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histamine intolerance introduction
It is EXTREMELY hard to watch someone make a huge lifestyle sacrifice by dramatically changing their diet by avoiding the obvious inflammatory foods and beverages (all the good stuff), and introducing a daily intake of natural vitamins, herbs, minerals and supplements (which can be expensive) … yet their legs are as bad as ever, and often become worse.

I feel terrible about this, but am staying true to my belief that inflammation is the primary cause of RLS. In fact I'm going to call it a "certainty."

There are no exceptions to the Absolute Cure for RLS. That's why I called it the "Absolute" Cure and not the "Sometimes" Cure or the "Almost Always" Cure.

If you LESSEN your inflammation, your RLS will LESSEN.

This is an indisputable fact. The only thing you need to find out are the details about what it is that's causing your cells to inflame.

Unfortunately, there is a lot to choose from. Finding out exactly what it is that is causing the inflammation in your body can be a great personal mystery, and long journey.

The obvious triggers are no-brainers. The alcohol, sugar and MSGs of the world. But why are these people that avoid the obvious triggers still suffering with their RLS?

The more I look into the facts about Histamine Intolerance, the more I wonder if many of the people that are still in a great deal of pain, have some sort of Histamine Intolerance?

The world of Histamine Intolerance is massive and complex. It's impossible to get your head around it all. But for an RLS sufferer, it is MANDITORY that you learn what Histamine Intolerance is, how it can possibly be affecting you and how you can change your diet to keep your histamine production at an acceptable, non inflammatory level.

In a recent study at John Hopkins University, scientists discovered that histamine receptors were substantially higher in RLS patients.

"We examined histamine receptors in substantia nigra tissue obtained from the RLS Foundation's collection of RLS brains (6 females) and from age-matched controls (6 females) from the Harvard Brain Bank. In the nigra, histamine receptor 3 staining was more intense in 5 of the 6 RLS patients as compared to their age-matched controls. Histamine receptor 2 staining followed a similar pattern: staining was more intense in RLS nigra 4 out of 6 times as compared to controls. The staining was primarily confined to the neuromelanin cells."

Richard P. Allen, James R. Connor, Amanda M. Snyder and Christopher J. Earley - "Restless Legs Syndrome and Histamine" Neurology Department, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

Histamine Intolerance may also be involved with your inability to sleep at night, even when your legs are taking a break from twitching.

from "Histamine and the Brain (Histadelia)" on Total Health Clinic.com

"High levels of histamine can cause agitation, irritability and sleep cycle disturbances. Low levels of histamine are associated with feeling tired."

I truly belief that those of you that have switched to an anti-inflammatory diet, but are still not seeing any results, can uncover the final puzzle piece by determining what it is in your diet that is producing high levels of histamine.

restless legs pretest

What is a Histamine?

from Wikipedia

Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter. Histamine triggers the inflammatory response. As part of an immune response to foreign pathogens, histamine is produced by basophils and by mast cells found in nearby connective tissues. Histamine increases the permeability of the capillaries to white blood cells and some proteins, to allow them to engage pathogens in the infected tissues.

from the Department of Biology, Davidson College

The release of histamine (hist = because it's made up of histidine residues, amine = because it's a vasoactive amine) causes several allergic symptoms. 1) It contributes to an inflammatory response. 2) It causes constriction of smooth muscle.

Histamine can cause inflammation directly as well as indirectly. Upon release of histamine by an antigen activated mast cell, permeability of vessels near the site is increased. Thus, blood fluids (including leukocytes, which participate in immune responses) enter the area causing swelling. This is accomplished due to histamine's ability to induce phosphorylation of an intercellular adhesion protein (called (VE)-cadherin) found on vascular endothelial cells (Andriopoulou et al 1999). That is why histamine is known as being vasoactive. Gaps between the cells in vascular tissue are created by this phosphorylation, allowing blood fluids to seep out into extracellular space. Indirectly, histamine contributes to inflammation by affecting the functions of other leukocytes in the area. It has been suggested by Marone et al that histamine release triggers the release of cytokines and inflammatory mediator by some neighboring leukocytes (1999). These chemicals in turn increases the inflammatory response.

