Best Natural Antihistamines for Histamine Intolerance

Best Natural Antihistamines for Histamine Intolerance

Best Natural Antihistamines for Histamine Intolerance

Histamine release causes allergic symptoms like runny nose, watery eyes, and skin rashes which is a normal immune response to allergens. 

That is why we reach for antihistamines like Benadryl and Zyrtec.  But maybe we should be looking at what we are eating or perhaps foods that are natural antihistamines.

Histamine is released as a natural immune response to help protect the body and as an excitatory neurotransmitter (brain chemical) to give us that get and go feeling.

Because histamine has many different roles in our bodies, high histamine symptoms can be extremely varied.

  • Migraines, Headaches
  • Brain Fog
  • Nausea
  • IBS – Both Constipation & Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • PMS – Estrogen Imbalances
  • Thyroid Dysfunction
  • Nerve & Muscle Pain
  • Allergic Symptoms
  • Autoimmune Flares – Hashimoto's, Psoriasis

We can also get histamine from our diet from foods that are high in histamine like fermented foods. 

If we develop histamine intolerance or the inability to manage histamine levels, this can increase histamine levels and the symptoms of histamine intolerance.

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is a food intolerance that is becoming increasingly more common.

Like most food intolerances, it involves a lack of enzymes that help to breakdown compounds like lactose (milk sugar) and histamine from foods.

For instance, with lactose intolerance, the symptoms usually involve digestive issues like diarrhea and gas.

Digestive disturbances with lactose intolerance are due to a lack of an enzyme called lactase.

Most food intolerances, once identified, can easily be managed by avoiding certain foods. Or, we can supplement with digestive enzymes like lactase.

What makes histamine intolerance more challenging to manage is the fact that our bodies produce histamine.  And, almost all foods contain some level of histamine.

There is no such thing as a “histamine-free diet.”

We become intolerant to histamine when we cannot correctly manage histamine levels, including lack of particular enzymes, poor gut health, nutrient deficiencies, and genetics.

 

Antihistamine Medications

Can Antihistamine Medications Help Reduce Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?

Since I have struggled with histamine intolerance, I would love to say yes.  Popping a Claritin would be a lot easier than always avoiding foods high in histamine that I love, like wine and fermented foods.

But I am afraid that in most cases, medications like Benadryl won't work to reduce histamine intolerance symptoms, especially migraines and headaches.

Antihistamine medications act by blocking the cell receptors' response to histamine.  The target of these medications is predominately targeting our immune response to allergens.  

So, it will help with an allergic reaction but not for other symptoms of histamine intolerance like headaches, IBS, and anxiety.

What are Natural Antihistamines and Do They Work?

Many natural antihistamines reduce histamine by either reducing inflammation or by blocking histamine production from the mast cells.

Chronic inflammation increases the release of histamine and is a significant contributor to histamine intolerance. 

Therefore an anti-inflammatory diet like the Mediterranean Diet can be very effective at reducing histamine levels.

Other natural antihistamines help support DAO production, the key enzyme that blocks histamine absorption from our food and degrades histamine.

 

 

Foods Rich Polyphenols Reduces Inflammation & Histamine

Some of the foods rich in polyphenols or bioactives are not just anti-inflammatory; they reduce histamine production, acting as a natural antihistamine.

One study found that watercress, a cruciferous vegetable, inhibited up to 60% of histamines released.  Watercress is very rich in vitamins and compounds that significantly inhibited histamine release.

Watercress is challenging to find in the grocery store and very seasonal.  Would other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower have the same antihistamine qualities?

Considering that cruciferous vegetables are high in bioactives, I would bet that they are a natural antihistamine.  

Other foods, herbs, and spices that have been shown to have antihistamine qualities are:

  • Moringa – A SuperFood 
  • Chamomile Tea or Supplement
  • Ginger, Galangal (Tai ginger)
  • Turmeric
  • Apples, Peaches
  • Brazil Nuts – Due to their high selenium content.

 

Vitamin C Foods Antihistamine

Vitamin C as Supplement is a Powerful Antihistamine

Besides vitamin B6, vitamin C is vital to DAO production (diamine oxidase), the enzyme that degrades histamine.

