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Could Your Histamine Intolerance Really Be Mast Cell Activation Disorder?


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Reviewed by Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD, MPH

Do you have trouble with histamine? Have you struggled to get a diagnosis? In Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD), part of the innate immune system becomes hyperactive, releasing histamine and other chemicals that affect every organ system in the body. Read on to learn more about MCAD, and how you can address the root cause.

Histamine intolerance
Do you have trouble with histamine? Mast cell activation syndrome can contribute to the release of histamine. istock.com/Ugreen

Histamine intolerance has become a popular term in the natural health community.  Characterized by symptoms that appear to worsen with the intake of foods that are high in histamine or that stimulate the release of histamine, histamine intolerance is not really a diagnosis as much as it is a description of symptoms.

Most clinicians, including myself, now believe that Mast Cell Activation Disorder is a more accurate description of what patients with so-called “histamine intolerance” are suffering from. There are a number of factors that can contribute to, or cause, histamine intolerance, including excess histamine production, diamine oxidase (DAO) enzyme deficiency, HMNT mutation, and poor methylation in the liver; however, my experience has been that MCAD is responsible for a large number of cases of histamine intolerance. This article will serve as an introduction to MCAD – what it is, what causes it, and how to treat it.

Mast Cells: Sentinels of the Immune System

Mast cells are white blood cells found in all human tissues, especially at places where the body interfaces with the environment, like the gut and skin. Though best known for their role in allergies, mast cells are also involved in the formation of new blood cells, wound healing, the development of immune tolerance, defense against pathogens, and the maintenance of blood-brain barrier function. (1, 2)

Mast cells are the sentinels of the innate immune system, on the lookout for environmental changes or insults to the body. They respond by releasing mediator molecules that influence the behavior of other cells and tissues in an effort to maintain normalcy, or “homeostasis.”

There are over 200 of these mediators stored within the granules of mast cells, including tryptase, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, and histamine. (3)

Histamine often gets a particularly bad rap, but it has many important physiological functions in the body: acting as a neurotransmitter, regulating stomach acid secretion, and playing a role in the local and systemic immune response. (4) The key takeaway here is that we need mast cells and their mediators for normal body function. The issue arises when these cells become overactive, as they do in individuals with MCAD.

Mast Cell Activation Disorder: The Hidden Diagnosis

Mast cell activation disorder is characterized by the accumulation of mast cells that are genetically altered (mastocytosis) and/or the abnormal release of mast cell mediators (Mast Cell Activation Syndrome). Because mast cells are found in all human tissues, and mast cell mediator receptors are found on almost every cell in the body, MCAD has the potential to affect every organ system. (5)

MCAD presents clinically as a chronic, multisystem pathology of a generally allergic and inflammatory theme, and has been associated with obesity, diabetes, skin conditions, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), depression, and more. (6) MCAD does have a genetic component, and tends to cluster in families (7), though related individuals may present with very different symptoms. (8)

Trouble with histamines? Get to the root of the problem.

MCAD is estimated to be more prevalent (9) than other diseases of mast cell dysfunction, but also more difficult to recognize. This is at least in part due to the fact that it often does not cause abnormalities in routine lab testing. MCAD was not named as a condition until 2007 (10) and diagnostic criteria weren’t proposed until 2010. (11)

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Finding the Root Cause of MCAD

In the functional medicine model, we always seek to address the root cause of disease, as opposed to just treating symptoms. We still have a lot to learn about MCAD, but I believe it is likely the result of deeper pathologies, including:

Heavy metal toxicity: Heavy metals like aluminum and mercury have been shown to destabilize mast cells. This makes sense, as the very purpose of using these as vaccine adjuvants is to elicit a heightened inflammatory immune response. Lead, cadmium, and bismuth have also been found to activate mast cells and cause mast cell mediator release. (12)

Infections or gut dysbiosis: The gut is home to 70% of the immune system (13), including a large number of mast cells. Parasitic infections, bacterial/viral infections, or bacterial/fungal overgrowth activate mast cells. (14) Helminth parasites and Candida have been shown to be potent stimulators of mast cell activation. (15, 16) Mast cells regularly interact with microbes, and gut dysbiosis itself may lead to MCAD. (17)

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CIRS: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome could also play a role. Those who are particularly susceptible to mold and have a reduced ability to clear mycotoxins from the body, which leads to a constant activation of mast cells.

