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Histamine intolerance/mast cell activation: cause of Cushing's red face?


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If is for me.  This is not the same as food allergy, this is a reaction to the histamine content of foods, or foods that cause mast cells to release histamine, coupled with genetic or acquired deficiency of the enzyme that breaks down histamine in the normal gut:




I've noticed that almost everyone on a histamine intolerance forum is diagnosed with Hashimoto's or "adrenal fatigue" or high cortisol and also have a lot of gut symptoms:


"Histamine intolerance results from a disequilibrium of accumulated histamine and the capacity for histamine degradation. Histamine is a biogenic amine that occurs to various degrees in many foods. In healthy persons, dietary histamine can be rapidly detoxified by amine oxidases, whereas persons with low amine oxidase activity are at risk of histamine toxicity. Diamine oxidase (DAO) is the main enzyme for the metabolism of ingested histamine. It has been proposed that DAO, when functioning as a secretory protein, may be responsible for scavenging extracellular histamine after mediator release. Conversely, histamine N-methyltransferase, the other important enzyme inactivating histamine, is a cytosolic protein that can convert histamine only in the intracellular space of cells. An impaired histamine degradation based on reduced DAO activity and the resulting histamine excess may cause numerous symptoms mimicking an allergic reaction. The ingestion of histamine-rich food or of alcohol or drugs that release histamine or block DAO may provoke diarrhea, headache, rhinoconjunctival symptoms, asthma, hypotension, arrhythmia, urticaria, pruritus, flushing, and other conditions in patients with histamine intolerance. Symptoms can be reduced by a histamine-free diet or be eliminated by antihistamines. However, because of the multifaceted nature of the symptoms, the existence of histamine intolerance has been underestimated, and further studies based on double-blind, placebo-controlled provocations are needed. In patients in whom the abovementioned symptoms are triggered by the corresponding substances and who have a negative diagnosis of allergy or internal disorders, histamine intolerance should be considered as an underlying pathomechanism.



Full text at the link.

A food list to be used as a guide to finding if you have histamine food triggers.  I was gaining a lb a day on little food until I started eating low histamine and taking diamine oxidase.  Dropped a lot of weight in two weeks:   http://www.histaminintoleranz.ch/download/foodlist/21_FoodList_EN_alphabetic_withCateg.pdf


This is the best list online, but some folks tolerate high hist foods, and react to low ones, it's only a guide to help figure out if you have any degree of histamine intolerance.




Neuroendocrinology. 1992 Dec;56(6):851-5.
Histamine H1 and H2 receptor activation stimulates ACTH and beta-endorphin secretion by increasing corticotropin-releasing hormone in the hypophyseal portal blood.

Histamine (HA) stimulates the release of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and beta-endorphin (beta-END) via activation of central postsynaptic H1 or H2 receptors. The effect of HA is indirect and may involve the hypothalamic regulating factors corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), arginine vasopressin, or oxytocin (OT). We studied the effect of specific HA H1 or H2 receptor agonists on the concentration of CRH and OT in hypophyseal portal blood in urethane-anesthetized male rats. In addition we investigated the effect of the agonists on ACTH and beta-END immunoreactivity in peripheral plasma in conscious male rats pretreated with antiserum to CRH. Intracerebroventricular administration of the H1 receptor agonist 2-thiazolylethylamine (2-TEA) or the H2 receptor agonist 4-methylhistamine (4-MeHA) increased the CRH concentration in pituitary portal blood by 80-90% when compared to preinfusion levels (p < 0.05). Central infusion of saline had no effect. The level of OT in the pituitary portal blood was not affected by 2-TEA or 4-MeHA when compared to saline-treated rats. Intracerebroventricular infusion of 2-TEA or 4-MeHA increased the ACTH concentration in peripheral plasma 3- or 4-fold, respectively (p < 0.01). Pretreatment with a specific CRH antiserum (abCRH) inhibited the responses by 50 and 70%, respectively (p < 0.01). Intracerebroventricular administration of 2-TEA or 4-MeHA increased the beta-END immunoreactivity in peripheral plasma 3- or 2-fold, respectively (p < 0.01). These effects were inhibited by 80-90%, when rats were pretreated with abCRH (p < 0.01).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

PMID:   1369594   [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]  
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Thanks for posting this. I'm curious to know, if you don't mind sharing, what you were eating that caused you to gain the weight and then what you eat on the low histamine diet. Does this diet help fibromyalgia symptoms at all, do you know? What histamine-related symptoms did you have? Thanks in advance for your reply.

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Every single ache, pain in body, joint swellings, bloat disappeared once I began eating lower histamine.  I was eating extremely high histamine, lots of high histamine veggies (check the list I posted) cooked slowly and kept unfrozen as leftovers, aged meats, braised for hours, kept unfrozen as leftovers, lots of tomatoes, pork and lamb, tons of fermented and soy based stuff in marinades and restaurant food.  A great deal of shellfish and leftover fish bought unfrozen.  A lot of stinky, aged cheeses.

By eating only one or two ingredients per meal with nothing but salt, I identified lamb and pork as highly reactive and chicken, once, when it had been in my deep freeze for long.  I can eat fresh turkey, chicken, beef and veal.  I recently learned that washing off the surface is critical, since that's where most of the histamine forms.  I also used almond flour, ate a lot of nuts (I tolerate macadamias and pistachios).   I react much more strongly to histamine in foods than to the very few foods I tested mildly allergic to.

I was gaining eating very low carb, pretty low calorie.  I lost about 18lbs at first, 13 of it in 11 days, have kept it off.

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Fascinating information, MCF, thank you for sharing.

Although I had my adrenal tumor removed almost 3 years ago, I still have a lot of intestinal issues, allergies, skin issues, fibromyalgia symptoms, and hypothyroid with Hashi's. I am definitely looking into this. I confess I love tomatoes, fruits, veggies, and the "Mediterranean" diet (don't do refined carbs, though, or sweets) and try to eat mostly vegan. 

Going to have to try this....

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My symptoms involve worse psoriasis, intense itching post meal, very heavy, thumping rapid heart beat post meals, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, spine and neck pain, dental and facial pain, all gone unless I slip up.  Turns out their are tons of mast cells in the spinal column, hence my histamine induced pinched nerve neck pains that are gone now.


As for FMS, that went away for me years ago when I switched to low carb, just about overnight.  Gastric dysfunction is one of the top three symptoms of HIT and small intestine bacterial overgrowth often is a cause of HIT.

My case seems to be diamine oxidase deficiency related, my markers of mast cell activity don't seem to be high enough to indicate activation disorder or mastocytosis.

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