The Strictly Low Histamine Diet: a tool, not a lifestyle

A tool, not a lifestyle

Strictly low histamine - a powerful toolIs the Strictly Low Histamine Diet ‘too limited’?
In answer to this question – no. The diet contains all the macronutrients and micronutrients needed for good health.
But of course the diet is limited to some extent! It is limited to foods that have been scientifically proven to be low in histamine, or histamine-triggering substances, or DAO-blocking biochemicals.

We didn’t invent the list, simply pulling it out of thin air – it is Mother Nature who has devised this list, not human beings. Furthermore, it is clearly stated in the book – the Strictly Low Histamine Diet is not meant to be followed in the long-term. It was never intended to be a life-long diet. It should be used as a tool to help lower your histamine to safe levels, after which other foods can be gradually reintroduced.

On the other hand, we occasionally receive messages from readers who say they think there are too many foods included on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet. They are worried about eating sugar, or carbs in general, or other foodstuffs and food groups that are permitted on the low histamine diet.

Everyone who seeks better health through diet must be applauded. Remember, however – James Gibb did not invent the list of low histamine foods; he merely catalogued it. Sugar does not trigger a histamine response, not does it contain high levels of histamine or DAO-blockers. Whether or not it is desirable to eat sugar at all is another question entirely. The purpose of “Is Food Making You Sick? The Strictly Low Histamine Diet” is to focus on histamine.

Low-histamine ingredients such as sugar, maple syrup and pasteurized honey, are unlikely to trigger your symptoms, but if you prefer to avoid sugar while on the Strictly Low Histamine Diet, do so by all means; it’s your choice.

Just remember that the Strictly Low Histamine Diet is not intended to be followed unremittingly for the rest of your life. It is a powerful and helpful tool, to be used when needed.

Wishing you good health!

 

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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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Quercetin

Quercetin for Histamine Intolerance


Quercetin, a type of plant-based chemical or phytochemical known as a flavonoid, is highly beneficial for histamine intolerance sufferers. Quercetin reduces the release of histamine, the substance that triggers allergies. Histamine is produced by mast cells.

In allergic rhinitis, mast cells in the nasal area increase in number and are thought to play an important role in the nasal symptoms that occur during seasonal allergies. In one study, researchers triggered histamine release in nasal scrapings from seasonal allergy patients exposed to mite antigen. When the nasal scrapings were exposed to quercetin, histamine release was inhibited 46 percent to 96 percent.[6] In another study of rat mast cells exposed to an allergen, quercetin inhibited histamine release by 95 percent and 97 percent. [7]

Other Health Benefits

Quercetin has been linked to a number of other health benefits. Scientific research proves that not only does it possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [1], it also exerts a cognitive enhancing effect on the brains of Parkinson’s Disease patients [2] and protects against cadmium-induced oxidative toxicity and therefore may ameliorate autism symptoms [3].

‘Particularly notable was a study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Food Research and published in the journal Atheroscleroisis in 2008, which addresses concerns that, while quercetin has been shown to be highly effective in laboratory experiments on cell lines, the antioxidant quickly breaks down in the stomach and intestines when ingested as part of the diet. Quercetin skeptics had suggested that, because of this quick breakdown, quercetin naturally consumed in foods such as apples would have little or no health benefit.

‘The 2008 study showed, however, that both quercetin and the metabolites produced when it breaks down in the digestive system act as anti-inflammatories on the cells of human blood vessels. This suggests that dietary quercetin would indeed have the heart and blood pressure-promoting health benefits that had been observed in laboratory studies.

‘Another study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that a high dietary intake of flavanols decreases the risk of pancreatic cancer by 25 percent in non-smokers and by more than 50 percent in smokers. When the researchers examined dietary intake of quercetin in isolation, rather than intake of flavanols in general, they still found a reduction in the risk of pancreatic cancer.’ [3]

One clinical study of people with a strong inherited tendency to develop colorectal cancer found that the combination of quercetin and curcumin supplements decreased the number and size of precancerous rectal tumors. [4] No other clinical trials testing quercetin’s ability to prevent or treat cancer have been reported in the medical literature. Clinical trials are needed to further clarify quercetin’s possible benefits. In addition to cancer prevention and treatment, preliminary studies have also suggested potential value for quercetin in prostatitis (inflamed prostate) and heart disease. Further studies are needed before any recommendations can be made. [5]

Food Sources of Quercetin

Good sources for HIT sufferers include apples (particularly apple skin), onions, broccoli, green beans, leafy green vegetables such as lettuce; celery, chives, coriander and dill. One tree ripened apple, for example, contains 50 mg of quercetin. Quercetin is also available as a dietary supplement.

