Boosting your DAO

boosting your daoAntihistamines

If you find that taking certain antihistamines significantly improves your health, then it’s likely you suffer from HIT (Histamine Intolerance). Some common antihistamine trade names include:

Zyrtec = cetirizine, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-1) receptors.
Zantac – ranitidine, an antihistamine that works by blocking histamine (H-2) receptors.

Both of these – like any medications – can have unwanted side effects. However, these are generally outweighed by their benefits, at least in the short term. Taking them is a good way to hit your symptoms hard and really get them to settle down. If you wish to follow up the potential side-effects of Zyrtec and Zantac, click on these links: Zantac   Zyrtec

That said, taking Zantac and Zyrtec is not a long-term solution. It’s like putting a bandage over an infected wound – it looks okay from the outside but the problem remains. Besides, over time the body can develop resistance to the meds. Then they gradually lose their efficacy and you go back to ‘square one’.

About Boosting Your DAO

We suggest that HIT sufferers:

  • Make sure none of your other medications (if any) are DAO (diamine oxidase) blockers, which might have brought on your symptoms in the first place. If possible – and under medical supervision – try to wean off them.
  • Stick to the Strictly Low Histamine Diet and its associated dietary supplements. A low histamine diet with safe, natural supplements has no unwanted side effects and for many people it has provided that ‘miraculous’ relief they have been seeking. It doesn’t take months and months to get a result – only a few weeks.
  • Another essential is dietary fiber. Consuming abundant fiber has been proven, in numerous studies, to decrease inflammation in the body (and the reverse is true of a high fat diet). It can actually improve the binding ability of the histamine H-1 receptor.
  • Stress can be a powerful trigger for Histamine Intolerance too, so it’s important for people with HIT to treat themselves kindly and allow themselves time to relax. For anyone with HIT who is reading this post, we recommend visiting the Helpguide website and looking at their excellent Stress Management Guide.
  • Protect and heal your intestinal mucosa. The body produces DAO in the small intestine, the upper part of the large intestine, and the kidneys. To help protect and heal the mucosal lining of your intestines, include the spice turmeric and brassica vegetables (e.g. cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, )in your diet. Prebiotics and probiotics, too, play an essential role in the healing of the gut.
  • Protect and heal your kidneys. Your kidneys may be perfectly healthy, but there are still things you can do to make sure they stay that way – and to boost their DAO producing capabilities. The Kidney Foundation of Canada recommends that people with kidney disease should ‘control your salt intake and avoid foods with a high sodium content. These include processed foods like “deli” meats, canned foods, convenience and “fast” foods, salty snacks and salty seasonings.’ They also say, ‘Phosphorus is a mineral which normally keeps your bones strong and healthy. However, too much phosphorus may cause itchy skin or painful joints. When the kidneys start to fail, your blood phosphate level will rise. Therefore, you may need to limit certain foods which contain even a moderate amount of phosphorus. These include milk, cheese and other milk products, and protein foods such as meat, fish and poultry.’
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Witch Hazel – an ancient, efficacious remedy for skin ailments.

Witch Hazel

Witch HazelThe witch hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana), which is native to North America, is also known as winterbloom or spotted alder. The leaves and bark are used to make an astringent extract, also called witch hazel, which was used medicinally by Native Americans long before European settlers arrived on the continent. The Native American tradition was to steam the twigs to extract the useful compounds.

To this day, witch hazel extract remains a component of a several commercial healthcare products. It can also be purchased in a relatively pure form, from most pharmacies and drug stores.

Wikipedia states: ‘The essential oil of witch hazel is not sold separately as a consumer product. The plant does not produce enough essential oil to make production viable, however, there are various distillates of witch hazel (called hydrosols or hydrolats) that… contain alcohol. … Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling.’

Douglas Harper, in the Online Etymology Dictionary (2001) explains that the term ‘witch’, in this case, has its origins in Middle English ‘wiche’, from the Old English ‘wice’, meaning ‘pliant’ or ‘bendable’.
Our modern word ‘wicker’, (defined as pliable twigs, typically of willow, plaited or woven to make items such as furniture and baskets) evolved from the same root.

