Friday, June 28, 2013

Histamine Intolerance--contributor to symptom spectrum?

I have a ton of drafts for my blog that I keep planning to complete.  I am going to publish some incomplete posts that hopefully still have some relevant info since I am unlikely to do the editing I would like to before posting.

Since I got sick I have had some allergic-like reactions that don't seem to be true allergic IgE reactions.  They usually consist of burning eyes, a swollen tingly face, some dizziness, and a stuffy nose.  Sometimes my lips and tongue are swollen but I never feel like I can't breathe at all (at least, not more than I do normally.)  It took me a long time to figure out the pattern as it seemed random.

I appear to be having problems with high histamine foods.  I finally figured it out after I had another reaction to smoked salmon, one of my favorite foods even though I can't enjoy it on a bagel with cream cheese any more.  I react worse to smoked fish than I do to mold.  I also react some to dark chocolate and tomatoes.  Histamine levels are the one thing I see that tie the foods together and it fits well with the mast cell reactivity theory but I am always open to other explanations.  I don't feel well when I drink wine but there are multiple potential causes for that.

Soooo... I am trying a low histamine diet.  It's tough for me to combine with  paleo (no more avocado or smoked fish!) but it's nice to have a clear nose and a less swelled face.  Eventually I will try out some of the potentially high histamine foods so that I am not restricting foods needlessly.  Lots o' links below and there may be a more-organized post in the future.

Da man Chris Kresser talks about histamine intolerance:
http://chriskresser.com/headaches-hives-and-heartburn-could-histamine-be-the-cause

research article on histamine intolerance:
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1185.long

That paleo guy talks about histamine being a problem for some paleo peeps:
http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/04/11/histamine-intolerance/

Story on an individual with histamine intolerance:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1373395/Histamine-intolerance-Common-allergy-causes-bloating-eczema.html

Histamine food list:
http://thelowhistaminechef.com/histamine-in-foods-list/
Note: Avocados and spinach are somewhat high and smoked meats are very high.  Fish and meats have to be very fresh.

I like this summary of a low-histamine diet from an individual with CFS and MCAD:
http://mastcellblog.wordpress.com/histamine-diet/

Overview of a restricted diet for Mastocytosis
http://www.mastocytosis.ca/symptoms.htm / http://www.mastocytosis.ca/MSC%20HT%20Restricted%20Diet%20Nov2012.pdf

Good overview articleL
http://www.allergynutrition.com/resources/FAQ/4/Histamine%20intolerance.pdf

Testing sensitivities to other chemicals:
http://failsafediet.wordpress.com/the-rpah-elimination-diet-failsafe/

7 comments:

  1. Hi Rambler,

    I am persuaded that mast cells or histamines are huge in my case. Zyrtec makes me feel less bad the next day, especially if I wake up around 5am and take it. Somehow having a high enough blood level of Zyrtec in the later hours of sleeping is what does it. I need to find out what more I can do for mast cells and histamine.

    I also have serious mold (and dust etc.) issues with allergic symptoms that antihistamines (at least at their best) can help to some degree with. Eyes, nose, etc. I rely on Zyrtec and need it to be 1000x stronger.

    Still, I drink a lot of cocoa (no sweetener or anything, just the raw powder with hot water) and notice no obvious histamine-like effect. Same thing with avocados. No effect positive or negative.

    So foods, somehow, don't subjectively seem to feel histamine or mast cell related in my experience.

    I wonder why.

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  2. thanks for sharing this! I wonder when medical science will start to pay more attention to diet and its myriad effects on our health? Perhaps when more of our microbiomes are sequenced and understood..

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  3. I'm glad it helped! Yeah, it's really disappointing how few doctors think about diet at all. They are taught very little about nutrition in medical school and tend to not be up-to-date on the research, which is understandable because they often have too much to keep track of. I think gut bacteria may be at the root of many health issues so the move toward sequencing our microbiomes has a lot of potential.

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  4. Hi Rambler,

    I am persuaded that mast cells or histamines are huge in my case. Zyrtec makes me feel less bad the next day, especially if I wake up around 5am and take it. Somehow having a high enough blood level of Zyrtec in the later hours of sleeping is what does it. I need to find out what more I can do for mast cells and histamine.

    I also have serious mold (and dust etc.) issues with allergic symptoms that antihistamines (at least at their best) can help to some degree with. Eyes, nose, etc. I rely on Zyrtec and need it to be 1000x stronger.