Nutritional Deficiencies: Some nutrient deficiencies can trigger MCAD. Vitamin D is required to maintain the stability of mast cells, and a deficiency has been shown to activate them. (18) Zinc is involved in regulating mast-cell function, and there may be a link between magnesium deficiency and inflammation. (19, 20)

Treatment for MCAD

Conventional treatments for MCAD are pharmacological agents that block the action of mast cell mediators. While these may provide much-needed relief to patients, they are not a long-term solution and can have unwanted side effects. Safer short-term action steps that you can take to provide some relief include:

  • Adopting a low-histamine diet: For some people with MCAD, a low-histamine diet provides significant relief. Supplemental diamine oxidase can also help by increasing histamine breakdown.  But, it’s important to keep in mind that this is only reducing exogenous (outside) histamine, and not altering the amount produced by your mast cells endogenously (within the body). Histamine is also only one of many mediators produced during mast cell degranulation.
  • Focus on nutrients and foods known to stabilize mast cells: Many nutrients, including selenium (21) and vitamin C (22), have been shown to stabilize mast cells. A number of herbs and spices, like holy basil (23), peppermint (24), ginger (25), thyme (26), and turmeric (27) also have this effect. I have also seen good results with supplemental forms of quercetin (28), bromelain, nigella sativa (29), nettle (30), and butterbur. (31)
  • Reducing stress: Corticotropin hormone, released in response to physical or psychological stress, destabilizes mast cells and causes them to release their mediators. (32)
  • Entraining circadian rhythms: Mast cell activity closely mirrors circadian rhythms (33), so getting enough sleep and avoiding blue light at night is crucial.

Ultimately though, we need to address the root cause:

  • Remove heavy metals from your system: Chelating agents can help to remove heavy metals from your system. This is best done under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. Removal of old mercury fillings by a trained professional can also reduce the burden of heavy metals in the body.
  • Treat infections: A comprehensive stool test can help identify parasites and other infections that could be contributing to mast cell activation.
  • Heal your gut: Remove inflammatory foods and focus on nutrient density. Include plenty of probiotic, prebiotic, and healing foods in your diet.
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Join the conversation

  1. I have been on an AIP- low histamine- low fodmaps diet for 2 years. I have also cleaned up my “world” in every way recommended for AI. I take digestive enzymes and probiotics.i take a multitude of supplements and homeopathic tinchers , and consume ginger and turmeric daily. I have just been diagnosed with MCAS and now understand better why all my efforts have been falling short to reintroduce any foods and why my chemical reactions are so strong. With that said, I will look into the presence of chemical toxins and retest for SIBO and gut dysbiosis. I am just not sure what else I could do holistically to calm down my reactions. Presently, double antihistamines daily aren’t even enough.. :(( I will also look for quercetin. Your info and suggestions have been so helpful Mark! I also appreciate Eileen Laird from Phoenix helix for sending me this link!!!

    • I have read that ginger is high in histamines which could be creating some of your problems..research..one web site says no no no to ginger..

  2. Dr. Anne Maitland, is an allergist/immunologist. She treats Mast Cell activation syndrome, Mastocytosis, etc. Her has an office in Westchester county, New York. Not far from New York City.
    914.631.3283. Research her online. She has very informative video on YouTube. Dr. Maitland also does telephone consultations, if coming to her office is inconvenient.

  3. Hi,
    My doctor just diagnosed me with MCAD. The only symptoms I have are congestion, cough and tighteness of the chest. Allergy tests are all negative. I also have inflammation in the body.
    Could this all be MCAD related?

    • My MCAD symptoms included tightness in the chest, and I was diagnosed with emphysema. As soon I got rid of all refined carbohydrates, all grain flours, and started eating raw eggs (we have our own chickens), my chest tightness went away. I don’t believe I really had a true emphysema, but untreated MCAD had caused changes in my lungs.

