Saturday, November 5, 2011

Histamine Intolerance, Hormones, Chiropractor, Acupuncture, Herbs and More!

I took a break for a few months from everything lyme and during the summer tried to just live, sit in the sun a little, read, relax and forget about "being sick." Now that it's fall, I've had a bad flare again and so I'm back to researching and actively seeking wellness. I had never heard the phrase "histamine intolerance" until last week. My stomach has been a major continuing issue in this nightmare I've found myself in and something my doctor said to me a few weeks back really blew my mind. He said, "you don't have a stomach ache because of your headache, you have a headache because of your stomach ache. I think your problem is originating in your stomach." I have been a migraine sufferer since college and migraines always came with accompanying nausea, vomiting and horrific pain. I always assumed, and have for the past 20 years, that any issues I was having from food, my menstrual cycle, etc were originating in my head. So I was always treating the head symptoms with aspirin, advil, motrin, excedrin migraine, nasal sprays of varying kinds. These only served to make my stomach more sick later, as I tried to digest these things.

Flash forward to now, after 3 years of bacterial infection, antibiotics and more supplements and meds than I can count. Following months of babesia (bacterial infection from a tick bite) treatment, I can feel in my body that part of the equation is gone. No more night sweats, no more nightmares, no more headaches that feel like someone is squeezing my head in a vise. HOWEVER, there are lingering symptoms, the worst of which has been these flares I go through in which my stomach is twisted in knots, throbbing, and basically feeling like I have a stomach migraine. So, after that weekend flare, I googled "stomach allergy," and after going down the rabbit hole of the internet I found my way to "histamine intolerance." AHA!

"Histamine intolerance refers to a reaction to foods that have high levels of naturally occurring histamine; in contrast, during a normal allergic reaction, the body itself produces high levels of histamine in response to a food it perceives as an invader. People with histamine intolerance often have low levels of either of two enzymes -- diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine-N-methyltransferase (HNMT) -- that bind to and metabolize histamine. In these people, histamine can build up over time and cause symptoms throughout the body." (From

I realized I was reacting to certain foods but couldn't figure out why. After reading extensively about histamine intolerance, I am certain I have become more sensitive to this, as I have to everything because of the tick borne illness battle I was fighting. Having discovered this connection I have cut out even more foods, but I have noticed that I am not getting inflammation and headaches every time I eat! Even just being aware during any given day that I don't eat more than one histamine producing food has helped. I also have found that if I do get a headachy feeling taking a vitamin c will reverse the effect. I read that vitamin c is a natural anti-histamine, so that makes sense.

Another connection - I have read that estrogen dominance can make women more sensitive to things they are already reacting to, as in allergies. So, it makes sense that now that my flares are occurring around ovulation they are influenced by the escalating estrogen. I've been using the progesterone cream since about June, and it is definitely helping with libido, headaches, energy, etc. My periods are finally normal again, like before I was sick. I tried testosterone cream too for a week. It made me so irritated and angry that I was taken off of it immediately. Now I know why some men can be so quick to anger. Testosterone made me have "out of body" anger and I was ready to fight with everyone.

I've also added seeing a chiropractor, which has helped my body in the healing process enormously. I don't understand entirely how it's working, but somehow it's re-setting my parasympathetic nervous system back to being well. My body has been in pain for so long that it was in a pain cycle it couldn't get out of. Adjusting the spine has freed up the nerves to relax, and I can feel my body starting to heal on a cellular level. I see her 2 times a week, and an acupuncturist 2 times a month. The acupuncturist has also given me chinese herbs for the sleeping issues. Still not sleeping through the night, but I think the herbs are also beginning to help my body relax. But sometimes I think I will never get an actual night's sleep again.

If you are a lyme patient and in this nightmare too, what I can share with you is that it is a process. It requires patience and diligence on your part. I have been dealing with this for three years and while I am impatient to get back to my life and really frustrated often, right now I can feel that there has been progress. So hang in there. I hope these posts help, and that you uncover another layer of healing because of the information I'm discovering!


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  2. Diamine oxidase from porcine kidney is a homodimer consisting of 2 equal subunits with a molecular weight of 87 kDa each. Each subunit contains one molecule of pyridoxal phosphate and one atom of copper. diamine oxidase