DAO also blocks the absorption of histamine from our food in our gut.  Numerous studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C is a powerful antihistamine.

Supplementing with vitamin C does come with challenges, however. 

Using vitamin C as an antihistamine requires larger dosages, upwards of 2000 mg. per day, to be effective.  This large dosage can cause digestive disturbances like diarrhea, gas, and heartburn.

You can also use vitamin C that has added minerals like this one, which reduces these negative side effects. 

Taking it throughout the day also will reduce heartburn or stomach upset from this large of a dosage.

When Not to Supplement With Vitamin C as An Antihistamine

Besides causing digestive disturbances, vitamin C in large dosages can cause oxalate toxicity.  Oxalate toxicity can lead to kidney stones, nerve and muscle pain, as well as joint pain.

We absorb oxalates from our food, and the body produces oxalates.  Vitamin C is one of the vital nutrients that are needed to make oxalates.

Several studies have shown that supplementing with vitamin C can lead to oxalate toxicity.

Also, vitamin C can lead to iron toxicity.  Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron from our food which is excellent if you are iron anemic.

But if you are not, then you could absorb too much iron leading to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation from too much iron.  And, this will increase your histamine levels.

 

Nettle Tea Powerful Antihistamine

Quercetin and Stinging Nettle – Can They Replace Antihistamine Medications?

Quercetin is a polyphenol found in many foods, with one of the rich sources from the Allium or onion family.  Foods like green onions, garlic, leeks, yellow onions, and red onions are rich in quercetin. 

But you would have to consume a large amount of these foods to have the same effect as an antihistamine medication.

Stinging nettle is a common medicinal herb found in teas and supplements and is a potent antihistamine. 

As seen with HistaEze by Designs for Health, combining quercetin, stinging nettle, and vitamin C is a powerful natural antihistamine.  With a lower vitamin C dosage, you are less likely to experience vitamin C's adverse side effects.

Taking quercetin alone can work as an antihistamine; however, large dosages of quercetin from supplement form can lead to high anxiety and lack of focus in people with the reduced COMT gene variant. 

Since I have reduced COMT and histamine intolerance, I have tried high dosage quercetin and did experience increased anxiety and lack of focus.   

In my case, quercetin as a supplement does not work well for me as an antihistamine. Just another good reason to do genomic testing to discover what works for you!

 

Chickpeas Fiber Antihistamine

Could Fiber be a Natural Antihistamine?

Allergies and histamine intolerance have become more prevalent while the Western diet has become very low in fiber-rich foods.  Could there be a connection?

A recent study determined if fiber-rich foods and the metabolites produced in the gut from fiber reduced histamine levels.

They found that specific fibers, including resistant starch, helped regulate mast cells and reduce histamine levels!  What is resistant starch?  Download my guide to resistant starch.

Fiber also helps produce anti-inflammatory compounds like butyrate that reduce inflammation in the gut and help resolve IBS and IBD.

Whereas fiber in itself cannot act as an antihistamine, it does help regulate mast cell release of histamine.

It is not uncommon for my clients to have IBS, histamine intolerance, and allergies.

Resolving their digestion conditions helps overcome their histamine intolerance, allowing them to enjoy fermented foods, cheese, and even wine!

The first step to overcoming histamine intolerance is to fix digestion.  Are you ready to have happy and healthy digestion?  Get started with my Digestion Tune-Up program – only $79.00!

 

Digestion Tune-Up Only $79.00

This package includes a review of your digestion symptoms, targeted food plan, and dietary supplement recommendations. This package also includes a one on one follow-up consult to review your improvements and how well you did. 

  • Comprehensive Review of Your Digestion Symptoms
  • Personalized Food Plan
  • Menu Plans, Grocery List
  • Targeted Dietary Supplement Program – 15% Off
  • Easy to Use Phone App.
  • Follow Up Consult
Choline Deficiency May Make Your Histamine Intolerance Worse

Choline Deficiency May Make Your Histamine Intolerance Worse

Choline Deficiency Make Your Histamine Intolerance Worse

Are you avoiding eggs because they are high in histamine?  You may be making your histamine intolerance worse by avoiding eggs that are high in choline!  Eggs are often referred to as being high in histamine.  But are they?  The egg whites are histamine liberators while the yolk which contains choline is low in histamine.

