This blog is a way of sharing the information and resources that have helped me to recover my son Roo from an Autism Spectrum Disorder. What I have learned is to view our symptoms as the results of underlying biological cause, which can be identified and healed. I say "our symptoms" because I also have a neuro-immune disorder called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

And, of course, I am not a doctor (although I have been known to impersonate one while doing imaginative play with my son)- this is just our story and information that has been helpful or interesting to us. I hope it is helpful and interesting to you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Treating High Histamine Levels With Supplements

There are a number of options available to address high histamine levels, including diet, enzymes, and supplements.  Below are the suggestions that our Naturopathic Doctor (who is also a Defeat Autism Now! doctor) gave us, as well as some things that I have researched on my own.  Of course, this is meant for educational purposes and not meant as medical advice!

The suggestions that my doctor gave me for my family are this:

Take between 1200 and 2000 mgs of calcium per day

Take as much vitamin C as the bowels can tolerate (too much can cause diarrhea). My kids are both at 2000 mgs per day and I take 4000 mgs per day. My doctor said she’d known people to go as high as 10,000 mgs per day!  (People who have an oxalate problem may need to skip this as vitamin C can slowly convert to oxalate in some people, building up in the adrenals and the lymph system).

Start with 200 mgs of SAM-e once a day, then up the dose by adding another 200 mgs a day, and if this is tolerated, go as high as 400 mgs twice a day (some people use methionine instead of SAM-e). Also, SAM-e tablets are enteric coated and are AWFUL tasting crushed, so I give my son who doesn’t swallow pills a liquid version made by Cellfood, which seems to be the only liquid on the market. The dose is low but it seems to be helping). SAM-e is said to work best on an empty stomach.

It is my understanding that the calcium helps to pull the histamine out of the tissues and into the bloodstream, and the vitamin C and the SAM-e flush it out of the body. I've read that the intestines don't absorb more than 500 mg of calcium at one time, so I break it up into several doses of 500 mgs each throughout the day, keeping in mind to give it at least 2 hours away from other mineral supplements (especially zinc and iron). Also, calcium is relaxing, so before bed is one good time to give it. I (and others) have noticed that sometimes histamine symptoms flare up as the histamine is leaving the body. If this is a problem, than reduce the doses of the supps (especially the calcium).

Magnesium helps to stabilize mast cells so they are less likely to release histamine in the first place.  Quercetin and Curcumin may also do this.  To improve methylation, which can also help, you can try DMG, TMG, or methylB12. In some cases folic acid supplements can produce excess histamine and should be avoided (however, taking the active form called 5-MTHF can help methylation).

There are several things that can be done to help reduce histamine symptoms at an acute level.  The herb Stinging Nettle can help and can be taken as a tea, tincture, or dried herb capsule.  One good brand of herbs available at many health food stores is Oregon's Wild Harvest.  High quality nettle can also be ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs.  AlkaSeltzer Gold is also effective but be sure to use the "gold" version and not the regular formulation.  This seems to work by triggering the release of pancreatic enzymes (baking soda also does this, but the effervescent quality of AlkaSeltzer means that it gets through the stomach much more quickly).  Lastly, epsom salt baths can be helpful.  For an acute situation use 1 cup of salts in the tub unless you are known to be sensitive to it.  Epsom salt cream or lotion can also be purchased (from Kirkman) and made if a bath is not a viable option.  I bought the lotion from Kirkman because Roo is very resistant to taking a bath (a residual sensory symptom?).