Do you ever feel tired after eating or experience a sugar drop and sudden hunger a few hours after a meal? You are not alone. I commonly see this in my patients with histamine intolerance and mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS).
It’s often overlooked yet there is a strong connection between histamine and your blood sugar. Research has shown that blood sugar imbalances can increase your histamine levels, while histamine intolerance and MCAS can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. Stabilizing your blood sugar is an absolutely critical aspect of improving histamine intolerance and MCAS symptoms.
In this article, I will discuss the connection between histamine and blood sugar. You will understand what blood sugar is and how it’s related to diabetes, prediabetes, and insulin resistance. You will understand everything about histamine, histamine intolerance, mast cells, and MCAS. I will explain the connection between your blood sugar, histamine intolerance, and mast cells. I will offer some natural strategies for histamine intolerance and blood sugar imbalances.
What Is Blood Sugar
Blood sugar or blood glucose is the main sugar (glucose) found in your blood. Blood glucose comes from the food you eat and caloric-drinks you consume. Your blood’s job is to carry this blood sugar around your body to your cell as the main source of energy. It does this with the help of a hormone called insulin that helps the sugar to move into your cells (1). Keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level is critical. Too high or too low blood sugar levels can present a problem.
Diabetes is a condition characterized by too high blood sugar levels. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body is unable to make insulin to deal with your blood sugar. In type 2 diabetes, your body is either not making enough insulin or doesn’t use it well. If you have prediabetes, it means that your blood sugar levels are too high but not high enough to have a diabetes diagnosis. If you have insulin resistance, it means that your body is unable to use insulin effectively. Insulin resistance is the precursor of diabetes. Insulin resistance and prediabetes are serious risk factors for developing diabetes (2).
Hypoglycemia, on the other hand, is a condition caused by low blood sugar. It’s characterized by hunger, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, pale skin, irregular heartbeat, tiredness, dizziness, and crankiness. Blood sugar drops and experiencing hypoglycemic episodes are common among people with diabetes. However, people without diabetes may experience it as well. You may experience reactive hypoglycemia a few hours after eating a meal or fasting hypoglycemia as a result of a medication or health condition. Even if you don’t have hypoglycemia, diabetes, or prediabetes, you may experience blood sugar changes that are problems due to your diet, lifestyle, and medications you take (3). These blood sugar changes may also affect your histamine levels.
What Is Histamine Intolerance and MCAS
Histamine is a chemical that is responsible for a variety of functions in your body. It helps to get rid of allergens as part of your immune response. It communicates with your brain and triggers stomach acid release to aid digestion. In a healthy body, your body releases enzymes (diamine oxidase or DAO enzymes) to break down any histamine build-up, however, if you have too much histamine due to dietary, lifestyle, environmental, and other factors, your body won’t be able to keep up and remove all the histamine. Histamine intolerance means that you have too much histamine which affects your entire body, including your gut, brain, lungs, cardiovascular system, and hormonal health. Histamine intolerance can cause a variety of symptoms and health issues hormonal issues, headaches, skin problems, digestive issues, sleep disturbances, anxiety, fast heart rate, seasonal allergies, and more (4).
When we talk about histamine and histamine intolerance, we must also take a moment to understand mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS). Your mast cells are white blood cells found in tissues throughout your body, including your skin, digestive tracts, urinary tract, respiratory tract, reproductive organs, and surrounding nerve. They are sometimes found in your blood as well due to certain infections and diseases that they may attempt to repair once the health danger is gone. Your mast cells play an important role in your immune system. They store inflammatory mediators, including histamine inside granules. When you experience an allergic reaction, your mast cells will cause an allergic response that will trigger the release of histamine and other chemicals.
MCAS is a complex health issue that may develop due to a variety of triggers, including mold, chemicals, toxins, heavy metals, allergens, medications, infections, viruses, food, and alcohol. MCAS affects a variety of systems across your body and can lead to a range of symptoms, including rashes, hives, itching, heart palpitations, low blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, digestion issues, dizziness, weakness, and weight changes. Many of these symptoms overlap with histamine intolerance (5, 6, 7, 8).
The Histamine and Blood Sugar Connection
As you might have noticed, certain symptoms of histamine intolerance, including rapid heart rate, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep issues overlap. Histamine and blood sugar are closely connected. Blood sugar fluctuations can affect your entire body and they certainly affect your histamine levels. Histamine intolerance and MCAS may also contribute to the development of prediabetes and diabetes.
Histamine and DiabetesDiabetes is a metabolic disease. It is characterized by increased blood sugar caused by insulin resistance, the destruction of pancreatic beta cells, or the mixture of the two. Your diet, lifestyle, and various health factors can increase your risk of diabetes or directly impact diabetes. Histamine intolerance is one of these factors that may contribute to diabetes.
Research studies from the past four decades have shown the connection between histamine, blood sugar, and diabetes (9). A 1989 study published in Metabolism has found elevated histamine in those with diabetes (10). A 1990 study published in Metabolism and Cell Profeliation has found lower levels of histamine-degrading DAO enzymes in diabetic rats (11).
