Histamine Issues on the Up

Most of us have heard of antihistamine medication and think of it being used for histamine issues that manifest as hay fever and insect bites.

But did you know that one of the best-selling pharmacy medicines for sleep problems is an antihistamine? It’s sold to help sleep by reducing the histamine level in your brain.

Scientists have known for a long time that we have histamine-releasing cells throughout the body.  Your inner skin, the mucus membranes that line your gut, your lungs, your bladder, and your nasal passages are full of histamine-releasing mast cells.  Your outer skin, your dermis, is full of these mast cells too.

But it’s not just mast cells that release histamine.  We now understand that histamine plays an important role in our nervous system as an excitatory neurotransmitter.  In balance, it has an important role to play. It keeps us alert and awake.  But in excess can cause histamine issues and may exacerbate problems such as migraine, sleep disturbance, and even neurological complaints such as Parkinson’s disease.

Keeping histamine in check

As a stimulating and excitatory chemical, it is important that we keep histamine in check and working for us and not against us.

Mast cells are an important part of our immune system.  They help to protect our bodies by guarding the boundary between us and the outside world.  If you are exposed to a nasty irritant, your body releases histamine. You then produce secretions and literally wash the irritant out of your mucus membranes, or you will scratch the irritant from your skin.

This is exactly what histamine was designed for, to flush it out. Job done.

But life is not so simple anymore.  Histamine issues are on the increase as our inner and outer world has become much more complex.

Related problems

Synthetic chemicals, processed foods, chronic stress, and perpetual stimulation are wreaking havoc on immunity and digestion. As a result, we’re seeing an increase in allergy, inflammation, and histamine-mediated conditions.

In the UK we’re seeing a 5% increase year on year in the presentation of allergic conditions.  And emerging problems with new conditions such as Long Covid are showing histamine involvement as part of the clinical picture, too.

Instead of histamine being a protective friend, it has become an inflammatory foe and is turning against us.  So much so that histamine intolerance itself is now recognised as a condition in its own right.

Addressing issues

All is not lost, however. We can take steps to address histamine issues.  Your body may be able to produce and release histamine, but it can also break it down and eliminate it.

Measures such as reducing high histamine foods, improving your gut microbiome, correcting nutritional imbalances, and addressing chronic stress can all have a positive impact on reducing excess histamine release that leads to histamine issues.

There are also several interesting botanicals including schisandra, reishi mushroom, black seed oil and pine bark extract with proven positive effects that you can incorporate into an allergy and histamine treatment protocol.

Work with nature

Taking time to explore natural ways to manage histamine, allergies and intolerances may give you more insight into how to effectively manage your allergies and histamine issues.  Better still, consult a naturopathic-minded nutritional therapist or medical herbalist. That way you will benefit from working with someone who has the skillset to prescribe appropriate nutritional and natural remedies.

Moving away from nature in the first place has contributed significantly to increasing allergy levels and associated immune dysfunction in our modern world.  So, instead of simply popping an antihistamine tablet, perhaps it’s time to treat nature with nature instead.

Time for us to work with and not against.





School Fundraising the Healthy Way

We know it’s a tough time raising money for extras in education right now as school fundraising has been put on hold.

But we’ve come up with a way that you can engage in school fundraising and stay on the right side of social distancing rules into the bargain.

Our new scheme gives a nominated school cashback of 5 percent on all sales in our Health Food and More online shop.

Anniversary brainchild 

It’s the brainchild of our owner and medical herbalist Keren Brynes MacLean who is celebrating 30 years in the business.

Keren started her training as a medical herbalist in November 1990. She qualified in 1996 and has since grown her business into a health food store, clinic, and dispensary in St Clair Street, Kirkcaldy.

She says: “It seemed fitting to mark this anniversary by giving back to the community. We’re rolling this initiative out in Fife initially, but we have plans to go national if it takes off.”

Nominate a school

We have sent invitations to schools by email inviting them to register for the Healthy Fundraising and More initiative. Once they have signed up, parents and supporters can nominate which school they want to receive a donation when they pay online for mail delivery or the store’s click-and-collect service.

“I have spent years on parent councils at schools,” Keren says. “And have seen first-hand the challenges of fundraising when everybody has such busy lives.  All schools benefit from fundraising. And with all the Covid restrictions in place, now is the time to look at new ways to do it.

“The idea is to take some of the hard work out of school fundraising so that cash-strapped schools get a break.

“This is a simple and pretty effortless way for schools to raise money. They just register and let everyone know it’s available. We do the rest.”

Register here

You can register here to get your school fundraising efforts started. Fill in the online form – all the information is held securely. We’ll get your school set up to benefit from the scheme. All you have to do then is tell everyone about it.

If you know someone in charge of school fundraising, why not forward them this post and ask them to register now? It’s a free service that all schools can benefit from!