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Contents: My Story | What Are Allergies? | Physical Symptoms | Emotional & Behavioral Symptoms | Causes | Allergies & CFS | Testing | Treatments
Growing up, I found myself in a near-constant cold. My nose was almost always runny. I remember at one point thinking to myself that it seemed I had had a cold for almost ten years. I had periodic bouts of asthma, and used an inhaler for a few months. Sometime around the age 13-15 someone had the thought to take me in for allergy testing. I got the skin test, and the results were that I was allergic to dust mites and plant mold. Some adjustments were made to our home environment, and I began taking allergy shots. A few years later, they had done their job and I wasnt having allergy problems anymore.
Then, at the age of 30, my health began a steady and serious decline. Before long, I had constant terrible headaches for which it took 3-4 Advil/Aleve/Tylenol a day to dim the pain. My sinuses hurt terribly. I found myself constantly fatigued, unable to experience pleasure, foggy-headed, antisocial, depressed, irritable, and physically weak. My memory was terrible, I couldnt concentrate, and it took a great effort to be able to talk with people. I found myself having energy crashes after eating certain foods. My feet and hands were always cold, and my temperature was always around 97.3. There was an inexplicable lump in my throat where food was getting caught and causing constant discomfort. I felt poisoned, toxic. I reacted strongly to any kind of smoke, perfume, varnish, or other environmental irritants. My sense of smell disappeared. I had night sweats where I soaked the sheets, and was sensitive to bright light. I had problems from acid reflux.
Normally I am a playful, creative, friendly and affectionate person. Whatever was happening to me submerged that part of me for weeks at a time. The problems were cyclical. There was a baseline malady that would grow intensely worse for weeks at a time, then for a day or two I would emerge from it all, nearly my old self. Then it would come on again, dragging me into these hopeless depths. It seemed I had lost the person I was, and had become consumed by this unknown illness which it seemed I had no hope of recovery.
I investigated my health history, and discovered I had Gilbert's Syndrome. I researched this for years, and tried many herbals and medicines, and after a while was able to make some positive progress. The horrible depths diminished slightly, and the periods of returning to normal lasted longer, but then I would crash down again for two weeks and wonder how it could still be happening.
One day when talking with my doctor about my headaches, I discovered that it was possible for someone with allergies to relapse and become allergic again. I went and got tested, and was shocked by the results:
Animals: dogs, cats, mice, dust mites (major), and cockroaches
I have a cat and a dog. Atlanta, where I live, is known by some as the "dust mite capital of the world". Our house occasionally has cockroaches.
Trees: Red Oak, Hickory, Red Birch, Red Maple, Red Cedar, Ash, Pecan
I have never seen pollen like I have here. We have a "yellow season" where everything turns yellow from the pollen.
Grasses: Bahia, Timothy, Fescue
Our yard is Fescue.
Weeds: both varieties of Ragweed, Cocklebur
We have 10 foot tall ragweed plants lining the entire street to our house, as well as all over in the woods
Molds: Alternaria, Helminthosporium, Penicillium, Epicoccum, Rhizopus
We live in a wet, shady area near a creek, and there are many fallen trees in the woods. Perfect conditions for mold growth.
Foods: peanuts, sesame
Of the most common allergens they tested, I found out I was allergic to 50% of the trees, 60% of the grasses, 50% of the weeds, 45% of the molds, and 100% of the animals. My immune system had seriously gone into crisis at about age 30 and stayed in crisis ever since. I began taking allergy shots and taking antihistamines. I began watching what I ate and how I reacted more closely, and over a period of months, tracked my reactions, and then went to a total elimination diet. I found more and more foods I was reacting to. The reaction was a 2-3 day descent into sinus pain, headaches, and all the personality changes and symptoms I described above. After months of testing I came to a discovery of perhaps the worst food allergy one can have: citric acid.
Foods: citric acid
Citric acid is found naturally in: tomatoes, oranges, pineapple, strawberries, limes, lemons, tangerines, raspberries, gooseberries, cranberries, currants, blackberries, elderberries, kumquats, pomegranites. Worse yet, its use as a preservative is nearly ubiquitous. It's found in 99% of canned or bottled sweet or energy drinks. It's used in many canned vegetables. It's used in crackers, breads, and manufactured products of every kind. The only way to be sure something doesnt have citric acid is if it's a raw food not on the above list or by reading the ingredient list.
My Allergy Symptoms
The symptoms of my allergies this time around are somewhat unusual. I never sneeze. My eyes never itch or water. My nose is almost always clear. I dont have any asthma. My symptoms are horrible PAIN in my sinuses, which become headaches, and the changes to my energy and personality that always happen the same each time.
Physical Symptoms Explained
From my experiences with different medications and lifestyle changes, I was able to come to understand the source of many, if not all, of my symptoms as being caused by allergies.
Sinus Pain: caused by inflammation of the sinuses as a result of histamine. I wonder if the lack of mucus makes the pain worse than usual.
Headaches: they are sinus headaches, caused by the above sinus inflammation
The Throat Lumps: I finally figured this one out. When I sleep, I sleep most of the time on my right side. The post-nasal drip trickles down the right side of my throat during the night and perhaps the histamines present in it cause that side of my throat to swell. The swelling causes food or mucus to easily get stuck and difficult to get out. Since I've started taking prescription antihistamines, this has almost entirely disappeared.
The Symptom Cycles: Another tricky one to understand. They were caused by the coming and going of tree pollen, weed pollen, grass pollen, mold, and dust mite seasons. They were also caused by what I ate. Eating something I'm allergic to causes a 2-3 day tremendous increase in symptoms. If that food made leftovers which I ate over the following week, that descent into a dark state would last a week. By then, I'd have eaten more foods I'm allergic too and started the cycle and layered more pain and symptoms on top.
Acid Reflux: This is an effect of high histamine levels.
Allergies in General
An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful.
Allergy is caused by an oversensitive immune system, which leads to a misdirected immune response. The immune system normally protects the body against harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses. In contrast, an allergic reaction is when the immune system reacts to substances (allergens) that are generally harmless and in most people do not cause an immune response.
Allergies and asthma are inflammatory conditions usually triggered by air- or food-borne pollens and chemicals called "allergens." After these allergens are absorbed into the blood (through the lungs, skin, or intestines), they cause the B cells (white blood cells) of allergy-sufferers to produce billions of molecules of the allergic antibody IgE. The IgE molecules then travel through the bloodstream until they combine to with mast cells or basophils. Mast cells (which line many blood vessels) and basophils (a type of white blood cell circulating in the bloodstream) are the main storage sites for histamine and serotonin. The IgE allergic antibody then causes the cell membranes of the mast cells/basophils to become "leaky, " allowing their storage load of histamine and serotonin to pour into the surrounding blood and tissues. The IgE-released histamine and serotonin then produce the familiar allergic symptoms of runny, swollen nose; blocked sinuses; itchy eyes; skin blotches; coughing and wheezing; etc.
The aim of the immune system is to mobilize its forces at the site of invasion and destroy the enemy. One of the ways it does this is to create protective proteins called antibodies that are specifically targeted against particular foreign substances. These antibodies, or immunoglobulins (IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD), are protective and help destroy a foreign particle by attaching to its surface, thereby making it easier for other immune cells to destroy it. The allergic person however, develops a specific type of antibody called immunoglobulin E, or IgE, in response to certain normally harmless foreign substances, such as cat dander.
IgE is an antibody that all of us have in small amounts. Allergic persons, however, produce IgE in large quantities. Normally, this antibody is important in protecting us from parasites, but not from cat dander or other allergens. During the sensitization period, cat dander IgE is being overproduced and coats certain potentially explosive cells that contain chemicals. These cells are capable of causing an allergic reaction on subsequent exposures to the dander. This is because the reaction of the cat dander with the dander IgE irritates the cells and leads to the release of various chemicals, including histamine. These chemicals, in turn, cause inflammation and the typical allergic symptoms. This is how the immune system becomes misguided and primed to cause an allergic reaction when stimulated by an allergen.
Note: IgE is also used for protection from parasites.
IgE Mediated Allergies
Immediate onset (within minutes)
Circulating half life of 1-2 days
Stimulates histamine release
Includes foods, inhalants & molds
IgG Mediated Allergies
Delayed onset (4-72 hours)
Circulating half life of 21 days
Stimulates histamine release
Includes foods, herbs & spices
In the 1930s, Rinkel first described food sensitivities that differed from the classic immediate anaphylactic reactions. The symptoms he described occurred hours or days subsequent to ingestion and could be masked or unmasked by the offending food. Rinkel's discovery has been borne out by recent research confirming that delayed-type food allergies play a primary role in the immune system's response to ingestants.
How do allergic reactions to food work?
The allergens in food are those components that are responsible for an allergic reaction. They are proteins that usually resist the heat of cooking, the acid in the stomach, and the intestinal digestive enzymes. As a result, the allergens survive to cross the gastrointestinal lining, enter the bloodstream, and go to target organs, causing allergic reactions throughout the body. The mechanism of food allergy involves the immune system and heredity.
Food allergy and sensitivity is an important, complex, and often overlooked cause of symptoms and disease. Chasing down the culprits may require the services of a doctor.
The incidence and severity of food allergies has increased dramatically during the last 15 years. Some physicians claim that food allergies are the leading cause of most undiagnosed symptoms. Others maintain that at least 60% of the American population suffers from symptoms associated with food reactions.
Theories of why the incidence has increased include:
* Increased stresses on the immune system (such as greater chemical pollution in the air, water, and food).
* Earlier weaning and earlier introduction of solid foods to infants.
* Genetic manipulation of plants resulting in food components which cross-react with normal tissues.
Causes & Development
Repeated exposure, improper digestion and compromised integrity of the intestinal barrier are all factors in the development and maintenance of food allergy.
It has been well documented that partially-digested or undigested dietary protein can cross the intestinal barrier intact and be absorbed into the blood stream. The immune system must decide how to deal with this non-self protein. Is it friend or foe? If viewed as an enemy (something that shouldn't be on the inside of the GI tract), an allergic response can occur. This reaction can be localized, systemic, or at specific distant sites.
The symptoms of allergies are the symptoms of high histamine levels. There are four known histamine receptors, and each produces it's own range of symptoms.
The Three Known Targets of High Histamines
Histamine exerts its actions by combining with specific cellular histamine receptors. The four histamine receptors that have been discovered are designated H1 through H4.
H1 histamine receptor - Found on smooth muscle, endothelium, and central nervous system tissue. Causes vasodilation, bronchoconstriction, smooth muscle activation, separation of endothelial cells (responsible for hives), and pain and itching due to insect stings; the primary receptors involved in allergic rhinitis symptoms and motion sickness.
H2 histamine receptor - Located on parietal cells. Primarily stimulate gastric acid secretion
H3 histamine receptor - Decreased neurotransmitter release: histamine, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, serotonin
H4 histamine receptor - Found primarily in the thymus, small intestine, spleen, and colon. It is also found on basophils and in the bone marrow. Unknown physiological role.
