Vitamin K2

Leafy vegetablesWhat’s the buzz about Vitamin K2?

One reader recently wrote in to say,

“Thank you for all of your work and sharing it with us on your website. I think I have a histamine allergy. How can I be sure this is the cause of my health problems and not something else? Also, how can I be sure to get enough Vitamin K-2 when I can’t eat cultured foods? Thank you!”

Our replies might help others with the same questions, so here they are:

Self diagnosis

One way of finding out whether you are histamine intolerant is to take antihistamines (follow the manufacturer’s directions) and see if they decrease your symptoms. If symptoms are severe you may need to take them for a few days or even weeks before you nitice an improvement. You might also have to take an H1 and an H2 receptor antagonist simultaneously.

Read more about antihistamines on our blog, here.

Getting enough Vitamin K2

Egg yolks are rich in Vitamin K2, but more importantly, studies have shown that Vitamin K1 is metabolized into K2 within our bodies.
See the Vitamin Council’s article ‘Dr. Cannell on vitamin K2’
Dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, collards and turnip greens are packed with K1, so rest assured that if you eat plenty of them you should be getting all the K2 your body needs. Note: people with histamine intolerance should avoid spinach.

Good Health to All!

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Eggs and Pumpkin

Are eggs and pumpkin permitted on a low histamine diet?

Eggs – yes (cooked)

Yes, eggs are fine as long as they are cooked.  People with HIT can safely eat egg yolks, and egg white is a histamine liberator only when in its raw state. Histamine intolerance expert Dr Janice Joneja writes: “Eggs in themselves don’t contain histamine, but egg whites are known to be a histamine-releaser.” These facts are supported on the Histamine Intolerance UK website and the Mast Cell Blog. However, if you prefer to go ultra-low-histamine, eliminate egg whites from your diet entirely – even cooked egg whites.

It is important not to confuse food allergies with histamine intolerance. Again, like gluten sensitivity, egg allergies are a different and separate issue. Eggs are a valuable source of nutrients, and just because raw egg whites contain histamine liberators, that is no reason to avoid cooked eggs.

 

Pumpkin – no

Pumpkin’s close relative is winter squash, so the two can be considered jointly. The book ‘Is Food Making You Sick? The Strictly Low Histamine Diet” recommends avoiding pumpkin.

Pumpkin is listed by the Food Intolerance Network as being safe for people with histamine intolerance. They write as follows:
“Foods that have lower histamine levels: Fresh vegetables: lettuce, cabbage, beetroot, pumpkin, onion, radishes, lamb’s lettuce, paprika, carrot, broccoli, potato, cucumber, leek, zucchini (courgettes), sweet corn, asparagus, garlic. Please be aware that, because of any other food intolerances or cross-allergies that may also be present, the low-histamine level of a particular foodstuff alone says nothing definite about whether or not the patient can tolerate it.”

Dr Judy Tsafrir writes, “I believe that many reactions are very individualized. In many cases it is worth eliminating a food that you have reason to view as problematic, and then retrying it and monitoring your symptoms. I did not think that zucchini or yellow squash were problematic for most people. It seems from my research on line that pumpkin is controversial as to whether or not it needs to be avoided on a low histamine diet.”

And Allergy UK states: “Certain foods (even food that is low in histamine) can stimulate the release of histamine from mast cells in your body (a type of immune cell). These foods include: pumpkin.”

In conclusion, we would suggest that if you are battling serious histamine intolerance you should avoid pumpkin.

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Skin care for HIT sufferers

Relieve Itching Skin

Many people with Histamine Intolerance suffer from itching skin. The Strictly Low Histamine Diet, combined with its suggested supplements, will help them enormously. In cases of severely itching skin, there are a few tricks to really gain control over the problem.

*  Freeze any leftover meats or foods containing eggs, rather than merely refrigerating them. Histamine only stops forming at temperatures below freezing – in the normal temperature of a refrigerator it continues to develop.

* Some people find that avoiding egg whites can improve their symptoms and relieve itching skin. Egg whites – particularly uncooked egg whites – contain histamine liberators. You can still eat eggs (pastured eggs of course!) but eat the yolks only, and bake with the yolks instead of the whole egg.

* Be aware of the ingredients of any substance that has contact with your skin. Avoid using soap, which can be an irritant. There are many soap-free cleaners commercially available. Avoid commercial skin products and shampoos containing irritant chemicals such as perfumes and colourants.

* Try rubbing raw organic coconut oil or evening primrose oil on your skin after you bathe. Ensure that you use organic raw coconut oil that has not been aged or fermented during processing.  Often it’s the cheapest brands that have been processed least.  You can use  the same organic raw coconut oil for skin care and in your cooking.

In the next post we will be giving you some recipes for home-made soap-free skin cleansers, so make sure you check back later!

 

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Pastured eggs are better for you

Pastured eggs contain more nutrients

Hens allowed to roam free in grassy pastures filled with weeds and wildflowers have access to an extensive range of nutrients. Numerous insects, worms and beetles thrive in green meadows. Thus, in addition to the valuable plant materials available to the hens, they can also feed on mini-beasts which are naturally rich sources of protein, vitamins, enzymes and minerals.

Pastured eggs are lower in stress hormones

Caged hens are constantly under stress. Some become so distraught and anxious due to their imprisonment that they pluck out their own feathers. The ‘stress hormone’ cortisol has been linked with obesity, decreased immune function and osteoporosis. The low levels of stress in free-roaming, contented hens means fewer stress hormones – such as cortisol – pass into the eggs and thence into our bodies.

Pastured eggs are better for you

A study looking at the Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens found that:
‘Compared to eggs of the caged hens, pastured hens’ eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, 2.5-fold more total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids (P<0.0001). Vitamin A concentration was 38% higher (P<0.05) in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the caged hens’ eggs…’

This is why pastured eggs are better for you!

H.D. Karsten, P.H. Patterson, R. Stout and G. Crews,
Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems / Volume 25 / Special Issue 01 / March 2010, pp 45-54
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1742170509990214,
Published online: 12 January 2010

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