Choline is one of the most overlooked essential nutrients, and deficiencies are becoming more common, especially in post-menopausal women.  Often referred to as a B-vitamin, choline plays a crucial role in the B-vitamin cycle or what is known as methylation.

Since our bodies make choline, it is not a vitamin as vitamins are considered nutrients that the body needs but does not make.   If the body makes choline, why has it been declared as an essential nutrient?

Many different factors, including your genetics, can increase our need for choline.  Research shows that choline's pathway is insufficient to support our body's needs, making choline a vital nutrient.

Choline Plays Many Crucial Roles Making it an Essential Nutrient

Every cell in our body depends on choline as it makes up our cellular membrane by providing phosphatidylcholine (PC) or structure to our cell walls.  A healthy cellular membrane means that the right things like nutrients are going into our cells.  And that our cells are removing the bad stuff – making for healthy cells.

Choline also is used to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.  Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter or brain signaling chemical that is involved in learning, memory, and attention.

This neurotransmitter also plays a role in digestion by signally the production of digestive enzymes.  Are you taking digestive enzymes?  Maybe you should increase your intake of choline-rich foods like eggs instead.

But most importantly, choline is used to make betaine, a compound that helps to recycle homocysteine in the process known as methylation.

Whew – what does that mean?  Methylation is a significant pathway in our bodies that produces SAMe.  And, SAMe supports the enzyme histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT), which helps to breakdown histamine.

Foods Rich in Histamine

How Can Choline Reduce Histamine Intolerance Symptoms?

The breakdown of histamine, especially the histamine produced by our bodies, depends on methylation and folate.  Folate and vitamin B2 are vital nutrients in methylation that provide SAMe and support for histamine N-Methyltransferase (HNMT), which helps break down histamine.

However, the body can also get SAMe from recycling homocysteine, which depends on choline, reducing the need for folate.

Reducing the need for folate is even more critical if you have genetic variants in folate like MTHFD1.  Research shows that if you have a variant in MTHFD1, you will have an increased need for choline.

How does choline help to recycle homocysteine?  Choline can be converted to betaine, which acts as a methyl donor promoting the recycling of homocysteine.

Recycling homocysteine not only produces more SAMe, it also reduces homocysteine levels which has been shown to be pro-inflammatory.

By providing support for HNMT, the histamine produced by your body is broken down and eliminated, reducing histamine levels. 

You can enjoy that glass of wine with pizza and not have to worry about getting a nasty skin rash or headache a few hours later.

Whereas choline is converted to betaine, betaine is also found in many different foods.  Some of the richest sources of betaine are beets, quinoa, wheat germ, and spinach. 

By providing choline and betaine in your diet, you can support histamine's healthy breakdown reducing symptoms of histamine intolerance.

Can a Deficiency in Choline Increase Histamine Intolerance Symptoms?

Histamine intolerance is becoming increasingly common and is often seen with autoimmune conditions, poor gut health, and allergies.

Fluoroquinolone toxicity or other chronic conditions like Lyme disease and mold toxicity can also increase the likelihood of histamine intolerance.

This is because histamine is one of the key players in our immune system response to toxins, bacteria, and viruses.

Symptoms of histamine intolerance can significantly vary as histamine plays so many different roles from the production of stomach acid, hormonal balance, brain health, and of course, our immune system.

Even our mental health is affected by high histamine levels, leading to anxiety and lack of focus. Because choline plays a crucial role in support of methylation and the production of the enzyme, histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT), a deficiency may increase your histamine levels.

Since we also get histamine from our diet, your high levels of histamine will increase your intolerance to foods rich in histamines like preserved meats and fermented foods.

 

Beets Veggies Choline

But What are Signs that You Might be Deficient in Choline?

Since choline is every cell of our bodies, symptoms can be extremely varied.  One of key symptoms is increased fat in the liver. 

How do you know if you have a “fatty liver”?  The best way to find out is to make sure that you have a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel either done by your doctor or through functional medicine practitioner.  See my Integrative Testing to learn more about labs that go beyond what your doctor recommends.