Physical Symptoms - H1 and H2 Reactions
Most allergy literature sticks to the well-known physical reactions from the H1 and H2 histamine receptors. When histamine interacts with H1 receptors, it causes the familiar allergic reaction symptoms: inflammation, asthma, sinus trouble, hives, itchy skin, congestion, watery eyes, and runny nose. Interaction with H2 receptors produce the well-documented but less well-known reaction of increasing stomach acidity producing gastric reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn and constipation. The descriptions below stick mostly to the symptoms of activation of these two histamine receptors.
• Burning eyes
• Dark circles under or around the eyes
• Difficulty swallowing
• Distraction, difficulty with concentration
• Heart palpitations
• Impaired sense of smell
• Irritability/behavioral problems
• Itchy nose and/or throat
• Itchy skin
• Joint aches
• Muscle pains
• Nasal congestion
• Nasal polyps
• Postnasal drainage (postnasal drip)
• Rapid pulse
• Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
• Ringing, popping or fullness in the ears
• Shortness of breath
• Skin Rashes
• Sleep difficulties
• Swelling (angioedema)
• Throat hoarseness
• Tingling nose
• Watery, itchy, crusty or red eyes
Signs & Symptoms
Most food reactions are delayed up to several days and are thus more difficult to identify. To further complicate matters, delayed food reactions can be cyclic or fixed in nature.
* Cyclic types account for 80+% of food allergies. A sensitivity may slowly develop by repetitive eating of a food. Avoidance for months may result in tolerance again unless eaten too frequently. Such foods may be tolerated every one to four days.
* Fixed allergies are sensitivities that occur whenever a food is eaten regardless of the time span between contacts.
Signs, symptoms & indicators of Allergy to Foods
* Childhood Allergies as a child
* Rapid pulse rate
* Abdominal Pain
* Epigastric pain - The first part of the body to react to food is often the gastrointestinal tract. Sometimes mast cells are involved in allergic reactions and release chemicals such as histamine. If the affected mast cells are in the gastrointestinal tract, a person may suffer vomiting, abdominal pain or diarrhea.
* Bloating caused by specific foods
* Moderate sneezing or frequent sneezing / attacks
* Excess mucus
* (Very) frequent stools
* Bowel movement changes
* Heart racing/palpitations
* (High) cigarette smoke sensitivity
* Craving specific foods
* Craving and eating wheat
* General flatulence
* Meal-related bloating
* (Frequent/regular) unexplained nausea
* Anal itching or anal itching at night
* Chronic fatigue for over 3 months
* Dark areas under eyes
* Bags under eyes
* A swollen tongue
* Allergic rhinitis
* Afternoon headaches
* Low energy/stamina
* Frequent colds/flus
* Spacey/unreal feelings
* Facial burning/tingling - Tingling in the face has been known to be caused by food allergies. For example, several recent cases include this and other symptoms as an allergy to barley after consuming only a small amount of beer.
* Discomfort caused by mold/mustiness
* Pain/burning behind breastbone - Wheat has been known to be a cause of esophagitis, as have other hidden food allergens.
* Chronic productive cough
* History of eczema
* (Frequent) difficulty falling asleep
* Drowsiness after meals
Conditions that suggest Allergy to Foods
* Allergic Tension Fatigue Syndrome
* Environmental Illness / Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
People with multiple chemical sensitivities often have multiple food allergies as well. While reactions to chemicals in the environment are generally quicker and more easily identified, food allergies are usually delayed, making it harder to pinpoint the offending food. People with MCS are often unaware of hidden food allergies which could be contributing to their overall allergic load.
* Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever
The ear, nose, and throat are common target organs for food allergens. Congestion or inflammation of the nose (rhinitis) may be due to airborne irritants and allergens, but food allergy may be an undiagnosed cause of this common problem.
* Picky-Eater Tendency
Food allergies are sometimes addictive in nature, requiring continued consumption of the allergenic food in order to prevent the appearance of withdrawal symptoms. However, eating the same foods over and over increases the likelihood of eventually becoming allergic to them.
* Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux
* IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
The presence of food allergy is concealed in a variety of diagnoses including irritable bowel syndrome.
* Weakened Immune System
Food allergies divert some of the immune system's resources away from preventing and dealing with illness. Thus, continuous consumption of a food which is causing symptoms weakens your immune system. A weakened immune system enables infections and cancerous growths to develop and take hold. Many patients report that they suffer from more than one symptom or illness when reintroducing a known food allergen into their diet after a period of abstinence.
* Migraine/Tension Headaches
* Edema (Water Retention)
* Bruxism (Clenching/Grinding Teeth)
Hidden food allergies may contribute to the chronic clenching of teeth.
* Muscle Pains (Myalgia)
Muscle pain can be due to food allergies. Such pains will disappear after elimination of the offending foods from the diet.
Asthma is one of the three manifestations of a pattern of allergy that is called atopy. The associated disorders are eczema and hay fever. Asthma due to allergy can come from both airborne and food sources. Patients with delayed pattern food allergy have the most severe and persistent inflammatory form of chronic asthma.
Foods and drugs are common causes of hives. A reaction that occurs immediately after ingestion of certain foods, producing hives and difficulty breathing is termed anaphalactic and is potentially dangerous. Delayed reactions are less serious but more difficult to pinpoint. Some patients get hives occasionally only when they ingest a specific food or food additive. Others develop hives as a chronic problem that can continue for years. Most studies of chronic hives suggest that only a low percentage are due to food allergy; this is usually because diet revision attempts were inadequate for revealing the hidden food causes.
When histamine comes into contact with H3 histamine receptors, it causes emotional, behavioral, and social symptoms by reducing levels of several primary neurotransmitters, including serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, and acetylcholine. These can have a profound effect on the way we think, feel, and interact with the world around us. These are less well known in relation to allergies, but can be seen by the large number of antidepressants being prescribed these days. My own reaction to Tramadol and Dextromethorphan (which raise levels of serotonin and norepinephrine back to normal) have been life-changing.
Histamine & Neurotransmitter Inhibition
Histamine H3 receptors are expressed in the central nervous system and, to a lesser extent, the peripheral nervous system, where they act as autoreceptors in presynaptic histaminergic neurons, and control histamine turnover by feedback inhibition of histamine synthesis and release as well. The H3 receptor also been shown to presynaptically inhibit the release of a number of other neurotransmitters (i.e. it acts as an inhibitory heteroreceptor) including, but probably not limited to dopamine, GABA, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, and serotonin.
Because of its ability to modulate other neurotransmitters, H3 receptor ligands are being investigated for the treatment of numerous neurological conditions, including obesity (because of the histamine/orexinergic system interaction), movement disorders (because of H3 receptor-modulation of dopamine and GABA in the basal ganglia), schizophrenia and ADHD (again because of dopamine modulation) and research is even underway as to whether H3 receptor ligands could be useful in modulating wakefulness (because of effects on noradrenaline, glutamate and histamine).
Note: It seems the higher the histamine levels, the lower are key neurotransmitter levels, including serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter essential for people to be able to experience happiness and human connection. It raises one's mood, diminished anxiety and anger, and physically warms the body.
Progress has however been made in the development of H3 receptor antagonists, notably by researchers at Abbott. A-304121, A-317920 and A-349821 have demonstrated efficacy in animal models, although species differences in receptor binding, poor blood brain barrier penetration and the potential cardiovascular adverse effects have blocked their progress. A new Abbott molecule, ABT-239, looks to be more promising. Esbenshade et al (2005) have reported that this molecule has high affinity and selectivity for human H3 receptors, good oral bioavailability and excellent blood brain barrier penetration. In a second paper Fox et al (2005) report the activity of ABT-239 in various rodent models.
Note: This is very interesting. While the effects of Tramadol and Dextromethorphan do great good to me by increasing serotonin and norephinephrine, a drug such as this would stop histamine from turning down the levels of these neurotransmitters in the first place. THEN AGAIN, an antagonist of H3 would also stop histamine from being quietted down, which is one effect I'm quite glad to have.
In the central nervous system, serotonin is believed to play an important role as a neurotransmitter, in the regulation of anger, aggression, body temperature, mood, sleep, vomiting, sexuality, and appetite.
In addition, serotonin is also a peripheral signal mediator. For instance, serotonin is found extensively in the human gastrointestinal tract (about 90%), and the major storage place is platelets in the blood stream.
Recent research suggests that serotonin plays an important role in liver regeneration and acts as a mitogen (induces cell division) throughout the body...
Low levels of serotonin may be associated with several disorders, namely increase in aggressive and angry behaviors, clinical depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), migraine, irritable bowel syndrome, tinnitus, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders.
Because not much is mentioned in allergy circles about the emotional, behavioral, and social symptoms of being in a state of high histamine, many people in alternative medicine have stepped forward to describe this state using the term Histadelia (meaning high histamine). Those sources provides a wealth of information on these effects, which match the effects of low serotonin levels (for one) and they match my own experience very well. As I go into an allergic reaction, these symptoms become worse and worse, and as the reaction fades, so do these symptoms. Antihistamines keep the level of these symptoms lower than they would otherwise be, as do medications which rebalance the neurotransmitters involved.
Unlike Histadelia, which is a constant state of high histamine levels, those with allergies have histamine levels that range up and down depending on exposure to allergens. Those with a large number of allergies probably live a lot of the time in a Histadelic state, such that their personality is often associated with these symptoms.
You wont find Histadelia mentioned in many of the more scientific sources out there, including MayoClinic.com, WebMD.com, the National Library of Medicine, or even Wikipedia. The scientific community seem to prefer to look at it as schizophrenia caused by very low or very high histamine levels, which is what we'll look at after this section.
Individuals with high-histamine levels may be due to a metabolic imbalance that results from under-methylation. As a consequence, these individuals overproduce and retain excessive levels of histamine. Histamine is a substance in the body that has wide ranging effects. There are receptors for histamine in the brain, stomach, skin, lungs, mucus membranes, blood vessels, etc. For some individuals, high levels of blood histamine (called histadelia) have psychological, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms.
Many patients with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, "oppositional-defiant disorder," or seasonal depression are under-methylated, which is associated with low serotonin levels. Often with inhalant allergies, frequent headaches, perfectionism, competitiveness and other distinctive symptoms and traits. Tend to be very low in calcium, magnesium, methionine, and vitamin B-6 with excessive levels of folic acid. People with histadelics have a positive effect from SSRIs and other serotonin-enhancing medications (Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.) because methylation is a step in the manufacture of mood stabilizing neurotransmitters. Unfortunately, histadelics often have nasty side effects with these medications.
Histamine excess can be manifest as asthma, vasomotor rhinitis, allergic skin disorders with pruritis, excess stomach acid production (acts as a gastric hormone to stimulate flow of HCl), saliva, tears, and thin nasal and bronchial secretions, and certain types of vascular headaches. This is the basis of anti-histamine medications. Excessive histamine results because of the inadequate methylation in liver detoxification. Histamine opposes adrenalin in its effects and as expected fatigue occurs just as it occurs in adrenal exhaustion.
Note: This says that the low serotonin levels are caused by under-methylation, which also produces high histamine levels. Whether this is true or not I dont know, but we do know that low serotonin levels can be brought about as a result of histamine interacting with H3.
