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  • Writer's picturedrjfortier

Is There A Natural Solution To Your Allergy Problems?

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Allergy symptoms are created by a chemical in the body called histamine.


When histamine is up - symptoms are up.


Symptoms include:

  • Sinusitis, itchy eyes, ears, nose, throat, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, drainage, bags under the eyes, dark circles under the eyes...

  • Tension headaches, sinus headache, vascular headache, and migraines.

  • Foggy thinking, sleep issues, and breathing problems.

  • G.I. issues like gas, bloating, abdominal pains, diarrhea, and constipation.

  • Joint pains, back pain, neck pain, and muscle aches.

  • Skin issues like rashes, hives, eczema, and acne!


Histamine Intolerance


There’s a condition called “Histamine Intolerance” where the body has an imbalance of too much histamine and an impaired ability to break it down.


Histamine Intolerance is defined as adverse reactions of ingested histamine that affects different organ systems, and results in various extra intestinal symptoms.


One study demonstrated participants with a histamine intolerance:


Most frequent symptoms were bloating, headache, flatulence, diarrhea, heartburn, abdominal pain, muscle and joint pains, also were underweight.


Also:

83% of participants had GI and neurological symptoms

50% of participants had Dermatological symptoms

33% had Respiratory symptoms


Histamine-intolerant women often suffer from a vascular headache that is dependent on their menstrual cycle and can cause other symptoms like cramping.


High Histamine Foods


Histamine intolerant people will often have symptoms when high histamine foods are ingested.


High Histamine foods contain bacterial strains that produce histamine on the food itself!


Dry-fermented sausages, cured cheese, sauerkraut and other fermented products, bone broths, preserved and semi-preserved fish derivatives, can easily accumulate high histamine levels.


Certain other foods, such as citrus fruits, strawberry, banana, and nuts do not contain histamine but may exert an inhibitory effect on the breakdown of histamine by DAO enzyme due to competition.


The histamine enzyme, Diamine Oxidase (DAO)


What can you do to help it?


First, let's look at the enzyme we have that breaks down histamine, the Diamine Oxidase (DAO).


The DAO enzyme breaks down histamine in our body, like the deficiency of the enzyme lactase in lactose intolerance. (Spoiler: both can be reversed in most cases)


Red/white wine and champagne are high in histamine and inhibit the DAO enzyme.

This contributes to symptoms summarized as “wine intolerance” or “red wine asthma”


Many medications interfere with the DAO enzyme.


Medications interfere with the DAO enzyme:


Muscle relaxants: Pancuronium, alcuronium, D-tubocurarine

Narcotics: Thiopental

Analgetics: Morphine, pethidine, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, acetylsalicylic acid, metamizole

Local anesthetics: Prilocaine

Antihypotonics: Dobutamine

Antihypertensive drugs: Verapamil, alprenolol, dihydralazine

Antiarrhythmics: Propafenone

Diuretics: Amiloride

Drugs influencing gut motility: Metoclopramide

Antibiotics: Cefuroxime, cefotiam, isoniazid, pentamidin, clavulanic acid, choroquine

Mucolytics: Acetylcysteine, ambroxol

Broncholytics: Aminophylline

H2-receptor antagonists:Cimetidine

Cytostatics: Cyclophosphamide

Antidepressants: Amitriptyline



It has been thought that people with histamine problems genetically have less DAO enzyme than others.


This led us to a culture of taking antihistamines, allergy shots, over the counter meds, and antihistamine supplements.


Basically, a lifetime of taking pills, supplements, and shots.


And a whole lot of tissues!


And even more meds chasing the symptoms...


One very simple thing you could do is avoid foods that are high in histamine, or that interfere with the DAO enzyme, and some experience relief.


People have been doing this for years to handle histamine intolerance.


But let's look at the DAO enzyme a bit further.


The DAO enzyme is produced in the lining of the small intestine.


Gastrointestinal inflammation can affect the production of this enzyme.


This can have many causes, but with histamine intolerance, dysbiosis is a major cause of this inflammation.


Dysbiosis produces Histamine


Dysbiosis is an overgrowth of bad microbes, too few good microbes, a combo of both, or low microbe diversity in the gut.


Compared to a Eubiosis, which is a healthy gut state that has plenty of “good” microbes and a diversity of microbes.


Dysbiosis is highly inflammatory and linked to a plethora of disease states.


There are 117 known species of bacteria that will convert the amino acid L-histidine into Histamine inside our gut.


Even some "good" microbes like lactobacillus will make histamine.


Including Lactobaccillus reuteri, casei, and bulgarus. These good bacteria that can promote histamine sensitivity.


Protein fermentation and leaky gut


Undigested proteins will cause protein eating microbes to grow in number, eat more protein, and convert more histamine.


When microbes eat your protein, they will ferment the protein into toxic gasses like hydrogen sulfide gas and ammonia.