      I now cook my eggs, and follow a low histamine diet. I have leaky gut, which is more than likely the foundation of my problems.

      • Hi Janet, thanks for the recommendation. In fact I stayed away from wheat products for the past few months and the tightness went away. However as soon as I have some wheat products it comes back. I guess no more yummy bread for me 🙁

    • Take Quercetin for your symptoms. If they go away, it’s a histamine problem.

      • I have SIBO and was told by my GI that I have symptoms of mast cell activation syndrome. My vast symptoms seem to fit the disorder. I tried Quercetin with Vitamin C, two different supplements, and felt worse. Same with taking Claritin non-drowsy. Not sure why the Quercetin and Vitamin C would trigger a reaction when it’s meant to do the opposite.

  4. Thank you! I’m not crazy nor am I a hypochondriac. I have spent the past year investigating and researching and have found exactly what this article talks about. I have “Fibromyalgia, Uticaria with extreme hives, along with some beginning arthritis”. I have had some symptoms of a lot of different auto immune diseases. I’ve just been trying to not be exhausted all of the time, with varying levels of pain. So many years and so many doctors. I started to self-treat. It is hard to find a doctor who isn’t profiting from the pharmaceutical companies, and who would rather help people. I feel I’ve come down the road of blaming them now for this even happening. Back in the day, we were all shot up with Penicillin for everything from a hang nail to a runny nose. I feel that started us off in a very bad direction. Add sugar, and pop, and stress – and that should be the total package of bad gut. However, in my case, I was also hit by a car when I was 8 and spent months in a coma, and many, many brain and kidney surgeries later, was fortunate to come out of it alive. Only one kidney left caused other issues throughout my life. But I know for a fact I was on a lot of different medications to make me live (I’m not knocking them at all). However, 55 years of not fixing anything that got broken inside of me has left me feeling like I’m 103 years old. Over this past year, I have taught myself about probiotics – what kind, how to take, how to tell if they are working, along with learning about histamine overload, auto immune “diseases”, gluten as well as the basic hormones that my body naturally produces (and as it turns out, does not eliminate). Add it all together….. and this is where I am. I’m still trying to conquer some more like Gerd, the rest of my fibro, and the left over uticaria – which I’m sure is going to take a lot more time to completely get clear of. I just wanted to thank you for this article and proving – it’s not all in my head!!

  5. A couple of years ago I was suffering from what my allergist called chronic idiopathic urticaria and angioedema. His solution was a prescription of antihistamines, which kept them at bay initially. Eventually, though, I’d get breakthrough hives and swelling. When I suggested checking for gut dysbiosis since we were dealing with an immune reaction and I knew that 70% of your immune system is in the gut, he just dismissed the idea, saying there was no cure for my problem, that it would eventually go away and just double down on the antihistamines to keep the problem under control. Not being satisfied with that answer (actually, I called him a shill for the pharmaceutical industry), I went and found a functional medicine doctor who, after a bunch of tests, determined that, indeed, I was suffering from gut dysbiosis. She put me on an elimination diet to limit my intake of foods that would contribute to the dysbiosis, and gave me some suppliments to rid me of the overgrowth of certain bugs and finally had me take probiotics to repopulate my gut with the right bacteria. Once we completed the treatment regimen, the hives and facial swelling stopped and I haven’t had another case since.

    • Thank you. Yes, I understand allergists are typically too narrow minded. The big question is how to find a doctor who has bought into MCAD.
      I live near Springfield, Mo. if anyone has a name.

        • Dr Casey Tramp(Sastun Center) in South Overland Kansas. She is an MD but also certified in Fubctional medicine. Might be worth the drive. She has helped me tremendously.

      • For Functional/IntegrativeMedicine in Springfield , MO., you may wish to contact Kare Health and Wellness.

      • Craig,
        I live in Willard MO and have MCAD. I would recommend Dr. Minh Thu Le at FD. She has been a big help to me even at my worst.

    • Hi,

      Looking for some insight for myself..

      39 yr old, male, no significant medical history.