Histadelia, more common in males, is characterized by elevated blood levels of histamine. It is estimated that 15-20% of schizophrenics are probably histadelic.
This is a disorder, prominent in males, of too much histamine in the blood, as opposed to histapenia in which case there is too little.
Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms include hyperactivity, compulsions, obsessions, inner tensions, blank mind episodes, phobias, chronic depression, and strong suicidal tendencies. Physical signs can include little tolerance for pain, rapid metabolism, lean build, profuse sweating, seasonal allergies, and frequent colds.
Symptoms Info Excess mucus Histamine can cause additional mucus production. Good tolerance of cold Poor tolerance of heat Unexplained nausea Poor pain tolerance Excess / abundant saliva in mouth Hyperactivity Histamine speeds up metabolism producing a tendency towards hyperactivity. Frequent colds / flus Phobias Being highly motivated Those with elevated histamine (histadelics) tend to work compulsively. A hard-driving personality Histadelics tend to work compulsively. Good creativity / imagination Histadelics are often highly creative. Strong sexual desire Joint pain / swelling / stiffness Excess perspiration Warm skin Allergic Rhinitis / Hay Fever Depression Histadelics are often chronically and suicidally depressed. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Histadelics are often prone to obsessions, compulsions, and addictions. Addictions / Addictive Tendencies Nutritional treatment for drug and alcohol users will depend on the results of a test for blood histamine levels. In one series of such analysis, all users proved to have high histamine levels, leading the scientist to conclude that this abnormality - with its impact on brain function - is a major force in creating addiction. Headaches Insomnia The overarousal seen in histadelia may contribute to insomnia. Muscle Pains (Myalgia) Skeletal Slender fingers / toes Histadelics often have long fingers and toes.
Histadelic depressives have a particular imbalanced amino-acid cycle, which results in low levels of serotonin and elevated histamine. Histadelics often exhibit obsessive-compulsive tendencies, perfectionism, seasonal allergies, easy tears, high libido, and headaches. They have addictive tendencies with a high incidence of alcoholism, drug abuse, anorexia, and bulimia. They often are diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder which is most serious during Fall and Winter. The decisive chemical test for this condition is whole blood histamine.
Note: Another alternate explanation for high histamine, but with the same symptoms.
Histadelia represents the chemical antithesis of histapenia in that it involves elevated blood histamine. This condition (involving about 20 percent of schizophrenics) is characterized by delusions, severe depression, obsessive/compulsive behavior, and blank-mindedness, and often results in a diagnosis of schizo-affective disorder.
Allergy-Triggered "Simple Schizophrenia"
The results of H3 histamine reaction as a result of allergies is still coming into focus. While alternative medicine calls it histadelia, mainstream science calls it, somewhat inaccurately, schizophrenia. First things first - don't be scared off by the term schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is used to describe a surprisingly wide variety of mental states (as you will see), and is often criticized for this very reason. Hollywood often mistakenly portrays schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder, but the two have nothing in common. What we're describing here adds nothing new except a name used in psychiatry, which we can use to find out more information.
Schizophrenia was known for a long time before it was new discoveries that showed that about 50% of schizophrenics have very high or low levels of histamine. With treatments that bring histamine levels back to normal, people suffering histamine-based schizophrenia were able to recover from their illness.
The schizophrenia related to high histamine levels (or histadelia) is, from what I can tell, known as "simple schizophrenia" - one that lacks the well-known delusional symptoms and focuses on what are called the "negative" symptoms - which are those related to suppression (or negating) of normal traits.
From my own experiences, it appears that at periods of high histamine levels, I go into what I would call Allergy-Triggered Simple Schizophrenia which is emotional deadness, flat affect, poverty of speech, inability to feel pleasure, lack of motivation, depression and impairment of social cognition. Low-level obsessive behavior is sometimes a result of these high histamine episodes, too.
The symptoms are such a departure from the classic schizophrenia, and completely lacking in any positive symptoms (aside from mild obsessive-compulsive behavior) that it should really be considered something else entirely. Since the literature has yet to come up with a better term, and is full of connections using the old term, I've included some of the information.
The following describes the broad definition of schizophrenia.
Positive and negative symptoms
Schizophrenia is often described in terms of positive (or productive) and negative (or deficit) symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, auditory hallucinations , and thought disorder, and are typically regarded as manifestations of psychosis. Negative symptoms are so-named because they are considered to be the loss or absence of normal traits or abilities, and include features such as flat or blunted affect and emotion, poverty of speech (alogia), anhedonia, and lack of motivation (avolition). Despite the appearance of blunted affect, recent studies indicate that there is often a normal or even heightened level of emotionality in Schizophrenia especially in response to stressful or negative events. A third symptom grouping, the disorganization syndrome, is commonly described, and includes chaotic speech, thought, and behaviour. There is evidence for a number of other symptom classifications.
Historically, schizophrenia in the West was classified into simple, catatonic , hebephrenic (now known as disorganized), and paranoid. The DSM contains five sub-classifications of schizophrenia:
* paranoid type: where delusions and hallucinations are present but thought disorder, disorganized behavior, and affective flattening are absent (DSM code 295.3/ICD code F20.0)
* disorganized type: named 'hebephrenic schizophrenia' in the ICD. Where thought disorder and flat affect are present together (DSM code 295.1/ICD code F20.1)
* catatonic type: prominent psychomotor disturbances are evident. Symptoms can include catatonic stupor and waxy flexibility (DSM code 295.2/ICD code F20.2)
* undifferentiated type: psychotic symptoms are present but the criteria for paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic types have not been met (DSM code 295.9/ICD code F20.3)
* residual type: where positive symptoms are present at a low intensity only (DSM code 295.6/ICD code F20.5)
The ICD-10 recognises a further two subtypes:
* post-schizophrenic depression: a depressive episode arising in the aftermath of a schizophrenic illness where some low-level schizophrenic symptoms may still be present (ICD code F20.4)
* simple schizophrenia: insidious but progressive development of prominent negative symptoms with no history of psychotic episodes (ICD code F20.6 )
This following is ALL very good:
What is histamine and why is it so important? Carl Pfeiffer studied more than 20,000 people with schizophrenia and determined that 90% of them fell into three bio-chemical subgroups: high histamine, low histamine, and pyrroluria - hence the term "The Schizophrenia's" (Pfeiffer, 1970; Walsh, 1997b). Histamine is integral in balancing the electrical activity of the nucleus accumbens, which is an area of the brain responsible for behavioral responses, filtering incoming sensory information, and communicating with the hypothalamus, ventral tegmentum, and amygdala (Shoblock & O'Donnell, 2000; Otake & Nakamura, 2000; Chronister et al, 1982).
A plethora of research has determined that people with schizophrenia have poor ability to filter incoming sensory information. It has also been reported that 15-20 % of people with schizophrenia have high whole blood histamine levels and another 30-40 % of people with schizophrenia have low whole blood histamine levels (Heleniak, 1999; Pfeiffer, 1988; Heleniak, 1985; Chronister & DeFrance, 1982; Rauscher et al, 1977; Pfeiffer, 1972a).
A person with schizophrenia who has high histamine is under-methylated (Walsh, PTC- Ref. B; Heleniak & Frechen, 1989). A person with schizophrenia who has low histamine is over-methylated (Walsh, PTC- Ref.B; Heleniak & Frechen, 1989).
Taking detailed patient histories is key (Jackson et al, 1998; Edelman, 1996; Jaffe & Kruesi, 1992; Pfeiffer, 1988; Walsh, PTC- Ref.B). People with high histamine have been found with typical symptoms of high intelligence, thought blanking, low grade hallucinations and thought disorder, perfectionism, competitiveness, obsessions, compulsions, suicidal and seasonal depression, defiance, and phobia. High histamine individuals have low serotonin levels and therefore usually benefit from drugs that increase serotonin such as Zoloft, Prozac, and Paxil (Walsh, PTC- Ref.B). High histamine individuals typically have a history of seasonal allergies.
High histamine individuals are inherently high in folic acid. Although folic acid is used along with B-12 in the production of methionine it is also involved in histamine production along with B-12. Consequently B-12 and folic acid are strictly avoided in high histamine patient care. These patients need to avoid multi-vitamins.
People with low histamine have been found with typical symptoms of under-achievement, more severe thought disorder and hallucinations, paranoid thoughts with less pronounced obsessions, suicidal depression, cyclic or suicidal depression, and anxiety (Jackson et al, 1998; Edelman, 1996; Jaffe & Kruesi, 1992; Pfeiffer, 1988; Walsh, PTC- Ref.B).
Excess copper and zinc deficiency, discussed below under heavy-metal overload, are typical low histamine traits that need to be adressed (Sandstead, 1994; Wallwork, 1987; Pfeiffer & Braverman, 1982; Walsh, PTC- Ref.B).
Abandoning the Term: Schizophrenia
Diagnostic issues and controversies
Schizophrenia as a diagnostic entity has been criticised as lacking in scientific validity or reliability, part of a larger criticism of the validity of psychiatric diagnoses in general. One alternative suggests that the issues with the diagnosis would be better addressed as individual dimensions along which everyone varies, such that there is a spectrum or continuum rather than a cut-off between normal and ill. This approach appears consistent with research on schizotypy and of a relatively high prevalence of psychotic experiences and often non-distressing delusional beliefs amongst the general public.
Another criticism is that the definitions used for criteria lack consistency; this is particularly relevant to the evaluation of delusions and thought disorder. More recently, it has been argued that psychotic symptoms are not a good basis for making a diagnosis of schizophrenia as "psychosis is the 'fever' of mental illness — a serious but nonspecific indicator".
Perhaps because of these factors, studies examining the diagnosis of schizophrenia have typically shown relatively low or inconsistent levels of diagnostic reliability. Most famously, David Rosenhan's 1972 study, published as On being sane in insane places, demonstrated that the diagnosis of schizophrenia was (at least at the time) often subjective and unreliable. More recent studies have found agreement between any two psychiatrists when diagnosing schizophrenia tends to reach about 65% at best. This, and the results of earlier studies of diagnostic reliability (which typically reported even lower levels of agreement) have led some critics to argue that the diagnosis of schizophrenia should be abandoned...
In 2006, campaigners in the UK, under the banner of Campaign for Abolition of the Schizophrenia Label, argued for a similar rejection of the diagnosis of schizophrenia and a different approach to the treatment and understanding of the symptoms currently associated with it
Symptoms of Low Serotonin
We can also look directly at the effects of H3 receptor activation, which is the reduction of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, GABA, and acetylcholine.
Serotonin, first isolated in 1933, is the neurotransmitter that has been identified in multiple psychiatric disorders including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder (nose doesn't look perfect after ten surgeries), social anxiety, phobias, etc. Serotonin is a major regulator and is involved in bodily processes such as sleep, libido (sexual interest), body temperature, and other areas.
When we find ourselves living in a high stress situation for a prolonged period of time, we use more Serotonin than is normally replaced. Imagine a list of your pressures, responsibilities, difficulties and environmental issues (difficult job, bad marriage, poor housing, rough neighborhood, etc.). Prolonged exposure to such a high level of stress gradually lowers our Serotonin level. As we continue to "hang on" we develop symptoms of a severe stress-produced depression.
