MY NATURAL APPROACH TO LIVING AND THRIVING WITH MCAS
by Janice Carlin, PhD, CNHP, CHNP
After a lifetime of struggling to be healthy, I have finally found a source of my issues. MCAS stands for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. Unfortunately, most of the protocols recommended for people with MCAS involve the use of multiple medications that include antihistamines and pain killers. However, there are other options, which I'll be sharing with you here.
The best article I can point you toward to learn about it is RIGHT HERE. Here is how Dr. Bruce Hoffman describes MCAS in the article:
"Most people with MCAS have chronic and recurrent inflammation, with or without allergic symptoms. This occurs when an aspect of the innate
immune system becomes overactive and releases a flood of inflammatory chemicals, which may affect every organ in the body. The symptoms of MCAS
will wax and wane over time. Another way to think of this is the symptoms will flare up and go into remission, affecting different organs and body
parts, over and over again throughout a person’s life, without a common unifying theme or established diagnoses to account for the patient’s
presentation of symptoms."
In his book, Never Bet Against the Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity, leading MCAS doctor, Lawrence B. Afrin, M.D., teaches about MCAS and its multi-system symptoms that are usually misdiagnosed for most people. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the words, "I've never seen anyone react this way to my treatments before," from doctors, chiropractors, energy healers, and other healing practitioners, when I had adverse or unpleasant reactions. Or how many doctors have told me, "I can't find anything wrong with you in your blood tests so I don't know why you feel so badly." This is typical of people with MCAS, but unfortunately, most doctors and healers aren't educated about it, so they don't know what they're dealing with and how to best serve their patients/clients needs.
As a highly sensitive person whose body has genetic challenges in its ability to effectively detoxify itself, I know that it is in my best interest to live a clean, natural lifestyle. I have recently found a protocol that's working for me to be able to feel good, have plenty of energy to work in my full-time teaching job, care for my family, and allow my body to be healthy. I’m sharing it with you in the hopes that you may find something that will work for you. We're all different and have different needs. As you know, I do a lot of reading and writing about nutrigenomics and epigenetics. I've found that I have all of the genetic polymorphisms so far identified in MCAS. I'll write an article about this at a later time.
Throughout my life, I've experienced intense forms of the following symptoms, which I now know are related to MCAS. Many, but not all, have resolved. If I stray from my protocol, however, they return quickly. Despite my best efforts, sometimes I do have a flare up, during which I may experience any of these at any time, some concurrently.
- Mood Swings
- Stomach Pain, Bloating, Indigestion, Diarrhea and Nausea
- Difficulty Regulating Body Temperature
- Menstrual pain
- Interstitial Cystitis
- Blood Glucose Instability
- Respiratory Allergies and Infections
- Chronic Pain and High Sensitivity to Pain
- Food Sensitivities
- Libido Issues
- Peripheral Neuropathy
My daily protocol:
- Take BioActive Biotox: Systemic Toxin Binder with a small glass of spring water when I wake up (5 a.m.) and again around 5 p.m.
- Drink powdered Zeolite in a glass of spring water first thing in the morning and right before I go to bed at night.
- Drink a large cup of organic ginger tea. Bring a second travel cup of ginger tea with me to work to sip throughout the day. Often, I’ll drink another cup of ginger tea in the evening.
- Take HistaminX and Neuroimmune Infection Control supplements around 11 a.m. (a few hours after taking the binders). I also take this L-Carnosine supplement.
- Before eating or drinking anything with histamines, take G.I. Hist Support supplement.
- Follow a Low Histamine Diet to the best of my ability. There are many foods that I cannot tolerate, and I do have Type 1 Diabetes, so I have to be careful about what I eat and when I eat it. I do eat apples to bring in extra quercentin, a mast cell stabilizer.
- For many, many years, I have also followed a grain free, sugar free, dairy free, and processed food free diet to keep inflammatory foods away.
- Carry organic peppermint and ginger essential oils to smell when needed. I don’t diffuse these as it would be too much to process, but maybe once a day, I do open the bottles and have a few sniffs of whichever one I feel that I need.
- Avoid all food additives and preservatives. Not only are they toxins, but they are also mast cell triggers.
- Only eat organic foods and drink spring water.
- Avoid all alcohol, drugs, non-necessary medications or smoking of any kind.
- Get adequate hours of quality sleep each night.
