Histamine – PMS & Anxiety pt 2
Welcome back for Part 2 of Histamine – PMS & Anxiety. I know it seems to you that last month I was talking about a whole bunch of unrelated things. However, this is where I will join the dots for you!!
Sit back and hold onto your seats, as I’m sure you’re going to say…..’OOOOHHHHH, now I get it!’ or ‘OMG, I had no idea. It makes sense!”
Histamine and oestrogen are both broken down by the enzyme DAO, and histamine has the back up enzyme HNMT. These two enzymes help you to clear these chemicals from your body.
You can have issues in clearing out the excess histamine and oestrogen, due to –
- Being low in nutrients which help produce DAO and HNMT – poor dietary intake/variety
- You may have issues methylating HNMT.
- You may have impaired digestion – affecting absorption of nutrients.
- Medications may be affecting digestion – antihistamines blocking one of the histamine receptors responsible for HCL and enzyme release.
- Genetic mutation on the DAO and HNMT gene – meaning that they affect your ability to breakdown histamine and oestrogen.
- You may have mould toxicity/overload.
- Mast cell aberrance – overproduction of mast cells
So, how does histamine influence PMS & brain function?
Well, I am so glad that you asked. Do you remember that last month I mentioned that histamineactivates your immune system – inflammatory response of vasodilation, heat, redness, and pain?
Your body responds to this in the following manner –
- Painful period
- Asthma or trouble breathing
- Swelling or lip, eyes
- Gastrointestinal upsets
This occurs due to you having histamine receptor sites in smooth muscles, blood vessels, brain cells, fat cells, stomach, uterine smooth muscles, nerves, and other sites.
Histamine supports GIT function, cell growth and differentiation, blood vessel and smooth muscle contraction, secretion of neurotransmitters, digestive secretions, blood flow and immune response – again just to name a few functions.
Histamine & PMS
Your uterus is made up of smooth muscles along with lots of nerves and blood vessels, all of which have histamine receptors!
So…. if you have too much oestrogen which is using up all of the DAO, then you have excess levels of histamine circulating in your system, as there is not enough DAO to inhibit its action. This then simply translates to ‘allergy in the uterus’. So what??
Well, this means then that you will most likely experience painful periods due to having an increase in blood flow to your uterus, along with contraction of the uterus due to the high levels of histamine. If this is the case, then you will most likely be experiencing cramps, bloating and/or heavy bleeding.
Histamine & Anxiety
Again, as mentioned last month, your brain also has histamine receptors that regulate certain hormones which can either calm you or excite you. And if all is in balance in your body, all is fine.
But if you have excess histamine which you cannot clear out of your system again, your brain will ‘suffer’. This will be due to histamine activating the release of more noradrenaline and cortisol. This puts your body into overdrive, thinking that it has to run from ‘danger’. It will increase your heart rate, blood pressure etc. Making you anxious and, ultimately causing you anxiety if this continues.
It could also reduce the amount of GABA being produced, further adding to your anxiety. This is because there isn’t enough GABA to attach to and calm your brain cells. Leaving then in continual ‘excitement’. And possibly affecting your ability to concentrate and remember.
The inflammation that you may have in your brain, could be further aggravated by the extra blood flowing there giving you migraines or headaches. Have any of you experienced headaches or migraines when you are about to have your period, or even during?? Well, this is why.
Histamine & Digestion
This is a double-edged sword, again where one thing affects the other putting digestion and histamine into a vicious cycle. Were you are left asking, which comes first?
Why? Because if you have an inflamed gut, things are entering and leaving the digestive system and entering back into your system which shouldn’t be. Long term intestinal inflammation damages the microvilli that line it. And if you don’t have enough healthy microvilli, then you are producing less DAO which is needed for histamine and oestrogen breakdown and clearance.
If you have inflammation in your intestines, this then sets off other mechanisms that can only further add to your dilemma. Dysbiosis will occur – I’m sure that you’re up to date on this.
BUT, apart from what you already know about dysbiosis (leaky gut) this also affects your body’s ability to produce serotonin and B12. Both of these things are involved with brain function and mood. And should you have low serotonin and B12 levels, then this again can only add to the anxiety and depression that you may be experiencing.
Now let’s not give histamine a bad rap, as it also gives you plenty of benefits when in the correct levels. It supports intestinal motility, allowing you digest and eliminate via intestinal system. Once levels begin to get too high, it can over stimulate your intestines. It can cause either –
- constipation due to dysbiosis
- loose bowel motions – due to increased water in intestines
- intestinal spasming/cramping
- poor digestion in the stomach
As you can see, there is no clear cut end or start to the interactions that you have with histamine, oestrogen and brain function. Once the balance has been tipped, your systems can go into overdrive and head towards a vicious cycle.
I hope that by now some of you may see a connection between histamine-PMS-Anxiety. And this has possibly helped you to see that you could have an issue with histamine; especially if other medical treatments haven’t helped.
You can be put back into balance with some simple changes – food! Next month I will give you some tips on what you can do to help yourself.
And as always, if things don’t improve come in and see me for a more individualised treatment plan. Here I can prescribe nutrient and herbal supplementation that will really support the changes to rebalance your body.
- Blandizzi, C., Tognetti, M., Colucci, R., & Del Tacca, M. (2000). Histamine H(3) receptors mediate inhibition of noradrenaline release from intestinal sympathetic nerves. British journal of pharmacology, 129(7), 1387–1396. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bjp.0703194
- DIM Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage (healthline.com)
- Many Effects of Histamine | Integrative Therapeutics (integrativepro.com)
- Norepinephrine | Hormone Health Network
- The relationship between histamine, oestrogen, progesterone and cortisol | FX Medicine
- Dr Sharma, S, “Integrative strategies in Mental Health – The Perspective of a Psychologist”, Bioconcepts webinar 7 December 2020
- Yoshikawa, T., Nakamura, T., & Yanai, K. (2019). Histamine N-Methyltransferase in the Brain. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(3), 737. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030737