When Serotonin is low, we experience problems with concentration and attention. We become scatterbrained and poorly organized. Routine responsibilities now seem overwhelming. It takes longer to do things because of poor planning. We lose our car keys and put odd things in the refrigerator. We call people and forget why we called or go to the grocery and forget what we needed. We tell people the same thing two or three times.
When Serotonin is moderately low, we have the following symptoms and behaviors:
· Chronic fatigue. Despite sleeping extra hours and naps, we remain tired. There is a sense of being "worn out"
· Sleep disturbance, typically we can't go to sleep at night as our mind/thought is racing. Patients describe this as "My mind won't shut up!" Early-morning awakening is also common, typically at 4:00 am, at which point returning to sleep is difficult, again due to the racing thoughts.
· Appetite disturbance is present, usually in two types. We experience a loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss or a craving for sweets and carbohydrates when the brain is trying to make more Serotonin.
· Total loss of sexual interest is present. In fact, there is loss of interest in everything, including those activities and interests that have been enjoyed in the past.
· Social withdrawal is common – not answering the phone, rarely leaving the house/apartment, we stop calling friends and family, and we withdraw from social events.
· Emotional sadness and frequent crying spells are common.
· Self-esteem and self-confidence are low.
· Body sensations, due to Serotonin's role as a body regulator, include hot flushes and temperature changes, headaches, and stomach distress.
· Loss of personality – a sense that our sense of humor has left and our personality has changed.
· We begin to take everything very personally. Comments, glances, and situations are viewed personally and negatively. If someone speaks to you, it irritates you. If they don't speak, you become angry and feel ignored.
· Your family will have the sense that you have "faded away". You talk less, smile less, and sit for hours without noticing anyone.
· Your behavior becomes odd. Family members may find you sitting in the dark in the kitchen at 4:00 am.
When Serotonin is severely low, you will experience some if not all of the following:
· Thinking speed will increase. You will have difficulty controlling your own thoughts. The brain will focus on torturing memories and you'll find it difficult to stop thinking about these uncomfortable memories or images.
· You'll become emotionally numb! You wouldn't know how you feel about your life, marriage, job, family, future, significant other, etc. It's as though all feelings have been turned off. Asked by others how you feel – your response might be "I don't know!"
· Outbursts will begin, typically two types. Crying outbursts will surface, suddenly crying without much warning. Behavioral outbursts will also surface. If you break the lead in a pencil, you throw the pencil across the room. Temper tantrums may surface. You may storm out of offices or public places.
· Escape fantasies will begin. The most common – Hit the Road! The brain will suggest packing up your personal effects and leaving the family and community.
· Memory torture will begin. Your brain, thinking at 100 miles an hour, will search your memories for your most traumatic or unpleasant experiences. You will suddenly become preoccupied with horrible experiences that may have happened ten, twenty, or even thirty years ago. You will relive the death of loved ones, divorce, childhood abuse – whatever the brain can find to torture you with – you'll feel like it happened yesterday.
· You'll have Evil Thoughts. New mothers may have thoughts about smothering their infants. Thoughts of harming or killing others may appear. You may be tortured by images/pictures in your memory. It's as though the brain finds your most uncomfortable weak spot, then terrorizes you with it.
· With Serotonin a major bodily regulator, when Serotonin is this low your body becomes unregulated. You'll experience changes in body temperature, aches/pains, muscle cramps, bowel/bladder problems, smothering sensations, etc. The "Evil Thoughts" then tell you those symptoms are due to a terminal disease. Depressed folks never have gas – it's colon cancer. A bruise is leukemia.
· You'll develop a Need-for-Change Panic. You'll begin thinking a change in lifestyle (Midlife Crisis!), a divorce, an extramarital affair, a new job, or a Corvette will change your mood. About 70 percent of jobs are lost at this time as depressed individuals gradually fade away from their life. Most extramarital affairs occur at this time.
· As low Serotonin levels are related to obsessive-compulsive disorders, you may find yourself starting to count things, become preoccupied with germs/disease, excessively worry that appliances are turned off or doors locked, worry that televisions must be turned off on an even-numbered channel, etc. You may develop rituals involving safety and counting. One auto assembly plant worker began believing his work would curse automobiles if their serial number, when each number was added, didn't equal an even number.
· Whatever normal personality traits, quirks, or attitudes you have, they will suddenly be increased three-fold. A perfectionist will suddenly become anxiously overwhelmed by the messiness of their environment or distraught over leaves that fall each minute to land on the lawn. Penny-pinchers will suddenly become preoccupied with the electric and water consumption in the home.
· A "trigger" event may produce bizarre behavior. Already moderately low in Serotonin, an animal bite or scratch may make you suddenly preoccupied with rabies. A media story about the harmful effects of radiation may make you remember a teenage tour of the local nuclear power plant – suddenly feeling all your symptoms are now the result of exposure to radiation.
Serotonin deficiency signs/symptoms:
* Obsessive compulsive tendency
* Think about the same things over & over again
* Self destructive or suicidal thoughts/plans
* Low self esteem/confidence
* Rage/anger/explosive behavior/assaultive
* Sleep problems/light sleeper
* Feel worse in & dislike dark weather
* Crave sugar/carbohydrates/alcohol/marijuana
o Use these substances to improve mood & relax
* Chronic pain ( e.g. headaches, backaches, fibromyalgia)
* Antidepressants or 5-HTP improve mood
* Family history of depression/anxiety/OCD/eating disorders
Low Serotonin Level
• Having a CFS diagnosis
• Having a fibromyalgia diagnosis
• Emotional instability
• Being a light sleeper
• Migraine/Tension Headaches
• Depression - Serotonin levels can dictate if you feel depressed or not. Antidepressant medications like Paxil, Zoloft, St. John's Wort, and Prozac work by preventing serotonin destruction and loss. These antidepressants inhibit serotonin uptake (or reuptake) by the neurons in the brains. Low serotonin levels cause depression.
• Serotonin levels are often low among people with anxiety disorders.
• Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Although the exact cause is not known, experts believe that OCD may be caused by low levels of a chemical in the brain called serotonin.
• Sugar craving
• Bulimic Tendency
• Problems Caused By Being Overweight
• Restless Leg Syndrome
• Inability to recover from alcoholism or being a recovering alcoholic
What causes Migraine Headache?
Considerable evidence supports an association between migraine headache and instability of blood vessels. The mechanism of migraine can be described as a three-stage process: initiation, prodrome (time between initiation and appearance of headache), and headache. Although a particular stressor may be associated with the onset of a specific attack, it appears that initiation is dependent on the accumulation of several stressors over time. These stressors ultimately affect serotonin metabolism. Once a critical point of susceptibility (or threshold) is reached, a "cascade event" is initiated that sets in process a domino-like effect that ultimately produces a headache. Food allergies, histamine-releasing foods, alcohol (especially red wine), stress, hormonal changes ( e.g., menstruation, ovulation, birth-control pills) and weather changes especially barometric pressure changes are examples of some common triggers of migraines.
What dietary factors are important in Migraine Headache?
Food allergy or sensitivity plays a primary role in many cases of tension and migraine headaches. Many double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated that the detection and removal of allergenic foods will eliminate or greatly reduce headache symptoms in the majority of patients. Food allergy/intolerance induces a migraine attack largely as a result of platelets releasing serotonin and histamine. In addition, foods such as aged cheeses, beer, canned figs, chicken liver, chocolate, food additives, pickled fish, the pods of broad beans, wine, and Brewer's yeast contain histamine, tyramine and/or other compounds that can trigger migraines in sensitive individuals by causing blood vessels to expand. Red wine is much more likely than white wine to cause a headache because it contains higher levels of phenols and 20-to-200 times as much histamine.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) has been shown to be as effective as drug therapy, but may be safer. 5-HTP is the direct building block for serotonin. Because migraine sufferers have low levels of serotonin in their tissues, this led researchers to refer to migraine as a "low-serotonin syndrome." Low serotonin levels are thought to lead to a decrease in the pain threshold in patients with chronic headaches. This contention is strongly supported by over thirty-five years of research, including positive clinical results in double-blind studies with the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). The recommended dosage is 50 to 100 mg daily in adults and 5 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight in children.
Symptoms of Low Norepinephrine
Low levels of norepinephrine are associated with a loss of alertness, poor memory, and depression. Norepinephrine appears to be the neurotransmitter of "arousal" and for that reason, lower-than-normal levels of this neurotransmitter produce below-average levels of arousal and interest, a symptom found in several psychiatric conditions including depression and ADHD. It is for this reason that medications for depression and ADHD often target both dopamine and norepinephrine in an attempt to restore both to normal level.
Note: While I've put a lot of attention into serotonin, norepiniephrine is also a neutransmitter diminished by histamine, and I certainly feel these effects as well.
Symptoms of Low Dopamine
Dopamine in the thinking areas of the brain might be considered the neurotransmitter of focus and attending. Low levels impair our ability to focus on our environment or to “lock on” to tasks, activities, or conversations. Low levels of Dopamine make concentration and focus very difficult with low levels also associated with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Symptoms of Low GABA
Low levels of GABA are associated with Bipolar Disorder, Mania. With GABA levels below average, the brain is too stimulated. We begin talking rapidly, staying up for days at a time, and develop wild and grandiose ideas. In a Manic state, we are so “high” and out of control that social problems are quick to develop, often due to hypersexuality, excessive spending, reckless decisions, risk-taking behavior, and grandiose ideas. We may feel so good that we think we are a heavenly spirit, an intellectual genius, or possessing extraordinary powers. I personally had one patient who locked himself in his mobile home and spent one week rewriting the New Testament in “hillbilly”. Another, with limited education, began purchasing books on the Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein, sensing he may be able to use the information to invent “warp drive”.
Low levels of GABA are also associated with problems of poor impulse control, including clinical conditions such as gambling, temper tantrums, and stealing. When GABA is low in the brain, impulsive behaviors are not inhibited (stopped) by logical or reasonable thinking.
Symptoms of Low Acetylcholine
I had a hard time finding information on low acetylcholine, except the following, which associates it with muscle weakness and fatigue.
ACh Receptor Agonists are used to treat myasthenia gravis and Alzheimer's disease.
The disease myasthenia gravis, characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue....
A New Social Archetype
Incidence of allergies in the world have been on the rise for decades, as are symptoms that are likely related to the neurological effects of high histamine levels - depression, ADHD, OCD, and several others. Use of antidepressants is rising, as well, and it is likely much of this is a result of the rising allergy levels and lack of awareness or treatment for the emotional/behavioral H3 receptor reactions that go along with it. These problems are prevalent enough to be shaping society, and have produced a new stereotype.
Look again at the symptoms of high histamine levels: excess mucus, excess saliva, excess perspiration, frequent colds, phobias, being highly motivated, compulsive working, perfectionist, good creativity and imagination, strong sexual desire, joint pain, runny nose, depression, headaches, muscle pain, poor pain tolerance, slender fingers and toes, hyperactivity, and social isolation.