Quercetin is not destroyed by most cooking methods, including frying and baking. It is however lost by boiling food in water. ‘The boiling of onion leads to about 30% loss of quercetin glycosides, which transfers to the boiling water.’ [8]

Further reading

Wellness Resources

References

[1]‘Quercetin-induced cardioprotection against doxorubicin cytotoxicity.’
Jing-Yi Chen, Ren-Yu Hu and Hsiu-Chuan Chou
Department of Applied Science, National Hsinchu University of Education, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Journal of Biomedical Science 2013, 20:95 doi:10.1186/1423-0127-20-95

[2] Napatr Sriraksa, Jintanaporn Wattanathorn, Supaporn Muchimapura, Somsak Tiamkao, Kamoltip Brown, and Kowit Chaisiwamongkol, “Cognitive-Enhancing Effect of Quercetin in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease Induced by 6-Hydroxydopamine,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 823206, 9 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/823206

[3] Quercetin protects against cadmium-induced oxidative toxicity
Sunday, October 20, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer, Natural News
‘The common antioxidant quercetin may counter the toxic effects of cadmium on the body, according to a study conducted by researchers from Zhejiang University in China and published in the journal Anatomical Record in 2010. Cadmium is a highly dangerous and widespread heavy metal that has been linked to cancer, impaired brain function and development and damage to organs including the lungs, kidneys and bones. According to a groundbreaking study by Arizona State University researchers that was published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research earlier this year, high blood levels of cadmium are one of the single strongest factors linked to the severity of autism symptoms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists cadmium as number seven among the 275 most hazardous substances.’

[4] Cruz-Correa M, Shoskes DA, Sanchez P, et al. Combination treatment with curcumin and quercetin of adenomas in familial adenomatous polyposis. Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology.2006;4:1035-1038.

[5] American Cancer Society ‘Quercetin’ Online article accessed 30/06/14

[6] Otsuka H, Inaba M, Fujikura T, Kunitomo M. Histochemical and functional characteristics of metachromatic cells in the nasal epithelium in allergic rhinitis: studies of nasal scrapings and their dispersed cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1995, Oct;96(4):528-36.

[7] Haggag EG, Abou-Moustafa MA, Boucher W, Theoharides TC. The effect of a herbal water-extract on histamine release from mast cells and on allergic asthma.J Herb Pharmacother 2003;3(4):41-54.

[8] J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Feb;47(1):78-83.
Various cooking methods and the flavonoid content in onion.
Ioku K1, Aoyama Y, Tokuno A, Terao J, Nakatani N, Takei Y.

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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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Can a low histamine diet promote longevity?

High-protein diets shorten lifespan, two studies say

People on high-protein diets are likely to lose years of life along with the weight they shed, according to two studies.
It’s nearly as bad as smoking, says Dr Valter Longo, co-author of a study in the journal Cell Metabolism.

The most healthy mix is a high-carbohydrate, low protein diet, say Australian scientists who have published a study in the same journal.

This leads to increased body fat, but a longer lifespan, say the scientists from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre. They tested 25 different diet combinations on 900 mice to see what happened to their appetite, metabolic health, ageing and lifespan.

Calories aren’t all the same, says Professor Steve Simpson, academic director at the centre.

“We need to look at where the calories come from and how they interact.” Although the mice on a high-protein diet ate less and were slimmer, they also had a reduced lifespan and poor heart and overall health.

Those on a high-carbohydrate, low-protein diet ate more and got fat, but lived longest.

The mice that ate a high-fat, low-protein diet died quickest. “It is an enormous leap in our understanding of the impact of diet quality and diet balance on food intake, health, ageing and longevity,” Prof Simpson says.

Co-author Professor David Le Couteur says the study is an important step towards understanding what constitutes a healthy balanced diet.

It indicates it might be beneficial for people to eat the right diet in the right proportions and let the body dictate the correct amount of food.

“If people want to live long, healthy lives they can look at their diet and exercise. That will do more good than taking all the pills in the world.” He says the healthiest mice had the lowest levels of the branched-chain amino acids derived from animal protein and often used by body builders The results are entirely parallel with the US study.

They found meat, fish and dairy products are probably causing harm.

“We provide convincing evidence that a high-protein diet, particularly if the proteins are derived from animals, is nearly as bad as smoking,” says the University of Southern California’s Dr Longo.

His study analysed the diet of 6831 middle-aged and older adults.

Those who derived more than 20 per cent of their calories from protein were four times more likely to die of cancer or diabetes than other people.

AAP

Source: The Australian

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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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