What is Histamine Intolerance?

from Allergy UK

We all have an enzyme (diamine oxidase) which breaks down any histamine that we absorb from a histamine-containing food. When we eat a food which contains histamine it does not affect us. However, some people have a low level of this enzyme. When they eat too many histamine-rich foods they may suffer 'allergy-like' symptoms such as headaches, rashes, itching, diarrhoea, and vomiting or abdominal pain. This is called histamine intolerance.

from Healthy Pixels

I am astounded at how many of us unknowingly suffer from excess histamine. Some of us itch or sneeze while others get headaches, migraines, joint pain, or nausea - within minutes or several hours after exposure! Our "histamine bucket" fills up based on factors such as genetics, allergies, medication, diet, environment, nutritional deficiencies, intestinal damage, and UV exposure. When our body cannot break down excess histamine, we suffer with histamine intolerance and increased inflammation. When we realize what is really happening, we can better prevent and treat this misunderstood condition!

Histamine and its receptors are constantly engaged in a vital balancing act, preventing excessive inflammation while promoting homeostasis and healing. A variety of inflammatory diseases involve histamine activity.

Most of us know histamines through antihistamine drugs that relieve our suffering from allergies to pollen, insect bites, and even foods. Histamine is naturally produced in our body by mast cells or white blood cells, and it performs different functions by binding with histamine receptors. Depending upon their location, histamine receptors control very different body functions.

So why haven't we heard about this?

Histamine intolerance is hugely underestimated in the population. Most people respond to symptoms of histamine intolerance with an aspirin, antacid, or other quick-fix pill that does not address the root problem. Sometimes histamine levels are raised due to allergy, but histamine intolerance is not a true allergy and it won't show up on allergy tests.

Unlike allergy testing, confirming a serious histamine intolerance isn't easy or profitable for doctors. An elaborate study discovered that "histamine-intolerant subjects reacted with different organs on different occasions." Each person has a unique set of symptoms that may not always recur in the same location or intensity. The only true test for histamine intolerance requires a strict histamine-free diet followed by a double-blind food challenge. With a true diagnosis, the standard treatment is even more dismal - a low-histamine diet for life. But don't give up yet!


Reduced or Inhibited Enzymes

One of the more common reasons we suffer from histamine intolerance is the lack of enzymes diamine oxidase (DAO) and histamine-N-methyl transferase (HNMT). These enzymes break down histamine and keep it in check. DAO and HNMT levels may be genetically low in some individuals, blocked by drugs, or reduced from intestinal damage or diseases such as celiac. Caffeine also inhibits DAO.

Many factors affect the body's histamine levels, and there are ways we can help reduce the load. Our exposure to allergens, diet, drug use, temperature, hormones, and nutritional deficiencies dramatically impact our histamine levels throughout the day. Imagine your histamine as a "bucket" that fills up and only reveals symptoms after overflowing.


Large amounts of histamine are promptly released when we are exposed to our allergens, and the most common allergens include mold, dust mites, animal dander, pollen, medications, insect stings, latex, and food. Interestingly, scientists are beginning to suspect that these allergies have developed in order to protect us from environmental toxins. It is important to avoid exposure to known or suspected allergies, especially when histamine levels are a potential problem. Get tested and avoid the triggers to start emptying the bucket!

from MedicineNet.com

Food Allergies vs. Food Intolerance

Sometimes people become sick from eating a particular food, because they cannot properly process or digest the food, or because they have a true allergic (immune) reaction to the food. Food allergies and food intolerance are sometimes confused with each other, but they are quite different in terms of their origin, symptoms and treatment.

Food Allergies

True allergic reactions to food involve the body's immune system. When the body identifies a food as harmful, it produces antibodies directed against that food. The next time the food is consumed, the body mounts an immune response with the release of histamine and other chemicals that trigger allergic symptoms. A common example of a food allergy is to peanuts.

With a food allergy, symptoms may occur almost immediately or up to hours after consuming the particular food. These symptoms may affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, or the skin.

