Do you suffer from sinusitis? You could have a histamine intolerance. Histamine is an amine that is produced as part of a local immune response to cause inflammation. It also performs several important functions in the bowel and acts as a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that carries signals from one nerve to another. You might be most familiar with histamine as it relates to the immune system. If you’ve suffered from seasonal allergies or food allergies, you may have noticed that antihistamine medications like Zytrec, Allegra or Benedryl provide quick relief of your symptoms. This is because histamine’s role in the body is to cause an immediate inflammatory response. It serves as a red flag in your immune system, notifying your body of any potential attackers. Histamine causes your blood vessels to swell, or dilate, so that your white blood cells can quickly find and attack the infection or problem. The histamine build up is what gives you a headache and leaves you feeling flushed, itchy and miserable. This is part of the body’s natural immune response, but if you don’t break down histamine properly, you could develop what we call histamine intolerance. The main cause of histamine intolerance is an impairment of enzyme function. Another cause is an IgE mediated allergic reaction. Typical symptoms of histamine intolerance include gastrointestinal disorders, sneezing, headache, rhinorrhea (runny nose) and congestion of the nose. Histamine is released on stimulation. It can cause vasodilation, increased vascular permeability and mucus secretion. Foods that contain a high amount of histamine are:

  • Aged cheese
  • Sauerkraut
  • Wine (red wine in particular)
  • Processed meat

Other histamine containing foods include some fish, some vegetables and foods such as citrus fruit, nuts and chocolate have the capacity to release histamine. If you think you have any of these symptoms, you may be histamine intolerant and try eliminating these foods. If this all sounds too much, you can get a test done via my clinic to determine which foods you may be intolerant to.

Sinusitis

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