Are you starting to get the picture? Have you known anyone who fits this description? Physically, this person is thin with bony fingers. He is sniffling, sweaty, often sick, and more often than not male. He is competitive, motivated, hard-working perfectionist, who excels at school. His headaches, allergies, low pain threshhold, and joint pain make him uninterested in sports and physical activity. He is creative and enjoys fantasy such as video games, comics, or role playing games. Yet his fears, depression, hyperactivity, and OCD behavior make him antisocial. He has a high sex drive but is too awkward to form relationships.
You probably know several people like this. People with these characteristics are called nerds, dweebs, and geeks in high school. They are awkward, unpopular, and not physically active, but really smart and good at difficult but logical subjects.
During my first allergy episode, I went from a fairly popular class clown to someone who had difficulties in social situations. I became obsessed with a video game and played it ceaselessly. After the years of allergy shots I became much more social and outgoing again. And now, in this new, far worse allergic crisis, the same has happened again. In the last few years I have found myself shying from social engagements because it's hard to interact with people, and I am obsessed with a new video game.
Like baldness, height and eye color, the capacity to become allergic is an inherited characteristic. Yet, although you may be born with the genetic capability to become allergic, you are not automatically allergic to specific allergens. Several factors must be present for allergic sensitivity to be developed:
• The specific genes acquired from parents.
• The exposure to one or more allergens to which you have a genetically programmed response.
• The degree and length of exposure.
• Allergies seem to have some link to heredity. (If both your parents have them, it's more likely you'll develop them.)
• There is some belief that babies, who are not breastfed, are more predisposed to developing allergies.
• A depressed immune system can encourage the development of allergies.
Food allergies and 'leaky gut'
The most common cause of multiple food allergies, according to many allergies experts, is having a 'leaky gut' - increased intestinal permeability. Small openings can develop in the lining of the intestine, which allow large molecules of undigested or incompletely digested foods to enter the bloodstream.
The liver is the main organ inside the human body whose function is to process substances which are "foreign" to our body and to make them "friendly". If the quantity of incompletely digested foods which enters the bloodstream is too great for the liver to 'clear' almost immediately, the immune system then recognizes these molecules as being foreign to the body and produces antibodies against them.
When the food is eaten again and again and passes into the bloodstream undigested or only partially digested, the antibodies bind with the food. These antibody-food complexes can travel through the bloodstream to any part of the body where they then cause problems.
There are many causes of 'leaky gut'. Babies for example are born with higher intestinal permeability than older children or adults. Therefore, ideally infants should consume only breast milk for the first several months of life and other foods should be introduced cautiously. If breast feeding is not possible, a completely hydrolyzed formula such as "Nutramigen" should be used because it is already broken down into simple sugars, free amino acids, and other very small units. Cow’s milk is highly allergenic and should not be given to babies. Neither should soy formula.
Internal factors in a patient's body can cause or contribute to a leaky gut. These include nutritional deficiencies, inflammatory bowel disease, poor digestion, and food allergies. There is a vicious cycle involved with these internal factors since the leaky gut also causes them or contributes to their severity.
Finally, unfriendly organisms present in the digestive tract can cause increased intestinal permeability. These infections can involve protozoan parasites, yeasts such as Candida albicans, bacteria which are conventionally considered “pathogens” such as Salmonella or an overgrowth of bacteria usually considered nonpathogenic, such as Klebsiella or Pseudomonas. Hence the importance of maintaining a healthy intestinal flora.
Parasitic infestations are on the increase because of changes in our lifestyles which have occurred over the last few decades. International travel is now commonplace. If you are not a traveler, the world and its parasites will come to you, brought in by imported produce from countries where sanitation is sub-standard.
A common cause of bacterial or fungal problems in the intestine is often the repeated or long term use of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill both the bacteria you want them to kill AND the 'friendly' bacteria in the intestine. This leaves these areas open to be colonized by unfriendly bacteria, yeast, and parasites.
Alcoholic beverages, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs - NSAIDs - (aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen, prescription arthritis medications, etc) cause increased intestinal permeability and can compound the problem of 'leaky gut' and contribute to food allergies..
Note: During the period when my symptoms got really really bad, I was taking 4 Advil or Aleve every day for several months. I am fairly confident this led to enough intestinal permeability, and is likely the cause of my food allergies.
Organophosphates & Allergies
I include this section because when I was growing up, I probably ingested tons of organophosphates. I lived in a rural area, literally surrounded on all sides by sod fields which were regularly sprayed with organophosphates. Our water source was a well.
The central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system communicate bidirectionally, and cholinergic agents modulate the immune system. Organophosphates, such as the nerve gas sarin, are powerful irreversible inhibitors of cholinesterases (ChEs) and might cause neurotoxicity, seizures, and death. Because of the ease and low cost of production, sarin gas is a tool of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist groups and rogue nations. Even a subclinical dose of sarin causes subtle changes in the brain. Increasing evidence suggests that the major health effects of sarin are primarily through its effects on the central nervous system (CNS). Although unsubstantiated, subclinical exposure of Gulf War veterans to sarin has been implicated in the development of the Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). Interestingly, the symptoms of GWS are similar to diseases that result from impaired immune/inflammatory responses and include muscle fatigue, general malaise, myalgia, impaired cognition, ataxia, headaches, fever, joint pain, skin rash, gastrointestinal and sleep disturbances, and respiratory difficulties. Our preliminary experiments show that repeated exposure to low doses of sarin (0.2-0.4 mg/m 3 ) for 5 days suppressed T cell proliferation to mitogens and antigens and inhibited the T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-induced rise in intracellular Ca 2+ concentration.
Cholinesterase is an enzyme which catalyzes the hydrolysis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine into choline and acetic acid, a reaction necessary to allow a cholinergic neuron to return to its resting state after activation.
Fungal Infections & Chronic Sinusitis
Mayo Clinic Study Implicates Fungus As Cause Of Chronic Sinusitis
Sept. 10, 1999
"We can now begin to treat the cause of the problem instead of the symptoms"
ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Mayo Clinic researchers say they have found the cause of most chronic sinus infections -- an immune system response to fungus. They say this discovery opens the door to the first effective treatment for this problem, the most common chronic disease in the United States.
An estimated 37 million people in the United States suffer from chronic sinusitis, an inflammation of the membranes of the nose and sinus cavity. Its incidence has been increasing steadily over the last decade. Common symptoms are runny nose, nasal congestion, loss of smell and headaches. Frequently the chronic inflammation leads to polyps, small growths in the nasal passages which hinder breathing.
"Up to now, the cause of chronic sinusitis has not been known," say the Mayo researchers: Drs. David Sherris, Eugene Kern and Jens Ponikau , Mayo Clinic ear, nose and throat specialists. Their report appears in the September issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
"Fungus allergy was thought to be involved in less than ten percent of cases," says Dr. Sherris. "Our studies indicate that, in fact, fungus is likely the cause of nearly all of these problems. And it is not an allergic reaction, but an immune reaction."
The researchers studied 210 patients with chronic sinusitis. Using new methods of collecting and testing mucus from the nose, they discovered fungus in 96 percent of the patients' mucus. They identified a total of 40 different kinds of fungi in these patients, with an average of 2.7 kinds per patient.
In a subset of 101 patients who had surgery to remove nasal polyps, the researchers found eosinophils (a type of white blood cell activated by the body's immune system) in the nasal tissue and mucus of 96 percent of the patients.
The results, the researchers say, clearly portray a disease process in which, in sensitive individuals, the body's immune system sends eosinophils to attack fungi and the eosinophils irritate the membranes in the nose. As long as fungi remain, so will the irritation.
"This a potential breakthrough that offers great hope for the millions of people who suffer from this problem," says Dr. Kern. "We can now begin to treat the cause of the problem instead of the symptoms."
More research is underway at Mayo Clinic to confirm that the immune response to the fungus is the cause of the sinus inflammation. The researchers are also working with pharmaceutical companies to set up trials to test medications to control the fungus. They estimate that it will be at least two years before a treatment will be widely available.
The researchers distinguish chronic sinusitis -- sinusitis that lasts three months or longer -- from acute sinusitis, which lasts a month or less. They say that the cause of the acute condition is usually a bacterial infection.
Antibiotics and over-the-counter decongestants are widely used to treat chronic sinusitis. In most cases, antibiotics are not effective for chronic sinusitis because they target bacteria, not fungi. The over-the-counter drugs may offer some relief of symptoms, but they have no effect on the inflammation.
"Medications haven't worked for chronic sinusitis because we didn't know what the cause of the problem was," says Dr. Ponikau. "Finally we are on the trail of a treatment that may actually work."
Thousands of kinds of single-cell fungi (molds and yeasts) are found everywhere in the world. Fungal spores (the reproductive part of the organism) become airborne like pollen. Some people develop allergies to fungi. The new evidence from the Mayo study suggests that many people also develop a different kind of immune system response.
Note: It seems from what I read that it was found that most people have fungi in their sinuses, which seemed to cast doubt on this as a source of the problem.
Similarly to the theory of immune dysfunction, some doctors believe that CFS patients suffer from immune dysfunction caused by exposure to allergens, ranging from food allergies or food intolerances (see below) to pollen and dander allergies. However, this theory fails to explain the many reported and documented cluster outbreaks of CFS, and is therefore not taken seriously by leading researchers in the field. Instead, severe allergies may occasionally cause CFS-like symptoms, or patients with CFS may develop additional problems with allergies or food intolerances, which is common. However, there is no evidence that allergies are at the root of CFS...
Allergy identification and treatment
In cases where CFS-like symptoms may be caused by allergies, enzyme deficiencies or food intolerance, such as chronic sinusitis , coeliac disease, or irritable bowel syndrome, allergy testing, treatments, or elimination diets may prove beneficial. Since some CFS patients show decreased immune response or symptoms of MLS, pre-existing mild allergies may increase to harmful levels after CFS onset. Some studies suggest that a form of CFS may be triggered by a rare reaction to dental metals. Tests in Sweden showed that 76% of CFS patients who tested positive to metal allergy and swapped metal fillings for ceramic substitute achieved partial or full health improvement. Metal allergy can be detected by a blood test named MELISA...
A study found that while exercise worsened symptoms in CFS patients, it also increased allergen challenge response only in the CFS group, regardless of allergy status.
CFS is defined as six months of fatigue that interferes with daily functioning with no other disease being identified. (Depending on the way CFS is defined, between 13 and 300 people in every 100,000 have the disease.) Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, muscle and joint aches, cognitive problems, headaches and sleep difficulties followed by an increase of symptoms 24 hours after exercise.
Researchers have looked at a number of chemical changes in the body as a signal of CFS, but Dr. Jones found that "the only consistent finding is allergy." Seventy-five percent of people with CFS have allergies; 10 to 20 percent of the general population has allergies.
Given the association between CFS and allergies, there is a strong possibility that allergies are essential to the pathology of CFS. Not only do patients with CFS present with positive skin tests to allergens, but they also have elevated levels of circulating eosinophilic cationic proteins compared with healthy subjects.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has been closely tied to immune system dysfunctions that trigger hypersensitivity to food and environmental allergens.[1,2] Because a constant, sensitized immune response can provoke chronic and disabling symptoms of fatigue, CFS patients typically display a much higher prevalence of allergy.[3,4] In fact, studies have found that simply having a history of allergy/asthma significantly increases the likelihood that individual will eventually develop chronic fatigue.