Other Symptoms of Choline Deficiency

  • Muscle Damage
  • Nerve Dysfunction
  • Poor Digestion
  • Gallbladder Dysfunction
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Glutamate Intolerance
  • Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Elevated Liver Enzymes
  • High Homocysteine Levels
  • Mental Health – High Anxiety

One of the most overlook roles of choline is acetylcholine production, which in turn reduces glutamate “spikes”, which can increase anxiety. 

One study found that women who had higher choline intake also had the lowest anxiety levels.  This is also extremely important if you have genetic variants in GAD1 – glutamate metabolism.

 What Foods Are Rich in Choline that Can Reduce Histamine Intolerance?

There is no doubt that when I went to look up foods that are high in choline, it seemed like there was quite a bit of confusion.  One thing is for sure is that eggs and liver are the highest in choline.  But who likes liver?

If you are histamine intolerant, remember that egg whites are a histamine liberator and can increase histamine levels.  Egg yolks on the other hand, are not high in histamine and is where you will find choline. 

Other foods high in choline are:

  • Beef Liver
  • Wheat Germ
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli

Good sources of betaine (another form of choline) are quinoa, beets, and wheat germ.  Betaine is used in the process known as methylation which helps to support HNMT and reduce histamine intolerance symptoms.

Nutrition Genome

Are there Genomics or Genetics That Increase Your Need for Choline?

Our body makes choline through a very complicated pathway in the liver that depends on the enzyme phosphatidylethanolamine N-methyltransferase or PEMT. 

Having a genetic variant or reduced PEMT enzyme can increase your need for choline from your diet.

Some studies have shown that 80% of women who were homozygous for this variant showed signs of choline depletion – liver and muscle dysfunction. Research does show that having variants in folate like MTHFD1 will increase your need for choline as folate will less available to promote methylation.

Other variants in methylation will also impact your need for choline, like MTHFR, MTR, MTRR, and MAT1 will also increase your demand for additional choline.  How do you know if you have these variants?  Check out my Genomic Solutions!

Nutrition Genome offers a comprehensive report that review not only the genomic variants in methylation but also those that are involved with histamine intolerance. 

Supplements

Should You Supplement with Choline?

The best way to safely supplement with choline is to incorporate lecithin into your diet.  You will benefit the most from using an organic sunflower or soy lecithin blending into a smoothie.  You can also use in salad dressings as an emulsifier.  My favorite organic sunflower lecithin is this one.

Using lecithin instead of supplementing with choline, you will lower the risk of forming too much trimethylamine -N-oxide (TMAO).  TMAO is a natural compound that has known to increase cardiovascular disease risk.

However, if you want to supplement with choline, it is vital to use the right form depending on your needs.  For instance, betaine or trimethylglycine (TMG) is very helpful for promoting methylation and reducing histamine intolerance.

Rather than supplement with betaine (TMG) alone,  I recommend that you look for betaine or TMG in a methylation support product like this one.

Phosphatidylcholine is another form of choline that has been shown to benefit gallbladder health, fat digestion, and fatty liver conditions.   Lecithin contains phosphatidylcholine, so you should get what you need from lecithin.

However, if you choose to supplement with capsules, then I recommend BodyBio PC, which has three phospholipids types making it more beneficial.

For brain and nerve health, especially if you struggle with fluoroquinonal toxicity, I recommend the form known as alpha-GPC.   The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is produced from this form of choline and supports brain and gut health.

You can receive 15% off the recommended supplements by signing up for my FullScript account on this product.

Purchase products through our Fullscript virtual dispensary.

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Best Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

Best Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance can lead to many symptoms but the most common are allergic-type reactions like stuffy nose, watery eyes, and sinus headaches.  We often reach for the anti-histamines to reduce the symptoms when we should be checking out what is in our pantry.

The body produces histamine for many reasons with the most important being defending the body against foreign invaders playing a major role in our immune system.   It is also found in food with fermented foods and leftover meats having some of the highest amounts.

Because our body produces it and it is in our food, our bodies have ways to make sure that histamine stays at healthy levels.  When histamine levels become too high, it can lead to allergic-type reactions.  But not for all of us.

