The spring season of 2015 was certainly, to my recollection, the worst sinusitis and rhinitis (nose dripping) season ever!
I saw more people, especially children, with runny noses and sinus infections than I can ever recall in any season.
Weather.com has an article which explains the “perfect storm” of environmental conditions that preceded the season.
I noted especially those sensitive to grasses — you know, kids who play in the occasional parks and on various team sports, and people who like to hike in nature — were affected the most.
Of course, not everyone actually developed problems. What was the difference, and how can you avoid the next season’s problems?
First, the symptoms we ascribe to seasonal allergies are actually the result of too much histamine in the body for starters, as a rule.
Histamine is a natural chemical produced, mostly, by the stomach — which stimulates the digestive process — and secondarily by cells that lie under the skin and in the mucus membranes of the sinus and nasal cavities, as well as the lining of the gut, called “B cells” that turn into “mast cells” when there is damage. These mast cells liberate histamine in response to injury.In the stomach, gut histamine is released to protect the gut from damage.There is also a small amount of histamine used by part of the nervous system., particularly the part of the brain that relates to staying awake (which is an ANTI-histamine makes one sleepy). Here’s a summary of what histamine does normally in the body.
There is an excellent article on “Histamine and Histamine Intolerance” by Laura Maintz and Natalija Novak in the 2007 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that describes the problem of “histamine intolerance” and it’s relationship to certain foods we consume on a regular basis. It identifies a chemical that regulates histamine in the body called “DAO” — diamine oxidase — and secondly another called “histamine N-methyltransferase” which neutralize histamine, and when there is a lack of these chemicals, we end up with the following symptoms (1 or more):
“The ingestion of histamine-rich food or of alcohol or drugs that release histamine or block DAO may provoke diarrhea, headache, rhinoconjunctival symptoms, asthma, hypotension, arrhythmia, urticaria (swelling), pruritus (itching), flushing, and other conditions in patients with histamine intolerance. “
You can find a good list of histamine-rich foods, histamine-inducing foods/drugs, or DAO-blocking foods here.”
As one consumes more of these substances, it uses up the DAO leaving a deficit. Additionally, the two organs that normally help break down histamine are the liver and the spleen, and they get overloaded so the histamine has to be ported to a “secondary emunctory (outlet)”, which is usually the skin or the nasal/sinus areas.
Once you’ve loaded up on histamine foods, over used your DAO, you’re ready for the left hook: environmental activation by inhaling pollens and the like, which triggers off the release of histamine and all the yukky symptoms that go with it.
So, what’s the best thing to do to prevent the next “seasonal allergy” response? Well, one thing is to limit high histamine foods. To re-regulate the histamine in the gut, porcine DAO is available. Usually I find a capsule with every meal for a week restores regulation in the gut. We use a product called HistDAO from Xymogen.
Secondly, there are numerous nutritional supplements that will help prevent, one of which is vitamin B5 — pantothenic acid. Additionally, vitamin C will reduce histamine levels in the body. Quercetin, a flavinoid which is associated with Vitamin C is also a great antihistamine. Stinging Nettle is also an excellent anti-histamine.
The Body Ecology diet also recommends probiotics which have Bifidobacterium infantis and B. longum.
The most important thing I recommend to you is make sure you have been desensitized to environmental allergens through NAET. Also, many foods cross-react with pollens of various kinds, so making sure you have no food sensitivities is important as well. But it’s best done BEFORE the season begins, rather than waiting until you’re in the middle of it and having all kinds of symptoms!
For more information on the subject of histamine and histamine intolerance, we recommend you to this blog: http://thatpaleoguy.com/2011/11/14/histamine-intolerance-update/