1 Dechene L. Chronic fatigue syndrome: influence of histamine, hormones and electrolytes. Med Hypotheses 1993;40(1):55-60.
2 Conti F, Magrini L, Priori R, Valesini G, Bonini S. Allergy 1996;51(2):124-7.
3 Straus SE, Dale JK, Wright R, Metcalfe DD. Allergy and the chronic fatigue syndrome. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1988;81(5 Pt 1):791-5.
4 Matsumoto Y, Ninomiya S. Allergy among Japanese patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. Arerugi 1992;41(12):1722-5.
5 Bell KM, Cookfair D, Bell DS, Reese P, Cooper L. Risk factors associated with chronic fatigue syndrome in a cluster of pediatric cases. Rev Infect Dis 1991;(13 Suppl 1):S32-8.
The close association between atopy and CFS led us to speculate that CFS may arise from an abnormal psychologic response to the disordered expression of these proinflammatory and antiinflammatory cytokines. Psychologic variables were predictive of immune status within the CFS sample (65.9% of the variance in immune status; F (3,10) = 6.44, P < .05). Specifically, the absence of a personality disorder but greater endorsement of global psychiatric symptoms was predictive of immune activation. CONCLUSIONS: Most of our subjects with CFS were allergic, and the CFS and allergy cohorts were similar in terms of their immune status.
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a syndrome of uncertain etiopathogenesis characterized by disabling fatigue associated with a variable number of somatic and/or neuropsychologic symptoms. In patients with CFS, several immunologic abnormalities can be detected, including a higher prevalance of allergy. The aim of this study was to determine whether CFS patients, well studied for their allergy profile, show signs of eosinophil activation, as detectable by the measurement in serum of eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) levels. In 35 consecutive CFS outpatients (diagnosis based on the Centers for Disease Control case definition), ECP was measured in serum by a competitive enzyme immunoassay (ECP-FEIA kit, Kabi Pharmacia Diagnostics, Uppsala, Sweden). Fourteen disease-free subjects with no history of CFS or allergy were selected as controls. ECP serum levels were significantly higher in CFS patients than in controls (18.0 +/- 11.3 micrograms/l vs 7.3 +/- 2.1 micrograms/l; P < 0.01). In the CFS population, the prevalence of RAST positivity to one or more allergens was 77%, while no control showed positive RAST. Twelve of the 14 CFS patients with increased ECP serum levels were RAST-positive. However, CFS RAST-positive patients had no significantly higher ECP serum levels than CFS RAST-negative patients (19.3 +/- 12.4 micrograms/l vs 13.6 +/- 3.7 micrograms/l; P = 0.4). This is the first report of increased serum levels of ECP in CFS. On the basis of the available data, it is discussed whether eosinophil activation has a pathogenetic role in CFS or is linked to the frequently associated allergic condition, or, finally, whether a common immunologic background may exist for both atopy and CFS.
ONSET, IMMUNE CHANGES AND INFECTIONS. AN INTEGRATED MODEL THAT EXPLAINS THE SYMPTOMS OF CFS
Seven different groups of predisposing and onset factors can produce the immune alterations (poor cellular immunity, Th2 dominated immunity) seen in CFS
(1) Cellular Stress - A significant number of CFS patients experienced an onset of their symptoms shortly after blood transfusions or pregnancy. Both events (as well as radiation exposure!) can increase cellular stress.
(2) Acute Viral Infections can cause immune suppression for long periods of time during which endogenous viruses may reactivate and opportunistic infections can occur.
(3) Toxins such as heavy metals, organophosphates, PCP, etc. can cause immune dysfunction.
(4) Long Term Physical or Mental Stress negatively impacts both cellular immunity and cytokine balance and causes shifts in the Th1/Th2 balance. Viral reactivation occurs after high cortisol levels (a stress induced hormone) decrease macrophage function. (Since the macrophages are at the heart of any infectious response this would put quite a damper on the immune system.) How to explain high levels of Th1 cytokines (IFN-y, IL-12) but low levels of Th1 activity (NK cells)? The authors suggest that fragmentation of the STAT I signaling protein is preventing NK cells responding to IFN-y. Thus, while the Th1 system appears to be upregulated in CFS in reality it is not.
(5) Estrogen. Situations that cause high estrogen levels such as pregnancy and other physiological and pathological situations can shift the Th1/Th2 balance towards Th2. Even in the presence of Th1 cytokines such as IFN-y and IL-12, high estrogen levels can illicit a Th2 response.
(6) Infections that are eliminated slowly can shift the Th1/Th2 balance. A Th2 environment that prevails during pregnancy may give intracellular organisms a better chance to invade.
(7) Having a Atopic Environment (having a lot of allergies) favors the development of stealth organisms.
CFS has long been considered to be an illness of immune dysfunction and there is ample evidence that considerable immune dysfunction is present in patients. Immune activation is a global finding with a range of specific abnormalities present in significant numbers of patients. The most common of these include elevated T lymphocyte numbers and elevated circulating cytokines (immune signaling chemicals). Despite this, immune cell function of CFS patients is poor, with low natural killer cell cytotoxicity (NKCC), poor lymphocyte response to mitogens in culture, and frequent immunoglobulin deficiencies, most often IgG1 and IgG3 (4). Another finding is that the immune system of CFS patients is unbalanced, with T-helper cells of type 2 heavily outnumbering those of type 1 (5). Th1 cells stimulate immunity directed at organisms which invade cells, such as viruses whereas Th2 cells stimulate immunity targeted towards invaders found outside of cells such as bacteria, parasites, toxins and allergens. This finding could certainly explain the fact that CFS sufferers have a higher occurrence of allergies than the healthy population. It also provides a reason why CFS patients may have chronic viral infections as immunity is directed away from protecting against them.
Much research has centred around the endocrine system of CFS patients. Particular interest has been paid to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which is responsible for the stress response. A number of abnormalities have been observed in CFS patients with regards to this including low cortisol and DHEA sulphate levels as well as altered melatonin metabolism (6). Cortisol and DHEA-S work in synergy to control how the body reacts to stress. Low levels affect your ability to deal with stress and can cause fatigue, low blood pressure, hypoglycemia, poor brain function and a number of other problems common to CFS sufferers.
Genetics can be said to be a factor of varying importance in the development of any illness. Consistent with this statement, a number of possible areas of genetic susceptibility have been identified for CFS in various studies. One such study involving twins with CFS and healthy control twins found that the CFS group had much slower reaction times on all speed related cognitive tests. The researchers postulated that this indicated a central information processing deficit in the brain (16). This finding illustrates one theory about the pathogenesis of CFS best described by Dr. J. Goldstein. Dr. Goldstein has treated thousands of CFS patients based on his theory that their brains process sensory information abnormally as a result of certain neurochemical deficiencies. Other research, also centered around brain function, found that CFS patients have differences in genes responsible for serotonin production which leads to lower reservoirs of serotonin, the chemical responsible for maintaining positive moods and also healthy sleep cycles, amongst other functions (17). Finally, a study again using twins, found evidence of immune dysfunction indicating a possible genetic susceptibility (18).
There have been two genetic studies recently that have been hailed as major advances in understanding chronic fatigue syndrome:
The first hit the headlines in July 2005. It suggests that gene expression, the pattern in which genes are switched on and off' is significantly different for certain genes in those with CFS. Researchers at Imperial College, London, looked at the way genes are activated in immune cells of 25 CFS patients and 25 healthy controls. They initially found 35 genes that showed differences while more precise examination revealed 16 that showed definite and significant abnormalities. The lead researcher, Dr Jonathon Kerr suggests that the results support the theory that the illness is often triggered by a virus, namely those discussed previously on this page. Many of the genes that were identified affect the functioning of the mitochondria, the energy generating plants within cells. As such, the abnormal gene expression could account for symptoms of fatigue and lack of energy. The energy producing mitochondria within patients cells may literally be not producing enough energy. The team behind the research hopes to run a much larger study of 1000 patients in the future and it is hoped the research will lead to reliable diagnostic tests for CFS and to new treatment approaches.
The second study, the largest ever to focus on CFS, was completed in 2006 and provided the results that the CFS community has been waiting for. Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said at a press briefing "It really is the first credible evidence of a biological basis for chronic fatigue syndrome." The study involved 227 CFS patients and was conducted in Wichita, Kansas at a cost of $2 million. The study volunteers spent two days in hospital undergoing detailed clinical evaluations including sleep studies, cognitive functioning measurements, autonomic nervous system evaluations, extensive blood work and genetic testing. The activity levels of 20,000 genes were assessed and it is here where the really groundbreaking findings were discovered. At the press briefing, Dr. Reeves, the lead CFS researcher at the CDC, stated "For the first time ever, we have documented that people with CFS have certain genes that are related to those parts of brain activity that mediate the stress response. And that they have different gene activity levels…that are related to their body's ability to adapt to challenges and stresses that occur throughout life, such as infections, injury, trauma or various adverse events." What this means is that people with chronic fatigue syndrome generally have a lower tolerance to these various stressors. The result of this is that in people predisposed to CFS, their bodies can become overwhelmed by events that other people would be able to shrug off, and this is where dysfunction in various body systems such as the nervous, endocrine and immune systems sets in. The researchers at the CDC went on to say that they identified a number of different subgroups within the patients tested, verifying what many had suspected, that CFS isn't a single easily identifiable disease with a single cause and diagnostic marker, but rather the result of a complex disease process. They also stated that this research proves once and for all that CFS is a very real biological disease and hope that it will lead to better diagnosis and treatment in the near future.
80% of all people suffering with chronic fatigue have a history of classic allergies (i.e. allergy to dust mites, pollens and so on). This is way above the incidence of immediate allergy in the general population (5-15%).
• Thyroid and adrenal function tests and other common laboratory tests – ordinary tests sometimes fail to identify dysfunction of important endocrine glands unless the problem becomes more advanced.
• Tests for abnormal intestinal fermentation – in several studies chronic fatigue has been linked with yeast overgrowth (also wrongly referred to as “candida”)
• Food reactivities – Type B food allergy is a common cause of chronic fatigue. We use specific dietary changes as a process of Elimination & Challenge to identify reactive from non reactive foods but if one’s circumstances are too restrictive, intracutaneous tests can be used for guidance
• Tests for toxicity or sensitivity to mercury, silver and nickel, metals used in dental amalgams; tests for organophosphates and other environmental chemicals (many of these are used in carpets and furniture as fire retardants, adhesives in electrical appliances, TV & computers and many others
• Parasitology screen – for protozoan (amoebic) parasites. Many people are unaware they carry these, because they do not cause acute/severe symptoms, however, up to 30% of chronic fatigue sufferers are found to have this type of parasites.
Allergy testing is done primarily through skin testing, in which dozens of common allergens are introduced into the skin. Those that cause an itchy, swelling reaction reveal allergies. There are also blood tests for allergens which are more accurate, but also more expensive. Food allergy testing can be more tricky, as many food allergies dont give results on the skin test. A diet where you start with white rice and introduce something new each day is a good way of determining what you are allergic to.
