00:00:33 Glenn:           Welcome back again to Natural Health for People and Pets. I'm the co-host of the show, Glenn Cooke, but now to the person in the know, Narelle Cooke.  

00:00:41 Narelle:         Hello everyone it’s good to be back.

00:00:50 Glenn:           Yeah, it is.

00:00:51 Narelle:         I got some good feedback. I always love getting feedback in stories after each episode that we do.  

00:00:57 Glenn:           Yeah, that's good.  

00:00:58 Narelle:         And I got some great personal stories from people who are using digestive enzymes with their dogs with great success and people who have their dogs on digestive enzymes for life basically, and attribute their dog's quality of life and longevity to in part the digestive enzymes. And I think that's great. So I hope that my position in the episode didn't come across that I was anti enzymes. I think enzymes are great. My point is always just to make people stop and think about why they're giving supplements to their dogs. But if it's indicated and I had a dog on kibble, I would probably have it on an enzyme for most meals. 

00:01:36 Glenn:          Well, you take digestive enzymes yourself as we said in the episode. 

00:01:40 Narelle:         Well I go through phases, it depends. If we're having heavy meat meals, I'll have enzymes, but if we're eating lighter and healthier, I don't see the need for them. But I just realised that to help Ladybug after her accident, I popped her on a product. It's not an enzyme product, so I didn't mention it in the episode, it's a fibre product, but it's got enzymes in it, but it doesn't quantify the enzymes and it's at low levels so I dismissed it. But it's a great product by Livestream. It's a human product and it's called Bowel Biotics Fibre and Enzymes. It's mainly Psyllium and Inulin, which is a prebiotic, but it's got a few enzymes in it, and I love that it's got some ginger and peppermint. So it's a great all round digestive. But yeah, thanks for the stories everyone. I love the feel good stories after the episodes.  

00:02:27 Glenn:           I did see on a few forums after you did the episode, there was a lot of conversation opening up about digestive enzymes. So maybe you provoke some interesting conversation with people that they thought, “Hmm, that's interesting, I wanna learn a little bit more about that”. Which is fundamentally a good thing about doing some of these podcast shows is when you raise a topic, people go, “Hmm, I actually don't really know much about that. And now I do know a little bit about it and now I want to go on a journey of a bit more discovery”. Which is good. I like to see that too. 

00:02:55 Narelle:         It is good. I hope I stimulate that in people and because there's a lot of controversy with enzymes, I dunno if I mentioned it. You look at some websites that say they're useless and no dog should be on them and they're actually harmful, and then other sites will say, every dog should be on them for life. So find a middle ground.  

00:03:12 Glenn:           There's a couple of good things that come out of this. And one is that I get to learn about it as well, which I do enjoy because these are conversations that we don't regularly have around the dinner table. But now when I'm doing the podcast and I get to sit down and listen to you doing it and then re-edit it, I actually get to listen to the show a couple of times. So I get to really absorb the information and it provokes a little interest in me from time to time, 'cause I think, yeah, I dunno much about that at all. Which I profess I'm not the smart person about natural health and nutrition on this show, it's you. But it adds to my collective knowledge as well. One of the other points that I do wanna raise as well is we got to interview on The Canine Paradigm, a gentleman who is a role model to many of us in the industry. He's a Professor of Anthology, Dr Roger Abrandes, and he talks about when something in science is proven, it's actually a fact. So that's one thing that I like to address is that we have a lot of popular opinions on things and that's great, but at the end of the day, facts are facts.  

00:04:09 Narelle:         That's right and I try and stick to the facts. I mean, I've got lots of opinions…

00:04:14 Glenn:           Well you are a scientist.  

00:04:15 Narelle:         I am. So when I'm in clinic, it's hard because of what I do in natural medicine, but I do primarily like to base my decisions on evidence-based science.  

00:04:26 Glenn:           And I do see you doing the research.  

00:04:28 Narelle:         And what you were saying before, how you learn something from these podcasts. I love it when I hear you on the phone to a friend … 

00:04:36 Glenn:           Bumbling my way through it.  

00:04:39 Narelle:         Well they'll be saying they've got some health problem and I'll hear you say, you need to take some zinc or some vitamin C and I just smile and I'm like, oh, he was listening. 

00:04:46 Glenn:           Yeah, you've acknowledged that before.  

00:04:48 Narelle:          Oh, have I?  

00:04:49 Glenn:           Yeah, I think so.  

