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Thread: Solving the Rosacea Puzzle: The Histamine Connection

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    Default Solving the Rosacea Puzzle: The Histamine Connection

    Hi all,

    After doing tons of research on support forums and medical sources, I learned that flushing rosacea involves the body's histamine metabolism. The body releases histamines in response to stress, cold weather, hot weather, exposure to sun, exercise - all the known rosacea triggers, and there are many foods that are rich in histamines as well. Histamines in excess cause flushing, and hives. Rosacea is more complicated than just the histamine issue because the body is really complicated, but excess histamines causes many of our symptoms.

    A lot of people are helped by anti-histamines or meds like Singulair. In my case, anti-histamines, even second generation ones, make me super tired and that was true of Singulair as well.

    So I tried the FAILSAFE diet that was developed by doctors rather than a diet by someone who had a great sounding idea (i.e. paleo, alkaline, etc) that's not grounded in any sort of science.

    The diet, while bland, works. If you are just sensitive to histamines, it includes a wide range of fruits and vegetables, some diary and grains. Prior to trying the FAILSAFE diet, I was on low carb and no sugar diets and that did absolutely nothing for my skin.

    What are the biggies to stay away from on the FAILSAFE diet: fermented foods and processed foods. All fermented foods, all foods that have been sitting around (left overs), aged cheeses, alcohol, sauerkraut, pickles, soy sauce, etc., cultured yogurt, miso, kombucha, vinegar (I use lemon juice instead). In other words, many foods we love to eat and that are considered healthy.

    Meat and fish is ok, except that it has to be super fresh and not processed, and it's hard to get meat that's not been sitting around and is high in histamines. I definitely have less symptoms when I eat less or no meat, but it's not the meat per se that's the issue, it's the histamines in meat that is not super fresh.

    For me, the biggest surprise was milk. I have assumed for a long time now that I am lactose intolerant, but when I started to cut out fermented foods, I was suddenly able to tolerate the occasional glass of milk just fine.

    I have also noticed that excessive bloating in response to a food is a give away because bloating can be a histamine-response of the body. So if you get super gassy in response to a food (other than beans), it might be a factor in your rosacea.

    Overall, what I have found really important is to eat in a balanced fashion because lack of vitamins and minerals can also exacerbate bad skin. For me that means lots of dark, leafy greens, nuts, legumes (I handle chick peas best), occasionally milk, and occasionally the freshest chicken I can get. I'd juice if I had the time, but as of now, that's not in the offing.

    My biggest challenge has been that I fall off the wagon every so often because that diet is so bland, and my skin starts looking like hell within a day or so.

    But for me it feels as if rosacea is not such a big mystery any more. Realizing the histamine dimension took the guess work out of the various cures and allowed me to draw connections between factors.

    I also wash my pillow a lot. People claim that it reduces mites, but I think that washing the pillow is really about reducing allergens like pet hair and dust that our skin reacts to.

    For skin care, I use raw shea butter during the day, and shea butter plus mutton tallow at night. The mutton tallow is a great anti-inflammatory for the skin.

    I also use the shea butter to wash my face at night. No soap for my skin at all.

    Best of luck to everyone,

    Lisa,
    on the quest for a pale skin and getting paler

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shikasta's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Histamine intolerance + low carb

    Great...thank you! I haven't seen anyone focus on histamines since I joined the forum a few months ago...except for me. I was wondering if histamine intolerance among my fellow forum mates was a relatively rare occurance or if folks were finding that an additional dietary restriction was just too much to contemplate with everything else going on.

    In my case, avoiding histamine triggers was a turning point... I could finally see the connection to the resulting flare ups...but it wasn't until I also reduced sugar and carbs that my skin started clearing up.

    My skin is clearing up very slowly, I might add...quick results are not to be expected from these dietary restrictions. I am constantly reminding myself to be patient as I approach the mirror every morning.

    I am also gluten free...and grain free too..not sure if there is a connection to rosacea healing but it helps with my gut issues.

    And I should also mention that I have finally confronted the demodex issue (I was previously in denial). Garlic and tto have been effective strategies for me. However, my boyfriend believes that demodex are symbiotes and shouldn't be eradicated completely. Some rosaceans have an unhealthy proliferation of them, and this can be a factor in papopustular subtype 2. I believe that it was for me.

    Thanks again for your research and input!