For people who suffer from histamine intolerance, the gentle, healing properties of witch hazel liquid from the druggist can be of great benefit. When dabbed on itchy skin, it can greatly ameliorate symptoms. One patient with an itchy scalp, who had tried every prescription treatment to no avail, cured her condition by rinsing her hair every day for a fortnight with witch hazel.

Liquid witch hazel hydrosol is a strong anti-oxidant and astringent. It can help soothe ‘weeping’ or oozing dermatitis, reduce inflammation in contact dermatitis, and for many people it relieves the itching of perioral dermatitis and atopic eczema. It is frequently used to treat psoriasis, shaving rash, excess sweating of the face, cracked or blistered skin, insect stings and bites, allergies to plants such as poison ivy, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, and to reduce swelling and soothe wounds.

Witch hazel is inexpensive, natural and gentle; a boon to those with histamine intolerance who often endure itching skin.

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The importance of Methylcobalamin

Histamine and Heartburn

Many people with histamine intolerance regularly take medications to control heartburn.

Histamine acts to increase hydrochloric acid secretion by cells in the stomach lining. An overload of histamine can cause the production of excess stomach acid, which is why one of the treatments for heartburn is the H2 antagonist Ranitidine.

Pantoprazole is another drug for heartburn patients that decreases the amount of acid produced in the stomach. The problem is, long-term treatment with pantoprazole may also decrease the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B-12, resulting in a deficiency of this vitamin.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is an essential vitamin, required for DNA synthesis (and ultimately cell division) and for maintaining nerve myelin integrity.

Symptoms of a vitamin B-12 deficiency may develop slowly and include pale skin, weakness, tired feeling, shortness of breath, and a fast heart rate. Vitamin B12 deficiency can potentially cause severe and irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system. When levels of B12 are only slightly lower than normal, they can lead to a range of symptoms including fatigue, depression and memory loss.

Foods richest in Vitamin B12 may cause problems

Foods richest in Vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, fish, crustaceans, fortified soy products, fortified cereals, red meat, milk, cheese and eggs. Most of these foods are also high in histamine, and are best avoided by people with histamine intolerance. Fortified cereals are processed foods with B12 (not methyl B12) added to them by the manufacturer.

Problems with Vitamin B12 absorption

Furthermore, not everyone is able to absorb Vitamin B12, even if they eat foods that contain it. The human physiology of vitamin B12 is complex, and therefore may go awry, leading to B12 deficiency.

Health conditions that may lead to poor B12 absorption include:
Atrophic gastritis (thinning of the stomach lining)
Pernicious anemia
Surgery that removed part of the stomach or small intestine, including weight loss surgery
Conditions affecting the small intestine, such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, bacterial growth, or a parasite
Heavy drinking
Immune system disorders, such as Graves’ disease or lupus
Long-term use of acid-reducing drugs, e.g. Pantoprazole.
A strictly vegan diet
A vegetarian diet that does not include enough eggs or dairy products to meet vitamin B12 needs
Advanced age

Cyanocobalamin is synthesized using cyanide

One way to combat Vitamin B12 deficiency is to take supplements. However, most Vitamin B12 supplements are in the form of cyanocobalamin rather than methylcobalamin.
Cyanocobalamin is artificially synthesized in laboratories. One of the main ingredients is potassium cyanide – yes, you read it right – cyanide, the well-known poison. Cyanocobalamin is the form used in most pharmaceutical preparations because adding cyanide stabilizes the molecule.
When we ingest cyanocobalamin, we are being exposed to small amounts of cyanide.

Methylcobalamin is more easily absorbed

Furthermore, cyanocobalamin is harder for our bodies to metabolize than methylcobalamin. Many people with histamine intolerance are, without being aware of it, ‘undermethylators’. Undermethylation, or ‘histadelia’, is an inherited condition characterized by elevated blood levels of histamine.
If our bodies cannot properly methylate vitamin B12, they cannot adequately absorb it. Methylcobalamin is already methylated, and thus more easily assimilated into the body.

If you are histamine intolerant – or even if you’re not – the optimum way to make sure you’re not Vitamin B12 deficient is to take methylcobalamin. It is available from pharmacies as pleasantly-flavored pills or drops, to be dissolved slowly under the tongue.

For those who are interested in finding out more about how to obtain methylcobalamin, we’ve provided a link below (click on the picture).

The importance of Methylcobalamin

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