. I noticed my patients and myself have other improvements with skin nutrition, patches, then trying to go through the gut and the liver, which has already compromised.
I also recommend zinc and copper, which is in most natural anti-histamine supports anyways. And there is an enzyme called DAO, which is very common. And most people will use this as part of their histamine treatment. However, it is really expensive. So the goal really is to figure out what is triggering the histamine, reduce that. Now I do like to use things like Dao, as well as butterbur, quercitin, ginger, and marshmallow can also be very helpful in modulating and improving the body’s response to histamine.
And there are many great companies that I use, like seeking health, apex energetics and standard process. There’s so many that offer natural histamine support, and they usually have a great combination of B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc and everything combined in one. So that would be a place that I would start and looking at those things.
And if you find that maybe the over-the-counter anti-histamines are working and your natural support isn’t working, I would say that you would need to increase your omega. So your healthy fats in your body taking an omega supplement can help that. And NSAIDS are also a common triggers. So stopping any over the counter pain relief will also help reduce that reaction. And a couple other supplements, including Sam E and glutathione can also improve histamine support. So if you go through all of those and the diet’s not working, and your basic supplements aren’t working, you might need to dig a little bit deeper.
So my suggestion is always don’t run out and buy every single supplement and fill up your cabinets, spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on things. When you don’t know what the issue is, we’ll start with your diet. Start by working with someone like me in functional medicine and looking at mold and infections. And what is your gut doing and doing some testing to get to that root cause. Otherwise you’re just going to be running around in circles for a really long time, trying to figure out is this a histamine issue or is it mold? And it’s going to take you a really, really long time to figure this out on your own. So save your money, save your time. And if you want to work with me and you need some more personalized support, you can schedule a free council online. We always chat to make sure you’re in the right place. We get your testing set up and we get you taken care of. So thanks for tuning in today, and we’ll see you next time.