With regards to IgE testing, the ELISA method offers an excellent confirmatory test for IgE-mediated food allergies when skin prick testing is equivocal or negative, as it is not unusual for a patient to be skin prick test negative and ELISA positive. Generally, the assumption in such a case is that the extracts used for IgE skin prick testing were defective, unstable or non-standardized. Conversely, a false positive skin test may be due to nonspecific enhancement of the hypersensitive reaction through an axon reflex of a neighboring strong wheal-and-flare reaction... Furthermore, the results of skin prick testing do not exhibit a strong correlation to food allergy symptoms. ELISA is reported to be more sensitive than skin prick testing in the identification of IgE-mediated food allergies, and as most food allergies are nonIgE-mediated, skin prick testing is rather obsolete.
Antihistamines - H1 Antagonists
Fexofenadine hydrochloride (brand names include Allegra and Telfast) is an antihistamine drug used in the treatment of hayfever and similar allergy symptoms. Fexofenadine, like other second and third-generation antihistamines, does not readily enter the brain from the blood, and so causes less drowsiness than first-generation histamine-receptor antagonists.
It works by being an antagonist to the H1 receptor.
Note: Worked well and stopped the constant sinus headaches. Caused no drowsiness.
Azelastine is an antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer available as a nasal spray (Astelin®) for hay fever and as eye drops (Optivar®) for allergic conjunctivitis.
Note: Astelin brought back my sense of smell, which was wonderful and unexpected. However, it also made me lose interest in everything. I went off it and on it again, and it had that affect each time.
Montelukast is a leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA) used for the maintenance treatment of asthma and to relieve symptoms of seasonal allergies. It is usually administered orally. Montelukast blocks the action of leukotriene D4 on the cysteinyl leukotriene receptor CysLT1 in the lungs and bronchial tubes by binding to it. This reduces the bronchoconstriction otherwise caused by the leukotriene, and results in less inflammation.
A leukotriene antagonist is a hormone antagonist acting upon leukotrienes.
It has been demonstrated that leukotrienes are implicated in the inflammatory cascade leading to asthma. Leukotriene modifiers are an important therapeutic advance in managing asthma.
Note: Singulair works slightly better for me than Allegra, and I now use it as my main antihistamine. I dont have asthma, but it seems to work by reducing inflammation.
Quercetin is a flavonoid and more specifically a flavonol.
Quercetin is found to be the most active of the flavonoids in studies, and many medicinal plants owe much of their activity to their high quercetin content. Quercetin has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity because of direct inhibition of several initial processes of inflammation. For example, it inhibits both the manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators.
Recent studies have supported that quercetin can help men with chronic prostatitis, possibly because of its action as a mast cell inhibitor. Quercetin may have positive effects in combating or helping to prevent cancer, prostatitis, heart disease, cataracts, allergies/inflammations, and respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma.
Foods rich in quercetin include capers (1800mg/kg), lovage (1700mg/kg), apples (440mg/kg), tea (Camellia sinensis), onions (higher concentrations of quercetin occur in the outermost rings), red grapes, citrus fruits, broccoli and other leafy green vegetables, cherries, and a number of berries including raspberry, bog whortleberry (158 mg/kg, fresh weight), lingonberry (cultivated 74mg/kg, wild 146 mg/kg), cranberry (cultivated 83 mg/kg, wild 121 mg/kg), chokeberry (89 mg/kg), sweet rowan (85 mg/kg), rowanberry (63 mg/kg), sea buckthorn berry (62 mg/kg), crowberry (cultivated 53mg/kg, wild 56 mg/kg), and the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. A recent study found that organically grown tomatoes had 79% more quercetin than conventionally grown.
A study by the University of Queensland, Australia, has also indicated the presence of quercetin in varieties of honey, including honey derived from eucalyptus and tea tree flowers.
Quercetin is also a potent inhibitor of CYP3A4, an enzyme which breaks down most drugs in the body.
Quercetin to the rescue! Quercetin has a strong affinity for mast cells and basophils. It tends to stabilize their cell membranes, preventing them from spilling their pro-inflammatory, allergy-symptom-causing load of histamine/serotonin into the surrounding blood and tissue in response to the IgE antibody. And without the release of these potent inflammatory mediators, the familiar misery of allergies simply will not occur, even though you've inhaled the pollen, animal hair, or whatever normally triggers allergy attacks.
Unfortunately, quercetin is barely soluble in water, so poor dietary absorption may limit its efficacy. Because of this, Murray, N.D., has suggested that quercetin be taken in combination with bromelain to improve its absorption. Bromelain is a natural, protein-digesting enzyme derived from pineapples. It has been used "to increase absorption of compounds, including antibiotics. Also, bromelain has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that synergize with quercetin. Bromelain inhibits several other common inflammatory mediators, including bradykinin and fibrin. It's widely used in sports medicine to reduce the pain and swelling of bruises, sprains, muscle tears, etc., for this reason.
As a clinical nutritionist I have had numerous occasions to use quercetin on allergy and asthma suffers. About 1,000 to 2,000 mg. a day, divided into three to six doses, is sufficient to control most cases of allergy and many cases of asthma. I have remained virtually allergy and asthma free for several years through daily use of quercetin, and finding it much more effective for this purpose than other bioflavonoids.
Bromelain is a mixture of sulfur-containing protein-digesting enzymes—called proteolytic enzymes or proteases—and several other substances in smaller quantities.
Bromelain is present in all parts of the pineapple plant (Ananas comosus) but the stem is the most common commercial source, presumably because it is readily available after the fruit has been harvested. Pineapples have had a long tradition as a medicinal plant among the natives of South and Central America. However, just eating pineapple will not give you a great deal of extra bromelain, because it is mostly concentrated in the stem, which is not nearly as tasty (albeit still edible).
Bromelain can be used in a vast array of medical conditions. It was first introduced in this area in 1957, and works by blocking some proinflammatory metabolites that accelerate and worsen the inflammatory process. It is an anti-inflammatory agent, and so can be used for sports injury, trauma, arthritis, and other kinds of swelling. Its main uses are athletic injuries, digestive problems, phlebitis, sinusitis, and aiding healing after surgery.
Note: I started taking a Quercetin & Bromelain supplement when I was having terrible sinus pain. The day I took it, the pain receded a great deal, and has not returned at the level it was before. I've been taking it ever since.
Nasonex (Mometasone Nasal)
Mometasone is a steroid. It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation.
Nasonex is used to treat nasal symptoms such as congestion, sneezing, and runny nose caused by seasonal or year-round allergies. Nasonex is also used to treat nasal polyps in adults.
Before using Nasonex nasal, tell your doctor and pharmacist if you have a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection of any kind. The absorption of this drug into your system can inhibit your body's ability to fight off infections. You may not be able to use Nasonex nasal if you have an infection.
Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. Continue to use Nasonex nasal and talk to your doctor if you experience:
* viral infection
* sore throat
* bleeding nose
* upper respiratory tract infection
* painful menstruation
* muscle pain
* stinging or burning of the nose
Note: For me Nasonex causes terrible burning in my sinuses, and once led to a sinus infection.
Treatments for H2 Symptoms
H2 symptoms are those associated with increased stomach acid. Earlier stomach acid medicines focused on H2 receptor antagonism. But the recent discovery of proton pump inhibitors replaced them because they worked better and had fewer side effects.
Proton Pump Inhibitors
Lansoprazole (lan-SOE-pra-zole, INN) is a proton pump inhibitor which prevents the stomach from producing acid.
Note: Prevacid works really well for decreasing my stomach acid symptoms.
Treatments for H3 Symptoms
A few years ago, during the worst era of my allergic symptoms, I had a bad cold. While taking Dayquil for it, I noticed something interesting. I found that, aside from the relief I had gotten from the cold, something that had been off for years had corrected itself. Withing 30 minutes, my voice deepened and felt more intimate and close in a way hard to describe. An hour and a half in,my headache was gone, I felt more relaxed, and my hands felt warm for the first time in ages. My mood improved, the world around me seemed to soften, and the overall pain I felt diminished. I felt sociable and friendly. In the next week after I got over my cold, I tried the ingredients separately - first Acetaminophen (nothing), and then Dextromethorphan. Bingo. The effect returns. My hands feel warmer, my voice deeper, and I become happily social and outgoing. The world is softer, less painful, less dangerous. My speech flows freely from my thoughts.
But why? Dextromethorphan is listed as a cough suppressant. I investigate and learn that it acts as a serotonin, NMDA, and dopamine reuptake inhibitor. I had stumbled across the first treatment for the histamine H3 receptor symptoms associated with my allergies.
Dextromethorphan is sold as an OTC cough suppressant. Dextromethorphan is non-addictive and has few side affects.
Dextromethorphan (DXM or DM) is an antitussive (cough-suppressant) drug found in many over-the-counter cold and cough medicines. Dextromethorphan has also found other uses in medicine, ranging from pain relief to psychological applications.
Dextromethorphan crosses the blood-brain barrier, and the following pharmacological actions have been reported:
• NMDA glutamatergic receptor antagonist
• σ1 and σ2 receptor agonist.
• α3β4 nicotinic receptor antagonist
• Serotonin reuptake inhibitor
• Dopamine reuptake inhibitor (disputed)
More research revealed that some people take dextromethorphan recreationally as it can bring on euphoria and interesting experiences. The minimum dose used for recreational usage is 12x - 30x the normal dose (equivalent to drinking two whole bottles), and recreational use can run up as high as 75x - 100x the normal dose. My experimentation, and the associated positive effects, are just with the normal dose, and it is actually on the low end - 15mg. That was all it took to counter the effects of H3 receptor activation and the decrease in neurotransmitters it caused. But after taking it a 2-3 times a week for two weeks, it stopped having any effect. If I waited a week or two and tried it again, it would then work for me again.
I found that Dextromethorphan would sometimes work, and at other times would have no effect. After entering an extended period of severe sinus pain that two Tylenol/Advil/Aleve could not touch, I turned to Hydrocodone, which finally was able to diminish, but not completely releive the pain. Nearing the limits of my supply, I found I was able to obtain Tramadol, which I selected as it seemed to be reviewed better than others at the revealing askapatient.com. It also had a serotonin and norepinephrine boosting effect which, after seeing how helpful Dextromethorphan was in that respect, got my attention.
On a particularly painful evening in which two Tylenol was not having much affect on the pain, I decided to give Tramadol a try. The pain releif effects were minor - it helped, but not a huge amount. However, the serotonin / norepinephrine boosting effect did wonders to me. My visual field brightened perceptably. My voice got deeper and felt more natural. I became more loose, talkative, free. My body got warm, and the things that used to bring me pleasure began to do so once again. I became my old self - playful, talkative, passionate. I felt like I had been rebalanced. I didnt feel weird or high in any way. Tramadol was a miracle.