00:04:50 Narelle:          It still impresses me that you listened to me.  

00:04:52 Glenn:            Yep, earned some husband points.  

00:04:55 Narelle:          So today, we are gonna talk about histamine.  

00:04:59 Glenn:            Good time of year for it.  

00:05:00 Narelle:          Well it is in Australia. We're in spring coming into summer and I have had a lot of presentations in clinic with people and dogs with increased respiratory symptoms and skin issues. So I just thought I'd talk about the role of histamine in all of that. I guess we'll start beginning as I always do, and explain what histamine even is.  

00:05:21 Glenn:            Yeah, I think that's a good place to start because although I know the word, I don't know exactly what it is. I know it has something to do with the body's reaction to certain things and the inflammation it causes, especially to the mucus membranes and so forth. But again, I'm only summarising on small points where you know the vast knowledge of it.  

00:05:40 Narelle:         Histamine, It's a chemical that's naturally found in our bodies and it's what's called a biogenic amine. What that means is we have these regular run of the mill everyday amino acids going about their business in our bodies and then along comes a particular type of enzyme, and it cuts off part of a regular amino acid and turns it into a more powerful and potent molecule, which is histamine. So histamine is a biogenic amine. It's been transformed. And whenever I think about that transformation, I always think of the Incredible Hulk. You've got these amino acids that get assaulted and part of it's structure cut off and then it gets enraged and turns into the Hulk.  

00:06:20 Glenn:           That's a good analogy. I like that.  

00:06:22 Narelle:         Anyway, that's my geeky .. 

00:06:23 Glenn:           But it's a good way to explain to people. What was the term you used, the scientific term of an amine?  

00:06:30 Narelle:         A biogenic amine.  

00:06:31 Glenn:           A biogenic amine. I know there are people out there in the audience who are very intelligent and they follow these things, but they're also people who get lost with some of those explanations sometimes. So sometimes if you can correlate it to a relatable story, it helps them retain it.  

00:06:47 Narelle:         I just feel a bit silly when I talk about my analogies, I seem so nerdy, but I do also like to use the proper words as well. Because when people are reading the literature, if they do come across it, it might just ring a bell for them and they have an understanding of what they're reading.  

00:07:02 Glenn:           And you do have an audience of learned people who are responding to you as well.

00:07:07 Narelle:         I do. But it's not great for our bodies to have all of these Incredible Hulks constantly rampaging around inside of us. So the way histamine is designed is that it's short-lived, so as soon as it's done its job, which is to deliver a certain message to a particular target cell, it gets destroyed. Which is really important because histamine, and there are some other different types of biogenic amines, if they build up too much in the body, they can be actually highly toxic and cause a lot of health problems. So that's not good. And another way I like to think of histamine is like a bouncer, at a pub or a club. Its job is basically to get rid of something that's bothering us. So a classic example is pollen. But sometimes bouncers can get a little bit hot headed and can overreact to things that are harmless, that can happen in our bodies as well. So I guess that's what we're gonna focus on today. When things don't go as planned.  

00:08:03 Glenn:           Look at you queen of the analogies today. 

00:08:04 Narelle:         I'm on a roll and I really find it helps when you're trying to learn or grasp concepts.  

00:08:11 Glenn:          Yeah, grasp the retention.  

00:08:13 Narelle:        Most people will be familiar with histamine because of its rolling allergic reactions, which is why people take antihistamine medications. But what they may not know is that it's also involved in the regulation of our guts and our digestion. It acts as a neurotransmitter like serotonin and dopamine. It's involved in our sleep weight cycle, is required for arousal and sexual function, alertness, learning memory, blood pressure. So there's a lot of things beyond allergies that histamine plays an important role in. But because of the allergy side of it, most people think histamine is a bad thing, but it's not bad. We absolutely need it. It just needs to be in balance in the body, which is easier said than done in a lot of instances. And we'll talk about that too today. So that's histamine. What's more relevant is what triggers it to be released in the body.  

00:09:06 Narelle:         Histamine gets released from certain types of immune cells and the one that most people will be familiar with are called mast cells. Mast cells will release histamine when our immune system is triggered by an external threat, which could be an injury, an infection, an allergen, like I said pollen's the classic example from the environment. It could be something you eat, or your dog eats. I'll just stop to explain that when I say we in this podcast, it's people and pets. So we is us, and we is our dogs as well. It's just easier than saying humans and dogs. 

00:09:43 Glenn:           Before we progress any further, what is a mast cell?  

