HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE


histamine intolerance, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, anxiety, headaches, IBS, naturopathic doctor, Guilford

Last night you let the babysitter order pizza for the kids.

For some crazy reason there’s one slice of pepperoni left in the box on the counter.

Thinking back to those college days…


Why does leftover pizza seem like a good idea first thing in the morning?


As tempting as it sounds, food left out on the counter overnight can wreak havoc on your body.

It’s called…


HISTAMINE INTOLERANCE.


Most people are born with an amazing defense mechanism to protect their body from the outside world. One of the built-in ways the body fights off invaders is to utilize histamines (found in food) that carry away allergens and other irritants from our eyes, noses and skin for instance.


Histamines found in foods can be:

  • NATURAL – Histamines are naturally found in fermented foods, meat, shellfish, alcohol, tomatoes, avocado, spinach, and nuts among others.
  • LIBERATED – Some foods interact with the body to liberate histamines, such as: chocolate, alcohol, bananas, strawberries, nuts, and citrus.
  • DEVELOPED –Histamines multiply in food that is “left over” and not properly disposed of or frozen after preparation. This is your warning to avoid that last piece of pizza and leftovers in general!

Sometimes we over consume, or our bodies over produce, histamines. We develop an intolerance to histamines when we cannot break them down efficiently. Histamines can become too much for our system to handle and we start to notice certain symptoms that are different from seasonal allergies; persistent. Over the long term, they are indicative of histamine intolerance, and are systemic which can lead to larger problems.


Histamine intolerance might initially look like:

  • Itchy skin and/ or hives
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, red or itching eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches


An abundance of histamines might cause more systemic damage like:

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory intestinal disorders
  • Periodontal disease
  • Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)


If you have been experiencing chronic immune responses that cannot be easily explained, Dr. Fisel can help you look into the root of your discomfort to alleviate your obvious symptoms and hopefully your overall histamine intolerance.


Initially, Dr. Fisel can analyze your unique situation using several assessment tools:

  1. Nutritional – We help tailor your nutritional habits to limit excess histamines
  2. Environmental – We can assess your environment and help you eliminate histamine stressors
  3. Lifestyle – Sleep and movement play a big part in your overall health – we can take a look at your patterns.
  4. Medications – We will help you assess what you are currently taking and advise you about interactions; we can recommend complimentary protocols to your existing regimen.


Dr. Fisel can help you find relief if you are battling with histamine intolerance. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your consultation.


RESOURCES:

Histamine Intolerance: A Common Cause of Chronic Complaints

Mast Cell Activation: Skin is Just Scratching the Surface

Sometimes I Hate My Guts: Alleviating IBS Symptoms

IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, stomach pain, gut health, Dr. Matt Fisel

We had plans to go on a long hike.

I chose my breakfast carefully. I didn’t want to rock the boat with any foods that might upset my stomach. I thought I had covered all of the bases, but a mile in I noticed the usual symptoms:

bloating, gassiness, and then…

my bowels started to activate.

I knew from experience this was not going to go well.

Maybe you’ve had your own bout, in public or private, with cramping, constipation or a sudden onset of diarrhea.

And…your doctor just could not tell you WHY.

Patients who have been categorized with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) say,

“Dr. Fisel…I was diagnosed with IBS months ago, and was prescribed medication that doesn’t seem to be working. Are there natural ways to find relief from my IBS?”

Unfortunately, IBS tends to be a catchall for those unexplainable symptoms in the intestines, appearing “normal” when tested. Your doctor may have ruled out cancer, colitis, etc., but wasn’t able to specifically answer the question:

WHY ARE MY GUTS HOLDING ME HOSTAGE?

We help patients find answers using an integrative approach that assesses their diagnosis and also gets to the root cause(s) of their underlying symptoms.

HERE’S THREE THINGS WE LOOK AT, from a naturopathic perspective, to understand more about your personal condition and why your symptoms might be persistent:

GUT SYSTEM HEALTH: We can do additional stool, breath, and/or blood testing to identify more definitive causes of IBS (small intestine bacterial overgrowth – SIBO, microbial overgrowths, enzyme deficiencies, food sensitivities, functional bowel problems, leaky gut syndrome).

Also, a number of treatments we can incorporate to improve the FUNCTION of the gut, along with promoting intestinal repair (probiotics, digestive enzymes, intestinal healing herbs and nutrients).

FOOD SENSITIVITIES: We will sometimes do elimination diets or cleansing protocols that often help people identify food triggers within their diets.

Cutting back on FODMAP foods, or following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, can often help to give the intestines a rest allowing the intestinal tract to repair.

