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Histamine is the chemical (neuro-transmitter) your body produces when you're having an allergic reaction.

Although there is always some histamine in your body, a mosquito bite (for example), causes your body to release more histamine in the area of the bite, making your skin red and itchy. In extreme cases, histamine levels in someone who is allergic to a bee sting or a particular food like strawberries can be elevated so high that it causes anaphylactic shock and possibly death. Adrenaline (Epinephrine) is the only chemical that can quickly eliminate histamine in a person. So called "antihistamines" like Benadryl only work to block some of your body's histamine receptors (relieving some histamine related symptoms), they do not remove histamine. If you do go into anaphylactic shock (where your organs essentially shut down), it is essential that you are injected with adrenaline immediately to counteract the dangerously high histamine level and prevent death. My histamine level was very high but not dangerous. My body tried in vain to reduce this high level of histamine to a normal level, by releasing abnormally large quantities (spikes) of adrenaline into my blood stream. This created nervous energy and sometimes even panic attacks if the spikes were large enough. The body normally has a certain amount of adrenaline that increases and decreases slightly to balance your body's histamine level. In its attempt to reduce my histamine level, my body would essentially use up all my adrenaline (as shown by my blood test). This would leave me feeling anywhere from moderately tired to frighteningly exhausted. Its probably difficult to imagine being so drained of energy that it would actually scare you, but it happened to me frequently. My high histamine level also caused my Meniere's like symptoms, as well as difficulty thinking, focusing, and remembering things. Its possible that many people diagnosed with Meniere's Disease actually have a high histamine level and not an inner ear problem. High histamine levels can be gradually reduced over time if the cause of the "allergic" (autoimmune) reaction can be found. In my case it was determined that I had trouble metabolizing sulfur (contained in many foods) and had an excess of a chemical called histadine which is also contained in many foods, especially breads. The sulfur and histadine in the foods I ate caused my body to produce large quantities of histamine. This isn't really an allergic reaction in the typical sense. Tomatoes, wheat, milk and citrus fruits all contain high quantities of sulfur which caused my body to produce large quantities of histamine. To reduce my histamine level, I had to eliminate these foods from my diet (see Histamine Diet). If I ate some pizza (which contains tomato (sauce), wheat (crust), and milk (cheese) ) I would usually have a panic attack two or three days later because it took that long for the whole sulfur, histadine, histamine, adrenaline reaction process to take place. I would never have associated a panic attack or dizziness attack with something I ate two or three days before.

Histamine is a chemical produced by the body that aids in immune response and acts as a neurotransmitter. In response to foreign pathogens in the body, histamine is produced by basophils, a type of white blood cell, and mast cells, cells in the connective tissue with similar characteristics to basophils. Histamine helps fight off infection by making capillaries more permeable to white blood cells that fight pathogens. Four types of histamine receptors, which interact with released histamine to produce a reaction, have been discovered in the body. H1 receptors are found on the smooth muscle tissue of the internal organs, the endothelium lining blood vessels, and central nervous system tissue. The interaction of histamine with these receptors is responsible for hives, itching and swelling due to insect bites and similar allergic reactions, and allergic rhinitis, or cold-like symptoms due to allergic

reaction. H2 receptors are located on the parietal cells on the stomach lining and stimulate the secretion of gastric acid when activated by histamine; this process is a normal part of biological function and not a response to pathogens.

Histamine is an important protein involved in many allergic reactions. Allergies are caused by an immune response to a normally innocuous substance (i.e. pollen, dust) that comes in contact with lymphocytes specific for that substance, or antigen. In many cases, the lymphocyte triggered to respond is a mast cell. For this response to occur, a free-floating IgE (an immunoglobulin associated with allergic response) molecule specific to the antigen must first be attached to cell surface receptors on mast cells. Antigen binding to the mast cell-attached IgE then triggers the mast cell to respond. This response often includes the release of histamine The release of histamine (hist = because it's made up of histidine residues, amine = because it's a vasoactive amine) causes several allergic symptoms. 1) It contributes to an inflammatory response. 2) It causes constriction of smooth muscle. Histamine can cause inflammation directly as well as indirectly. Upon release of histamine by an antigen activated mast cell, permeability of vessels near the site is increased. Thus, blood fluids (including leukocytes, which participate in immune responses) enter the area causing swelling. This is accomplished due to histamines ability to induce phosphorylation of an intercellular adhesion protein (called (VE)cadherin) found on vascular endothelial cells (Andriopoulou et al 1999). That is why histamine is known as being vasoactive. Gaps between the cells in vascular tissue are created by this phosphorylation, allowing blood fluids to seep out into extracellular space. Indirectly, histamine contributes to inflammation by affecting the functions of other leukocytes in the area. It has been suggested by Marone et al that histamine release triggers the release of cytokines and inflammatory mediator by some neighboring leukocytes (1999). These chemicals in turn increases the inflammatory response. Histamine's second type of allergic response is one of the major causes for asthma. In response to an allergen (a substance that triggers an allergic reaction), histamine, along with other chemicals, causes the contraction of smooth muscle (Schmidt et al 1999). Consequently, the muscles surrounding the airways constrict causing shortness of breath and possibly complete trachial-closure, an obviously life-threatening condition. If the effects of histamine during an allergic reaction are inhibited, the life of an allergic person can be eased (in the case of inflammation) or even saved by preventing or shortening asthma attacks. Thankfully, many effective drugs have been developed to hinder histamine's allergic response activities.

Allergies are frequently treated by drugs called antihistamines (because they inhibit the activity of histamine). Some contemporary examples are Claritin and Allegra, but antihistamines have been in use since as early as the 1930s and they continue to be an effective way to deal with the problems of allergies (Emanuel 1999). One effect antihistamines have is the inhibition of the histamine-mediated release of inflammatory mediators by leukocytes (Cuss 1999). Other antihistamine effects result in the neutralization of histamine, preventing it from binding and activating immunerelated cells in the area. An allergic reaction is an immune response that should not be occurring because the substance that triggers it should not be dangerous to us. Allowing our immune system to run its course against allergens means living with annoying and potentially dangerous symptoms. The use of antihistamines allows us to live more safely and comfortably by counteracting the body's immunological mistakes.