00:09:47 Narelle:         It's a type of immune cell. I thought I said that.  

00:09:50 Glenn:           Did you? I must have just had my husband ears on and not heard that part.  

00:09:54 Narelle:         That's right. That's why I'm impressed when you repeat things I say. It's a type of immune cell. Environmental allergens can trigger mast cells to release histamine, but you know, foods that we eat as well and foods that our dogs eat. So if we consume something that causes an internal reaction that could act locally in the gut and trigger things like vomiting and diarrhea, or it can go into the bloodstream and affect other parts of the body. So when histamine is in the body it creates our blood vessels to dilate so you get that inflammatory response. And that's what most people experience with, for example, hay fever, the runny nose, the itchy eyes, puffy face, the rash, the hives, all of those symptoms are our body's way of trying to get rid of something that we don't want in the body. Mucus secretions or any bodily fluids are a great strategy for our body to try and get rid of things. So when you've got a cold and you get yellowy green snot.  

00:10:54 Glenn:          It's trying to flush it out.

00:10:55 Narelle:        Yeah it’s trying to get rid of the bacteria. Diarrhea and vomiting are classic examples of the body trying to eliminate stuff. So mast cells, because of their role, they're found mainly where our mucus membranes meet the external environment because that's where these antigens or foreign invaders are most likely to gain access to us. So things like the gastrointestinal tract, the skin and the respiratory tract. In humans, most of our mast cells are in the respiratory tract that's why we get really congested and snotty and sinusy when we react to things. But it's a little bit different for dogs who have relatively more mast cells close to the skin surface. So if a dog's gonna react to something, it's more likely to manifest as a skin problem. So rash, hotspots, things like that.  

00:11:41 Glenn:           That's a good note because there's been a lot of confusion and misdiagnosis around hotspots.  

00:11:48 Narelle:         Yeah. It's not to say that that's the only thing for all the symptoms we’ll talk about today in relation to histamine, you know, there are a lot of other things that could be triggering the same symptom. So it's never just one thing, but I'm just putting it in people's minds that histamine could be part of the puzzle that they need to consider. And if we even think about it from an evolutionary perspective with our dogs, let's say our dog gets bitten by a flea and then they react to the flea saliva, that's gonna trigger the mast cells to release histamine. Histamine causes vasodilation, which causes itching, which makes the dog scratch, and scratching's like a mechanical means to eliminate the irritant. And the same thing happens with the gut, so histamine causes increased gastrointestinal motility, which triggers diarrhea, which is a great way for our dogs to get rid of parasites and worms.  

00:12:38 Narelle:         So it does have a purpose, but you don't want it to stay chronically elevated like in the body. I guess that's what we're talking about. So antihistamine medication is typically taken to control and calm down that histamine response. The problem is, unless you really figure out the underlying trigger, taking antihistamine medication really is just a band aid solution. You need to think about if you're just reacting to a lot of things, or your dog is really highly reactive and you don't know why. I always say come back to diet, is your diet adequate or are there nutrient gaps that's causing say your mucus membranes to lack in integrity and you know that they're our first line of defense against the external world. So if we're not eating a diet that's nutrient replete and our mucus membranes are compromised, then our immune systems are compromised and we're more likely to react.  

00:13:30 Narelle:         And taking antihistamine medications, I know some people take them long term every day and feel that they need to, but because of histamine's essential role in our mood and our gut function, there can be some unpleasant side effects if you do take antihistamine medications long term. It's funny because in clinic people will often come and see me with symptoms that they want remedied. And you know, I'll go through their list of medications that they're on and I'm like, wow, you know there's a good chance that your symptoms are due to your medications. So that's tricky.  

00:14:02 Glenn:           It's like people who take indigestion drugs and so forth to stop their gastro intestinal reflux and so forth and I think that long-term that's quite significant.  

00:14:13 Narelle:         Yeah, not good. I should do a whole show on protein pump inhibitors and reflux medications 'cause a lot of people don't realise just how nasty the long-term side effects are. 

00:14:21 Glenn:           Well why don't you put that on your scope because I think that is one worth talking about. There've been a lot of people I've known throughout my life who've been on those sorts of medications and they've constantly got health problems. Even in my limited capacity of knowing some of this knowledge, I've said to them, I think you really need to look at your diet and your lifestyle at the moment because, you know, just being told to take this drug long term, I don't think that's gonna solve the problem. I think it's going to put a lid on it for a period of time and manifest in other areas.  

