In functional medicine, we always want to be looking upstream and trying to gather as many clues and evidence through testing and intake to determine what is at the root cause of the chronic symptoms in question.
We then work to treat and resolve the underlying problem(s) and this helps to reduce symptoms and restore health long term. But what happens when someone is reacting to or not tolerating the treatment needed to resolve their root cause problems?
This is the biggest challenge I see for those who have MCAS and histamine intolerance. Their immune systems are so hyper-reactive and overly sensitive that they will often have trouble tolerating the treatment needed to resolve the root cause issues like parasites, lyme, SIBO, retroviruses, or mold.
I experienced this personally when I was being treated for Lyme disease and mold illness aggressively for 2 years before knowing that MCAS was playing a role in my symptoms. My MCAS manifested as extreme body pain, even after 2 years of Lyme disease treatment my pain wasn't getting any better, in fact, it was getting worse!! I also found myself becoming very sensitive and reactive to foods, smells, chemicals, EMF's, and even most of the medications and supplements that were treating my illness. I could not tolerate treatment and was just getting sicker and feeling worse.
Figuring out I had MCAS and adding in both pharmaceutical and natural anti-histamines and mast cell stabilizers was a game changer for me. My pain levels dropped slowly, my energy improved, my rashes disappeared and my food reactions lessened. Overtime I finally started to be able to tolerate the treatment I needed to resolve my root causes.
After my personal experience and professionally working with lots of mast cell clients, I now understand that its imperative to get the immune system to calm down and be less reactive before you will be able to tolerate treatment for and resolve what's at the root cause of your MCAS.
My practice is now 90% MCAS patients and every client is unique in what combination of anti-histamines and mast cell stabilizers work to calm down the immune response and be less reactive.
I use special lab testing to help give me clues about each clients bio-individual triggers, metabolism, and root cause issues. This helps me make educated recommendations in the area of natural anti-histamines and mast cell stabilizers that will work for each personal individually.
There are some nuances to choosing the right combination of supplements and it often takes some trail and error. This is why I highly recommend working with a practitioner who knows and understands this well to help guide your choices.
You will want to choose clean formulations with minimal or no fillers. I suggest single active ingredient items so that you know what is helping or hurting you.
If you are someone who has food reactions, you will want to time these items to be taken 15-30 minutes prior to meals. This timing can help to reduce post meal time mast cell reactions.
Lastly, never try more than one of these at the same time. Always try anything that is new to you alone with no other changes or adjustments in food or medications, titrate up to the recommended dose (or your tolerated dose) slowly and then add the next item. I typically recommend a 3 day trial before increasing the dose or adding the next supplement.
Here are the natural options that I use most in my practice...
15 Natural Anti-Histamines & Mast Cell Stabilizers:
These go-to, natural mast cell stabilizers can be used in combination with pharmaceuticals like ketotifen, cromolyn, singular, and over the counter anti-histamines like Benadryl if needed. I highly recommend working with an experienced practitioner who can help you choose the products that meet your needs best.
Always keep in mind these anti-histamines and mast cell stabilizers are not going to fix the underlying, or root problem(s) that are causing the MCA symptoms. They will simply help to lower reactions and calm the immune response down so that you can start to treat the underlying reasons your mast cells are over-stimulated in the first place.
If you want to learn more about my approach for reducing MC reactions and improving root cause treatment tolerance and effectiveness, check out my free online webinar.
Billie Shellist, FDN-P
I practice functional nutrition, an approach that allows me to look at your entire health history and help you find the "root causes" of your chronic health complaints.
This cuts out the trial and error process and helps you get real symptom relief and resolution!
Food is medicine and knowledge is power -I hope you enjoy my anti-inflammatory recipes which are gluten, dairy, and soy free as well as very low grain and sugar.
If you'd like to heal from the root cause(s) of your chronic symptoms, try starting with a complimentary 15-minute consultation. Click here to request your free session.