      Suffering abdominal pain which is waking me up very early in the morning for over a year usually relieved by bowel movement

      Colitis has been excluded

      Also suffering hive like welts when I scratch myself. Typical very itchy scalp or other hairy regions in the evenings. Lights scratching leads to more scratching.

      Had no idea they would be related until I read this.

      Could this be part of the same problem? How do I rule this out?


      • I have these exact symptoms. Use to be just a random itchy rash on my neck or face (I thought it was from mildew in our basement), it progressed to entire limbs itching (and of coarse swelling) in about 6 months. I have tried things in my own like probiotics, DIM, and Epsom salt bath. Then turned to the stinging nettle capsules, mixed herbal teas, and putting a dash of tumeric in food every day. I don’t get near as bad of outbreaks (maybe a red spot that I scratched here and there). I never linked the cramps and the bowl movements in the morning to it though – time to look up natural healing for my gut. Thank you!

    • Omg! I am so happy to read your response to this article!

      I have symptoms of almost a dozen autoimmune diseases that ebb and flow and have continued to do so relentlessly for the last few years — but have been on the backburner since early childhood, now that I look back.

      I received a vaccination during my first pregnancy that really sealed the nail on the coffin and sent my health into a complete downward spiral. I have been battling random swelling, edemas, hives, colitis, brain fog, breathing issues, insomnia, body aches, on and off for almost seven years now.
      But the urticaria and angioedema is most stressful to me, as it often affects my lips and eyes.

      During one episode, I was covered in hives, head to toe, for a full year.

      The urticaria has morphed into an angioedema nightmare for me. L-lysine and low-histamine diet as well as quercetin helped some, but still getting a lot of breakthrough.

      Just started with a functional naturopath who is suggesting testing for SIBO.

      I’m going to pursue this further and hope for an update like yours in the near future!

  6. Would this also help explain why some folks have heightened immune reactions to external allergen triggers- ex. mosquito bites?

  7. Hi! Very interesting! I’m currently being worked up for an allergic response that happens with increased heat (usually exercise, occasionally just hot days) I have had an anaphylactic reaction and now carry an epipen. It was brought up about histamine intolerance so I have been curious. We (ND and myself) have started this path by looking at foods as being the cause and have identified a few but wonder if histamine intolerance would play a role in this scenario. Any thoughts?

  8. Have enjoyed reading all the info here about mast cell disorders. I have suffered from maddening chronic hives (Urticaria) for 20 years.
    I have recently been reading up on Luteolin. It sounds very promising as a way to moderate mast cell production. Has anyone here looked into it or used it?

    • It’s in Dr Theoharides’ formulations of NeuroProtek. He’s kind of the forerunner in mast cell activation disorder/disease. Works and does his research out of Tufts University.

  9. I can’t eat much variety, and I would like to follow a plan to heal leaky gut. If that was the initial cause of my MCAD, I think what I am eating now will heal it, except for milk. The question is fresh, raw A2 milk. Does anyone know if it is okay when dealing with leaky gut? I don’t react otherwise and would like to continue to have a little every day, since it is one of the very few things that I don’t react to. Thanks

    • Hi. A2 milk recently came to my attention as A2/A2. It can be A1/A2 and it’s unclear to me if the second is free of the protein chain that most people react to in A1. Homogenized milk is pulverized into particles so small it leaks through the gut. Can’t comment on pasteurized, but if that would be an issue then surely you couldn’t cook milk in food either. You didn’t ask but let me add that in America wheat has been hybridized for gain until there’s a toxic protein in it. Therefore what most of us thought was celiac or wheat allergy is actually a toxic protein reaction. (A1, product of bigger cows, more milk, more money…ring any bells.). Anyway, it’s my understanding they’re trying to breed that toxic protein back out of wheat. Meanwhile some are finding that they can eat Turkey Red wheat but not other wheat. It is available online at heartlandmill.com

  10. Hello, I’m diagnosed by genetasist as having EDSHM and POTS, and autonomic dysfunction. I have flare ups every autumn and spring, like clockwork, every year. I also have immune dysfunction. When this happens, in addition to my other diagnosis my eyes itch, sting and water, my nose is blocked up completely. I have to take codine 30mg four times daily, for pain, which I know is contra indicated, but can’t take Tramadol as it gives me gastroparesis, so I’m kind of stuck. I take ranitidine, which I know is helpful, I am planning on seeing a specialist to help me, should I look for a haematologist? I’ve just joined the Mast Cell support group, so hopefully will find a suitable Dr. To see privately, my GP has no clue about managing my other problems, so need to do this ‘off my own back,’ as she’s already ‘over Faced!’ Thinking of doing low histamine diet, but it sounds so complicated.