This is very bad for us. Imagine a worst-case scenario for your gut where a gas being produced can break apart the important mucus barrier of your gut.


These gases are toxic to us:

Cytotoxic: toxic to our cells

Genotoxic: toxic to our DNA

Carcinogenic: cancer causing


The fermentation of protein will also cause the tight cellular junctions of the small intestine to begin opening.


When the tight cellular junctions of the small intestine open it's called: leaky gut.


With a leaky gut: microbes, food particles, and virtually anything in your gut can gain direct access to your bloodstream.


Research has shown via leaky gut channels, histamine produced by microbes can transport directly into your bloodstream rapidly and directly, creating a histamine/allergy response.


A profile of a person with histamine intolerance:

  • Has a gut dysbiosis with increased gut permeability.

  • Elevated signs of leaky gut: high zonulin.

  • Increased levels of protein eating microbes: increased proteobacterium.

  • Decreased levels of beneficial microbes.

  • Decreased microbe diversity.

As compared to the healthy control group which had low histamine and increased Bifidobacterium.


So, what do you do?


First:


Enhance protein digestion and stop feeding microbes your protein.


You will have to look at what’s effecting protein digestion.


Most likely it’s low stomach acid. Low acid will present with gas/belching after eating, sense

of fullness after eating, bloating, burping up your food hours later, and foul-smelling gas.


Low stomach acid is common with stress or a fatigued adrenal gland, age, or sometimes nutritional imbalances like low zinc and B6.


The symptoms of low acid and high acid can be very similar. Cases of high acid usually are from adrenal exhaustion.


A stressed-out person will have low acid, but in adrenal exhaustion the stress hormones are no longer affecting you the same.


Histamine blockers can block stomach acid production.


Taking acid blocker, then stopping them can temporarily create hyper acidity.


You can have low acid, have proteins fermented which inflamed and wear out the lining of your stomach, and now acid is a problem.


In this case you’ll need to heal your stomach but maybe try proteolytic enzymes in the meanwhile.


Second:


Address the overgrowth bacteria inflaming your gut and releasing histamine from your amino acids.


To lower the bacteria eating your protein you’ll have to consume less meat and increase vegetables, fruits, and fiber.


By increasing the microbes that ferment fibers and carbs they’ll help keep the protein eaters in check.


Soluble fiber, resistant starch, and the probiotic Bifidobacterium can help this.


If eating vegetables, fruits, or fiber give you GI symptoms you might have a small intestine bacterial overgrowth which will need to be addressed, but in a different article.


Third:


Heal your leaky gut and intestinal lining to stop the transport of histamine and inflammation into the bloodstream.


Lowering protein eating microbes will help heal your gut, as protein fermentation byproducts are devastating to the gut lining.


Inflammation attracts microbes that are harmful so limiting inflammatory foods, medications like Nsaids and steroidal, alcohol, fried foods, for starters.


Adding in beneficial microbes like Bifidobacterium help heal the lining by secreting SCFA’s.

L-glutamine and zinc do a great job healing the gut lining as well. This is a sample of what to do to help your gut lining, not everything possible.


Fourth:


Avoid high histamine foods while healing your gut.


Avoid histamine containing foods listed earlier in this article to help lower your histamine levels.


Vitamin C and B6 help to make more of the DAO enzyme to digest histamine as well.


Fifth:


Establish healthy gut microbes to keep this problem from returning and maintain healthy stomach acid levels.


Eating food high in dietary fiber, inulin, resistant starch, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables promote healthy bacteria.


Limit fried foods, unhealthy fats, processed foods and sugars. A Mediterranean style diet promotes healthy microbes.



I hope that helps you to understand that allergies and histamine can be improved by having a healthier gut!


If you have any questions or would like some help with your allergies or health problem, you know who to ask!


Dr. Justin Fortier, B.S., D.C.

fortierchiro@gmail.com



This article is my opinion and does not reflect the opinion of others. Also, all information on drjustinfortier.com is for educational purposes and not intended to diagnose or treat any individual. If you'd like personalized treatment advice, please schedule a time with me.



Sánchez-Pérez, S.; Comas-Basté, O.; Duelo, A.; Veciana-Nogués, M.T.; Berlanga, M.; Latorre-Moratalla, M.L.; Vidal-Carou, M.C. Intestinal Dysbiosis in Patients with Histamine Intolerance. Nutrients 2022, 14, 1774. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091774


Laura Maintz, Natalija Novak Histamine and histamine intolerance The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 85, Issue 5, May 2007, Pages 1185–1196, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1185

Schink, M., Konturek, P. C., Tietz, E., Dieterich, W., Pinzer, T. C., Wirtz, S., ... & Zopf, Y. (2018). Microbial patterns in patients with histamine intolerance. J Physiol Pharmacol, 69(4), 579-593.






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