STRESS MANAGEMENT: Stress relief is key. At the very basic level we want to assess your day-to-day life and look at your habits.

You could start monitoring yourself by journaling about the foods you eat, how much sleep you’re getting, how you are moving your body – and of course how it makes you feel. Notice the trends.

Naturopathic medicine is an integrative approach to health care. Where western medicine leaves off, a Naturopathic Doctor helps patients get to the root of uncomfortable symptoms.

Dr. Fisel is here to help you get your life back after an IBS diagnosis and to help you feel relief from your symptoms. Please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment, today.

NEW PATIENT FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULATION: Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Heartburn Drugs Typically Not Necessary

gerdProton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonix, are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the U.S. They are typically given to patients who complain of heartburn or reflux (GERD), who are then kept on the medication indefinitely. In fact, it’s not uncommon for many of the patients I see to think of being on this medication almost as an afterthought, because it’s so common in our culture. What they may not realize is that long-term use of these medications can lead to long-term complications, and may be doing more harm than good! When first approved by the FDA, the suggested use of PPIs was for 4-6 weeks, mainly for treating serious gastrointestinal issues, like ulcers and Barrett’s esophagus.  [Read more…]

IBS? It May Be Something Else . . .

SIBOPeople often come to my office saying they’ve been diagnosed with IBS. They may complain of intestinal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or all of the above, yet all of their test results come back “normal”, so they are prescribed anti-spasmodic medications to manage their symptoms, and sent on their way. In my experience, IBS is merely a symptom of other underlying causes, rather than  a definitive diagnosis. Whether it’s food intolerances, poor eating habits, or restoring optimal production of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, naturopathic medicine has a lot to offer when it comes to identifying and treating the underlying cause of IBS. [Read more…]

Does Arthritis Originate in the Gut?

I see quite a few patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune arthropathies, and what is the first thing I do?  Give them anti-inflammatory medications? Give them immune-modulaters? No! Chances are, their rheumatologists have already done this. The first thing I will always do with patients in this category is address their digestive health. What does digestion have to do with systemic inflammation? Everything! [Read more…]

What Can I Do About C. diff?

A patient came to me recently after finishing her 2nd course of antibiotic treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infection. Despite some temporary relief during while taking the medication, her symptoms were beginning to return to the same level of intensity that she was experiencing before the treatment. The patient’s gastric distress was so severe that she barely had the ability to function at work, having to take both prescription and OTC pain relievers just to get through the day. She was reluctant to go through another round of antibiotics, since they weren’t giving her any relief, and were causing other side-effects as well. [Read more…]

Acid-Blocking Medications Aren’t Meant For Long-Term Use!

While I may have written about this more than once in the past, I feel like it’s a topic that continues to need revisiting.  A recent New York Times article highlights the many reasons why proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s), such as Prilosec, Nexium, and Prevacid, can cause more harm than good when used beyond the recommended window of 8 to 12 weeks.  While it seems to come as a surprise to the doctors who are handing out these medications like candy, our stomachs are supposed to make hydrochloric acid! This is essential for initiating the digestive cascade that leads to the proper assimilation of nutrients. As the article points out, blocking stomach acid production for an extended period of time can lead to a host of nutritional deficiencies, including iron, vitamin B12, and magnesium.  A decrease in stomach acid also takes away the protective barrier meant to protect us from harmful bacteria, setting up an environment that’s more prone to infection with Clostridium and other pathogenic bacteria. [Read more…]

Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance?

When people are experiencing nutritional deficiencies, anemia, weight changes, and/or other symptoms that seem to be of an unknown origin, it’s fairly common practice for doctors to rule out the presence of celiac disease with a small intestinal biopsy. While this is certainly considered the “gold standard” for identifying the pathological changes associated with celiac disease, many experienced physicians are finding that patients can still have a sensitivity to gluten containing grains, making celiac disease and gluten intolerance separate entities altogether.  This led experts at the recent International Celiac Disease Symposium to define the term gluten insensitivity for patients who don’t meet the criteria for celiac disease or wheat allergy, yet improve dramatically when following a gluten-free diet.

The incidence of Celiac disease has doubled since 1974, and gluten sensitivity alone is estimated to be 6 times the prevalence of celiac disease. Fortunately, for patients and doctors who have recognized this phenomenon for quite some time, there is finally a more established definition of gluten sensitivity. Some of the criteria being used to separate gluten sensitivity from wheat allergy and celiac disease include: Negative testing for the presence of IgE antibodies to wheat; Negative endomysial and ttg antibodies (typically present with celiac disease); Negative small intestinal biopsy; Resolution of symptoms following as gluten-free diet. Researchers have concluded that the genetic makeup and immune response of gluten sensitivity patients is unique, and may be more enzyme mediated (like lactose intolerance), rather than immune based.