For some of us, myself included, symptoms may vary resulting in migraines, headaches, skin conditions, and even insomnia.  Histamine intolerance is where our bodies are not able to manage healthy levels of histamine resulting in a myriad of symptoms.

Functional Nutrition Rash Histamine Intolerance

Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance

Histamine plays many roles in our body including regulating stomach acid.  It is also an “excitatory neurotransmitter”, a brain signaling chemical.  Therefore, it plays a role in brain function and our mental health.

Because histamine plays so many different roles in our bodies, symptoms of histamine intolerance can vary from one person to the next.  This is one of the reasons it is so difficult to determine if you have this food intolerance.  We reach for the antihistamines, pain medications, or more instead of looking at our diet.

What are the Symptoms of Histamine Intolerance?

  • Itching Skin, Eyes, Ears, and Nose
  • Hives, Skin rashes, Eczema
  • Autoimmune Flares – Psoriasis
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Anxiety, Panic Attacks
  • Headaches – Migraines, Cluster
  • Chest Pain
  • Fatigue, Confusion & Irritability
  • Heartburn, GERD
  • Bloody Noses
  • Sweaty Feet
  • Menstrual Irregularities including PMS

Causes of Histamine Intolerance

As with most food intolerances, it is a lack of an enzyme that leads to intolerance.  An excellent example of this is lactose intolerance with dairy foods.  Lactose intolerance is where we lack enough of the enzyme, lactase, to properly digest the sugars in dairy products.

With histamine, the enzyme known as diamine oxidase (DAO) produced in our gut, works a little differently than the enzyme, lactase.  This enzyme actually blocks the absorption of histamine from the foods that we consume. Thereby reducing and managing histamine levels.

On the other hand, we produce another enzyme known as histamine-N-methyltransferase, (HNMT).  This enzyme actually breaks down histamine thereby reducing levels.  Once levels get too high, HNMT, starts breaking down histamine to a manageable level.

heal the gut woman

What Could Go Wrong with these Two Enzymes?  

The enzyme DAO is produced by the bacteria in the gut as well as our body produces it.  One of the major causes of histamine intolerance is dysbiosis and a condition known as “leaky gut”.

Dysbiosis is a condition where our gut bacteria become imbalanced and, in most cases, we have an infection of bad bacteria.  This leads to a reduction of DAO and we over absorb histamine from our food leading to histamine intolerance.

With HNMT, this enzyme depends on a process known as methylation which produces a compound known as SAMe.  This process depends highly on certain nutrients like folate, vitamin B12, and B2.  If you are deficient in these nutrients or there a great demand for these nutrients, you could become histamine intolerant.

Some of the causes of deficiencies in folate, vitamin B12, and B2 are chronic stress and chronic hidden infections like dysbiosis.   So, you can see that the role of gut health plays a major role in whether you will become histamine intolerant or not.

Looking at the fact that HNMT, needs SAMe one would think that supplementing with SAMe would do the trick.  Unfortunately, like most dietary supplements, it depends on many other factors and nutrients to balance out nutrient deficiencies.

Supplementing with SAMe can lead to anxiety and insomnia, therefore, it is recommended and that you support methylation instead.  Instead, you can promote healthy methylation by consuming foods that are rich in folate like green leafy vegetables and foods rich in vitamin B12 (found mostly in animal products).

Functional Nutrition Heal Histamine Intolerance Wine Pizza

Can you resolve histamine intolerance?

With most food intolerances, you have to first identify if you have it and then it is a matter of managing your food intolerance.  This is for two reasons.

One depends on your genetic makeup as there many different genomic variances that come into play with histamine intolerance.  The other depends on your gut health and being able to maintain a healthy gut and gut microbiota.

The first step to resolving histamine intolerance is to identify if you are histamine intolerant.  Doing a food/symptom journal is a great place to start.  By connecting what you eat to your symptoms you can begin to see if there a connection.

Due to the fact that food intolerances are dosage dependent, in other words, it depends on how much you eat not just what you eat.  You will have to do a food journal for at least 1 week or so.  This is how I found out I was histamine intolerant.

