Stress from both emotional trauma, physical trauma or adrenal problems like adrenal fatigue can trigger a flare up of histamine intolerance and MCAS. Your Histamine/MCAS bucket could be overflowing because of stress. I have a great video lined up for you that will help you understand exactly how stress affects histamine and MCAS symptoms, and some of the steps YOU need to start taking in order to get these stress hormones under control.
I’m Dr Hagmeyer and I’m the clinic director here at DrHagmeyer.com where we help patients from around the world find answers and solutions to their chronic health problems using Functional medicine and Personalized nutrition.
If you are just joining me for this video series, I’ve been talking about the root causes behind the symptoms of Histamine intolerance and MCAS. In each video, I have also provided actionable steps that you can start implementing immediately.
You have probably noticed that when it comes to histamine intolerance and MCAS it is much more complicated than just taking antihistamines and following a low histamine diet. This is why I have put together this series. I work with a lot of patients who consult my practice because of histamine intolerance- they have been from one doctor to the next without much success and the purpose of today’s video is to help you gain better clarity into another potential trigger behind your symptoms.
Just as a quick recap, In my last few video, I talked estrogen dominance and Histamine intolerance/MCAS, I also gave you some important lifestyle tips on what you can start doing, In another video, I spoke about the connection between mold, mold bio-toxins and histamine intolerance, I also did a video on histamine intolerance and gut health where I talked about SIBO and Leaky gut and how these conditions can damage the DAO Producing enzymes.
If you missed any of these videos, be sure to check them out.
One of the most common threads I see in practice in my patients who have chronic health problems (not only histamine intolerance) but other problems like thyroid disease, hormone imbalances, IBS, IBD, Depression, Anxiety, Diabetes, etc is a problem with the adrenal glands and the HPA axis.
Today’s Article on Histamine Intolerance and Stress, I will explain
- How Stress-Inflammation Adrenal fatigue and histamine intolerance are ALL connected–
- Overlooked causes of Inflammation in People with Histamine Intolerance and MCAS– How To Fight Inflammation and Stabilize Mast Cells.
- Why Addressing problems with the adrenal glands is so important to Histamine/MCAS sufferers and
- Lifestyle tips to implement to help support your adrenal glands when you have histamine intolerance/MCAS
How Stress and Adrenal Fatigue Triggers Histamine Intolerance/MCAS
Most allergies and for the most part……. Virtually ALL of the symptoms associated with histamine intolerance/MCAS are driven by various pro-inflammatory substances theseare things (Leukotrienes, Prostaglandins, Tryptases, Interleukins). These are chemical-immune messengers and they drive a powerful inflammatory response throughout your body.
Cortisol is one of the primary hormones produced by the adrenal glands and it is a strong anti-inflammatory- meaning that it reduces inflammation. So, On one hand we have histamine being released in response to allergies/inflammation and mast cells degranulating and on the other hand, we have cortisol being released in response to this inflammation with the purpose of reducing inflammation. It’s the battle of histamine versus cortisol! Depending on who wins, determines whether your health and symptoms either improve or they get worse. If you want to get your Histamine and MCAS symptoms under control- (you want to have more good days then bad days), at some point you probably need to address this Adrenal-Cortisol- Stress Inflammation histamine- connection.
I have seen many patients who have worked with various Functional medicine practitioners for their histamine intolerance and MCAS that didn’t get better.
Some of these doctors worked on the genetic aspects of histamine/MCAS intolerance with their patient, some worked on correcting some of the nutritional deficiencies, some have worked on SIBO and Gut problems, some worked on mold and mold allergies, but for one reason or another-
These practitioners missed one of the overriding pieces of the BIG picture. They missed the Adrenal-Cortisol-Stress-Inflammation and Histamine connection.
While I don’t know if this is applicable to you, it might be an area worth investigating if you experience symptoms of adrenal fatigue or if you have undergone treatment for histamine intolerance/MCAS and didn’t notice much improvement.
Think You Might Have Adrenal Problems? If So, assess your own risk and potential severity for adrenal problems as well as get some initial recommendations on where to start.