Since objective testing is still lacking, people who are symptomatic should consider implementing a gluten-free diet. Some of the most common symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity include abdominal pain, rashes, headaches, “brain fog”, fatigue, depression, anemia, and joint pain. If your doctor tells you that celiac testing is negative, don’t give up hope!

 

Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth and IBS

I’m posting a link here that explains in detail the symptoms of Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth (SIBO), and how it is often an underlying cause of IBS. In my clinic, I’ve diagnosed this several times, even after people have already consulted with their gastroenterologist, which indicates that SIBO is not “mainstream” enough for most doctors to pursue the appropriate testing. All that is required is a simple breath test-Once diagnosed, this condition is easily treatable, so talk to your doctor about performing the test if you’re experiencing recurring digestive symptoms, or have been diagnosed with IBS. 

http://www.medicinenet.com/small_intestinal_bacterial_overgrowth/article.htm

IBS and “Mindfulness”

A therapy that combines mindfulness meditation and gentle yoga may help soothe symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, a small clinical trial suggests.

In a study of 75 women with the digestive disorder, researchers found that those assigned to “mindfulness training” saw a bigger improvement in their symptoms over three months than women who were assigned to a support group.

The findings, they say, suggest that the mindfulness technique should be an option for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

A doctor not involved in the study agreed.

“I think people with IBS should learn mindfulness skills,” said Dr. Delia Chiaramonte, director of education for the University of Maryland’s Center for Integrative Medicine in Baltimore.

Learning such skills, she said in an interview, is “100 percent safe,” and it could offer people a way to help manage IBS symptoms on their own, long term.

People with IBS have repeated bouts of abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. The typical treatment includes diet changes, as well as anti-diarrhea medication and, for constipation, laxatives or fiber supplements. There’s also some evidence that regular, moderate exercise helps.

The exact cause of IBS is unknown, but anxiety and less-than-ideal coping strategies — like avoiding going out because of your symptoms — are thought to make IBS worse for many people.

Because of that, psychological counseling is sometimes used. The best-studied form is cognitive behavioral therapy, which tries to change the unhealthy thinking patterns and behaviors that contribute to people’s health problems.

For the new study, Susan A. Gaylord and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, looked at a different approach to managing the “brain-gut” connection — known as mindfulness-based stress reduction.

The researchers randomly assigned 75 women with IBS to either undergo the mindfulness training or attend an IBS support group once a week for eight weeks.

The training included lessons on meditation, gentle yoga postures and “body scanning,” in which people focus their attention on one body area at a time to detect muscle tension and other sensations.

Gaylord’s team found that three months after the therapy ended, women who’d undergone mindfulness training were faring better than the support group.

On average, their scores on a standard 500-point IBS symptom questionnaire fell by more than 100 points, with a 50-point drop considered a “clinically significant” improvement.

In contrast, women in the support group averaged a 30-point decline, according to results in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.

Chiaramonte said the trial was “tremendously well-designed,” and set up to address the common criticisms of studies of mind-body therapies. Testing mindfulness training against a support group, for example, helps control for the fact that people involved in any form of therapy may simply expect to get better — and, therefore, do.

In surveys, the researchers found that women in the support group were as likely to expect benefits as those in the mindfulness group.

“And still, the mindfulness group did better,” Chiaramonte said. “So it’s not just the contact with another human being, or not just that they expected to get better.”

It also makes sense that mindfulness training would help people with IBS, according to Chiaramonte. “Part of the problem in IBS,” she explained, “is the attention people give to the physical discomfort, and what the mind then does with that.”

With mindfulness training, the goal is to help people become aware of what they are feeling, but then “let it go” instead of ruminating, and potentially making the physical symptoms worse.

Of course, naturopathic medicine automatically takes “mindfulness” into account, so this is nothing new from my perspective. By always assessing people’s mental/emotional state, along with implementing diet and lifestyle changes, it’s not uncommon for me to see people’s IBS symptoms improve dramatically. It’s unfortunate to see so many patients who come to me after undergoing multiple symptomatic treatments (steroids, anti-spasmodics, etc.), only left to be feeling worse. 

Once again, this study demonstrates what naturopathic med
icine already practices-The impact of the mind on physical health cannot be avoided!

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/lfYimf American Journal of Gastroenterology, online June 21, 2011.