Please respect and use the following
This information is not to be used for
diagnosing Meniere's disease or treating yourself or anyone else. It is meant only as an
educational article to make you aware of how and what histamine is. If
you run into a problem or suspect one, please don’t even hesitate to
call 911 (if available in your area) or get emergency help.
How to use the medical terminology in
this article: in order to
make this article flow and have you actively “participate” in its
concept, I am first going to give you several very
relevant histamine definitions. Then you
can refer to them as we go along. (You might even want to print them
HISTAMINE: what it is
“Histamine”...why does it sound
familiar? Could it be that it is part of a group of drugs we hear so
often about? “Antihistamine”: “anti”: something to work against
histamine. Let’s explore what it is, how it works and how it relates to
Meniere’s Disease symptoms: balance & hearing.
Histamine is a chemical found in each
and every cell of your body. It is released in response to a need in one
or more cells to keep you from harm. That is one of your body’s
responsibilities. Mosby says “it is released in an allergic inflammatory
reaction”, meaning your body is trying to protect you from “something”.
It is part of your body’s protective
mechanism. It responds to a situation automatically. You don’t have any
choice when it is activated. It is not a body part but it is crucial to
your body’s existence. Chemicals create or drive certain actions in the
Histamine‘s responsibility is to keep
you from harm by alerting you to certain intruders or removing them.
That would be anything that is not of itself or friendly to your body,
which may include Meniere's disease.
It reacts or is activated when it senses an intruder in some form.
Sometimes the reaction is localized and sometimes it is overall,
“systemic”. I conclude with part of an article which you can download in
its entirety written by Dr. Laurent
Bannock. It is a real “eye opener”.
Histamine: How It Works
In an overly sensitive body, histamine
may overreact. The amount of overreaction seems to depend on the
intruder and I suspect the health of the (invaded) person. A healthy
body is able to withstand many more challenges than a compromised or
sick one. Does this sound like our Observations: things people have told
us over the years that have caused their Meniere's disease symptoms??
These are considered by your body to be
intruders: to be eliminated or rendered harmless as quickly as possible.
For most people it is the intensity or degree of the resulting symptoms
that cause their problems.
If you are healthy, you would let nature
(your healthy body) look after you. You will know it takes a little
while, but eventually you are fine again. However some people do not
like even mild results of the histamine (protective) responses it
creates (the swelling, the redness, the itchiness: signs of
inflammation). They choose to block off this healing process of
histamine. They are in fact not fighting the bee sting but they are
blocking the natural action of your body’s healing response, the
So you can see that two of your natural
body functions are to detect and protect you. What happens when your
immune system is weak? Its protective mechanism would be less
protective. How does it get weakened? By being overworked or being run
down (just like you and me.).
Let’s look at the action of histamine a
little closer. Histamine reacts to any intruder. That’s a good and
desirable response. Histamine in small doses is fine. It seems to be
kept in check by another chemical called “adrenalin”, also naturally
produced by your body.
Histamine in larger “response” may bring
on a more disturbing effect: a real major unhealthy response. This is
demonstrated by shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, talking, or
swallowing. You would exhibit a rapid pulse, swelling of your throat and
tongue, rapid pulse, overall weakness, wheezing or coughing, itchy
hives, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, sweating, etc. we call the
ANAPHYLAXIS. This is a real emergency and you need to call your local
emergency response number which in many communities is 911!
What has happened here? The inflammation
(fluid to wash out intruder/toxin) which is so desirable in small doses
is now causing unwanted symptoms in places where they work against
you…such as fluid in your lungs and you know that is a dangerous thing.
So you quickly need to stop the inflammation from getting worse and to
reduce it as well.
The histamine, in order to overcome the
intruder, seems to have gotten so high and the underlying adrenalin
which can usually keep it in check is not present in your body in
sufficient quantities. The reason you call 911 is because the emergency
response team has adrenalin in quantities required. This is why people
with severe allergies are counseled to carry “EpiPen” (adrenalin in a
special syringe for quick administration). This emergency seldom
happens, but medical professionals are always on the lookout it. (I
always carry an emergency kit including adrenalin in my nursing visits.)
You may recall hearing about an action
of your body called “adrenalin rush”. This happens when your body faces
an emergency and shuts down all the unnecessary functions to preserve
energy and strength to fight the situation. Then when all is finished,
it allows the body to resume its normal activities. However, having
depleted much of the stored adrenalin, you are now exhausted. This can
only go on for so long. Adrenalin “neutralizes“ histamine.
If you don’t have another bee sting,
everything is fine. However if you do not realize that bee stings are
unwanted by your unhealthy body, this series of actions can be repeated
many times. THIS IS WHY YOU REALLY NEED TO SEARCH FOR ANY UNDERLYING
CAUSE of your predicament. Most bee or wasp stings are relatively easy
to notice as the “causative agent”, but it’s very difficult to detect
food “intruders” or drug ingredients, including its excipients.
Histamine: How It Relates To Meniere’s
To understand how histamine affects a
person with Meniere’s Disease symptoms, you first have to be open to the idea
that Meniere’s is NOT a disease. Rather the symptoms related to balance
and hearing have an underlying cause(s). You also need to realize that a
healthy body can usually withstand this kind of reaction. So it means
that if you have some sort of symptoms (balance and hearing), you need
to recognize that your body isn’t as healthy as it needs to be or that
the intruder is very powerful and your body’s immune system isn’t strong
enough to overcome it.