    • Hi Clare,
      I can relate. It took me over 6 years to get diagnosed with MCAD. Due to the nature of MCAD, it can affect nearly any organ and cause almost any symptom. Although itching and nasal congestion are hallmark signs, POTS and EDSHM are also associated and I recommend seeing a doctor who knows what MCAD is. I’ve written a detailed article about what MCAD is, how to get diagnosed, what that entails, as well as treatment options including diet, medication, and supplements. You can read more about that by clinking the link to my blog. https://jakejonesnutrition.com/blog/2017/3/15/m7iok649de00ds7b3l9yv3d61ptqn8

      Good luck!

  11. Has anyone on here done the heavy metal detox? Which is the best one to do? i don’t want to waste money on something that does not work to remove the heavy metals.

    • Janet, my husband and I did a great heavy metal detox outlined in a book called: “Medical Medium” by Anthony William. What I like about it is he is not selling a product; he is outlining a way through products and foods you get from your sources. The cleansing diet cleared up so many challenges for me (including all-over body pain & inflammation), and help my husband heal his gut.

    • I agree with Linda and would check out Anthony William, the medical medium. Best detox around. His books are amazing!

  12. I see that left over meat is on the list for foods that you shouldn’t eat if you have an intolerance to histamine. Does it make a difference if you reheat the meat? Thanks

    • Excess histamine is produced by bacteria on the meat which convert histadine and other amino acids into histamine and other biogenic amines. Unfortunately histamine is heat stable so re-heating the meat with not remove the histamine. Thus left over meats are contraindicated in histamine intolerance and mast cell acitivation disorder.

    • No it does not help. I freeze portions immediately after cooking and defrost quickly before eating immediately. Some very sensitive people can’t even tolerate that. I find my worst triggers are aged, smoked, brined meat.

      • Agreed. Freeze meat as soon as possible after purchasing. When cooking it, don’t cook it too long, and then immediately freeze leftovers.

  13. I definitely have a histamine problem. How can I determine if I have a mast cell disorder or a histamine intolerance?

    • You can tell because..you have anaphylaxis to anything..with out it being a true Ige allergy or reactions which effect your whole body..if Mast cell stabilisers help you are more than certain it’s mcad or mcas..the symptoms include..flushing,angiodema,dermagraphism,bone pain symptoms,urticaria,headaches,itchy throat ears eyes gums tongue skin..fibromyalgia..neuralgia..brain fog or memory loss..feeling of doom..ibs like symptoms..heart flutters..asthma..
      Your life as you knew it is completely changed as you will react to environment scents and polloutants..keep calm as your body will react to stress..lack of sleep..hormone changes..friction..heat..cold..medications..foods..the list goes on..if you have mcad..believe me you know about it…and if this condition doesn’t kill you..the ignorance about it will.

      • I understand you. Been sick for 24 yrs. No dx. Drs can’t figure it out. I had an open bottle of pills I was about to take last week. Not because I’m depressed but I’m sick every day of my life. With no dx I can’t get disability. Can’t work! My life is gone. I told my family I will fight one more round and if still no answer, then I need them to let me go. I believe this is my disease. As u said…u will know if it’s you. 5 ppl in my immediate family all have different variations of the same disease. I’m the worst off, and the only female.

        • Hi Doreen,

          I have Systemic Mastocytosis and I know how awful the symptoms can be (mental and physical). Have you tried Doxepin? It is an inexpensive tricyclic antidepressant now used more as a sleep aid. It has potential to help all symptoms, and can cross the blood/brain barrier to stop mast cell action in the brain. It might be worth a try, it’s helped me. Good luck : )

          • Are you talking about Amitriptyline? I’m on it and it does help, been on it for years for the itching and pain.