But what if you are a patient who has been tested for adrenal fatigue and you know you have a problem with your adrenals- you either have too much cortisol or too little cortisol- what do you do?
How Low Cortisol Cause Histamine Intolerance and Worsens MCAS Symptoms
Let’s say your cortisol levels are low. Low cortisol makes it very difficult to regulate the inflammatory response in the body, as a consequence you can’t counter all the inflammation caused by excess histamine and other inflammatory chemicals. This can show up in a number of ways. If you look at this here- you can see all the symptoms associated with low Cortisol and chronic inflammation. So, in this case, you and your Functional Medicine Practitioner needs to do two things-
#1 your doctor needs to find out what else is driving inflammation and depleting your cortisol levels in your body besides histamine and I will tell you some of the things I begin to think about in just a second and
#2 you need to support, nourish and repair your adrenal glands so they can respond appropriately to the inflammation- This might be specific vitamins, it might be adrenal glandulars, it might be certain herbal treatments- those are all things you can discuss with your Functional Medicine Doctor. They will be familiar with your health history and no exactly what you need. So, let’s talk about some of the things that could be driving inflammation and depleting your cortisol levels making histamine intolerance/MCAS symptoms unbearable for you.
Potential Reasons Driving Inflammation More Histamine
- Oxidative stress and glutathione levels- Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, ultimately if you have too many free radicals and reactive oxygen species and not enough anti-oxidants, this leads to cell and tissue damage and inflammation.
- Mold allergies and Mold bio-toxins Mycotoxins
- Fluctuations in blood sugar like hypoglycemia or insulin resistance
- Certain Conditions where people experience chronic pain
- Brain Inflammation- Neuro-inflammation aka Leaky Brain
- Gut Inflammation- This might be a problem with gut dysbiosis or damage to gut lining as in the case of Crohn’s, Celiac, Ulcerative colitis, H.pylori, SIBO- Remember all of these diseases can also deplete DAO enzyme activity because DAO is produced in the gut. Then I think about
- High histamine foods
- Disrupted circadian rhythm or sleep cycle
- Food Allergies and food sensitivities to things like dairy, gluten, soy, corn, shrimp
- I think about Medications that cause inflammation-
- Nutritional deficiencies that impair DAO enzyme activity and HNMT
- Chronic Viral infections like EBV, hepatitis
- Exposure to certain environmental chemicals- this could be cigarette smoke, Arsenic, Mercury or other work-related chemicals and finally.
- Emotional Stress or Physical trauma.
So those are few things you and your doctor can work through. Let’s talk about stress for just a moment and its relationship to histamine intolerance/ MCAS.
Emotional stress or trauma takes on many forms and can be just as devastating to the histamine/MCAS patient as the physical and chemical stressors I just mentioned. Studies have shown how traumatic experiences such as emotional abuse, divorce, the death of a loved one, puts the body in a fight or flight reaction, this fight or flight reaction triggers not only the release of cortisol but that stress response also triggers mast cells to degranulate.
When Mast cells degranulate they release histamine and a variety of other neuro-inflammatory chemicals and its these neuro-inflammatory chemicals can damage the brain.
In studies like, Frontiers in Neuroscience 2017 we see that stress and trauma cause a leaky brain. Not only does Stress causes a leaky gut, but the stress and fight or flight response will also cause a leaky brain.
This might be especially important if you or someone you love suffers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or someone who suffers with symptoms such as agitation, irritability, hostility, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, fear, severe anxiety, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, guilt, loneliness, insomnia, nightmares, emotional detachment or unwanted thoughts
So….What happens if this goes on long enough and you don’t get the professional help you need, not only will you develop adrenal fatigue or HPA axis dysregulation as its now being called but your brain will be affected. With adrenal fatigue, it becomes more and more difficult to produce the additional amounts of cortisol you need to counteract inflammation caused by excess histamine.
This is also why your allergies get worse when you are stressed and why you experience more brain fog, more cognitive decline, more depression and many other symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue. The more histamine released during allergies, the harder the adrenals have to work to produce enough cortisol to counteract the inflammation.
