Elevated Histamine Levels Cause Undermethylation

by | Jul 20, 2013 | Immune, Mental Health, Nutrient Imbalances

UNDERMETHYLATION

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, seasonal depression (SAD) or allergies, defiance, perfectionism. These are just some of the traits that can be related to undermethylation – which may be a result of elevated histamine levels.

While slightly elevated histamine levels can lead to strong motivation, attention to detail, or good organisational abilities, these tendencies are amplified with increased histamine levels and can present as obsessive compulsive behaviour, perfectionism, over-competitiveness or other behavioural problems.

An adult who is an undermethylator, may accomplish high levels of success, but may also be an over-achiever who struggles with or has an addictive trait such as gambling or chain-smoking, or other compulsive behaviours. Children may be self-motivated and goal-oriented, but may have problems with authority, socialising with peers, or develop an obsession for certain activities.

What causes undermethylation?

“Methylation” is a process where chemicals called “methyl groups” are added to various elements of DNA, proteins and other molecules to help keep them in good working condition. Histamine is one of the chemicals which requires methylation to be metabolised correctly.

If the histamine is “undermethylated”, it can begin to build up in the system. When blood contains high levels of histamine (known as histadelia by the Pfeiffer treatment centre), the excess histamine is stored in the blood basophils (a type of white blood cell involved with inflammatory reactions in your body) and brain neurons.

This in turn can result in low levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine – the chemicals responsible for making us feel good. Despite a high energy drive, those suffering from histadelia can often also show symptoms of depression due to low serotonin levels.

Treatment options for Undermethylation

Undermethylation has a tendency toward low levels of calcium, magnesium, methionine and B6, and an excess of folic acid, so dietary changes and correct supplementation are the key to correcting undermethylation.

Of course, before rushing out to stock up on vitamins and minerals, it is important to correctly diagnose undermethylation which can be done with a diagnostic blood test available to identify histamine levels – one marker for the methylation process. The correct dosage and combination of nutrients can then be assessed based on your specific needs and what else is going on in your body, and progress can be monitored not only through symptoms, but also blood testing.

If you suspect you may be suffering from undermethylation, contact us for testing and advice.

Coming soon, we’ll look at overmethylation, homocysteine, MTHFR polymorphisms, what they are and what they may mean to you – helping you put the pieces together.

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Eat some more collagen and organ meat

Do I consume as much collagen and even organ meat as I should?

No I don’t but I have been adding a tablespoon or 2 of collagen (hydrolysate version is best) into my daily diet and I do like a bit of fried liver with thyme and onions or pate but just not as regularly as I really should.

Organ meats just have such high nutrient value they are invaluable. They are natures vitamin, mineral and nutrient punch. Things like vitamins B12, A, D & K, folate, choline, iron and Coenzyme Q-10.

Different versions of Carnivore Diets

Ok, back to CARNIVORE.

It has been around for quite a while but the last couple years it has really been gaining a ground swell of popularity.

Why?

It seems people are literally fixing or reversing long term chronic illnesses and on the way also gaining such vibrant health and people like Amber O’Hearn, Jordan and Mikhalia Peterson, Dr Shawn Baker breaking world records to boot and the folk at Paleomedicina.

Please note they actually all have their own way of carnivore dieting that work for them.

So never ever one diet for all!

Are there risks?

I know what you will be saying – we need plants in that our diet? What about fibre? What about feeding our gut bacteria? What about all the nutrients we need that we get from plants? What about red meat and bowel cancer?

These are important questions and we don’t have all the answers yet but there are signs of N=1 examples and multiple N = 1s showing tremendous benefits. Another way of saying this is, we don't have a scientific published clinical trial but, anecdotally 1000s of people as finding life changing health outcomes. Also people like Belinda and Dr Gary Fetke have highlighted information about where our current dietary paradigms and dogmas appear to have originated from here and here and also here.

Interestingly there are also numerous case reports of people eating nothing but meat for months to decades who suffer no apparent nutrient deficiencies.

When you consider the reverse and ask – is there any 1 singular plant food that when not supplemented in any way could sustain life for weeks to decades and show no clinical signs of deficiency?

The answer is an absolute - "NO there are is not a plant food that could do the same" as deficiencies are guaranteed, so interesting things to ponder.

Diet does change our gut microbiome and fermentable fibre is conventional thought of as being a key ingredient for healthy bacteria. Our gut bacteria usually need indigestible, fermentable plant fibre to eat and live.  Some animal based foods, such as collagen, are also thought to feed our gut bacteria, so its an evolving space for now.

As Maria points out a diet such as carnivore (animal only, mostly meat based) can change our gut microbiome, in part by reducing bacteria digestible fibre therefore potentially reducing bacterial numbers and this in some cases may well be the reason for the benefits.

The devil may be in the details - poor gut health (leaky gut) and bacterial composition (dysbiosis or pathogens) may mean great results (especially for those with allergies and autoimmune conditions) with low fermentable fibre carnivore diet. but this may not be optimal for all of us.

Another concept is the increased diversity of our gut microbiome. Increased diversity is conventional thought of as beneficial and gives us a more robust health but again details may matter, as above, and there are a few reports of diversity actually going up on a carnivore diet, so go figure!

This also means that a carnivore diet may not be optimal for all of us and might only mean that if you can't tolerate fibre or plant based foods you may be better off on a animal based  approach used as a therapeutic tool.

Something else that not many people talk about is a real and important risk of social isolation, this can include any highly restrictive eating pattern including plant based diets such veganism. As humans we need social interaction and contact for optimal health

So for some using a carnivore like diet in the short term may provide a perfect, yet extreme, reset. It can be used as a tool with a reintroduction of some plants foods when tolerated and this gives us convenience, flexibility, social interaction, antioxidants and an increased gut microbiome again with all the possible health benefits too. Mikhalia Peterson, who we mentioned above, actually does not enjoy her all meat restriction but continues to eat this way from necessity and continues to trial eating some plant foods provided she does not react.

The need to tweak and change

Here is what I will tell you – if you are chronically ill don’t keep pushing the ‘healthy’ diet whatever that is – vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, high fermented foods etc you need to rethink and change and try a different approach or sometimes just a small tweak may be needed.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome” and that is the whole point nothing is perfect and things need to change sometimes, so that is where we also come in to help and support you in finding something that works for you specifically.

Here is the punch line though – we (Maria, yes vego Maria, myself, one of he other clinic practitioners and a couple loony friends are going to do a month of eating only meat, water and salt - so yes all meat , just to see for ourselves what it feels like. Longer may be better but we thought we will see what a short trial does in our lives.

Stayed tuned for an up date as we are also taking pre and post diet pathology blood testing to also get an objective measure of what happens to our biochemistry.

All the best

Tim - Nutritional Medicine Specialist

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