According to a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Pathology, histamine receptors (H1 and H2) may influence the regulation of blood sugar and lipid metabolism (12). A 2011 study published in Endocrinology has found that manipulating the H3 histamine receptor reduces blood sugar levels in diabetic mice (13). Furthermore, a 2012 study published in the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters and a 2018 study published in Pharmacological Research both found that targeting and inhibiting the H4 histamine receptor may be helpful for the treatment of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy (14, 15). Histamine intolerance may also increase the permeability of your blood vessels that can influence the symptoms and progression of diabetes. Clearly, the role of histamine intolerance should not be overlooked in the treatment of diabetes and vice-versa.
Mast Cell Activation and Diabetes
It is not only histamine intolerance, but mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) can also contribute to diabetes and its symptoms. Mast cells are implicated in metabolic diseases, inflammation, and immune system issues. According to a 2016 study published in the Polish Journal of Pathology, mast cells should be taken into consideration during diabetes treatment (16).
According to a 2010 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, advanced glycation end products (AGEs) accumulated in people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease, can activate mast cells and lead to histamine release (17). On the other hand, a 2012 study published in HHS Public Access has found that mast-cell stabilizer medications and antihistamines may be beneficial for reducing complications in those with diabetes (18).
It’s clear that there is a connection between diabetes, histamine, and mast cells. But what if you don’t have diabetes, but struggling with blood sugar fluctuations, insulin resistance, as well as, histamine intolerance or MCAS? Balancing your blood sugar is still a key step to your recovery and well-being.
Histamine Intolerance and Insulin Resistance
While there is a lot of research on the connection between histamine, mast cells, and blood glucose in those with diabetes, there isn’t any research on the connection in those without diabetes. A lot of people experience low, high, or unstable blood sugar, insulin resistance, or prediabetes without having full-blown diabetes.
In my practice, I see a lot of patients who experience blood sugar fluctuation before showing symptoms of insulin resistance or prediabetes. I also see a lot of patients with histamine intolerance and blood sugar fluctuations. A lot of people with histamine intolerance have low blood sugar and need to eat many small meals throughout the day. I also noticed that balancing your blood sugar can help to reduce or relieve symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Frequent blood sugar fluctuations can put enormous stress on your body, which can trigger histamine release and contribute to histamine intolerance and consequent symptoms. The good news is that with appropriate dietary strategies, lifestyle changes, and supplementation, you can balance your blood sugar and free yourself from symptoms of histamine intolerance.
Natural Solutions for Blood Sugar Imbalance and Histamine Intolerance
If you are dealing with blood sugar imbalance, histamine intolerance, or MCAS, there are a few natural strategies you can try. Here is what I recommend:
Measure Your Blood Sugar
I recommend that you try using a glucometer to test the stability of your blood sugar. This is an easy and inexpensive method to measure your blood sugar to support your treatment plan and see your progress. Based on your results, you can adjust your diet and lifestyle to support healthy blood sugar levels. If you are uncertain how to do this, a functional medicine doctor, like myself, can help you with a personalized nutrition plan to support your health.
Eat a Low-Histamine Diet
If you have histamine intolerance or MCAS, I recommend that you follow a low-histamine diet high in nutrients. Remove all histamine foods for one to three months. After this elimination phase, slowly re-introduce them one by one following The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan. To understand each step of this simple yet refined system, I recommend that you read my book, The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan: Getting to the Root of Migraines, Eczema, Vertigo, Allergies and More where I explain everything about histamine intolerance and MCAS and each phase of the plan in detail and offer my favorite low-histamine recipes to nourish your body. As a bonus, eating a nutrient-dense diet like this high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, healthy foods can help to lower inflammation and balance your blood sugar.
Try Blood Sugar Regulating Herbs
While your diet and lifestyle are critical for stabilizing blood sugar levels, there are a variety of herbs that can help to support your blood sugar levels naturally. Some herbs I recommend include aloe vera, Nopales cactus, bitter melon, milk thistle, fenugreek, and ginger (19, 20, 21, 22, 23).
Be Smart with Sugar
If you have blood sugar issues or any health issues (or simply want to avoid health issues!), removing refined sugar and sugary processed foods is critical. You may notice though that The 4-Phase Histamine Reset Plan is not a no-sugar plan and I allow fruits and many scratchy vegetables, such as carrots or beets. If you have blood sugar issues or you find that these higher glycemic index fruits and vegetables are causing blood sugar imbalances and symptoms, you may want to reduce or remove higher glycemic index foods and choose low glycemic index fruits, such as berries and vegetables, such as cucumber or celery instead. For sweeteners, use stevia or monk fruit, which are natural and healthy options that do not disrupt your blood sugar levels.
To support your body and reduce symptoms of histamine intolerance or MCAS, I recommend HistoRelief. This mast stabilizing supplement is a synergistic blend of nutrients including Tinofend®, quercetin, nettle leaf, vitamin C, and bicarbonate salts, that provides natural support to balance your immune response, inflammation reduction, and histamine release.
There is a strong connection between histamine and your blood sugar. Blood sugar imbalance can increase your histamine levels, while histamine intolerance and MCAS can contribute to insulin resistance and diabetes. Stabilizing your blood sugar is essential for improving histamine intolerance and MCAS symptoms. Follow my tips for histamine intolerance, MCAS, and blood sugar imbalance to reduce your symptoms, increase your energy, and improve your health and well-being.
If you are dealing with symptoms of blood sugar imbalance, histamine intolerance, or mast cell activation syndrome, I invite you to schedule a consultation with us. We can help to identify the root cause of your problems and recommend a personalized treatment plan to repair your body and regain your health and well-being. Schedule your consultation here.
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