        • Hi Doreen:

          My name is Brigitte. I hop you’re still fighting this unfair fight. Please know that your experiences…your life are highly valued. Your disclosure has encouraged me. I have lived with pain all of my life; I was diagnosed EDS on May 11, 2017. I suffer with extreme weird pain that seems connected to mast cell like issues. I haven’t been diagnosed with MSD yet.

      • I have all of these symptoms but I still don’t know how I can determine if it is HIT or MCAS. I’m not sure which tests I need to take.

  14. Interesting article. I was diagnosed with MCAS in Boston in 2015. l live in NYC but there is no knowledge here about this condition. It took five years and eighteen different doctors before I made my way to Boston on the advice of a dietitian. She promptly resigned from my case after she suspected that I had a mast cell disorder. I believe that I have had this all my life but the triggering episode that tipped me over into a crisis was eating a bagel in 2010!

    I also have had SIBO, fructose intolerance and a parasitic infection (e. histolytica).

    Taking antihistamines and cromolyn sodium, following a low histamine diet and avoiding other triggers such as salicylates, gluten, eggs, dairy, caffeine and alcohol have been helpful.

    I was fortunate enough to be a participant in an NIH sponsored acupuncture study while trying to obtain a diagnosis. It did nothing for my allergy problems but it reduced many other symptoms that I experienced.

    However, my food allergies seem to be worsening. Peppermint has been a lifelong problem and now even just the smell of it sends me into sneezing fits.

    I would like to work with a dietitian but I cannot find anyone locally with knowledge of mast cell disorders. Three dietitians have dropped me as a patient. (And four doctors as well.)

    MCAS is a heavy burden to bear. It has compromised my access to medical care.

    • Lois, would you share the name of your Boston practitioner? I’m also in NYC and having trouble finding a doctor. I’ve been diagnosed with SIBO. I also have palmar and plantar fibromatosis, which are mast cell mediated.

      • I see Dr. Norton Greenberger, a gastroenterologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. He diagnosed my illness and has been following my case since.

        I also had SIBO and felt better after that was treated. My dietitian diagnosed it.

        • Thanks so much for the info, Lois. I’m sorry to hear the problems you’re having finding a doctor in NYC who will treat you. I too think there’s some reason doctors here don’t want to treat this, so people get bounced around from one specialist to another. In general, I’m finding New York has much stricter laws surrounding medical practice than, say, Texas. As a patient, it’s infuriating. In Texas a person can order her own medical screening tests, but not in new York.

          • Apologies for my tardy response, Sally.

            Actually it’s worse than that. I’m not looking to replace my Boston specialist, but I need other medical care, in addition to my mast cell problems. I’ve given up finding anyone here in New York to treat my MCAS. Several of my doctors here in New York have made my other medical care contingent upon my trips to Boston or they won’t see me, e.g. my foot surgery.

            Yes, New York State highly regulates medical practice. My tryptase test was sent to the Mayo Clinic for processing, and the tests that were run had to be approved by the New York State Department of Health. They refused to authorize one of the tests.

    • Why did they drop you as a patient??? (Funny that your name is Lois, as is mine; not too many of us out there!)

      • I’m not quite sure why this keeps happening to me here in New York. It is not an insurance problem. It just seems that the doctors here are aware of this illness but extremely leery of it.

        I saw a gastroenterologist here in New York who tried to cancel my appointment three times, and then admitted to me that she does not want me as a patient because of this diagnosis. I’m on gastroenterologist number four here in New York.

        In the case of my last dietitian, she is in partnership with a gastroenterologist. He read my case notes and decided that because I had experienced bruising at one point that I had Gardner-Diamond syndrome, a psychiatric diagnosis. In short, he does not believe the diagnosis of MCAS. So it seemed that my dietitian preferred not to see me.

    • Tamara Duker in NYC and Jessica Pizano in Ct. Both are mcas nutritionists. I live in NYC also but haven’t been diagnosed.

