GET THE GIST ON HIST with Renee Dyson-Holland
Imbalances in Histamine Levels:
Histamine is a molecule with various functions in the body, including its role as a neurotransmitter and a key player in the immune response. When histamine levels become imbalanced, it can contribute to health problems, particularly when there is either an excess or deficiency of histamine:
Excess Histamine (Histamine Intolerance):
Histamine Intolerance: Some individuals have difficulty breaking down histamine, leading to a condition known as histamine intolerance. This can result in allergy-like symptoms, even when there is no exposure to allergens.
Symptoms: Excessive histamine can cause symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems (abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea), skin rashes, nasal congestion, and respiratory issues.
Triggers: High-histamine foods (aged cheeses, fermented foods, alcohol), medications, and certain medical conditions can contribute to histamine intolerance.
While less common, histamine deficiency can also occur and may lead to symptoms like chronic fatigue, poor digestion, and immune system dysfunction. Histamine plays a role in regulating stomach acid, and a deficiency can result in digestive problems.
Imbalances in Estrogen Levels:
Estrogen is a key sex hormone in women, responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, maintaining bone density, and influencing various aspects of health. Imbalances in estrogen levels can have significant health implications:
High levels of estrogen relative to progesterone, known as estrogen dominance. This can occur due to factors like obesity, hormone therapy, or certain medical conditions.
Symptoms: Oestrogen excess, may lead to symptoms such as heavy or irregular menstrual periods, breast tenderness, mood swings, and an increased risk of conditions like endometriosis and fibroids.
Estrogen Metabolism Pathways: Estrogen metabolism involves the conversion of estrogen hormones into different forms within the body. These forms can be categorised into “good” and “not-so-good” metabolites. The balance between these metabolites can have significant implications for health.
Liver Health: The liver plays a crucial role in oestrogen metabolism. Supporting liver function through diet, lifestyle, and targeted supplements may be part of the discussion we have with our patients in clinic.
Hormone Balance: We work with patients to achieve and maintain hormonal balance. This may involve assessing oestrogen levels and the balance between oestrogen and other hormones such as progesterone and testosterone. Balancing these hormones can be essential for overall well-being.
Diet and Nutrition: Nutrition is a key factor in oestrogen metabolism. This can include a focus on fibre-rich foods, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower), and foods containing specific nutrients that aid in oestrogen detoxification. I love Dr Carrie Jones ~ and taking a leaf from her book, I often recommend “ A carrot (or better yet, two) per day keeps the oestrogen at bay”.
Supplementation: In some cases, we may recommend supplements as well – however this is very nuanced and does require consultation. These supplements may include vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies that can help modulate hormone levels and metabolism.
Its worth noting that the term oestrogen dominance gets thrown around a lot – I definitely DO see this in clinic often, but I want to stress Oestrogen shouldn’t get such a bad rap. I would suggest terminology of progesterone insufficiency is more accurate. These two sisters are both equally important and we just want them to get along 😊 Oestrogen is particularly crucial for the overall health of the vaginal microbiome… but just like most things in life, too much of a good thing can not be so good!
Low levels of estrogen can result from menopause, certain medical treatments, or primary ovarian insufficiency.
Symptoms: Estrogen deficiency can lead to symptoms like hot flashes, vaginal dryness, mood changes, and an increased risk of osteoporosis.
Interplay Between Histamine and Estrogen:
The relationship between histamine and estrogen is complex and multifaceted — Estrogen can influence histamine receptors, potentially affecting histamine sensitivity in the body. Some women may experience changes in histamine tolerance and allergy symptoms during their menstrual cycle, which is influenced by estrogen fluctuations. Estrogen can also affect the permeability of blood vessels, potentially influencing the severity of allergic reactions, particularly in conditions like allergic rhinitis.
In summary, imbalances in histamine and estrogen levels can lead to a range of health issues, from histamine intolerance and allergy-like symptoms to menstrual irregularities. Understanding these hormonal dynamics and their potential impact on health is crucial for effective management and overall well-being. Individuals experiencing significant hormonal imbalances should consult with healthcare professionals for personalized evaluation and guidance.