Slippery Elm

Slippery ElmSlippery Elm

The problems caused by histamine intolerance can include digestive upsets. Slippery elm is one efficacious natural remedy that has been traditionally used to ease such complaints as –

  • coughs
  • sore throats
  • colic
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • hemorrhoids
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

It is also used to provide gentle protection against:

  • stomach and duodenal ulcers
  • colitis
  • diverticulitis
  • gastrointestinal (GI) inflammation
  • excess stomach acid.

This remarkable remedy is actually the powdered inner bark of an elm tree (Ulmus rubra/Ulmus fulva) which is native to North America.  Useful medicinal plants often accumulate a long list of alternative common names, and Slippery Elm is no exception. It is also known as:

  • Indian Elm
  • Moose Elm
  • Olmo Americano
  • Orme, Orme Gras, Orme Rouge, Orme Roux
  • Red Elm
  • Sweet Elm

Commercial manufacturers include slippery elm as an ingredient in some foods for infants and adults, as well as in some medicines. Slippery elm throat pastilles are useful for soothing sore throats. You can make your own slippery elm pastilles at home.

Slippery Elm Throat Pastilles

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon dried, chopped licorice root
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup slippery elm powder
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup or maple syrup or pasteurized honey

Instructions

  • In a small saucepan, combine the licorice root with water and bring to a boil.
  • Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the licorice water through a fine mesh sieve to remove licorice root pieces.
  • Place the sweetener (e.g. golden syrup) into a measuring cup. Add enough of the licorice water to make ¼ cup. If there’s not enough licorice water, top it up with plain water.
  • Pour slippery elm powder into a small bowl and make a ‘well’ in the middle. Pour the sweetened licorice water into the well and stir well, mixing to the consistency of dough.
  • On a clean surface, scatter a little slippery elm powder to prevent sticking, then roll out the dough until it is about a ¼ inch (½ cm) thick.
  • Cut the pastilles into small rounds. To make it easier, you can use the clean cap of a small bottle as a guide.
  • Distribute the pastilles on a plate and allow them to air-dry in a cool, well-ventilated place where the air is clean. It can take up to three days for them to dry out. Turn them over to make sure they are dry on both sides.
  • Store in an air-tight, light-proof container in a cool place.

To use, place a pastille in your mouth and allow it to slowly dissolve. The slippery elm will coat your throat with a protective layer, allowing healing to take place.

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Extra supplements for Histamine Intolerance sufferers

Histamine Intolerance Supplements

supplementsIf your histamine intolerance symptoms are extremely severe, then in addition to adhering to the Strictly Low Histamine Diet you may wish to take some additional supplements. Here are some suggestions.

* Low-acid Vitamin C  1000 mg twice daily.
Note: Standard Vitamin C supplements work well too, but but if you are taking high doses you may experience a burning or irritating sensation in the urinary tract. People with certain conditions such as interstitial cystitis, prostatitis and stomach ulcers often have a hard time tolerating high-acid vitamin C supplements.

* Vitamin B6 100 mg once daily.
Note: never exceed the recommended dose.

Your body needs Vitamin C and vitamin B6 to manufacture the DAO enzyme, which helps break down histamine in the body. Copper is also necessary for DAO production, but too much copper can be toxic. If your diet includes  variety of fresh, unprocessed foods it will already provide you with sufficient copper and you won’t need copper supplements.

* Digestive enzymes, one capsule before each meal. Choose a broad spectrum formula, including digestive enzymes to break down both protein (such as pepsin) and carbohydrates (such as amylase). Those who are histamine intolerant need help digesting protein, so that it does not linger in the gut fermenting and producing bacteria and histamine.

* Vira Stop is an enzyme formula dedicated to breaking down protein.  The recommended dose is 2 capsules daily. Begin gradually, by taking half a capsule per day and build up to 2 capsules over a few weeks. You should take this supplement on an empty stomach – i.e. either one hour before you eat or two hours afterwards. Never swallow probiotics and Vira Stop at the same time because they can interfere with each other.

* Probiotics. There are two species that actually cause histamine to be released in the body and those are Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus bulgaricus. Avoid them. Two very important types for people with histamine intolerance are Bifido infantis and Bifido longum. Take any probiotic supplement that contains both of these.

* Zinc inhibits the release of histamine from mast cells. Take 50mg of zinc per day, with a meal containing starch. This helps your body to absorb the zinc.

Remember that what you leave out of your diet to control histamine levels is probably even more important than what you take in via supplements.
Taking every recommended supplement will have little effect if you are still eating histamine-rich or histamine-triggering foods.  Consult the book for the complete diet.

Health and medical information disclaimer:

The information provided on this website is intended only to aid you in making informed decisions about your health. It is not intended to be a substitute for advice and treatment prescribed by a registered dietitian, nutritionist or doctor. The content of this website may not be used as a basis or means for any form of self-diagnosis. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek the help of a medical practitioner.

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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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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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