Foods High in Histamine

  • Processed, cured, fermented meat
  • Leftover meat, poultry, pork, and fish
  • Fermented milk products like yogurt
  • Seafood: shellfish, fresh, frozen, smoked, or canned
  • Fish especially tuna fish (canned)
  • Fermented foods – sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented soy products
  • Tomatoes
  • Artificial food colors and preservatives
  • Chocolate, cocoa, and cola drinks
  • Alcoholic Beverages – wine and beer

Almost all foods contain some histamine.  This list does not include all foods high in histamine but includes the most commonly eaten foods high in histamine.

Unlike food allergies, where the response is immediate, food intolerances can take up to 2 days for symptoms to occur.  For me, it was the realization that every time I indulged with a glass of red wine and pizza, I would get a migraine.

All of these foods are high in histamine.  My migraines would usually start up around 3.00 am when histamine release is at its highest for most of us.

Once you have determined if you are histamine intolerant, then you have to try to determine the underlying root cause.  In most cases, healing the gut is key to resolving histamine intolerance.  A great place to set is my 28-Day Digestion Tune-Up at only $79.00.

You may also have genomic variants that lead to poor enzyme functions like MTHFR, which can increase your need for folate and vitamin B12.  For me, I have the rarest variant in MTHFR as well as variants in both DAO and HMNT.  The key to truly managing your histamine intolerance is genomic testing and evaluation.

With my Optimize Health Genomic Package, you can finally get down to the underlying cause and manage your food intolerances.  Or, you can get started today with Nutrition Genome, reviewing key variants to your overall health, gut health, and potential food intolerances.

 

Are There Probiotic Strains That You Should Avoid?

Yes, definitely.  I learned the hard way on this one.  Trying to experiment with making my own yogurt, I purchased a culture to make my yogurt containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus.  Oops…

Lactobacillus bulgaricus can be found in many popular yogurt brands, i.e. Fage.  Always, read the labels on yogurt and other fermented products to see what strains that they are using.  Avoid products that do not properly list probiotics strains.

Probiotic strains that are histamine producers:

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Lactobacillus casei
  • Lactobacillus reuteri
  • S. thermophilus*

These stains should be avoided.  Along with fermented products, be careful with probiotic supplements. Always read the label.  For instance, S.thermophilus is commonly used in broad-spectrum supplemental probiotics.

What Are the Best Probiotics for Histamine Intolerance?

Just like there are probiotic strains that promote histamine, there are strains that degrade histamine.  So along with DAO which blocks absorption, these strains degrade and breakdown histamine.  These are also commonly found in fermented foods and dietary supplements.

  • Bifidobacterium infantis
  • Bidobacterium longum
  • Lactobaccillus gasseri
  • Lactobacillus rhamnosus
  • Lactobacillus plantarum
  • Lactobacillus salivarius

Using probiotic supplementation is a great way to improve your gut microbiota and resolve histamine intolerance.  But don’t forget to add in the healthy foods that contain prebiotics to truly heal leaky gut and dysbiosis.

Some of the foods that high in healthy prebiotics like apples, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus and even barley are all high in prebiotics.  Root vegetables like beets and sweet potatoes provide the gut bacteria with the food that the good bacteria need to flourish.  If you having problems digesting these foods, you might need a digestion tune-up.  

 

Functional Nutrition Approach to Healing Histamine Intolerance

To end the madness of elimination dieting and to enjoy wine and cheese again, start with my FREE Health Assessment.  Followed up my complimentary 15-minute consult, begins the journey of getting to the root cause of your food intolerance.

Histamine intolerance, like most intolerances, did not occur overnight.  Nor, were you born with it.  Over the years, gut health, hormonal imbalances, medications, poor diet, and chronic stress can take its toll on our gut.

That is why functional nutrition using a comprehensive health history and profile.  From there it might be recommended to conduct integrative testing like a stool or organic acid testing.

Genomic testing is highly recommended as it involves not just variants that can impact enzyme production, but variants that have an impact on your gut health.

In addition, some of these variants can have an impact not just on food intolerances but autoimmune conditions like psoriasis.  For me, genomic testing was a game-changer as I finally got down to the root cause of my histamine intolerance and autoimmune skin conditions.

