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Low Histamine Vitamin C for MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)

gut health immune health immune system mast cell activation mcas Aug 04, 2023
Low Histamine Vitamin C for MCAS (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome)with Dr. Melanie Garrett, ND Naturopathic doctor located in Fort McMurray

Histamine intolerance is a condition that affects a growing number of individuals, causing uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches, hives, digestive issues, and more. Histamine is a naturally occurring compound in our bodies, involved in various physiological processes. However, some individuals may have difficulty breaking down histamine efficiently, leading to an accumulation of this compound, triggering intolerant reactions. In this blog, we will explore the science behind histamine intolerance, how it occurs, and the potential role of vitamin C in supporting individuals with this condition. Additionally, we'll delve into the different types of vitamin C supplements available and evaluate their histamine-triggering potential.

Understanding Histamine Intolerance:

Histamine is a neurotransmitter and a critical part of the immune system, playing a pivotal role in the body's response to allergens and foreign substances. When histamine is released in appropriate amounts, it can help protect the body against invaders and assist in the healing process. However, in individuals with histamine intolerance, the breakdown of histamine becomes problematic.

Histamine is primarily broken down by two enzymes: diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine N-methyltransferase (HNMT). DAO is the primary enzyme responsible for histamine metabolism in the gut, while HNMT is mainly responsible for histamine degradation in other tissues. When these enzymes are insufficient or compromised, histamine levels can accumulate, leading to a range of symptoms associated with histamine intolerance.

Common symptoms of histamine intolerance include:

  1. Skin issues: Hives, rashes, itching, and eczema.
  2. Gastrointestinal problems: Abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
  3. Headaches and migraines.
  4. Respiratory issues: Congestion, runny nose, and sneezing.
  5. Fatigue and brain fog.
  6. Anxiety and difficulty sleeping.

The Science Behind Vitamin C and Histamine Intolerance:

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is an essential water-soluble vitamin with potent antioxidant properties. It plays a crucial role in supporting the immune system, collagen synthesis, and wound healing. Vitamin C also has an interesting connection to histamine metabolism, making it a potential aid for individuals with histamine intolerance.

Some research suggests that vitamin C may help regulate histamine levels in the body. One study published in the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" found that vitamin C supplementation increased DAO activity in healthy individuals, enhancing histamine degradation in the gut. DAO activity is crucial in breaking down ingested histamine, reducing the risk of histamine accumulation.

Additionally, vitamin C's antioxidant properties may help protect cells from oxidative stress caused by high histamine levels, potentially mitigating histamine-induced symptoms. This dual role of vitamin C in supporting histamine metabolism and acting as an antioxidant makes it a promising option for individuals with histamine intolerance.

Different Types of Vitamin C and Their Histamine-Triggering Potential:

When considering vitamin C supplementation for histamine intolerance, it is essential to be mindful of the various forms of vitamin C available. Not all vitamin C supplements are created equal, and some forms may be more suitable for individuals with histamine intolerance than others. Let's explore some common types of vitamin C and their potential histamine-triggering properties:

  1. Ascorbic Acid: Ascorbic acid is the most common and straightforward form of vitamin C found in supplements. However, individuals with histamine intolerance should exercise caution with this form, as some people may experience adverse reactions. Ascorbic acid may inhibit DAO activity in some individuals, leading to histamine buildup and potential symptoms. Therefore, for those with histamine intolerance, high doses of ascorbic acid should be approached with caution.

  2. Sodium Ascorbate: Sodium ascorbate is a buffered form of vitamin C that may be gentler on the stomach than pure ascorbic acid. It is less acidic, making it suitable for individuals who experience stomach upset from traditional ascorbic acid supplements. While sodium ascorbate may have a lower histamine-triggering potential, individual reactions can vary.

  3. Liposomal Vitamin C: Liposomal vitamin C consists of vitamin C encapsulated in liposomes, which are tiny fat bubbles that aid in absorption. This form of vitamin C may be well-tolerated by individuals with histamine intolerance, as it can bypass the gut and be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, potentially reducing the risk of gastrointestinal distress.

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  4. Ester-C: Ester-C is a patented form of vitamin C that is pH-neutral and contains calcium ascorbate. It is believed to be non-acidic and less likely to cause digestive discomfort. However, more research is needed to determine its impact on histamine levels.

  5. Whole Food Vitamin C: Obtained from natural food sources like acerola cherry or rose hips, whole food vitamin C supplements are considered to be more bioavailable and gentle on the stomach. They may also have a lower histamine-triggering potential compared to synthetic forms.

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Histamine intolerance can significantly impact an individual's quality of life, leading to uncomfortable symptoms that can be challenging to manage. While avoiding high-histamine foods is essential, individuals with histamine intolerance may also consider including vitamin C supplementation as part of their management plan. The potential of vitamin C to support histamine metabolism and act as an antioxidant makes it a promising option for those seeking relief from histamine intolerance symptoms.

When selecting a vitamin C supplement, individuals with histamine intolerance should carefully consider the form of vitamin C and start with smaller doses to gauge their tolerance. It is essential to work with a qualified healthcare professional to determine the appropriate supplementation regimen based on individual needs and medical history.

Remember that this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. If you suspect you have histamine intolerance or any other health concerns, consult with a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance. With the right approach and support, individuals with histamine intolerance can improve their symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.

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