Histamine and Hormones
Histamine-intolerant women often suffer from the symptoms listed above, especially headaches and menstrual pain, during certain phases of their menstrual cycle. Histamine levels tend to fluctuate with the level of hormones, especially oestrogen, at ovulation and just prior to the onset of menstruation. In contrast, many women with both allergies and histamine intolerance find significant relief of their symptoms during pregnancy; this is because the placenta makes a great deal of DAO, the enzyme that breaks down histamine. The result is that the level of histamine no longer exceeds the woman’s tolerance threshold, and she remains blissfully free from her symptoms throughout her pregnancy. Unfortunately, the symptoms tend to recur once the DAO from the placenta is no longer available after the birth of her child.
Pain and Inflammation. A low progesterone to estrogen ratio is associated with increased levels of molecules that cause inflammation. These molecules are called kinins. Estrogen increases kinin levels, and giving progesterone can decrease them. Kinins occur naturally in the body but promote the release of histamines. In conditions of allergic inflammation, kinins are elevated. High levels of kinins are linked to asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and a number of bowel diseases.
Histamine stimulated a dose-related increase in estradiol secretion with a maximal stimulatory effect at 10(-3) mol/l.
- Progesterone promotes myelination, which is one of the pathways the body uses to break down histamine (primary pathways are DAO in the gut and HMT on the cellular level).
- Unopposed estrogen increases histamine overall, which is why some women feel better on progesterone, even if their progesterone is not actually low.
- Histamine stimulated estrogen secretion. Catch-22? Estrogen increases histamine, increased histamine also increases estrogen...
- Estrogen increases kinins and progesterone decreases them. Kinins promote inflammation. If you have a histamine issue, progesterone may help by decreasing the kinins.
I'm not making any blanket statements here. So no one get their panties in a twist if progesterone was your miracle cure. But it's an interesting discussion to get going.