Then comes the hard part: starting your
search for an underlying cause of your Meniere's disease symptoms and
triggers. If you haven’t yet received a copy of
our “observations about Meniere's disease”,
email me and I will see that you
get a copy. In it, you will find all sorts of interesting underlying
causes that others have told us to have caused their symptoms. They
cared enough for others to share their discoveries.
How does histamine show up as a balance
and hearing problem (dizziness,
inner ear pressure or ear pain,
and hearing loss or fluctuations?)? Recall that if required it sets off
inflammation (a good thing). Inflammation creates fluids (not a good
thing in a confined space of the inner ear). Fluids create pressure in a
confined space (not a good thing). Why? Because the fluid has no room to
spread out in, so it now presses down on any “compressible” object. What
is in this area? Nerves (plus other “compressible soft tissue): the
balance (vestibular) and hearing (acoustic) nerves
Realize that you may be aware of balance
and hearing symptoms, especially if you have Meniere's disease, but also know that your entire body has some sort
of response to this systemic automatic body reaction. I believe it’s why
we hear so much about optical involvement. The optic nerve is relatively
But here now is another part of the
problem you may face. Many people are treated with antihistamines or
steroids. These are often the first drugs to be prescribed. And for many
this (in part) will be the foundation of their ongoing treatment. What
does this do?
They shut DOWN the protective measures
of the body that keep you aware and safe. Keep in mind that although you
may have a problem (symptom) in your nose that you want to get rid of
with the antihistamine, the same chemical shuts down your entire body
protection to a certain extent. Think about it. Is that really what you
want to do? Would it not make sense to search for the cause that has set
off this automatic body reaction to an intruder?
Now that you understand this a little
more, will you be as quick to take an antihistamine or steroid product?
You can learn more about the actual action of the proposed drug and its
side effects. My favorite site is
(I would bookmark it.)
Would you be inclined to look a little
more deeply for an underlying cause? I want to encourage you to read or
reread an article on your body’s immune system: how it works and what
keeps it healthy, or what you can do to restore its health.
This is doable. In a very simplistic
way, all you really need to do is to care (feed and water) your body to
keep it healthy. This also keeps intruders out. We complicate all of
these basis needs unnecessarily, by our lifestyle requirements. Take
some action. If you are serious about regaining or restoring your body’s
health, get yourself a copy of Lyle MacWilliam’s Comparative Guide to
Nutritional Supplements ed. 4. This is helpful, trustworthy scientific
information. But it is not about drugs. It researches over 1500
different nutritional supplements and their background. Your library
should have a copy.
Our bodies need a lot of specific
elements in balance to function. These are all listed and explained.
Recognize that most drugs don’t heal. It
is not their purpose. They treat the symptoms you don’t want to
experience or put up with. The only way you can heal your body is
through really good nutrients. This in turn this heals your protective
mechanisms that are all part of your immune system. This can be done all
day, every day. It’s what your body draws on, all day automatically.
Your body is all about maintaining health and balance. Nothing less, but
it needs you to supply the appropriate ingredients.
I would like to acknowledge an internet
writer, Andrew Goldbaum.
I received information about his
website, checked it out and then had a very brief correspondence with
If you now understand what happens with histamine, you will
understand his body’s responses and his thinking. In the resource
section below I found an incomplete list of foods containing sulfites.
His idea led me to do more research. I thank him for this.
You may by now recognize the body’s
“cause and effect” process. See how all this connects to the Medline
description that follows. I suggest it would be better not to find fault
with the histamine products or add more adrenalin to the body, but
rather search for the underlying cause. I have been asked about “adrenal
therapy”. Could this concept be based on a possible imbalance in the
Let’s tie all this together. But please
remember this is just information to help you understand what may be
going on in your body. This is not to be used as a diagnostic or
treatment tool for Meniere's disease, or any other health condition. Please read my caution at the beginning of this article.
A healthy body has a very active immune
system. One of its protective mechanisms is chemical called histamine.
If “activated” by an intruder, histamine sets off the body’s
inflammatory process (excess fluid & healing elements). This process
creates (amongst other things) excess fluid. In small amounts, this
fluid is helpful and healing. However in larger amounts, i.e. in your
lungs, it may create serious problems.
For example if your have a lot of fluid
in your lungs instead of air, the fluid displaces the air. And fluid in
your lungs is like drowning.
Inadequate air in your lungs
causes a reduction in oxygen
circulating throughout your body and that creates another circle of
problems. Can you see how interrelated all your body functions are? This
relates to “cause & effect”. Please realize that you have absolutely no
control over any of the body reactions UNLESS you have shut your body
down in other ways (artificially).
Can you also now see that the immune
system is so much more than just helping you fight off colds? Can you
really understand that keeping it healthy is absolutely crucial to the
quality of your life its health? Learn to restore your body’s health.
And it’s more than just having fruit and veggies with meals.
Now you should have a little better
understanding of how body works. The less unwanted material you allow
in, the healthier your body is, the better your appropriate food intake
is, the better your immune system functions. This obviously reduces the
workload the body has to process. This looks simple, but from what I
experience daily, people really don’t “see” what is going into or onto
You may wonder if long term or chronic
health issues can be repaired.. if you “buy” into the idea I have
proposed her, you will understand that your body is constantly healing
itself. Eat appropriate foods: heal your immune system. So I would
suspect given the right environment, eventually you could certainly
improve your health. Isn’t this like a scale? Better food and less
intruders should give the upper and to the good food. Common sense? I
By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.