Food allergy symptoms can include:

skin rash or hives
swelling of the tongue and throat
breathing problems including asthma
vomiting or diarrhea
abdominal pain and cramping

Severe allergic reactions may result in a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, or even death.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is different from food allergy in that it does not involve an immunologic reaction. A common type of food intolerance is lactose intolerance. Persons with lactose intolerance lack an enzyme (called lactase) needed to digest the milk sugar (called lactose). They can develop gas, bloating, and abdominal pain when they consume milk products.

Some types of food intolerance can be treated. For example, lactase tablets are available without a prescription to aid those with severe symptoms of lactose intolerance and lactose-free dairy products are available at most supermarkets.

If an individual thinks they may have either food allergy or food intolerance, keep a diary of the foods eaten and any symptoms experienced. A food diary can help the doctor establish the correct diagnosis. A doctor can also order simple skin tests or blood tests to determine if an individual is allergic to specific foods. The strategy of dealing with a food allergy is different than dealing with food intolerance.

what causes an increase in histamine levels?
from Healthy Pixels

The most common food allergies include dairy, wheat, shellfish, eggs and nuts. Contact allergies can include a wide range of substances such as rubber, nickel (in jewelry), acrylates (artificial nails), pine resin, and sunscreen or shampoo ingredients (such as benzophenone). Some people experience an early response to allergens, while others might only notice a late-phase response that can appear up to 10 hours later. Symptoms of this delayed response can last up to 24 hours.

If any type of food allergy is suspected, consult with an allergist and start carefully taking notes about diet and symptoms. ChartMySelf.com can help you keep online records of your health. Blood tests for both immediate and delayed food allergies are available to doctors from Great Plains Laboratory, US Biotek, and many others. Depending on the type of allergy exposure and related damage, a body may require days, weeks, or even months to fully recover.

Air pollution and pollen

New research shows that air pollution contributes to cardiovascular disease by the increase in histamine and inflammation. Genetics also play a role in a person's susceptibility to pollution.

These collective studies suggest that both short- and long-term PM inhalation can enhance thrombotic and coagulation tendencies, potentially via increases in circulating histamine and inflammatory cytokines and/or activated white cells and platelets.

Interestingly, new research shows that some of us can experience inflammation from pollen without any specific allergy! Future studies will undoubtedly reveal how particles in our environment can affect our immune system beyond the classic allergy response.

Water pollution

Studies have shown that common environmental contaminants trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene raised histamine levels in lab rats by increasing their sensitivity to allergens.

Symptoms can often be prevented by avoiding foods high in histamine

Fermented foods like wine, aged cheese, aged or smoked meats, fermented soy products (including tofu and soy sauce), vinegar (including pickles, ketchup and prepared mustard) and sauerkraut.

Foods exposed to high amounts of bacteria such as fish/shellfish.

Leftover meats can quickly accumulate microorganisms which result in histamine formation.

Chocolate/cocoa, spinach, eggplant, nuts, pumpkin, tomato, strawberries, citrus fruits, and seasonings like cinnamon, chili powder, and cloves can stimulate the release of histamine.

Wheat-based products.

Beverages such as tea (herbal or regular) and soy milk are high in histamine.

Any type of alcohol interferes with the body's ability to break down histamine.

Prepackaged meals.

Yeast - even though it does not contain histamine as such, yeast serves as a catalyst for histamine generation during manufacture. There is no yeast in the end product

New studies show that fat absorption may dramatically increase the release of histamine and contribute to chronic inflammation.

Nutritional imbalances
When the body is low in B vitamins, vitamin C, and copper, histamine may not break down sufficiently to overcome symptoms of intolerance. Foods high in Bs include potatoes, sunflower seeds, and soybeans. Foods high in vitamin C include bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, kiwifruit, cantaloupe, and kale. Researchers found that vitamin C may work by increasing the activity of the DAO enzyme.

Some foods like potato are also high in oxalate which can release histamine in certain people. Keep in mind that while citrus is high in vitamin C, it releases histamine within the body and can aggravate symptoms. A food allergy to any of the above foods will also increase histamine.

Heat and UVB light
Studies show that UVB light caused histamine release in vitro, though it was protected by ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Some people notice that rashes and skin conditions can worsen with exposure to sun and heat.

