top of page

Allergies, Skin & Inflammation Solutions

It’s allergy season again: those who are suffering from allergies are dreading this time of the year when trees and flowers start blooming…  

Allergies affect millions of people worldwide and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. 

Have you noticed that your skin is more reactive too? What’s the link?

While there are various types of allergies, one common factor is the release of histamine. Histamine is a chemical that plays a crucial role in your immune system, but when it's released in excessive amounts, it can trigger allergic reactions and also show up on our skin in form of redness, breakouts, rashes or worsened skin conditions that are linked to inflammation like rosacea or eczema. 

Since histamine travels throughout your bloodstream, excess levels of histamine can affect physiological function in your gut, neurotransmitter levels in your brain, immune responses in your sinuses, lungs and skin, and your entire cardiovascular system, contributing to a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • Itchy skin, eyes, ears, nose

  • Bloody Noses

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty falling asleep – Histamine from mast cells in the brain can promote wakefulness

  • Headaches or Migraines

  • Eczema or other types of dermatitis

  • Excess sweating during exercise

  • Fast resting heartbeat, heart palpitations or irregular heart beat

  • Super-itchy mosquito bites

  • Trouble regulating body temperature

  • Facial swelling or other tissue swelling

  • Tightness in the throat

  • Vertigo or dizziness – allergies affect the Eustachian tubes in your ears, which help regulate balance

  • Abnormal menstrual cycle

  • Fatigue

  • Hives or Rashes

  • Breathing issues like asthma

  • Anxiety or panic attacks – Histamine acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and can contribute to anxiety, depression and other psychiatric conditions

  • Flushing or redness of skin

  • Depression or mood changes

  • Nasal and sinus congestion

  • Swelling and redness of eyes

  • Heartburn, reflux, indigestion, nausea or diarrhea

Key guidelines to avoiding foods high in histamine:

  • Alcohol (especially red wine, champagne & beer)

  • Fermented & vinegar containing foods

  • Aged meats, cheeses (& leftovers) =>bone broth and collagen!

  • Strawberries, citrus fruits, banana, avocado, tomatoes

  • Spinach & eggplant

  • Always rinse your meat and fish (and pad) dry before cooking them

So yes, if you have skin issues and they’ve gotten worse since allergy season started, excess histamine or histamine intolerance may be what’s causing it. 

There are several factors that can contribute to histamine intolerance, including:

  1. Genetics: Some people may be genetically predisposed to histamine intolerance, and may produce lower levels of DAO or HNMT or have altered activity of these enzymes. 

  2. Nutrient deficiencies: can be caused by suboptimal digestive function, higher nutrient demands (such as in cases of stress, anxiety, or poor sleep quality), and a nutrient-poor diet. Sufficient vitamin B6 and copper are required for DAO production. HNMT activity can also be impacted by micronutrient deficiencies (such as deficiencies of vitamins B1, B2, B12, B6, and minerals like folate, zinc, and copper). These nutritional deficiencies impact the methylation pathway via which HNMT degrades histamine.

  3. Dietary factors: Certain foods are naturally high in histamine or can trigger the release of histamine in the body. Foods that are high in histamine include aged cheese, fermented foods, cured meats, and alcohol. Other dietary factors that can contribute to histamine intolerance include a deficiency in nutrients such as vitamin B6 or copper, or consuming foods that block DAO activity, such as tea or coffee.

  4. Medications: Some medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) aka ibuprofen, tylenol, exedrin, paracetamol, aspirin or steroids, can interfere with DAO activity, leading to elevated histamine levels.

  5. Gut health: Histamine intolerance has been linked to imbalances in gut bacteria, as well as conditions such as leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut can cause a DAO deficiency which could then lead to histamine buildup in the body. Moreover, histamine can be produced by pathogens and beneficial bacteria. Pathogens can also produce phenols – usually, the body is able to metabolize excess phenols. However, if someone has gut issues or inadequate levels of sulfate and liver enzymes, excess phenols can trigger histamine release.

  6. Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during menstruation perimenopause or menopause, can trigger histamine intolerance symptoms in some women.

Why histamine issues/ allergy symptoms can get worse during perimenopause:

Now, if you are over 40, you may have noticed that your allergy symptoms have gotten worse… another sign of getting older? 

In women over 40, hormonal fluctuations can affect the body's ability to regulate histamine levels due to the decline of progesterone levels that create an imbalance in relation to estrogen. So, we often have “too much estrogen” during this time and that can also increase your histamine levels

Estrogen will cause the release of histamine from the mast cells present in your reproductive organs, so excess estrogen makes histamine symptoms worse and vice versa. 

Additionally, estrogen can inhibit the production of the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO), which is responsible for breaking down histamine in the body. So you’ll have an increase of histamine due to your hormones and also a slow down of histamine break down. This can lead to symptoms such as allergies, food sensitivities, and digestive issues.

But progesterone can also affect histamine levels. Progesterone has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to stabilize mast cells, so when your progesterone levels decline, you may experience pronounced allergy symptoms due to increased inflammation.

In these situations it’s key to get your hormone levels checked and work on balancing them either with natural remedies or bioidentical hormone therapy. 

What can you do to manage allergy symptoms?

If you have allergies or allergy-type symptoms as described above, antihistamines are the most commonly used medication. 

Using pharmaceutical antihistamines long-term has a negative impact on your gut health and liver. You can imagine that if your detox organs are doing overtime, your gut microbiome is frail and your immune system constantly being triggered, it leads to chronic inflammation, allergies (food, environmental and seasonal), but also hormone imbalance and thyroid issues as a side effect. 

This explains why many people stop responding to antihistamines and anti-allergy medications. Addressing the underlying causes of allergies is the only long-term solution.

Another thing you should know about antihistamines: they don’t lower your histamine levels, they only block your histamine receptors for the time the drug remains efficient. Once the drug wears off, you’re getting the full blast of built up histamine and your symptoms are getting worse unless you take another Benadryl. 

Here is my approach to dealing with allergy symptoms:

  1. Heal your gut: get a detailed stool panel and work on balancing your microbiome by removing pathogens and building up good bacteria and your gut lining

  2. Address nutrient deficiencies by improving your diet and/or your digestion to make sure you are absorbing your nutrients

  3. Identify food allergies and sensitivities

  4. Adopt a low histamine diet

  5. Support your liver to help flush out excess toxins & hormones

  6. Balance your hormones: that may mean to detox excess estrogen or to increase progesterone production or to support your hormone levels overall

  7. Identify genetic variants and address with appropriate supplements

Contact me or work with your practitioner to manage your allergy symptoms.


bottom of page