I took just one 50mg dose once a day for a few days, then stopped to see if there was a withdrawal effect. I didnt feel any. I went back on, and a few days later, after another break, felt a counter-effect, in which my symptoms were worse. So there does appear to be a counter-swing. Each is supposed to last 4-6 hours. I find that one in the morning and one at 6:00 works well. I feel so much better, so much more balanced, happy, outgoing, and healthy. Acute allergic reactions will roll back the effects as the H3 receptor counters neurotransmitter production, but they're less terrible under the effects of Tramadol.
Amazingly, it has fixed the following symptoms and conditions, some of which I had no idea were related: sinus pain, headaches, social withdrawal, loss of sense of smell, low libido, anxiety, lack of motivation, fatigue, irritability, emotional deadness, inability to feel pleasure, cold hands and feet, intestinal paralysis / constipation, shallow breathing, loss of personality, depression, wanting to run away, feelings of panic, and lack of personal connection.
Tramadol is an atypical opioid which is a centrally acting analgesic, used for treating moderate to severe pain. It is a synthetic agent, as a 4-phenyl-piperidine analogue of codeine, and appears to have actions on the GABAergic, noradrenergic and serotonergic systems...
Tramadol is approximately 10% as potent as morphine, when given by the IV/IM route. Oral doses range from 50–400 mg daily, with up to 600 mg daily when given IV/IM...
Tramadol is used to treat moderate and severe pain and most types of neuralgia, including trigeminal neuralgia. It has been suggested that tramadol could be effective for alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety because of its action on GABAergic, noradrenergic and specifically serotonergic systems...
Off-label and investigational uses
• diabetic neuropathy
• postherpetic neuralgia
• restless legs syndrome
• opiate withdrawal management
• migraine headache
• obsessive-compulsive disorder
• premature ejaculation
Tramadol causes significantly less respiratory depression than morphine. In contrast to morphine, tramadol has not been shown to cause histamine release.
Note: Another reason this is a better treatment for pain than opiates - it doesnt release histamine. I noticed when taking Percaset or Hydrocodone that I'd get very itchy.
Tryptophan has a positive modulating effect on Tramadol, but it makes me very sleepy so I take it at night before bed.
Tryptophan is one of the 20 standard amino acids, as well as an essential amino acid in the human diet.
For many organisms (including humans), tryptophan is an essential amino acid. This means that it cannot be synthesized by the organism and therefore must be part of its diet. The principal function of amino acids including tryptophan are as building blocks in protein biosynthesis. In addition, tryptophan functions as a biochemical precursor for the following compounds (see also figure to the right):
* Serotonin (a neurotransmitter), synthesized via tryptophan hydroxylase. Serotonin, in turn, can be converted to melatonin (a neurohormone).
* Niacin is synthesized from tryptophan via kynurenine and quinolinic acids as key biosynthetic intermediates.
Tryptophan is a routine constituent of most protein-based foods or dietary proteins. It is particularly plentiful in chocolate, oats, bananas, mangoes, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, and peanuts. It is also found in turkey at a level typical of poultry in general.
[g/100 g of food]
turkey 0.24 cheese, cheddar 0.32 chicken 0.24 beef 0.23 pork, chop 0.25 salmon 0.22 perch, Atlantic 0.21 milk 0.08 egg 0.17 wheat flour, white 0.13 potatoes, russet 0.02 rice, white 0.08
Use as a dietary supplement
For some time, tryptophan was available in health food stores as a dietary supplement, although it is common in dietary protein. Many people found tryptophan to be a safe and reasonably effective sleep aid, probably due to its ability to increase brain levels of serotonin (a calming neurotransmitter when present in moderate levels) and/or melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone secreted by the pineal gland in response to darkness or low light levels).
Clinical research have been tending to confirm tryptophan's effectiveness as a sleep aid and for a growing variety of other conditions typically associated with low serotonin levels or activity in the brain such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and seasonal affective disorder. In particular, tryptophan have been showing considerable promise as an antidepressant alone, and as an "augmenter" of antidepressant drugs. However others have questioned the reliability of these clinical trials.
Other Serotonin Modulators
Various agents can inhibit 5-HT reuptake including MDMA (ecstasy), amphetamine, cocaine, dextromethorphan (an antitussive), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)...
There exist many recreational drugs that innately modulate the 5-HT system in such a way to produce alterations in perception, emotional response, and thought process. These include psilocin/psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), MDA, MDEA and ibogaine.
Various drugs are used to modulate the 5-HT system including some antidepressants, anxiolytics, antiemetics, and triptans.
Many are classified as psychiatric medications, including the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), atypical antipsychotics, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and amphetamines. Research by GW Pharma in the UK has shown that cannabis modulates serotonin levels through g-proteins, also resulting in an antiemetic effect.
The MAOIs prevent the breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters (including serotonin), and therefore increase concentrations of the neurotransmitter in the brain. MAOI therapy is associated with many adverse drug reactions, and patients are at risk of hypertensive emergency triggered by foods with high tyramine-content and certain drugs.
Some drugs inhibit this re-uptake of serotonin, again making it stay in the synapse longer. The tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) inhibit the re-uptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. The newer Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have fewer (though still numerous) side effects and fewer interactions with other drugs.
Treatments for All Symptoms
Methionine (Essential Amino Acid)
High histamine schizophrenia
Protective - against heavy metals, drugs, chemicals, alcohol
Fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis
Retards cancer growth
Skin, hair, nails disorders
Food sources: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, cantaloupe, dates, figs, oranges, papaya, peach, pear, persimmon, pineapple, strawberry, tomato.All vegetables Grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, eggs, chicken, cheese
Note: Methonine has a bodily effect on me. It's hard to explain, but it removes an irritation or inflammation in my body that I'm so accustomed to I dont realize it's there until its gone. It works sometimes, and sometimes it seems to have no effect.
We treat histadelia with a biochemical one-two punch in which (1) calcium is given to release excess histamine from tissues into the bloodstream, and (2) methionine is provided to add a methy group to blood histamine and hasten its exit from the body. With good compliance, improvement is usually noted in 4-8 weeks with about 3-6 months needed to correct this chemical imbalance.
Methionine - Methionine supplements lower blood levels of histamine by increasing histamine breakdown.
We treat histadelia with a biochemical one-two punch in which (1) calcium is given to release excess histamine from tissues into the bloodstream, and (2) methionine is provided to add a methy group to blood histamine and hasten its exit from the body.
Treatment Reason Plant-Based Nutrition Nutritionists recommend a low-protein, high complex carbohydrate diet. Histidine, which is more common in animal proteins, should be avoided as it can be converted into histamine. Calcium Copper Copper levels may be low to normal in patients with histadelia. Copper is part of the enzyme histaminase, which is involved in the metabolism of histamine. Magnesium Manganese Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Things That Can Increase Histamine
Exercise-induced food allergy
Some people have an allergic reaction to a food that is triggered by exercise. As the body is stimulated by exercise, a person with an exercise-induced food allergy may feel itchy and lightheaded. In severe cases, it can cause reactions such as hives or anaphylaxis. Not eating for a couple of hours before exercising can prevent this problem.
Note: On several occasions my allergy symptoms intensified a great deal while out running. My sinus pain would increase to terrible levels and I'd become muddled, antisocial, irritable, and withdrawn.
Dehydration: Tryptophan, Serotonin, Melatonin, Histamine
The amino acid tryptophan is required by the brain to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which subsequently is needed to make melatonin. An adequate amount of water is required for tryptophan to be transported into the brain. Dehydration may limit the amount of tryptophan available to the brain. To complicate matters, the histamine levels may actually stimulate tryptophan's breakdown in the liver.
Note: I include this because it might be a good link between high histamine levels and low serotonin levels. Also, if making sure you drink enough water can help, that's good to know.
Research has shown that histamine is released as part of the human orgasm from mast cells in the genitals. If this response is lacking this may be a sign of histapenia (histamine deficiency). In such cases, a doctor may prescribe diet supplements with folic acid and niacin (which used in conjunction can increase blood histamine levels and histamine release), or L-histidine. Conversely, men with high histamine levels may suffer from premature ejaculations.
Note: I often feel an effect similar to increased allergic activation in these cases, a clear sign of histamine levels increasing. Yet, obviously this is not something you should avoid. Just be aware that it has a histamine-releasing effect.
Ultimately, food allergies need to be identified and eliminated, thereby making the appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. These include avoiding histamine-containing foods (sausage, sauerkraut, tuna, wine, preserves, spinach and tomato), histamine-releasing foods (crustaceans, strawberry, tomato, chocolate, protease-containing fruits like bananas and papayas, and alcohol) and intolerances to foods with vasoactive amines – tyramine (cabbage, cheese, seafood, citrus, and potato) and serotonin (banana). Incorporation of essential fats into the diet, while reducing saturated fats (red meats, dairy and margarine) is vital to enhance the anti-inflammatory pathway.
Foods that may trigger a Non-Immunological Reaction
Many different foods contain the histamine, or serotinin, or other chemicals which are also the mediators normally released by mast cells triggered by an IgE-allergen bridging reaction. These may have direct or indirect effects on the vascular system. Histamine may cause symptoms like headache, diarrhoea, or a rash. Tyramine and phenylethylamine are reported to trigger migraine headaches. Examples of these foods are:
Alcohol - histamine liberators
Aubergine - histamine
Avocado - vasoactive amines
Banana - serotonin, histamine
Beans (unboiled) - lectins, hemagglutins
Beer - tyramine, sulphites, histamine
Cheese - histamine, tyramine, phenylethylamine, mould toxins
Citrus fruit - vasoactive amines, tyramine, chlorogenic acid
Cocoa / chocolate - histamine liberators, phenylethylamine
Coconut - mould toxins
Egg white - histamine liberators
Fermented food - vasoactive amines
Grains - histamine liberators, mould toxins
Herring - histamine
Fruit juices - tartrazine
Mackerel - histamine
Nuts - mould toxins
Pork - histamine liberators
Salami sausage - histamine, tyramine, sodium nitrate
Shellfish - histamine liberators
Soy bean - mould toxins
Strawberry - histamine, histamine-liberators, aromatic substances
Tomato - vasoactive amines
Tuna fish - histamine
Wine - histamine, sulphur dioxide, chemical additives
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) increase norepinephrine activity as well. Most of them also increase serotonin activity, but tend to have side effects due to the nonspecific activation of histamine and acetylcholine receptors. Side effects include tiredness, increased hunger, dry mouth, and blurred vision. For this reason, they have largely been replaced by newer selective reuptake drugs such as Prozac.
Folic Acid (Vitamin B9) & Vitamin B12
* Check your histamine status. If high don't take large amounts of folic acid or B12
Histamine imbalances are another biochemical twist in the tale of schizophrenia. We all make histamine, but some more than others. Some people produce excessively large amounts of histamine and are called 'histadelics'. High histamine levels in these people can lead to compulsive and obsessive behaviour and pits of depression... Since Folic acid and B12 stimulate the production of histamine, these supplements... should be avoided by those with a high histamine status.
Histadelics should avoid supplemental folic acid as it can produce excess histamine. In fact, anti-folate drugs may be required. Folic acid increases depression in histadelic patients and a trial of folic acid could be used to distinguish between histapenics and histadelics. In extreme cases, folic acid in food or in multivitamins is enough to produce the adverse effects.