The end result are all those thing just mentioned, the fatigue, the brain fog, the depression, the anxiety, the allergies and hives.
Lifestyle Tips To Heal Your Adrenals.
Here are a Few tips you can start with to help your adrenals when you suffer with histamine intolerance/MCAS symptoms.
1. As soon as you wake up, drink a glass of water along with 1/4 teaspoon of Celtic or Himalayan sea salt. Then, throughout the day, have a pinch of sea salt with each glass of water and also use it to season your food. The 80+ minerals in the salt will help nourish the adrenals and endocrine system.
2. Eat breakfast within one hour of waking and don’t skip meals. If you wait any longer than this, it can cause your blood sugar levels to decrease too much and this can raise your cortisol levels which leads to mast cells degranulating.
3. Sit down to eat each meal, eat slowly, chew your food thoroughly and don’t eat under stressful situations.
4. Spend more time outdoors. Being out in the fresh air and being in nature helps reduce the stress response in the body. Think about it…..What does your soul crave?
5. When you have adrenal fatigue, Avoid intermittent fasting or a super low-carb diet. These put an enormous amount of stress on your thyroid gland and while low carbohydrate diet can be very helpful for many health issues, I don’t recommend it when a person has an adrenal problem or thyroid problem connected to Histamine/MCAS. All it does Is create additional stress on the body and more cortisol release. I recommend you address the adrenal problem and thyroid problem first.
6. Go to bed by 10pm every night. Your adrenal glands need rest, majority of healing in your body takes place at night when you are sleeping. If you are having trouble sleeping see my video on Insomnia- 6 overlooked areas causing your sleep problem and how to fix them
7. Take B Vitamins If you need them – B vitamins are some of the most important vitamins needed by your body and your adrenal glands.
8. Assess Your Risk for Adrenal Fatigue. If you take my Adrenal Quiz on my website, and you are at high risk for adrenal problems, I typically recommend that patients Start out with Phase I adrenal support pack for 8-12 weeks. You can learn more about my Adrenal Support Pack Phase I here. These can be super helpful in supporting the adrenal glands through all stages of Adrenal Fatigue and adrenal stress.9. Stay Hydrated– Sounds easy enough but you would be surprised at how many people don’t do this. I recommend that you aim to drink 1/2 your weight in ounces per day. If you way 140 pounds, that’s 70 oz of water per day. That sounds like a lot if you are not used to drinking water. So there you go!
Need Help Putting This All Together?
If you need help trying to figure out the different Histamine/MCAS puzzle pieces in your particular case lets talk! You can schedule a Free 15 minute phone consult after you complete a short health questionnaire. This Health questionnaire will help me understand more about your concerns and how we can best help you.
If you feel you need help implementing a low histamine diet, I have several nutritionists that can guide you through a histamine elimination diet as well as help you with recipes and ideas as well.
We can help you as much or as little as you want. Alright!!!!…..that’s going to wrap up todays video on the connection between Stress, Trauma Cortisol and histamine intolerance/MCAS.
Lastly, if you found todays information helpful. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel and hit the notification button, I have an entire video series that will cover many other aspects of histamine intolerance.
People Who Read This Article Also Recommend
- How To Get Started on a Low Histamine Diet – Part I
- How to Get Started on a Low Histamine Diet-Part II
- Supplements to help support Histamine Intolerances
- Histamine Intolerance and Gut Health SIBO and Leaky Gut
- Best Tips To address Histamine Intolerance When you have SIBO
- Emotional Stress and Adrenal Fatigue- Another Trigger causing Your Histamine intolerance/MCAS symptoms
- DAO deficiency- The enzyme that breaks down Histamine- How to Activate this enzyme when you have Histamine Intolerance/MCAS
- Dr Hagmeyer’s Youtube Channel and Playlist for Histamine Intolerance/MCAS
- Histamine and MCAS Quiz- Assess your Risk for Histamine intolerance and MCAS