Some episodes of anaphylaxis have been triggered by moderately intense exercise, particularly in warm environments. These extreme reactions are typically related to food allergens that were consumed prior to physical activity. Strict avoidance of allergens may help prevent symptoms of histamine intolerance that occur during exercise - particularly dynamic exercises such as jogging, running, and aerobics that involve less resistance. Recent studies indicate that the amino acid L-carnosine is released during these exercises and then converted to histamine.

Hormones - including stress hormones
Rising estrogen levels have been associated with elevated histamine, and women might notice increased sensitivity and symptoms of histamine intolerance at different times in their monthly cycle. Periods of high estrogen link to sinus sensitivity to histamine. Environmental estrogens such as pesticides, agricultural growth hormones, and PVC in plastics may also activate histamine release. Conversely, histamine appears to stimulate estrogen levels as well and exacerbate symptoms. Diamine oxidase levels are much higher in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, theoretically reducing the risk of excess histamine during that phase.

The "stress" hormone cortisol appears to increase histamine in stomach and intestines in lab studies. Reducing stress can lower the amount of stimulating hormones that activate mast cells which release histamine and other factors of inflammation.

from whfoods.org

Food Sensitivities and Processed Foods

Reports suggest the incidence of conditions such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis has increased during the past decade. While the increase in damaging pollutants, particularly in large cities, is most often attributed for this increase, many scientists believe the consumption of processed foods and the increased level of stress in our daily lives are also major contributors to the rise in the frequency of these conditions. As mentioned above, processed foods contain higher levels of additives such as preservatives (benzoate-containing substances like sodium benzoate, sulfites, hydroxytoluene-containing substances like BHT), flavoring agents (salicylates), and dyes. Processed, non-organically grown foods may also contain pesticides which can also promote toxic responses in the body. Candies, such as chocolates, also contain many colorings, additives and preservatives as well as simple sugars.

Processed foods can also contain small amounts of residue of foods that are not listed on the label. Most manufacturing plants produce several types of food products and although regulations exist to assure these companies manufacture products under clean conditions, they do not require sterile conditions that would prevent any cross-contamination from the production of other food products. For example, a manufacturer may use the same equipment to produce wheat and non-wheat bread. It is possible that a small amount of wheat residue could inadvertently end up in a non-wheat product, however, these residues would not listed as an ingredient on its label.

This is of particular concern with peanut residue which can cause a severe allergic reaction from amounts so small that it is undetectable by all tests used to determine the cleanliness of equipment. Governmental agencies are responding by requiring manufacturers that use the same equipment to produce peanut products and non-peanut products to label their non-peanut products as possibly containing peanut residue.

Processed foods also add colors and flavorings which raise additional concerns. Colors, and particularly flavorings, are usually produced with "carrier" ingredients. In the past, manufacturers have been required to only list the main ingredients in the products and carrier ingredients were not included on this list. This practice has recently come under scrutiny by the FDA and other food industry organizations as reports of food intolerance or allergic reactions from allergens that were present in foods but were not listed on the labels continues to grow. The FDA is starting to require that labels list all ingredients, including carrier ingredients, however, it may be many years before all the processed food on our grocery shelves will have all the ingredients clearly labeled.

Whole, organically grown foods do not contain colorings, flavorings, preservatives or other hidden ingredients which may cause food sensitive reactions. This is a particularly important consideration for individuals with any type of food sensitivity.

How These Foods Damage Your Body

It has been reported that while individuals may sometimes have adverse reactions to particular foods, these reactions are not always consistent. This is because the response to food involves not only the immune system or a particular sensitivity to some of the molecules in foods, but is also affected by the health of the entire digestive tract and whether it is providing a good barrier for your body. Therefore when the health of your digestive system is compromised you may have a sensitivity to foods which otherwise would not affect you adversely such as in times of extreme stress.

