Histamine

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Histamine

PMS, painful periods, heavy flooding, endometriosis - Too much histamine & over activation of the cells that contain histamine, mast cells, could be playing a significant role… When all is in balance, histamine is produced by gut flora or when released from various cell types located in nerves, immune cells, barrier tissues (such as gut & bladder) & the ovaries & uterus carries out normal housekeeping activities & is then deactivated by an enzyme, diamine oxidase (DAO). 

But, if there is either a deficiency or too low levels of DAO, histamine levels rise to an inflammatory tipping point & an array of symptoms can manifest (view normal housekeeping activities inner circles - histamine overwhelm symptoms outer circles).

Oestrogen levels, as they fluctuate throughout both the menstrual cycle (days 10-14 of a cycle & an uptick just before menses) & life stages (they are high/unopposed in perimenopause), influence histamine levels in a feed forward loop.

  1. Oestrogen downregulates DAO causing a rise in histamine levels
  2. Oestrogen stimulates mast cells to release their contents causing a rise in histamine levels
  3. And here is the kicker: cells in the ovaries (granulosa cells) have many histamine H1 receptors. In the presence of too much histamine they induce the production of oestrogen  and we are back to number 1 again!

The takeaway: the more relative oestrogen we have in our body, the more histamine is released and the less DAO we produce = excessive contractions, painful cramps & heavier bleeds! Natural DAO levels peak in our luteal phase when progesterone is in ascendance, which means histamine overload & symptoms will more likely occur during the follicular phase (ie when bleeding, up to ovulation).

Mid-cycle, premenstrual & perimenopausal symptom antihistamine strategies for relief

Histamine overwhelm is often exacerbated by times in the menstrual cycle (approx days 10-14) or life stage (perimenopause) when oestrogen is significantly higher or unopposed by progesterone. 

Here are some of my tips to adopt during these times:
✅ Choose 2-3 natural histamine-reducing strategies, (I’m not able to provide doses, as I am not your practitioner ♥️) vitamin B6, quercetin, stinging nettle, (in a supplement or as a tea), omega 3, Butterbur, Vitamin C, Horehound

❌ Removing all cows' dairy. Why? Most cow’s dairy in the UK contains a mast cell loving protein A1 beta-casein. When A1 protein is digested in the small intestine, it produces a peptide called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) which is implicated in adverse gastrointestinal effects of milk consumption, some of which resemble those in lactose intolerance, but it’s also a Mast Cell trigger! Milk from breeds of cows that originated in northern Europe is generally high in A1 beta-casein. These breeds include Holstein, Friesian, Ayrshire, and British Shorthorn. Goat’s & sheep milk contains A2 β-casein, which does not have the same effect. And the same goes for milk from Jersey cows. Dairy products that are mostly fat (such as butter) are also fine.

❌ Alcohol (and don’t shoot the messenger here!) In times of relatively high oestrogen (yup that’s throughout perimenopause) and potentially higher histamine in your menstrual cycle, alcohol is not a good idea. Alcohol and its by-product -acetaldehyde liberate histamine from its store in mast cells and depress histamine elimination by inhibiting diamine oxidase, resulting in elevated histamine levels in tissues.