00:14:50 Narelle:         Yeah, and you know, I get dog clients and on their intake paperwork I'll see that the vets put them on some acid suppressing medications as well. And I always cringe a little bit and need to question why that's the case. But yeah, keep that in mind for a future episode.  

00:15:06 Glenn:           Anyway, back to histamine.  

00:15:07 Narelle:         So under normal circumstances, small amounts of histamine, going about its daily business in our body is fine. But it's the situations that lead to excessive histamine exposure which creates problems but, and it's like anything you know, the dose makes the poison. Same with histamine. I've mentioned that histamine is naturally produced in our bodies, but it's also found in a lot of foods that we eat and that our dogs eat. Now if you've got a healthy gut, you can generally tolerate larger amounts of histamine coming in through the diet. But as I've said, I think in every episode, more and more of us have a compromised gut. And so we struggle with even small amounts of histamine. And you know, a couple of reasons for this is the whole leaky gut situation. If you're eating an inflammatory diet, whether that's kibble for dogs or just the standard Australian and American diet for us …  

00:15:56 Narelle:         Alcohol, processed foods, anything that damages the gut is going to allow more food proteins into the bloodstream, which is gonna trigger an immune response in a histamine release. But another one of the key reasons for a potential buildup of histamine in the body is we've got a couple of enzymes whose job it is to destroy histamine once it's done its job. And the main one is called diamine oxidase or just DAO. Now it's located in only certain organs in the body, the intestines, the kidney and the liver. So anything that causes damage to those organs is automatically gonna affect the function of this enzyme. Meaning that we can't break down histamine as well as we need to.  

00:16:37 Glenn:          Isn't the body just remarkable when you think about it? All the positive and negative actions that are constantly going on within us. You don't think of yourself as this machine with all of this internal life pumping around inside your own body, 

00:17:20 Narelle:          If we think of this enzyme whose job it is to break down histamine, it requires certain essential cofactors, vitamins and minerals like vitamin B six, vitamin C, copper and zinc. It needs those to work properly. So if you're not giving the enzyme what it needs to work properly, it can't do its job. And some people can have a genetic polymorphism or a variation in that DAO enzyme so it doesn't work as well. That can also make people more prone to histamine intolerance. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, so dogs and people can be quite prone to this and it can increase histamine levels in the body because some microbes actually produce histamine as a byproduct of their metabolism. So with all of that, the main problem occurs when we eat more histamine than our body can deal with.  

00:18:07 Narelle:         And this can lead to a range of symptoms that most people may not relate back to diet and particularly histamine. And now symptoms will always differ from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms of excess histamine include neurological symptoms because of its role as a neurotransmitter. So people might experience irritability, depression, brain fog, anxiety, headaches and migraines is really common. And there's another biogenic amine called tyramine, which is notorious for triggering headaches and migraines. Unexplained fatigue can be a result of increased histamine. Histamine can also trigger adrenaline, so for people who are quite sensitive, that could cause anxiety symptoms, so racing, heart, nausea, sweating, insomnia, shortness of breath, sort of how I feel when I'm doing my podcast episodes.

00:18:55 Narelle:         I have the adrenaline pumping, people have no idea. Then we've got the typical skin symptoms, rashes, flushing, hives, eczema, tissue swelling, just general inflammation which might present as joint pain and stiffness. Cardiovascular symptoms, things like high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. The gut symptoms we've touched on, diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramps. Any of those IBS symptoms could be related back to histamine. Nausea, reflux and heartburn. You know, the typical hay fever symptoms, nasal congestion, sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic cough. Some people don't realise when they're clearing their throat constantly, that could just be an immune response and a histamine response triggering that. And hormones, so you can have hormonal abnormalities, irregular menstrual cycles and PMS hot flushes, so they're mainly related to women. In dogs you're looking for things like itching and scratching, excess mucus from the eyes and the nose, sneezing, any skin issues, you know, rashes, swelling, diarrhea, vomiting. And way back when I started my Natural Health for People and Pets Facebook page, I put up some pictures of Pixel.  

00:20:10 Glenn:           Oh yeah, where she got all those blotches all over and was quite alarming.  

00:20:15 Narelle:         So that was an example of an acute allergic reaction, and that's a classic histamine response. Poor pixel, she was just covered in swellings, her face, her paws, her legs, her underbelly. 

00:20:26 Glenn:          It happened multiple times.  