The role of your gastrointestinal tract, which includes your esophageal area, stomach, and your upper and lower intestinal tracts, is to take in the food you eat, break it down to molecule-size pieces, and have it absorbed into your body in a controlled way. Your gastrointestinal tract provides a protective barrier between the food you eat and the inside of your body, and when it is healthy and functioning efficiently, it lets in specific food molecules in specific places at specific times. Many things can affect this barrier and, when it is compromised in any way, it can let in food molecules that are not properly digested. This can cause a reaction to a food, not because you are sensitive to it, but because it is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

from Stephanie Faris of Healthline Networks

Basic Symptoms of Mold Allergies

If you're allergic to mold, you'll likely experience histamine reactions similar to those from other types of airborne allergies. Those symptoms include: sneezing, coughing, congestion, watery & itchy eyes and postnasal drip

You may initially mistake your mold allergies for a cold or sinus infection, since the symptoms can mirror each other. If your allergies are compounded by asthma, you may notice your asthma symptoms worsening when you're exposed to mold. Symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, and chest tightness. You also may experience wheezing and other signs of an asthma attack.

Mold Allergies in Children

If your children are the only ones in the family suffering histamine-related allergy symptoms, it may not be related to mold in your home. Some school buildings have unchecked mold, resulting in asthmatics suffering increased attacks while at school. But it could also be that your child has a sensitivity to mold, whereas no one else in the family does.

Since some children spend time playing outside in areas parents might not venture, mold may be prevalent in the outdoor air. Asthmatic children may experience more attacks while playing outside for this reason and you may note more symptoms in the summertime months, when your children are playing outside more often.

Is Mold Toxic?

You may hear many myths about the toxicity of mold—for example, that inhaling mold can cause permanent damage. The truth, according to scientists, is that it would be very difficult for someone to inhale enough mold to do that kind of damage. If you aren't sensitive to mold, you may never even experience a reaction.

Furthermore, the mold that asthma has been associated with is generally found outdoors, not indoors. So that leaky window at work isn't likely to cause you to develop asthma. Outdoor mold will only exacerbate symptoms for asthmatics, and not cause asthma itself. However, a serious condition called hypersensitivity pneumonitis is rare, but attributed to prolonged mold inhalation in patients who are sensitive.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis can develop over time in patients who are sensitive to mold spores in the air. One of the most often seen types of hypersensitivity pneumonitis is known as "farmer's lung." Farmer's lung is a serious allergic reaction to mold found in hay and other types of crop material. Because farmer's lung is so often undiagnosed, it can cause permanent damage in the form of scar tissue on the lung. This scar tissue, called fibrosis, can worsen until the patient begins to have trouble doing simple tasks.

Once farmer's lung progresses to a more chronic form, symptoms may become more severe than simple histamine reactions. Farmer's lung patients may experience fever, chills, blood-streaked sputum, and muscular pain. Those who work around potentially moldy crop materials on a regular basis should watch for early histamine reactions and seek treatment if they suspect farmer's lung may be developing.

While mold exposure is generally not deadly, increased exposure can make symptoms worse. Mold allergies are progressive—that is, over time the attacks become more severe. The key is to prevent moisture from building up by repairing any leaks in your home.

If you notice a water build-up in any part of your home, stop the leak immediately. When working in situations where outdoor mold may be present, wearing a face mask can drastically reduce your exposure to the allergen. Masks that will protect your respiratory system from being affected by mold spore exposure are available.

"A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans."
Gangi S, Johansson O. Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. Medical Hypotheses (2000), 54 (4), 663-671


The relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and human health is more and more in focus. This is mainly because of the rapid increasing use of such EMFs within our modern society. Exposure to EMFs has been linked to different cancer forms, e.g. leukemia, brain tumors, neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, asthma and allergy, and recently to the phenomena of 'electrosupersensitivity' and 'screen dermatitis'. There is an increasing number of reports about cutaneous problems as well as symptoms from internal organs, such as the heart, in people exposed to video display terminals (VDTs). These people suffer from subjective and objective skin and mucosa-related symptoms, such as itch, heat sensation, pain, erythema, papules and pustules. In severe cases, people can not, for instance, use VDTs or artificial light at all, or be close to mobile telephones. Mast cells (MCs), when activated, release a spectrum of mediators, among them histamine, which is involved in a variety of biological effects with clinical relevance, e.g. allergic hypersensitivity, itch, edema, local erythema and many types of dermatoses. From the results of recent studies, it is clear that EMFs affect the MC, and also the dendritic cell, population and may degranulate these cells. The release of inflammatory substances, such as histamine, from MCs in the skin results in a local erythema, edema and sensation of itch and pain, and the release of somatostatin from the dendritic cells may give rise to subjective sensations of on-going inflammation and sensitivity to ordinary light. These are, as mentioned, the common symptoms reported from patients suffering from 'electrosupersensitivity'/'screen dermatitis'. MCs are also present in the heart tissue and their localization is of particular relevance to their function. Data from studies made on interactions of EMFs with the cardiac function have demonstrated that highly interesting changes are present in the heart after exposure to EMFs. One could speculate that the cardiac MCs are responsible for these changes due to degranulation after exposure to EMFs. However, it is still not known how, and through which mechanisms, all these different cells are affected by EMFs. In this article, we present a theoretical model, based upon observations on EMFs and their cellular effects, to explain the proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans.