    Still, I drink a lot of cocoa (no sweetener or anything, just the raw powder with hot water) and notice no obvious histamine-like effect. Same thing with avocados. No effect positive or negative.

    So foods, somehow, don't subjectively seem to feel histamine or mast cell related in my experience.

    I wonder why.

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  5. Samuel-
    The fact that zyrtec is helping you is really good to hear. Have you tried any other anti-histamines? I find zyrtec to be much more effective than claritin, but some people have found allegra to be even better than zyrtec.

    Do you have a doctor who can prescribe for you? Vistaril is even more powerful than zyrtec so could help even more.

    The next stage, as I understand it as a non-medical practitioner, is to add in mast cell stabilizers. Nasalcrom is OTC and could potentially help with breathing issues. Quercetin or neuroprotek are also OTC and can help with mast cell stabilizing.

    After that are prescription meds like gastrocrom and ketotifen (only available in the US by compounding pharmacies or ordering from out of the country.) Singulair seems to help some people a lot although others are bothered by the side effects. I am just starting out on Singulair to see if it will help ameliorate some of my breathing issues.

    In regards to foods, there are a lot of debates about the histamine levels in different foods. Smoked fish seems to be a consensus high-histamine food so it makes sense that it causes an obvious reaction in me. Also, foods may not cause acute problems, but it's possible you'd see a reduction in symptoms if you were on a low-histamine diet for a few weeks. It took me forever to link food with my nasal stuffiness as I Just assumed it was caused solely by being in a dusty location.

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  6. Hi Rambler,

    Thank you for your comments and ideas.

    Zyrtec helps me with allergic symptoms and also makes me feel less bad overall (which might be a mast cell effect). Ideally, I want the same thing but much more powerful.

    Funny you should mention Vistaril. I ran across it when researching Zyrtec. cetirizine is a metabolite, is that right?, and it might be useful to have that in the brain. IIRC Zyrtec does not enter the brain. I am imagining reducing inflammation in the brain. That sounds good.

    There is a paper on it for mast cells for brain in MS.

    "Vistaril, Equipose, Masmoran, and Paxistil are preparations of the pamoate salt, while Atarax, Alamon, Aterax, Durrax, Tran-Q, Orgatrax, Quiess, and Tranquizine are of the hydrochloride salt." -- whatever that means for us.

    "Hydroxyzine reduced escape failures in a learned helplessness paradigm in rats" -- that sounds good.

    Dyskinesia -- that sounds bad. How do you avoid that?

    ===

    As for other antihistamines, Benadryl does some of the anti-allergy and better-sleep stuff for feeling less bad the next day, but can also put me in a bit of a stupor the next day with half-awake half-asleep sleepiness later in the day.

    I am also told that my lips are white the morning after Benadryl, which suggests that it screws up my vascular system even more.

    My normal take-forever-to-wake-up-and-hypersensitive thing is intensified with Benadryl partly because the Benadryl improvements (sort of a Benadryl buzz where I feel less allergic and fibro less bad) wear off suddenly for the rest of the day at the slightest hint of stress and I want them to keep going.

    ===

    Whatever I do has to be easy on the liver. This is the most important thing. I had to stop terbinafine tablets (serious problem as I have no substitute) and reduce the cetirizine.

    It would be good to know which of all of these options is least bad for the liver but I don't know where to look that up.

    I have stopped smoked fish. Thanks for that. Still drinking cocoa.

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  7. I am glad to hear that Zyrtec is continuing to help you. I believe that cetirizine is the generic for Zyrtec. Vistaril and Doxepin should both be stronger. My doctor recommended trying a very small dose of Doxepin for sleep since it acts an antihistamine/anti-depressant/sleep inducer.
    Has zyrtec beene hurting your liver?

    I am not sure how the difference between the two salts (Atarax vs Vistaril) would impact us.

    Have you added in H2 blockers? I am of two minds on them because reducing stomach acid seems bad, but it does seem connected to the mast cell loop. It helps the negative symptoms of schizophrenia which remind me of some of the symptoms we have (not being able to move and inability to focus.) http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?threads/new-treatment-for-schizophrenia.24026/ is an interesting thread on it.

    Can you remind me of where you live? You can email me if you don't want to reveal it publicly. I think I may know someone in your town who is going to visit some potential mast cell doctors.



    ReplyDelete