 

  1. Histamine and histamine intolerance, Laura Maintz and Natalija, American Journal Clinical Nutrition, 2007;85:1185-96
  2. Headaches, Hives and Heartburn Could Histamine be the Cause, Chris Kresser
  3. Degradation of Histamine by Lactobacillus Plantarum Isolated From Miso Products, Kung, et al, PMID: 28885051
  4. Probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus Downregulates FCER1 and HRH4 Expression in Human Mast Cells, Oksaharju, et al, PMID: 21390145
What is GERD, Anyway?

What is GERD, Anyway?

Have you been trying to get rid of GERD or heartburn following all of the usual advice – elimination diets, drinking apple cider vinegar and nothing seems to work?

Maybe there is another reason we get GERD that has very little to do with making too much stomach acid – the usual noted cause of GERD.

Over the holidays, I began to suffer from GERD keeping me up at night and of course, I blamed it on what I was eating and drinking.  I did my usual Alka-Seltzer Gold and baking soda got some relief but that really didn’t work either.  What did I have at the same time – IBS, Chronic Stress and Insomnia.

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder is a really a disruption of the normal hormones of our digestive system that regulates the production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes, and flow of stomach contents.  Phew!

Hormones that are released from the hypothalamus (brain) signals the release of hydrochloric acid (HCL) and gastrin as soon as we smell, taste, see or even the thought of food occurs.  Enzymes to break down protein in our food are also released at this time.  Without HCL and these enzymes, proteins are not completely broken down and that leads to a myriad of side effects including the lack of absorption of vitamin B12, dysbiosis, SIBO and for some chronic fatigue.

In the second phase of digestion, hormones are released that reduce the acidity and instruct the release of the stomach content into the small intestine.  If there is a reduction of these hormones, the content of the stomach just sits there.  Eventually, it can back up and force relaxation of the esophagus – leading to the feeling of heartburn, coughing, pain and even ulcers.

What causes the disruption of these digestive hormones?

  • Standard American Diet – High in sugar, unhealthy fats, processed food, commercially raised meats and low in healthy vegetables and fruits.
  • Medications – Asthma Medications, Calcium Channel Blockers (Blood Pressure Meds), Birth Control, Sleeping Meds, Anti-depressants
  • Antibiotic Use – This leads to dysbiosis and eventually can promote GERD.  This especially true with the chronic use of antibiotics.
  • Gut Flora Imbalances or Dysbiosis – Most people who suffer from GERD also suffer from IBS (constipation and diarrhea), SIBO, leaky gut.
  • Estrogen Imbalance – Estrogen dominance which can occur even with post-menopausal women, has been found to be a factor in GERD.
  • Chronic Stress – The release of digestive hormones is highly dependent on the hypothalamus and it the release of neurotransmitters that promote healthy digestive.

Most medications like Prilosec, Zantac, and even Tums can be even more disruptive overtime on this hormonal balance and lead the very cause of GERD – IBS, and dysbiosis.  Many of the herbal products can be used for temporary relief but in the long run, they have a pretty high cost to your health.

Resolving GERD

Herbals Recommendations – Ginger, Aloe Vera, Turmeric and DGL Licorice.  I often recommend a product by Designs for Health – GastroMend works great for those struggle with GERD and for those trying to get off of GERD medications.  As my client, you will receive 15-20% off professional products so if you are struggling with GERD, please contact me for your recommendation.

Digestive Enzymes – My favorite digestive enzymes are by Integrative Therapeutics – Similase.  Always start with the Similase for sensitive stomach product before using the products as they contain betaine or essentially, HCL.

Alka-Seltzer Gold – This product is basically baking soda and can give temporary relief.  Make sure to get the Alka-Seltzer GOLD which does not contain aspirin.  This product like many others that are used for GERD should not be taken on a regular basis.  The discussion of how this affects our total digestion is another blog in itself.

Food  Sensitivities/Intolerances

Many times I have relieved the client's GERD just with the testing of food sensitivities as it is usually not food that one would suspect like pineapple or turkey.  LEAP is the comprehensive program that starts the healing process of your gut with lab testing followed by 5-8 weeks of calming and soothing the gut.  During this program, you will also be able to identify other causes of GERD including histamine intolerance.

References:

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease – The Weston A. Price Foundation