Does your tummy bother you?
You sometimes have diarrhea
Your appetite waxes and wanes, so that there are some meals where you don’t feel like eating much
Sometimes you just have a gut feeling that something’s not right in your digestive tract
Digestive problems are common.
If your tummy doesn’t always feel great, it’s time to figure out what is troubling it.
Mast Cell Receptors in Your Tummy
To understand what troubles your tummy, we need to look at mast cell receptors.
To understand cell receptors, imagine the lock on your front door. You have a key for that lock. When you put the key in the lock and turn it, the door unlocks, and you can open the door.
Cell receptors are just like a lock.
There are many substances that can act as keys by attaching to these receptors.
Substances can include hormones, antibodies, proteins, acids, leukotrienes, neurotransmitters, growth factors, bacterial and viral products... the list is very long.
Just like when you unlock your door with a key, when one of these substances binds to a cell receptor, it signals an action inside the cell to occur.
Mast cells have over 100 receptors, and some of these receptors have more than one key. Whenever something binds to a receptor, mast cells can be activated and release a mediator. Each mediator has a different physiological effect, resulting in different symptoms. Histamine is one of these mediators potentially released.
Some food compounds can bind to mast cell receptors triggering the release of histamine and/or other chemical mediators.
You have a high concentration of mast cells in your digestive tract, which is why certain food compounds can contribute to a mast cell flare and leave you with tummy troubles.
Histamine binding is a good thing—usually. But when your mast cells are acting inappropriately and respond with an excessive release of chemical mediators, as is the case with MCAS, then it no longer seems like such a good thing.
Histamine from foods can bind to mast cell receptors and trigger this type of excessive release of mediators in your digestive tract. The result—tummy troubles!
Here’s a list of high histamine foods that might be contributing to your troubles.
Immunolglobulin G receptors (IgG)
IgG antibodies bind to FcgR receptors on mast cells. These antibodies can be produced when foods are consumed, triggering an immune response that is different from an allergy (which produces an IgE antibody).
Some commonly eaten foods that may produce high amounts of IgG in some individuals include dairy, wheat, corn, soy, and eggs.
If your mast cells are sensitized, as with MCAS, this IgG binding can result in excessive chemical mediator release contributing to your tummy troubles.
There are many types of infectious agents that can bind to toll-like receptors on mast cells, which is why viral or bacterial illnesses can trigger MCAS.
While we don’t normally consider food to be infectious, molds found in foods can bind to these receptors too.
Foods that may contain hidden mold include grains, legumes, dairy, nuts, dried coconut and dried fruit, coffee, and grapes.
Can’t Stomach All This?
Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.
Our Histamine Haven Shopping List can help your tummy troubles by taking all the guess work away. It’s:
free of the foods that commonly contribute to high IgG levels
Wondering about other food compounds like oxalates or lectins? Check out Histamine & Other Food Compounds
Did this article present some new ideas for you? Ready to dig deeper?
We have a class coming up we think you might enjoy. It's free and it's happening online. Join us from the comfort of home, the office or on your lunch break even on Thursday October 27th, at 12 noon Mountain Time (Alberta / Denver / GMT -6).
Missed it? We'll be hosting more in the future. Check this page for the next run of The Histamine Connection.