Karin & David Henderson

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Maple Ridge, B.C.

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Histamine and Antihistamines: What It Is, How It Works And How It Relates To Meniere’s Disease Symptoms



Please respect and use the following caution.

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 out.)


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 body.


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 histamine.


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 Disease Symptoms

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, vertigo, tinnitus, 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 close.


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 him.


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 immune system?


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 their bodies.


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 think so.


By Karin Henderson - Nurse, Retired.



Additional Information


I want to end with this article from Dr. Laurent Bannock. It speaks for itself and for what I want to encourage you to do. He has kindly given us permission to share his knowledge with us.


If you would like to know more about the system we talk about throughout the site, please use this link to go to the Meniere's Disease System Information page.

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