How Genetic Analysis Makes a Huge Difference in healing with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
I’ve had both Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance from a very early age. I was really sick growing up and into my 20s and 30s. I saw over 50 practitioners. None of them knew how to get me well.
It wasn’t until I found Functional Genetic Analysis that I started to recover. It unlocked the mysteries of my health. And it pointed to the specific lab testing I needed to get. It was the major turning point for me.
It was so important in my health that I became an expert in Functional Genetic Analysis in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. And now I share these secrets to recovery with my clients as well.
I’m speaking about these secrets with Donna Gates on the Genius of Your Genes Summit soon. I’d love to have you join me for my talk on Functional Genetics in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance.
February 10-16, 2020
It’s FREE! You can sign up here:
This blog post is all about how Functional Genetics helped my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. And how it can help you too. It’s a preview of my talk with Donna Gates.
But you should really sign up for the summit to get all the information I share. And there are also many other great speakers. So, don’t miss it – it’s a great event that may really change your health and your life!
First, I want to share my story with you.
My Story and How Functional Genetic Analysis turned around my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
I grew up in the country in an old farmhouse surrounded by farmland. Planes flew over the fields spraying pesticides. We later learned that the farmhouse was full of black mold. I also spent a lot of time outside and often got bitten by ticks, and contracted Lyme, Bartonella, and Babesia at a young age.
I just wasn’t ever as well as other kids, and I had a lot of odd symptoms. When you grow up in the country, you snap a lot of green beans for canning – and I’d always end up covered in hives from that or from feeding corn to chickens. I’d also get hives and itchy eyes from the corn I had to feed to the chickens. I was so itchy all the time, that I would scratch my skin until it bled. I had a lot of digestive issues, I had asthma. I was always tired.
After 10 years of toxic mold exposure from living in an old farmhouse, having Lyme, Epstein-Barr, and 2 significant car accidents, my body just couldn’t keep up. I became really sick with severe, chronic, mysterious illnesses that there were no diagnoses for then or little understanding.
I had chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, constant allergic reactions, awful acid reflux, severe anxiety, and severe insomnia. The list goes on and on but what we understand now is that I had all the symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, Histamine Intolerance, chronic Lyme, Mold Toxicity, and post concussive syndrome.
You might think this was all from having mold exposure and Lyme, but lots of kids that live in the country grow up in old farmhouses and get tick bites and don’t get really sick. So, the big question is why is this?
My health really affected my quality of life. From the age of 6 my dream was to go to medical school. I was solely focused on this mission. I was so single focused I asked for Grey’s Anatomy for my 16th birthday. Then I pushed my way through college somehow. But when it was time to go to medical school, I just couldn’t function anymore. It was absolutely devastating to see my calling literally go up in smoke in the flames of my seriously ill body. Instead of learning how to be a physician, I learned how to be a severely chronically ill patient.
And my health issues kept worsening. I didn’t know it at the time, but all the medications I was on to dampen my mast cell and histamine symptoms were making the underlying Lyme and mold toxicity worse because the antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers were keeping my mast cells from fighting these infections. No one knew these things back then.
But if nothing else, I was tenacious. I went from doctor to doctor and tried everything Western Medicine could offer me. I then started trying holistic doctors and homeopathics. I did emotional healing, tons of yoga, breathing, and meditation. But I still just kept getting worse.
Doctors were exasperated with me and every one said I was the most complex case they’d ever seen. By that time, I was mostly bedridden and had to use a cane and even still could barely walk from severe, debilitating joint pain. I had one of the worst cases of insomnia to this day I’ve ever seen. And I had such severe anxiety that I could only leave my house rarely.
I was down to 20 foods. Many practitioners told me because my labs were normal, I must have a psychological need to be sick and told me it was all in my head. Even though I could barely walk, I started to believe them that I was crazy.
At the worst of my health, I was bedridden and unable to work for a year. I had such severe joint pain and inflammation from what I know now was oxalates related to mold toxicity. It was so bad I had to use a cane and could barely walk to the bathroom. This was going on between ages 26 and 33. My life was a daily nightmare and it wasn’t a life I felt like was worth living.
But a holistic physician 12 years ago I saw was ahead of her time and ran my first genetic test called the Detoxigenomic. I’d had a severe reaction to a tiny dose of medication. And lucky for me, she believed that I wasn’t crazy. That genetic panel had just 12 or so SNPs, but we saw that I had significant variants on multiple detox pathways. I didn’t know what else to do with that information at the time.