00:20:28 Narelle:         Happened a couple of times and each time within an hour she just blew up, poor baby. 

00:20:33 Glenn:           Blotches all over her face, skin, body, belly, legs.  

00:20:37 Narelle:         Yeah, so if you wanna see the photos, scroll back to the beginning of my Facebook page 'cause that was so cute. We just treated that with an antihistamine med and that cleared it up and she's being good. But I wanna spend just a couple of minutes talking about women and histamine intolerance because this is really interesting. Women are generally more intolerant and this is just humans. I don't know if this applies to dogs, maybe it does because it's based on estrogen.  

00:21:00 Glenn:          Somebody out there might know.  

00:21:02 Narelle:        Surprised I haven't even thought to look into that.  

00:21:05 Glenn:          Well, now you've got a project.  

00:21:06 Narelle:        Yeah. So women are generally more intolerant of histamine than men and they suspect this is the case because estrogen and histamine reinforce each other. Estrogen increases histamine and vice versa, histamine causes increased estrogen. So because women naturally have higher levels of estrogen in their bodies than men, it means they also naturally have higher levels of histamine than men. And so it stands to reason that it would take smaller amounts of high histamine foods, and we're gonna talk about what they are shortly, to overwhelm those histamine destroying enzymes in the body for women than men. Now the connection between histamine and estrogen, it's important to think about because women may be more sensitive to high histamine foods during those points in their cycle when estrogen levels are highest. So around ovulation and about a week before they get their period, sorry guys that we're talking about this, but it's important. Histamine also triggers nitric oxide release in the arteries around the brain, being a vasodilator. So this can lead to migraine. So you think about, you know, but a lot of women get menstrual migraines. And this may be due to a peak in estrogen levels, premenstrually, and this can stimulate histamine, which stimulates nitric oxide, which stimulates a migraine. So for women who experience a lot of menstrual headaches, migraines or PMS,  

00:22:28 Glenn:          That could be a contributing factor.  

00:22:30 Narelle:         Histamine absolutely could be a contributing factor. It's also part of histamines action in the body to stimulate uterine contraction. So again, high histamine levels may exacerbate premenstrual cramps because of its role with estrogen. Women have a higher level of a particular type of histamine receptor in their brains than men do. So our brains are more sensitive to histamine. So that whole, not tonight honey, I've got a headache. It's a thing.  

00:22:59 Narelle:          And what's really fascinating just before we get off women's health, is women typically experience relief from allergies and can tolerate histamine much better when they're pregnant because the placenta produces up to 500 times the normal amount of that DAO enzyme that destroys histamine. And this is a way to protect the fetus from histamine toxicity. So isn't that fascinating?  

00:23:27 Glenn:           That goes back to my whole fascination on how the body can go into these positive and negative spins..  

00:23:34 Narelle:         All my PMS’y women listeners just try a low histamine diet for a couple months and see if it makes a difference.  

00:23:42 Glenn:           Now that you've brushed on the diet, and I might be racing ahead of what you've planned, are there any foods that are really strong contributors to histamine? 

00:23:54 Narelle:         Yes and that was an awesome segue,  and there are. So some foods naturally have more histamine in them to start with. But then there are other foods that might start with low histamine levels, but then the levels build up over time as the food ages. It's so easy to Google histamine foods and you'll get all these great tables of high, low and moderate histamine content.  

00:24:17 Glenn:           I'm thinking red meat would be a high histamine food.  

00:24:20 Narelle:         Well the worst offenders are the fermented and soured foods, so things like sauerkraut and vinegar and soy sauce, Kefir and Boch.  

00:24:29 Glenn:           Right.  

00:24:29 Narelle:         Kombucha. We call it Buch around here, and you know vinegar containing foods, pickles, olives, alcoholic beverages. So red wine is a classic high histamine beverage. As is beer and champagne, cured meats. So any of those processed meats, bacon, salami.  

00:24:49 Glenn:           No, no. 

00:24:50 Narelle:         Luncheon meats. Hot dogs. No one should be eating hot dogs anyway. Canned foods, particularly canned fish so sardines, mackerel, herrings and anchovies. I'm gonna talk about dogs a bit more specifically soon, but canned sardines and mackerel, people will often give their dogs. Aged cheeses. Meat in itself is not high in histamine, but if you cooked some meat and left it in the fridge and had it a couple of days later for lunch, over that time, the histamine levels will be increasing.

00:25:20 Glenn:           Significantly ?

