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Could This Be You? Recognizing Histamine and Mast Cell Symptoms

Updated: May 30



Have you ever felt like your body was speaking in a cryptic language, leaving you puzzled about what's really going on? Those unexplained health issues could be linked to histamine or mast cells. Understanding the role of histamine and mast cells might just crack that code.



This article is your guide to deciphering whether high histamine levels or mast cell activation could be behind those perplexing health concerns you or a loved one may be experiencing.



Recognizing Histamine Symptoms


Let's embark on a journey through the labyrinth of symptoms associated with high histamine levels. If you have mast cell involvement, your mast cells may be releasing histamine inappropriately along with a variety of other chemical mediators.



Reflecting on your lifetime, you might remember different symptoms popping up at different times. Maybe you experienced unexplained hives as a child, or perhaps you struggled with exercise-induced asthma in your teens. The journey could have taken unexpected turns, from childhood eczema to adult nausea.



Histamine and mast cell related symptoms can manifest differently at different stage of life, making it challenging to pinpoint the connection.



The diverse nature of symptoms may appear to be unrelated to one another, but here is a list of some of the more common histamine or mast cell related symptoms to help you make the connection.




Brain and Nervous System Symptoms


headache/migraine

dizziness/vertigo

anxiety

numbness/tingling

concentration or memory problems

sleep difficulties

sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells, temperature, or EMFs (electromagnetic fields)

nerve pain


Respiratory Symptoms


asthma (including exercise induced asthma)

coughing

shortness of breath

drippy nose

congestion (mouth breather)

hayfever


Reproductive & Urinary Symptoms


extreme pain with periods

PMS/PMDD

infertility

estrogen dominance (for both men and women)

urinary urgency or frequency

pelvic pain

vulvar pain

pain with urination



Skin Symptoms


flushing (when embarrassed, or after drinking wine) or rosy cheeks

hives, rashes, eczema

itchy

excessive sweating

swelling

dermatographism (welts form with pressure, rubbing or scratching)

strong reaction to bug bites


Cardiac Symptoms


heart palpitations or racing heart

arrhythmia

low blood pressure

blood clots

chest pain


Muscle and Joint Symptoms


joint pain

back pain

TMJ pain

muscle twitches

restless legs

hypermobility

degenerative discs



Digestive Symptoms


nausea with or without vomiting

heartburn/GERD (reflux)

diarrhea

abdominal pain

food allergies or sensitivities


Others

ear issues like tinnitus or blocked ears

eye issues like irritation or conjunctivitis

anaphylaxis

chemical sensitivities



Histamine Is a Multitasker


Understanding histamine receptors is crucial in understanding how symptoms arise. Histamine binds to different receptors on cells throughout the body triggering various physiological responses. In the same way that you might plug in different items into your computer docking ports (USB, HDMI, ethernet...) for different functions, histamine can attach to different receptors that will affect the types of physiological response.







Here is a very brief summary of histamine receptors:


  • H1 - associated with allergic types of symptoms and inflammation. It is found in a variety of tissues, but is common in epithelial tissue (skin, GI tract, lungs, uterus). Vasodilation and bronchoconstriction are some of the effects when histamines bind to these receptors.

  • H2 - associated with gastric acid secretion, vasodilation, and endothelial permeability. High levels of stomach acid and mucous production in airways are effects of binding to these receptors.

  • H3 - found in neurons. Binding to these receptors is associated with neuro- inflammation.

  • H4 - found on immune cells including mast cells. Similarly to H1 receptors, histamine binding to these sites is associated with allergy and inflammation.



A detailed table of the tissues affected by histamines can be found in this table from the research article The Role of Histamine and Histamine Receptors in Mast Cell Mediated Allergy and Inflammation.


Histamine is a versatile player. With receptors scattered throughout the body like tiny docking ports, histamine can trigger a variety of physiological responses contributing to seemingly unrelated symptoms. It's like plugging different devices into your computer's USB ports, each triggering a unique function. From allergic reactions to gastric acid secretion, histamine's effects are diverse and far-reaching.



Connecting the Dots. Could This Be You?


Ever felt like your health issues were scattered puzzle pieces with no clear picture? Turns out, histamine or mast cell activation might hold the key to understanding the bigger picture. Clusters of symptoms like pain, fatigue, and cognitive difficulties often point to high histamine levels, mirroring conditions like fibromyalgia (1).


And the plot thickens: research suggests histamine or mast cell's involvement in a myriad of health conditions.





Here is our most up-to-date list of health conditions where the research shows a correlation to histamine levels:


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/full/10.1164/rccm.200906-0932oc)

Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (Male) (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3662223/)

Chronic UTIs (urinary tract infections) (https://www.ics.org/Abstracts/Publish/326/000270.pdf)

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15031958/)

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) (https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.HYP.0000158259.68614.40)







Steps to Uncover Histamine or Mast Cell Troubles


Could histamine or mast cell activation be the missing puzzle piece in your health journey? It's time to act.


  1. Start by examining your symptom history and any existing diagnoses. If histamine or mast cell issues seem plausible, keep reading.

  2. Download our Shopping List and start eating from it abundantly. The Histamine Haven Shopping List is low histamine and mast cell stabilizing, plus it supports gut health as well as histamine clearance. It’s a great place to start to see if your symptoms start to improve.

  3. Seek out support. Join our Histamine Haven Online Community where support, solutions and empowerment await. <Coming, Summer 2024>




 


Ready for A Journey of Discovery?


Feeling a spark of recognition? It's time to take that first step toward unraveling the histamine mystery. We hope to see you in the Histamine Haven Online Community where you will find all the resources you need in one place. And as you navigate this path, remember you're not alone. With the right support and guidance, you can chart a course toward a happier, healthier future.


Our Online Community is coming soon - in the meantime, the best place to start is by signing up for our next free master class The Histamine Connection. We'll help you make that connection yourself, so you can get started on solutions! Register for the next class here.


Histamine issues may seem like a tangled web, but armed with knowledge, you hold the key to untangling the knots. So, take a deep breath, muster your courage, and embark on this journey of self-discovery. Your body has been speaking—now it's time to listen.


Are you ready to uncover the truth behind your health concerns? Take that first step today and embrace the journey toward healing. Your body has stories to tell—let's decipher them together.

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