There was little available on genomic analysis then, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this held the key to unraveling some of my health issues. But it was the first breakthrough and it validated that I wasn’t crazy. She was kind enough to refer me on when we reached the limits of what she knew to do.
I kept going, trying other practitioners. I made my way to the most experienced functional medicine physician in the area, but after we’d been working for a short time, he told me he didn’t know what to do with me. Everything we tried made me worse – L-glutamine for healing my gut worsened my anxiety and insomnia. Curcumin made me more inflamed, when it should have worked as an anti-inflammatory.
It didn’t make sense to anyone. When he told me we’d reached the end of the road of what he knew to do, it was a really dark day and I wanted to just give up on life. I calculated that up at that point, I had seen over 50 practitioners and spent well over $150,000.
That really dark day also became a major turning point that day. I reached out to a support circle I was in and posted I didn’t know where else to turn. One person in that group reached back out and saved my life that day. She told me – run your genetics and I bet you’ll find some answers. This was so long ago, we only had 60 or so variants to look at.
But I started to find answers. I’m analyzing over 10,000 variants now, but back then, we could already see in my genetics I’m predisposed to have very high glutamate, so my L-glutamine reactions now made sense. It also pointed toward likely overmethylation, which made sense why curcumin wasn’t working for me – curcumin is a methyl donor and it was speeding methylation up too fast for me.
I knew if I was going to live, I was going to have to learn everything I could on Functional Genetic Analysis. And how these areas of Functional Medicine, biochemistry, and psychoneuroimmunology connect.
Putting together an individualized plan for myself based on what my genetic predispositions are and getting the right functional labs really changed my health and I got my life back. I was off the cane in just 2 weeks. My energy came back. My cognition got so much better.
I studied everything I could get my hands on in those fields and each month I got better. I was already working as a Functional Health Coach back then. And people started coming to me for help with their health because they saw how dramatically I improved.
Eventually I was able to go back to graduate school, getting a Master’s in Psychology doing research in the mind/body connection in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. I also finished my doctorate in Functional Naturopathy specializing in genetic analysis, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, and Histamine Intolerance.
When I look back, it’s been such a remarkable recovery to go from being so ill to becoming a Naturopath and running a full time practice. I now specialize in people who fall through the cracks, who standard protocols and approaches aren’t working for them. Genetic analysis guides which directions to go in.
It helps me see what in this person’s blueprint might be contributing to their symptoms. And then we follow-up with the right Functional tests to see what is happening in their body’s. Genetic analysis helps me narrow down the playing field from 200 or 300 different possible problem areas to sometimes 5 or 10 top likely concerns. Then we do the rest of the investigative work.
But Does Functional Genetic Analysis Really Work for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance?
In health care the gold standard for whether an approach works or not is if that protocol can help 80% of people who come through your door. But I’ve always wondered about the other 20%. 80% is considered excellent. But to me it’s not good enough if 20% of people can’t get help. That 20% is where I’ve always fallen and probably where most people reading this blog have fallen.
But we have the tools to help that 20% now. We have to do the right functional tests and get genetic analysis to create individualized protocols. In my practice, I work with the 20% who fall through the cracks. And I don’t have any blanket protocols.
I build from scratch for each person because everyone is unique in their DNA and what their root causes are. With genetic analysis, the right functional labs, and doing root cause analysis, I’ve gotten that success rate from 80% up to 95%. And the 5% remaining are those who don’t want to work as hard as they need to on their health. Because it is hard work. But for those who are willing to put the work in, we have the tools to get people better. Genetic analysis is the cornerstone of that.
How Are Genetics Used in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance? Isn’t it really about Gene Expression?
I tell my clients; your genetics are the blueprint for everything that happens in your body. And it is the expression of those genes that are the most important. You can think of genetic expression like the builder of a building.
The builder can read the blueprint (your DNA) and replicate the mistakes in the blueprint when building the building. Or the builder may be at the top of his/her game that day from great sleep, good food, the right supplements, and correct the mistakes in the blueprint while building the building. Or the builder may have had a rough night, have eaten junk foods, had a couple drinks, and make new mistakes that weren’t in the original blueprint.
This is a basic metaphor for how genetic expression and epigenetics works. This genetic expression happens through RNA.