00:25:21 Narelle:         I dunno what the number values are, but the reason that this happens is, when histamine is released in our bodies, we've got mechanisms in place to break it down, destroy it, and get rid of it. But in food, if it's not immediately consumed, microorganisms like yeast and bacteria that are naturally present in the food, they start to break down those amino acids into biogenic amines. And those biogenic amines, like histamine, don't get destroyed in food, so they just build up. So the older the food is, the higher the biogenic amine level is. And I'll give you some examples, so it's not just histamine, but the examples I'm giving, it's just because their names make me laugh when you think that we're eating this stuff. I mentioned Tyramine, and that's a common one in aged cheeses that can trigger headaches. But the other ones are Putrescine.  

00:26:09 Glenn:           Putrescine ?  

00:26:09 Narelle:         Cadaverine and Spermidine. 

00:26:15 Glenn:           So we've got Putrid, Cadaver and Sperm. 

00:26:19 Narelle:         Yeah, so I'm thinking, Cadaverine maybe was first discovered on a dead body. Putrescine on rotting flesh or meat, and Spermidine, let's just not go there. Dried fruits, you know, vegetables such as avocados, eggplants, spinach, tomatoes. Low histamine diet typically needs to be a fresh food diet because of the way that histamine levels increase when the food ages. But there's a lot of really healthy foods that are high in histamine, you know avocado is classic. I have a lot of clients who have to go on a low histamine diet that just … 

00:26:49 Glenn:           Are traumatized that they can't have avo smash anymore.  

00:26:52 Narelle:         Yeah, that's it. Most citrus fruits, really ripe bananas. Any really ripe fruits, kiwi fruit, pineapple, papaya, nuts such as walnuts, cashews, peanuts, again peanuts. Some dog people might use peanut butter to stuff a Kong.

00:27:08 Glenn:           Is that some of the reasons why people have such high allergens to some nuts? Would they be causing an acute histamine reaction or something like that?  

00:27:15 Narelle:         Well, anaphylaxis, I guess it's part of it. It's more involved than that, much more involved than that. I'll just finish off with the foods. So chocolate, processed foods of all types. Preservatives. So same with dog food as well like kibble with preservatives high in histamines. And because aged meats are so high in histamine, I imagine that those jerky type treats for dogs, like the Schmacko type treats will be high in histamine as well. So if you think about that food list, it's all the good things in life like cheese, chocolate, wine, and bacon.  

00:27:48 Glenn:           I know, it's a cruel irony.  

00:27:52 Narelle:         And it's not to say that everyone needs to give up all of that that I've just mentioned, but for people who are suffering particular health problems and symptoms, they may need to for a period of time. I like to think of the body as a bucket, so to fill the bucket with histamine, we've got what our body makes for ourselves, we've got what comes in through the diet and then the tap to empty the bucket is that DIO enzyme. So we don't want a bucket to ever overflow, that's when we reach our threshold, and everyone's bucket's gonna be a different size. So everyone's got a different threshold. Some people can binge on high histamine foods forever and be great, and then others will have a glass of wine and be flushed and headachey.  

00:28:35 Narelle:         And the other thing with that tap, like the DAO enzyme, there are actually foods which block its action as well. So foods can stop the breakdown of histamine by inhibiting that enzyme. And a big one that does that is alcohol. So red wine, it's a double whammy. It is high in histamine and it blocks the enzyme we need to break down histamine. Energy drinks will do that as well, and black and green tea will do that. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will do that, plus they damage the gut. So that's a double whammy. as well. So if we bring it back to dogs, allergies are a big dog issue that I treat in clinic. One of the first things you need to do is assess the diet. And on the online forums, if anyone asks for help in treating their dog's skin or gut issues, one of the first things they're told to do is give bone broth, or fermented foods such as apple cider vinegar or kefir or sauerkraut to support the dog's gut health.  

00:29:32 Narelle:         But all of those things might be great and healthy and beneficial for the average healthy dog and person, but could be making matters worse and exacerbating the issue in a dog that's prone to allergies and histamine intolerance. A lot of people online will also be told to give their dog a probiotic, again to support gut health. But even certain probiotics can trigger histamine release and make matters worse. There's certain histamine producing bacteria, there's not a heap of research around the different strains, but some of the top ones are lactobacillus helveticus, streptococcus thermophilus, lactobacillus delbrueckii, lactobacillus bulgaricus, so if you're looking at labels, have a look for those. And again, it's not all or nothing, everyone's got a threshold, dogs have a threshold. If you've got those strains of bacteria in a probiotic, just giving small doses, chances are it's not a problem. But if your dog's chronically suffering, I would say cut it out for the time being. People might be told that they should feed more oily fish to increase the omega three fatty acid content of their dog's diet to reduce inflammatory response and to support the integrity of the skin barrier. And you know, for raw food feeders they might do that by adding in some sardines to the dog's diet. But for convenience they may use canned sardines. I know I use canines, I'm lazy like that. 

