Your allergies may be making you unhappy: Histamine inhibits serotonin
You know those days when everything is just gray? When you can’t focus on anything and every little thing makes you irritated? You’re not alone. According to a 2010 study, up to 30% of people in the United States suffer from seasonal allergies, and the numbers are only rising. But did you know that your allergies may be making you unhappy? A new study published in the journal PLOS ONE shows that histamine, a molecule involved in allergic reactions, inhibits the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, so this means that histamine could be playing a role in making people with allergies feel down.
What is histamine?
Histamine is a natural chemical that is produced by the body. It is released when the body is exposed to an allergen, and it causes the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Histamine can also be released in response to stress and other stimuli. When histamine is released, it binds to receptors on cells and causes them to contract. This contraction results in the symptoms of an allergy, such as runny nose, watery eyes, and sneezing.
Histamine also inhibits the production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood regulation. This means that when histamine is released, it can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.
How does histamine inhibit serotonin?
Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound involved in local immune responses, as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter for the brain, spinal cord, and uterus. It is released during an allergic reaction and binds to histamine receptors which causes the typical symptoms of an allergy: watery eyes, runny nose, and itchiness.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, appetite, digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. Unlike histamine, serotonin does not directly cause any allergy symptoms. However, it does affect how we feel both physically and emotionally. When histamine inhibits serotonin production, it can lead to feelings of sadness, anger, or anxiety.
What are the symptoms of histamine intolerance?
Histamine intolerance is a condition in which the body cannot properly break down histamine, a molecule that is involved in immune responses, digestion, and other important functions. Symptoms of histamine intolerance can vary greatly from person to person, but often include headaches, digestive problems, skin rashes, and congestion. Some people with histamine intolerance may also experience anxiety or depression. While there is no cure for histamine intolerance, avoiding foods that are high in histamine is a great start to help manage symptoms.
How can you treat histamine intolerance?
There are a few ways you can treat histamine intolerance:
1. Avoid high histamine foods: Some foods contain high levels of histamine or other chemicals that can trigger histamine release. These include aged cheese, alcohol, fermented foods, smoked meats, and certain fruits and vegetables. If you suspect you have histamine intolerance, try avoiding these foods to see if your symptoms improve.
2. Take supplements: There are several supplements that can help with histamine intolerance symptoms. Vitamin C and B6 both help to break down histamines in the body. Magnesium helps to reduce inflammation and has a calming effect on the nervous system. Probiotics can also be helpful as they promote a healthy gut flora which is important for proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
3 . Try natural remedies: There are several natural remedies that may help
The connection between allergies and happiness
Allergies are often thought of as a minor annoyance, but they can actually have a major impact on your happiness. That’s because allergies can cause histamine levels to rise, and histamine is known to inhibit the production of serotonin.
When seratonin levels are too low, it can lead to feelings of sadness and anxiety. So if you’re struggling with allergies and also feeling down, there may be a connection.
There are treatments available that can help control allergy symptoms and reduce histamine levels. If you think your allergies might be affecting your mood, talk to your doctor about possible solutions.
Ways to reduce histamine levels
Histamine is an important molecule in the body that helps to regulate many processes, including the immune response and neurotransmission. However, high levels of histamine can lead to allergies and other problems. Here are some ways to reduce histamine levels:
- Avoid triggers: If you know what substances or activities trigger your allergies, try to avoid them as much as possible.
- Limit your exposure: If you can't avoid triggers completely, try to limit your exposure to them. For example, stay indoors on days when pollen counts are high.
- Treat your allergies: If you have allergies, make sure to treat them properly with medication or other treatments. This will help reduce your overall histamine levels.
- Eat a healthy whole foods diet: A healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce histamine levels in the body.
- Reduce stress: Stress can trigger the release of histamine in the body, so try to reduce stress in your life as much as possible.
If you're struggling with allergies and also dealing with depression or anxiety, it's worth looking into whether histamine is the culprit. Antihistamines can help to reduce histamine levels in the body and may improve your mood as a result. If you think your allergies might be affecting your mental health, talk to your doctor about treatment options.