We have to figure out what is happening with the genetic expression. I have a client with variants in the Diamine Oxidase genes but doesn’t have symptoms from eating high histamine foods. She’s compensating for those genetic variants somehow. Then I have many clients with just a single variant on the ABP1 genes that code for Diamine Oxidase enzyme, and they have significant Histamine Intolerance.
So, if you have any genetic variants, they don’t mean they are definitely causing an issue for you. This is why Functional Genetic Analysis has to be thoughtfully interpreted in the context of your symptoms, your health history, your labs, and everything in the list above to determine how much of an issue that variant is for you.
We also have to be looking systemically. There are many people online talking about genetic analysis in a linear fashion. But it doesn’t work that way. I see all the time where people are told if they have MTHFR genetic variants, they have to take methylfolate. But that isn’t always true. And high methylfolate can make Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance worse.
People are also told if they have CBS genetic variants to stop eating sulfur. This is really bad for people. It shuts down detox pathways. And mast cells can’t stabilize themselves anymore. This is because the mast cells used sulfur to make stabilizing compounds.
So, you want someone trained in looking at genetics from a Functional perspective. This takes something called systems thinking. Systems thinking is where you look at the pieces as a whole. You can read more about this in this post.
How Genetics and Epigenetics play a role in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance
One major root issue in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance is anything that creates inflammation. There are hundreds of reasons you could have inflammation in your body. Looking at the genetic analysis with the right labs helps me narrow those possibilities down from hundreds to a manageable handful. Then we can check on and address that handful in a systematic way.
If we didn’t have Functional Genetic Analysis, we would have to look into all the possible causes of inflammation. We’d have to start with the most likely causes. And then work down the list until your inflammation is resolved.
That process works ok for the general public without major health issues. But most of my clients have already tried those processes with other practitioners. And they didn’t get better. Or sometimes they even got worse. This is often because those of us with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance frequently have more rare genetic variants that are rarely looked at.
Functional Genetic Analysis can help catch issues that may have never been thought of without looking at your DNA. Once again, the important thing is that the DNA has to be taken into context with your symptoms, health history, and labs.
I had a client I’ll call “Linda” who was so exhausted every day she would have to nap in her car in the driveway after work before she could drag herself into the house. She had significant body pain and trouble losing weight. She’d tried so many things for years. But she kept getting worse.
When she came in, I ran the Your Genomic Resource gene kit. We found one of her root genetic issues was involved in NADPH production. This is really important for energy and detoxification. We then followed up with an Organic Acid Test that showed her glutathione pathway was compromised.
Glutathione is dependent on NADPH. This is something that no other tests really could have caught. I started her on a few NADPH support supplements. Then I got an email from her a few weeks later. She was so excited that she had taken her daughter to NYC for a vacation and walked 20 miles! This was a woman who couldn’t hardly make it through her work day before.
To me, that is really amazing and demonstrates the power of these tools.
What should people do if they have these variants? What are their next steps?
I’ve listened to thousands of stories of people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. And almost all of them suffered for too long trying to figure this out alone. Or working with practitioners who didn’t understand how to help them.
It really breaks my heart when people have worked so hard at treating chronic Lyme and mold, and they just get worse because the treatments didn’t take Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance into the equation.
The unfortunate thing is if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance and you do nothing – this is likely going to be progressive for you and continue to get worse.
You can go the traditional route of pharmaceuticals like antihistamines. But these are just masking symptoms and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance will still progressive if you just use pharmaceuticals.
Now some people do need medications. I’m not anti-medication. But what I’m saying is that if you want to get better, medications alone won’t do it. The medications for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance have a lot of side effects. Some of them cause dementia. And people need more and more medications over time. I’ve seen hundreds of cases where this snowballed into a nightmare for people.
But managing Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance takes work and requires changes and taking supplements, so this is the really the route if you don’t want to do a lot of work and take supplements.
These conventional routes don’t look at the root causes. But using the Organic Acid Test, Your Genomic Resource genetic testing, and other functional labs is where the real turnaround occurs for people.
When we dig in and do the work to identify the root causes, then address those root causes, support the cofactors, address diet changes – then people can actually heal and improve and get their lives back. This is the method I use and the method others who are getting good results with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance and these related conditions use.
Do you want to find out how your Genetics are affecting your Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance?
Join me for the Genius of Your Genes Summit! It’s Free!
I’d love to have you join me for my talk on Functional Genetics in Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance. Don’t miss the other top health experts talks as well!
February 10-16, 2020
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