Many people, whether they realise it or not, have unwanted allergy/histamine reactions. These can be severe as in bouts of hay-fever, or the occurrence of hives, eczema, dermatitis and yes, even anaphylaxis when reacting to certain foods such as peanuts, eggs shellfish and fish. Other reactions can be mild and often not recognized as been a histamine (or allergic) reaction. Such as the stuffy /flushed feeling many people get when drinking wine or beer, which can be a reaction to the additive sulphur dioxide.
We have probably all noticed that some of us react badly to mosquito and sand-fly bites whereas others hardly react at all.
There are a range of possible reasons for this anomaly:
1. A low level of enzyme activity in the body. Food allergies have long been associated with poor digestion. The benefit of supplementing with plant enzymes has been documented in numerous research studies and is becoming increasingly more specific. Increasing the level of enzymes in the diet has great effect in reducing conditions caused by poor digestion, malabsorption, pancreatic insufficiency, lactose intolerance etc and given that an allergic reaction is the body’s response to an abnormal protein in the blood it follows that reducing this possibility will also reduce the possibility of an allergic reaction.
Enzyme levels in the body can be increased by greatly increasing the amount of raw foods in the diet, or alternatively by supplementing with enzyme capsules.
2. ‘Leaky gut syndrome’, otherwise known as intestinal permeability. This ‘syndrome’ has been theoretically suspected of being a major factor in a myriad of chronic inflammatory diseases and allergic conditions. In any situation where undigested protein molecules or bacteria or toxins can ‘leak’ through the gut wall you can expect an allergic or inflammatory response. Improving digestion as outlined above, improving gut flora with specific probiotics and increasing foods that contain bioflavonoids /antioxidants/Vitamin C will all help reduce the likely hood of this occurrence.
See page on Probiotics.
3. A low level of vitamin C and/or Bioflavonoids/Quercetin. These can not only help reduce the likely hood of ‘leaky gut syndrome’ but can help reduce histamine release. By reducing the amount of Histamine released from mast cells these substances can gently reduce the effect of an allergic reaction, i.e. the amount of swelling and mucus production.
4. A deficiency in Taurine, an amino acid that helps prevent chemical sensitivities, is a possibility. Abnormally low taurine levels are also a common feature found in chemically sensitive people, as taurine together with glycine are the major amino acids associated with the removal of toxic chemicals from the body. Sensitivities to environmental chemicals such as chlorine, bleach, alcohols, petroleum solvents and ammonia may result where taurine is deficient.
5. Another suggested possibility for this anomaly is that some people may have a deficiency of the enzyme diamine oxidase which can result in their not being able to degrade or break down histamine in their body resulting in an increased absorption of histamine in the gastrointestinal tract. Possible reasons for this are vague (i.e.) some drugs can inhibit diamine oxidase.
Therefore by improving digestion, gut flora, Bioflavonoid intake and at times taurine intake can often decrease the amount of sensitivity a person has to various substances.
And a brief note about possible fish ‘allergy’. It is often not well known that a person can react to histamine produced by fish after they are killed but not put directly on ice. Known as Histamine Fish Poisoning (HFP) or Scombroid Poisoning it is a chemical intoxication that occurs after eating bacterially contaminated fish of the dark meat species. Scombroid; because it most commonly occurs in fish that belong to the Scrombridae family such as Tuna, Kahawai, Mackerel, Bonito and Butterfly kingfish (the fish that have ‘brownish’ areas of flesh).