- Avoid exposures to extreme heat and cold. Stand back from the stove when cooking and keep the heat on low or medium.
- Avoid direct sunbathing from noon on.
- Use breath and energy work techniques for calming, centering, and clearing throughout the day.
- Use prayer and ask for Spiritual assistance as often as I feel that I need it.
- Maintain a safe blood glucose level to the best of my ability.
- If my stomach pain and nausea flare up, I have a few acupressure points I press. I'm careful about these because I don’t want to activate too many mast cells and acupuncture activates mast cells.
- Remain aware of possible triggers. Mechanical vibrations can be a trigger. I have had terrible flare ups from touching my Blendtec blender while it was running. I also had a flare up after seeing a movie that had a lot of rock music in the movie theater (I usually only watch movies on my television at home) due to the loud sounds and vibrations.
Why do I do these things and how do they help me?
- HistaminX contains natural ingredients that act as mast cell stabilizers.
- G.I. Hist Support contains mast cell stabilizers, plus the DAO enzyme that my body doesn’t make effectively in order to break down histamines in the food I eat. From the Neurobologix website: "G.I. Hist Support is a formula designed to assist patients who have trouble processing external sources of histamine rich foods and nutritional elements. This formula is especially helpful for those with genetic weaknesses in A01C (Diamine Oxidase), the main enzyme responsible for the degradation of ingested histamine...Each ingredient is clinically tested to assist with histamine degradation and the oxidative stress created by histamines."
- Neuroimmune Infection Control contains natural ingredients, all of which help keep viruses, yeast, bacteria and other pathogens at bay. From the Neurobologix website: "Neuro-Immune Control™ is a broad spectrum combination of natural ingredients shown to effectively inhibit the growth and infectious potential that pathogens, yeast and bacteria may have on the body and brain as a whole. The natural combinations of these ingredients support each other so that the patient can gain control of these issues and be on their way to their own nutritional program." All of these pathogens act as triggers for mast cells to degranulate.
- L-Carnosine is a mast cell stabilizer. I use the one from Paradise Herbs because it contains no fillers.
- Ginger and peppermint are mast cell stabilizers.
- Organic food allows me to avoid the mast cell triggers of chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and additives and preservatives.
- Drinking spring water lets me avoid the added fluoride and ammonia and other chemicals added to tap waters.
- Heat, cold and sun are all triggers that can activate mast cells.
- Toxin binders help to rid my body of pathogens and extra histamines. Zeolite seems to be the best for me with the histamines that make me have respiratory allergy symptoms as well as stomach pain and nausea. I use both Zeolite and Biotox daily to cover all of my bases.
- Following a Low Histamine Diet allows me to avoid purposefully bringing high amounts of histamine into my body. Although different people can tolerate eating different things, the most important foods on a LHD to consistently avoid are vinegar, all fermented foods, spinach, chocolate, tomatoes, nightshades, alcohol, food additives and preservatives, nuts, cured meats or fish, not freshly caught seafood, yeast, citrus, and chemicals.
- MCAS results in inflammation in the body. Keeping grains, sugar, dairy, and processed food out of my diet cuts back on inflammation from my food.
- Avoiding staying in the sun during the time of day when its rays are most intense and direct allows me to avoid this known mast cell trigger.
- The one chemical exposure I can’t avoid right now are the ingredients in my insulin, which I need because I am a Type 1 Diabetic. Hopefully, someday my pancreas will make insulin again and I can be free from the synthetic insulin I need to use to stay alive.
- I have used Spiritual and Energetic Healing Methods for the last decade. These allow me to clear energy and come back to a state of calm homeostasis to the best of my ability without having to use medications. Because I'm also an empath, I need to use these in order to be healthy and feel good. I share all of them in my book, The Foundations System.
I wholeheartedly encourage anyone who experiences or who has a child with autism, autoimmune conditions, allergies, asthma, chronic fatigue, and/or health problems that doctors can’t seem to find an way to diagnose or effectively treat to look into learning about MCAS. My daily protocol that I've written above is my foundation for being able to live a healthy life. Yes, it takes a lot of diligence and work, but it allows me to live as a highly sensitive person without taking toxic medications and experiencing so much suffering. I’ve included links in this article, and listed more links to learn and research about MCAS on the RESOURCES page. I will keep researching and experimenting. Remember to always persevere, because the answers and solutions that you need can show up when and where you least expect them.