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Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
& Histamine Intolerance

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and Histamine intolerance can significantly impact one’s quality of life. Individuals seeking holistic and natural approaches often turn to Naturopathic Physicians for comprehensive care. Naturopathic medicine emphasizes addressing the root causes of health issues and supporting the body’s innate ability to heal. In the case of histamine intolerance and MCAS, Naturopathic treatments aim to treat root issues, balance the immune response, and to alleviate symptoms.

What Is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome?

MCAS is a complex and often underdiagnosed condition that involves the inappropriate release of mast cell mediators, causing a spectrum of symptoms throughout the body. Mast cells are key players in the immune system which release various substances, including histamine, when triggered. MCAS occurs when mast cells become hyperresponsive, leading to a wide array of symptoms as a result of excessive histamine and inflammation. Mast cells are overly sensitive and can be activated by various triggers, such as stress, medications, infections, or environmental factors.The release of mediators like histamine can result in symptoms affecting multiple systems, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, and cardiovascular system.

What is Histamine Intolerance?

Histamine intolerance is a condition characterized by the body’s inability to properly break down and eliminate histamine, a naturally occurring compound in the body and many foods. Histamine plays a crucial role in various physiological processes, such as regulating stomach acid, defending against allergens, and supporting the immune system. However, when the body struggles to manage histamine levels, it can lead to a diverse array of symptoms, including headaches, hives, nasal congestion, digestive issues, and fatigue. These symptoms can vary in severity and may mimic other conditions, making histamine intolerance challenging to diagnose. 

When comparing symptoms between Histamine intolerance and MCAS, we find that Histamine intolerance is primarily a digestive issue related to inefficient histamine breakdown. MCAS is frequently a broader immune system disorder involving the excessive release of histamine and other inflammatory substances, many of which cause excessive inflammation. While both conditions may share some symptoms, the underlying mechanisms and triggers differ. Understanding the distinctions between histamine intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Disorder is vital for effective management and improved quality of life for those affected by these conditions.

Mold Toxin Exposure

Mold toxins are the leading finding to cause MCAS and Histamine intolerance. Mold toxins, commonly found in damp and water-damaged environments, can trigger an immune response in susceptible individuals. This immune reaction from exposure to mold toxins often involves the release of histamine and additional inflammatory mediators. Prolonged exposure to mold toxins can lead to an overproduction of histamine, contributing to histamine intolerance or MCAS.

Parasitic Infections

Both experience and research strongly suggest that chronic parasitic infections may also contribute to histamine intolerance and MCAS. In fact we find both mold, fungal, and yeast toxins simultaneously with parasites in most cases. Parasites are organisms that thrive at the expense of their host, often triggering immune responses. Mast cells play a pivotal role in the body’s defense against parasites. In some cases, these responses can lead to an elevation of histamine levels within the body. In the context of parasitic infections, mast cells are activated to release histamine and other inflammatory compounds to combat the invaders. However, in individuals with MCAS, mast cells become hyperresponsive, leading to an excessive release of histamine even in the absence of a real threat. The ongoing battle in the immune system created by the intestinal parasites increases histamine levels and results in a dysregulated inflammatory response. Understanding this complex interplay is crucial for developing targeted interventions that address both the underlying parasitic infection and the associated histamine-related issues.

Diamine Oxidase (DAO) enzyme

The DAO (Diamine Oxidase) enzyme plays a pivotal role in regulating histamine levels within the body, and its deficiency can contribute to the development of these disorders. Histamine is a biogenic amine produced by the body and found in various foods. Normally, DAO enzymes break down histamine, preventing its accumulation and the subsequent adverse effects. However, individuals with DAO deficiency may experience an inability to efficiently metabolize histamine, leading to its accumulation in the bloodstream and tissues. Excess Histamine activity can also be triggered by diet adding to the immune hyperactivity in the intestinal tract from parasites and mold toxins. A DAO enzyme deficiency will exacerbate the MCAS symptoms, as impaired histamine metabolism further contributes to heightened histamine levels.

Supplemental Support

A variety of naturally occurring bioflavonoids and enzymes found in foods and herbs have been researched and found to regulate and support histamine activity.  A few are described here:

Quercetin: Quercetin is a potent flavonoid with antihistamine properties. Found in various fruits and vegetables, this supplement helps stabilize mast cells, reducing the release of histamine.

Vitamin C: As a powerful antioxidant, vitamin C plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system and reducing histamine levels.

Probiotics: A healthy gut is essential for managing histamine intolerance. Probiotics help maintain a balanced gut microbiota, promoting digestive health and reducing the risk of histamine build-up.

Butterbur Extract: Butterbur, a herb with anti-inflammatory properties, has shown promise in alleviating symptoms associated with histamine release.

Safe medications have also been found to contribute to symptom resolution and can add additional benefit with all other previously described treatment approaches.

By recognizing the interconnected nature of mold toxins, parasites, and hidden infections to histamine intolerance and mast cell activation disorder, individuals can take proactive steps towards symptom relief. Understanding this complex relationship is pivotal for developing effective strategies to manage symptoms and effectively utilize natural supplements. Avoiding exposure to mold, implementing a low-histamine diet, treating parasites, and exploring targeted therapies to stabilize mast cells are key components of a comprehensive approach to managing histamine hyper activity.