      • I’m looking forward to my appointment with Jessica Pizano in late May. Tamara Freuman dropped me as a patient.

    • Peppermint is high is salicylates. You may want to check out if you have an intolerance to salicylic acid.

      • Not sure why you are referencing peppermint, but as a matter of fact, I have had a life long allergy to peppermint.

        I am now unable to eat foods that are high in salicylates, so my low histamine diet also excludes them. And that affects a huge swathe of foods.

        It seems to me that the longstanding peppermint problem and the more recent and broader salicylate problem are pieces of the same puzzle.

    • That story is me and my Husband and many people in United sates. I became severely ill to the point I was reacting to everything! There was no safe place for me to live, no safe clothes to wear, no safe water to drink, no foods….etc…I lost everything in life and had to live in isolation, away from my husband and loved one. My story is a very long story. Please check gofundme/PilarOlave and you will be able to get a better picture.
      While I was being treated at an environmental clinic in Texas I met lots of people facing this same disease. There are a lot of people suffering tremendously. My case is extremely severe because I even reacted to light, to electromagnetic fields, to touch, to smell, to ink, books…Was able to do anything. I was loosing my vision, I had trouble talking. There were times I couldn’t talk and I would just cry looking at my husbands eyes without able to say a word….

  15. Thank you for this article, and so glad to read the many responses. No diagnosis here- but have seasonal allergies, food sensitivities, angioedema (which is food, histamine and stress induced) as well as estrogen dominance, hormone problems, and many other things. I was trying to work on digestion, and have been eating way too many high histamine foods- totally forgot about not eating ferments. No wonder the angioedema has been daily…. Kefir and walnuts today triggered it, as well as migranes. I’m sure my cup runneth over with histamines. Is there anything to do about that?

  16. I also diagnose a shellfish allergy and a fish sensitivity during this time. I have noticed when histamines are high, I have night terrors and also visual hallucinations of colored lights when my eyes are closed.


  17. So great to see MCAD being talked about from a functional medicine perspective! I was diagnosed with UP Mastocytosis as a child and was told that I would grow out of it. Fast forward to the age of 33 and I was suddenly struck down with every symptom you can imagine. MCAD. It took me a while to work out what was wrong with me and found an immunologist who has me on a large cocktail of medications. It has enabled me to care for my children again but I am far from healthy and have a long way to get back to health. I know that the medications are just band aids. We have no functional medicine practitioners here in New Zealand so I am pleased to read your perspective on it and will put your ideas into practice. Thanks for raising awareness?

    • JO! Found a interesting functional practitioner in my travels online who is is in New Zealand! Her name is Alison Odey, she’s a Naturopath and Osteopath and her site has a lot of good info http://alisonodey.com
      I contacted her regarding several excellent articles of hers online, regarding leaky gut, allergies etc, and also some navigation problems with her site but hopefully they are resolved now.

    • Hi Jo, I’m in NZ too, and I have MCAD, along with a list of other things. Just wanted to recommend Dr Helen Smith (integrative GP) from Auckland Holistic Centre. She’s based in Auckland, but does Skype consults. I see her in conjunction with ‘The Holistic Nutritionist’ – Kate Callighan. She’s based in Wanaka and I speak with her via skype. Hope that helps 🙂

      • That is helpful, thank you! Have you had much improvement with lifestyle measures? I’d be interested to hear your story if you had the time, my email address is [email protected]

  18. I became suddenly very sick and was diagnosed with H-Pylori and treated with antibiotics. Since that time I’ve developed an unknown chronic condition, which I believe is mast cell activation syndrome (although I’ve been unable to find a doctor who knows what it is or who can diagnose it), and hyper-POTS (I’m hypermobile as well). Zantax 2x a day has improved my health enormously, although I still have issues with fatigue, getting overheated and brain fog. My concern is that my mother had a lot of intestinal issues in her 40’s/50’s and now has dementia. I recently read that there may be a connection with the gut and Parkinson’s disease…and I know this is a leap…but I’m curious if dementia could be caused in part because of gut issues as well. Any insight or thoughts on this? Thanks!