Results from the above-mentioned studies show that EMFs affect the MCs and may result in MC degranulation and release of inflammatory substances, including histamine. It is obvious that the MC, and also the dendritic cell, population is affected by EMFs. However, it is still unknown whether EMFs affect these cells directly or indirectly. EMFs may primarily affect the MCs, and they will consecutively release mediator substances which, in its turn, activate dendritic cells and their release of somatostatin. However, EMFs could affect the dendritic cells directly and these cells could then activate MCs' release of inflammatory substances, such as histamine, heparin, serotonin, VIP, etc. The third possibility would be that EMFs affect both MCs and dendritic cells directly and degranulate these cells.

The release of inflammatory mediators from MCs in the human skin results in a local erythema, edema and sensation of itch and/or pain, and maybe the release of somatostatin from the dendritic cells in the skin gives rise to subjective sensations of on-going inflammation and the reported sensitivity to ordinary light. All the above-mentioned cutaneous symptoms are the common symptoms.


Interactions of EMFs with MCs may result in MC degranulation and release of inflammatory mediators, such as histamine. In addition, cardiac symptoms have also been reported. MCs are, as described before, also present in human heart tissue. From the results of studies on the interaction of EMFs with the cardiac function, it is clear that relevant changes are present in the heart after exposure to EMFs. These changes may be due to the influence of EMFs on the cardiac MCs and their release of inflammatory mediators. One could argue that the cardiac MCs, with their intimate relationship to the nerves, could be affected and degranulated directly by the EMFs, or indirectly through a neuropeptide pathway.

Thus, it is clear that certain changes occur in different MC populations after electromagnetic / magnetic exposure, and these changes may consequently be a direct cellular response to EMFs. The results of the previously discussed study of Donnellan et al.confirms this assumption.

Finally, if the above reported effects, seen in different laboratory animals, such as mice and rats, as well as in various in vitro situations, would occur in human beings exposed in similar ways, it is not surprising at all to find persons claiming different subjective and objective symptoms, such as itch, flare, edema, etc., after exposure to e.g. mobile telephones, VDTs or fluorescent light. On the contrary, these persons may very well function as biosensors, thus revealing to the rest of the human population a warning signal that has to be taken seriously!

what causes an increase in histamine levels?
Restless Legs Syndrome and Insomnia go hand in hand. However, the insomnia is NOT caused by the restless legs. The restless legs result in a "lack of sleep", which sounds like the same thing, but really isn't.

Insomnia is caused by a racing brain, a stress or an overall intensity within. Having suffered from both insomnia and RLS, I can tell you that when my legs got better, my insomnia lived on. It took a long time and a lot of work, but I managed to retrain my mind and body so that I was able to get to sleep relatively quickly at night. I was also able to totally change my sleep cycle and I now fall asleep before midnight almost every night.

Having said that, I still have periods of unexplained intensity, racing mind and stress that prevent a good night's sleep. I think I now know why.

Below you'll find information on how increased histamine levels lead to a "racing" mind, often resulting in insomnia.

