What are histamines and mast cells?
Close to 100% of children with autism have histamine intolerance and mast cell activation. Histamines are released by the digestive tract and the brain in defense as an allergic reaction. The DAO enzyme helps the body break down excess histamines, but commonly, this enzyme is defective in children with autism. In histamine intolerance the body is over producing histamines and there are too many for the body to break down. This stress type response is a trigger for mast cell activation which creates a strong inflammatory response in the body.
Mast cells are our front line defenders helping the immune system recognize pathogens of all kinds, including electromagnetic field radiation. Mast cells help regulate the immune system, and protect us from environmental toxins. Histamine is a mast cell mediator. Too much histamine released causes histamine intolerance which causes mast cell activation. When this happens our protective mechanisms are broken down and we become hypersensitive to things we ingest or that are in our environment.
Histamine and mast cell triggers include medications
Medications are a common trigger for histamine intolerance and mast cell activation. Antidepressants are well-known to cause this response. Even those that are supposed to help calm the system such as zoloft, prozac, or valium can trigger the opposite effect and create hyperactivity and anxiety when they trigger a histamine reaction. Long term use can cause worse reactions that may take their toll slowly and be hard to track over time as the cause of the behavioral issues. Morphine is also a known histamine liberator. Look for hives and hyperactivity associated with ingesting it.
Nystatin is commonly used to treat yeast and fungal infections in children with autism. The effects of it are short term for its purpose and the fillers associated with it, including food dyes, corn starch, and titanium dioxide may cause heightened mood swings, anxiety, and nausea.
Even long term use of anti-histamine drugs can cause an intolerance to them and desensitize the body by blocking receptors so the body thinks it has less than it does and won’t react at all, even when it needs to for protection. Over time issues are compounded and a little anxiety can become severe anxiety, sleep and digestive issues get worse, and the brain cannot heal so behaviors become heightened.
Please listen to my radio show interview with Dr. Beth O’Hara, as we dive deeper into these triggers and more specifics on medications associated with histamine intolerance and mast cell activation on radio show #86.
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Symptoms to look for in histamine reactions
Symptoms from histamine triggers are both physical and behavioral. They can vary from itching, hives, rashes, sleep problems, anxiety, extreme mood changes, seizures, digestive issues and diarrhea to increased stimming and more. By reducing stomach acid histamines contribute to further issues with digestion working against your efforts to heal the gut, and is a common reason for GERD or acid back up.
How can parents start to recover histamine intolerance and mast cell activation?
- First, it is crucial to target the root triggers. Begin healing the gut by removing the top inflammatory foods.
- Detoxify very slowly so you don’t cause more mast cell activation.
- Clear the coinfections of autism including mold, lyme, and PANS.
- DAO elixir helps the body produce more of the diamine oxidase enzyme (DAO) and help the body neutralize excess histamines and keep them at optimum levels.
In my free workshop, I walk you through this entire process stage by stage, so you know what to do. I also offer you my assistance through the process in this limited time offer. Register now at, NaturallyRecoveringAutism.com/freeworkshop.
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Dr. Beth O’Hara’s biography
Beth O’Hara is a Functional Naturopath, specializing in complex chronic immune conditions related to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. She is the founder and owner of Mast Cell 360, a Functional Naturopathy Practice designed to look at all factors surrounding health conditions – genetic, epigenetic biochemical, physiological, environmental, and emotional. Her subspecialties are Mold Toxicity and Genetic Analysis in the area of Mast Cell Activation and Histamine Intolerance.
She designed Mast Cell 360 to be the kind of practice she wished had existed when she
was severely ill with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Histamine Intolerance, Neural
Inflammation, Lyme, Mold Toxicity, Fibromyalgia, and Chronic Fatigue. Her mission
today is to be a guiding light for others with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Histamine
Intolerance and these related conditions in their healing journeys.
Through her Mast Cell 360 Root Cause process, she discovers the unique root factors
affecting each of her clients’ health issues, building personalized, effective roadmaps for
healing. She holds a doctorate in Functional Naturopathy, a Master's degree in Marriage
and Family Therapy and a Bachelor's degree in Physiological Psychology, She is
certified in Functional Genomic Analysis and is a Research Adviser for the Nutrigenetic
Research Institute. She presents at Functional Medicine Conferences on Mast Cell
Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance as well as the use of genetics and
biochemistry in addressing chronic health conditions. https://mastcell360.com