00:30:58 Narelle:          Oh just driving to the fish guy just seems so far away. But you know, canned sardines are really high in histamine, so they again could be just exacerbating the allergic response, or the skin issue in the dog. A lot of raw food feeders might make up big batches of raw food and it may sit there for a few days in the fridge before it gets packed up and frozen. But the longer it's sitting there, the more the histamine is building up in the food.  

00:31:24 Glenn:           That's important to know, right? The faster that it's prepared and frozen, the better it'll be and the less histamine that will have around it. 

00:31:25 Narelle:          Yep. 

00:31:26 Glenn:            Well there you go. I've just learned something 'cause I would not have known that.  

00:31:34 Narelle:         Yeah,  it is better to make up a batch and immediately freeze it in small portions and just defrost one day's worth of food at a time. Which isn't convenient when you've got a lot of dogs or you've got big dogs and you wanna try and defrost more. But again, we're talking about a specific population here. These are dogs that are chronically suffering from skin or gut issues, so for the average dog, this doesn't really apply. It's not just raw as histamine has been found to be high in commercial pet foods for a combination of reasons including the preservatives they need to use. But there's one study I was reading that said the levels are not high enough to cause a reaction. But I always think maybe not in healthy dogs 'cause they can deal with it and detoxify and break down those amines.  

00:32:17 Narelle:          But if you've got puppies or reproducing females or sick dogs, they could be more prone to reacting because their threshold's gonna be potentially lower. So with all of that, I guess the question is, what can we do about it? It always comes back to the gut. I think in every episode I've highlighted the important role of gut health. So you wanna look for gut healing supplements that include ingredients like L-glutamine, aloe vera, deglycerised licorice, marshmallow roots, slippery elm, and that's for people and dogs. I've got a product that I use for both, it's the same product and it's great and t's got all of those good things in it. If there's any suspected small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, you really need to address that first.

00:33:15 Narelle:         And even avoiding common food allergens that may not be high in histamine they may be aggravating the gut enough to trigger that leaky gut situation. So for people the top allergic foods are wheat, eggs, dairy, cow's milk, soy and tree nuts, which are things like almonds, walnuts, pecans and shellfish. And for dogs you might just eliminate or reduce gluten containing grains and dairy. Chicken and beef are common allergens in dogs and eggs. So if someone's suffering chronically you need to …

00:33:52 Glenn:           Go on a diet elimination.  

00:33:54 Narelle:         Yeah. You need to be more comprehensive in what you're doing and not just do a couple of little things. You really do need to go the whole hog and see what makes a difference. And then slowly reintroduce things and monitor the response. There are probiotics that actually decrease histamine production so you wanna look for strains like bifidobacterium infantis, bifidobacterium longum, lactiplantibacillus plantarum, lactobacillus rhamnosus, lactobacillus gasseri and saccharomyces boulardii . I love SB for people and dogs, and our Shepherd Randy is always on SB because as a Shepherd he's just so prone to allergies and yeasty ears and things like that and it's very safe. Manage your stress levels, manage your dog's stress levels because again, stress negatively impacts the gut for women. Look at your hormones and if you do have signs of estrogen excess address that.  

00:34:49 Narelle:         And that might mean a diet and supplement regime to target that phase two liver detoxification pathways or liver support and things like that. If you're gonna do a low histamine diet, I recommend it needs to be at least four weeks. I'd say probably eight weeks would be better to get an idea of what's going on. And some of the supplements you can add, again these are for people and dogs, vitamin C is awesome. It helps to break down histamine, making sure there's adequate vitamin B six because that's needed for that DAO enzyme to work properly. Quercetin,I wouldn't know of any allergy protocol that didn't include quercetin.  

00:35:29 Glenn:          What's quercetin?

00:35:30 Narelle:         It's a bioflavonoid.  

00:35:32 Glenn:           That didn't really answer my question, you just complicated it with another complication.  