It's not all bad news. There are many natural solutions to histamine intolerance and the "racing brain" that the increased histamine levels can cause.

from Dr. Joan Mathews-Larson

I'll bet your concept of histamine is of some vague body fluid that gets released in allergic reactions and causes sneezing, mucous and swelling. You may not realize what serious mischief this chemical can do. Inside the brain it has an important role, in all sorts of reactions. It causes our tears to flow, determines our pain sensitivity, and our sexual libido. If brain levels get too low we become paranoid and suspicious, our ears may ring, we may see or hear things abnormally. We will probably make grandiose plans but never have the energy to carry them out.

When brain histamine levels soar out of control, other frightening symptoms occur. The tendency to hyperactivity, compulsive behavior and black depression increases as histamine rises abnormally. We may grow obsessive about sex, have abnormal fears, compulsive rituals, cry easily and may even think about suicide often.

Many high-powered, energetic politicians and public figures show this high histamine combination of obsessive drive and high sexual libido. Without their abnormally high histamine, they would lack the stamina to fuel their careers so intensely. Unfortunately, their accompanying high sex drive sometimes is their undoing, despite being splendid statesmen in every other way. Once we see ourselves and others in the light of the chemistry we are dealt, we tend to become more understanding about the corresponding behaviors.

In your hypothalamus, histamine stimulates the release of the important neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Another role of brain histamine is to counterbalance dopamine in that area of the brain that filters sensory information coming into your brain. With too little histamine, dopamine levels are elevated. The result of too low histamine can be thought disorders or even hallucinations that feel like your mind is playing tricks on you.

Other psychiatric symptoms develop when too MUCH histamine heightens and distorts the release of these key neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. When abnormally high, histamine will cause over stimulation, aggressiveness, compulsivity, and a racing brain (among other symptoms).

from Histamine Intolerances Blog

A lot of histamine patients seem to have issues sleeping. As my allergist so eloquently put it and I quote: "histamine is a wake-amine". As for me, I wake up from the slightest light or sound. It gets so bad I wake up multiple times per hour. You can imagine this is quite hard. It means waking up just as tired as when you went to bed. I've tried a wide variety of tricks, but nothing really does seem to do the trick.

from Medical News Today

A study by scientists with the Veterans Affairs' Neurobiology Research Laboratory and UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute shows that brain cells containing the chemical histamine are critical for waking.

Detailed in the May 27 edition of the journal Neuron, the findings show that the cessation of activity in histamine cells causes loss of consciousness during sleep The findings also help explain why antihistamines, often taken to control allergies, cause drowsiness.

from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Histamine is found in the brain and helps keep you alert and awake. An "anti"-histamine crosses over into the brain and makes you sleepy. In addition to helping treat allergies, antihistamines are also known to make you very sleepy.

Antihistamines are the most common ingredient in sleep aids that you can buy at a local drug store.

Studies show that antihistamines do help patients sleep better.

(Editor's Note: Please keep in mind that as a RLS sufferer you cannot take over-the-counter antihistamines. You have to take "natural" ones. There are hundreds of articles and studies that demonstrate that over-the-counter antihistamines increase the intensity of Restless Legs dramatically).

from The Last Psychiatrist

Most people think of sleep as the opposite of wakefulness, a line with two poles, you slide the switch back and forth.

In fact, there are two regions in the brain, working at the same time. A wakefulness promoting region and a sleep promoting region, battling each other, and your mind, for supremacy.

Simply as a convenience to me for the purposes of writing this post, I'll call the "wakefulness promoting region" the tuberomammillary nucleus, and the "sleep promoting region" the ventrolateral preoptic area of the hypothalamus.

The tuberomammillary nucleus (TMN) is the sole source of histamine in the brain. The TMN sends histamine projections all over the cortex. Histamine causes arousal, increased attention, perhaps increased learning and memory.

from Dr. Judy Tsafrir MD.

I have had insomnia since I was a child, probably due to life long undiagnosed histamine intolerance. A sense of calm and peace replaced the chronic anxiety I was experiencing, my spirits lifted and I felt much less tired and more alert. Given the strength and immediacy of my response to lowering the histamine content of my diet, I believe that histamine intolerance should be considered in every case of anxiety disorder, depression, sleep and attentional disorders, especially if a person is aware of food sensitivity issues.

CLICK HERE to learn how you can lower your histamine levels

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