00:35:36 Narelle:         It's an awesome compound present in brightly colored fresh fruits and vegetables. My favorite compound, Palmitoylethanolamide, acronym PEA, it's great. There's a lot of research in dogs specifically as well as people for PEA for allergic responses and it's really safe and it comes in powder or capsules. So that's always part of my allergy protocol. Then you've got all your herbs Baikal Skullcap, Nigella Sativaiva, which is black cumin Albizia, Holy Basil 'cause that's great for stress. I love nettle, so even with our dogs, every now and then, I'll make up some herbal nettle tea. Particularly, you know Pixels can tend to get reactive on her pads. There's still something in our yard we need to figure out that triggers her. So you might make up some herbal tea, let it cool and add a quarter of a cup, half a cup depending on the size of your dog into their food once or twice a day.  

00:36:34 Narelle:         Digestive enzymes we spoke about last episode, you can take them with meals or between meals to reduce the risk of immune activation from food molecules entering into the bloodstream, which then triggers mast cells to release histamine. You can actually buy supplements of that DAO enzyme, it's not approved by the TGA for use in Australia so I can't prescribe it to my clients, but I know it's easily accessible in the US, and it's not to say that Australian people can't buy it. It's just because it's not TGA approved that  I can't prescribe it. 

00:37:03 Glenn:            Does it work?  

00:37:04 Narelle:          I don't know because I can't use it.  I've never really looked into it. It's like CBD oil, I think it's amazing but I don't use it because I can't yet legally. 

00:37:20 Narelle:          I haven't spent the time researching it in any depth. You can do pathology testing for blood histamine and DAO levels, but it's not really gonna change the treatment protocol. So if you've got symptoms, I think the best approach for people and dogs is dietary changes for four to eight weeks. Really hone in on the diet and just always monitor symptoms. We forget and always think we're gonna remember how we felt today, compared to four or eight weeks in the future. I always ask my clients, how do you feel out of 10 today? And then in four weeks I ask them and they'll say, oh just the same. They'll say, you know, seven outta 10, and I'll be like, oh actually last time you were five out of 10.  

00:38:05 Narelle:          But they feel the same, they think they feel the same. I'm like, well actually you know you're feeling better. So I love rating scales. Sorry, on the herbal tea, so nettle is awesome for allergies but you can also use other herbal tea blends. So chamomile, calendula, dandelion root and milk thistle for supporting liver function. Red clover, burdock for lymphatics and gotu kola, which is great for any skin and immune issues. I love gotu kola as well. I guess that's it in a nutshell for histamine and what it is and what foods it's in and what you can do to lower it.  

00:38:38 Glenn:           Well I got to learn something today 'cause I knew nothing about any of that.  

00:38:42 Narelle:          Well that's good, I hope our listeners got something out of it as well.  

00:38:45 Glenn:           I just know that when I get histamine related issues, go and take an antihistamine.  

00:38:49 Narelle:         Yeah, I should say with dogs, with the environmental allergens. I've got some dog clients where it's pretty full on and as well as addressing the internal aspects with supplements and diet and things like that, we actually need to remove as best we can the environmental allergens like pollen. So for a dog that's got chronic skin issues, if they go for a walk when they come home, I might say, you either need to wipe your dog down with a damp cloth or wipe in between their toes or give them a bath or whatever. Because if you can reduce the burden, then that's what we're aiming for to get under that threshold of histamine response.  

00:39:26 Glenn:           So food for thought.  

00:39:28 Narelle:         So as always, if you've got anything you wanna contribute or questions you wanna ask about the episode, jump onto my Facebook page. Natural Health for People and Pets. If you wanna find out more about me jump onto my website https://naturalhealthandnutrition.com.au/ and you can email me at narelle@naturalhealthand nutrition.com.au.  

00:39:51 Glenn:          They can attend one of your seminars.  

00:39:53 Narelle:         My seminar on the 20th of Feb in Canberra.

00:39:56 Glenn:           That's starting to fill up now.  

00:39:58 Narelle:         Numbers are growing so get in quick because there's a limited special for the first 30 people that buy a ticket to get a free bottle of Antinol worth $62. So contact Eleni at All Round Good Hounds. But all those details are on my website so you can check it out there y'all.  

00:40:16 Glenn:           And if they wanna book you for a seminar, they just go through any one of those media contact portals and they can get a hold of you.  

00:40:22 Narelle:         And if none of that works, contact Glen 'cause everyone knows you. So we'll leave you there for today. Thanks everyone. Bye. Bye. 

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