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    Thanks Lisa interesting work…has anyone tried histidine supplementation?? Interestingly my rosacea is now reducing since upping my VitC and Grape Seed Extract supplementation. I'm thinking of adding histidine as it can reduce histamine levels in the blood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shikasta View Post
    Great...thank you! I haven't seen anyone focus on histamines since I joined the forum a few months ago...except for me. I was wondering if histamine intolerance among my fellow forum mates was a relatively rare occurance or if folks were finding that an additional dietary restriction was just too much to contemplate with everything else going on.

    In my case, avoiding histamine triggers was a turning point... I could finally see the connection to the resulting flare ups...but it wasn't until I also reduced sugar and carbs that my skin started clearing up.

    My skin is clearing up very slowly, I might add...quick results are not to be expected from these dietary restrictions. I am constantly reminding myself to be patient as I approach the mirror every morning.

    I am also gluten free...and grain free too..not sure if there is a connection to rosacea healing but it helps with my gut issues.

    And I should also mention that I have finally confronted the demodex issue (I was previously in denial). Garlic and tto have been effective strategies for me. However, my boyfriend believes that demodex are symbiotes and shouldn't be eradicated completely. Some rosaceans have an unhealthy proliferation of them, and this can be a factor in papopustular subtype 2. I believe that it was for me.

    Thanks again for your research and input!
    Sure thing. A lot of people don't know about the histamine issue. I really had to do a lot of research to figure it out. I was obsessed there for a while to find something that would explain the flushing to me. I would read posts by people getting relief from singulair and anti-histamines as far back as 2007 on this forum, but I assumed that that was just one among countless "cures", but the more I read, the more I realized that histamines are indeed a critical factor in flushing rosacea. When I saw my internist and told him about my research, and my conclusions, he was well aware of the role of histamines in rosacea.

    For me, reducing carbs did nothing. I was on a carb free, sugar free (including fruit) diet for two months, and I was thin as a stick, my skin was the same, and I had no energy.

    Some people I hear are sensitive to gluten, but I don't notice a difference on or off gluten. I had pronounced results within a week from taking anti-histamines or alternately, sticking to the histamine-restricted diet (FAILSAFE). At the same time, if I eat a piece of store-bought birthday cake at a party for instance, I will flush within half an hour. A glass of iced tea and I am red as a tomato.

    There are other sources of histamines than food, such as temperature. I am really sensitive to cold temperatures and a histamine-restricted diet won't do anything for that. But in the summer, I am fine on the histamine-restricted diet, which means: no iced tea, no beer or wine, no hamburgers, no pizzas, etc. It's pretty sad.

    But put me in an air-conditioned room for two hours, and I flush. Put me in a hothouse for two hours, and I am a little red from the heat, but nothing like the flushing that happens when I am in cold room. I am not looking forward to winter at all. I hope that it won't be like last year.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Incognito84 View Post
    Thanks Lisa interesting work…has anyone tried histidine supplementation?? Interestingly my rosacea is now reducing since upping my VitC and Grape Seed Extract supplementation. I'm thinking of adding histidine as it can reduce histamine levels in the blood.
    There are a number of natural anti-histamines and vitamin C is one, so keep taking that. I am not sure abut Grape Seed Extract but it might have an anti-histamine effect as well. What works for a lot of people is Quercetin. I tried Quercetin this winter, and to me, it seemed to make me flush more. I might try again this summer, but some folks are sensitive to both salicylates and histamines. A diet limited in both of those is just super sad so mentally I am not prepared to go there....yet. Another natural anti-histamine that works for me really well is nettle tea, btw.

    Taking histidine strikes me as a very interesting approach. It should work. If you try that, please let us know results you see.

    Lisa

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    Default Subtype differences?

    Hi Lisa,

    You don't mention it, but I am guessing that you have subtype 1, consisting mainly of flushing. Is that true?

    I have flushing issues too, and have always been a blusher...but my symptoms have progressed to subtype 2, and I was beginning to see hints of skin thickening on the side of my nose, which indicates subtype 3.

    I think the sugar and carbs connection relates more to subtypes 2 and 3, as does demodex...but I am unable to formulate a specific hypothesis.

    I used to have red blotchy flare ups--not necessarily flushes-- after eating leftovers. It was due to the release of histamines as food decays... I did lots of obsessive research (ha, no other way to describe it), and learned what to avoid--although the lists tend to vary from different sources.

    More recently, my sub 2 symptoms have been fading...I hope this positive trend continues ...fingers crossed. Oddly enough, I don't miss sugar or gluten anymore, but I will still look longingly at a glass of white wine. Oh well.

    Incognito,

    Histadine supplements are a great idea...let us know how that goes!

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    [QUOTE=Shikasta;299827]Hi Lisa,

    You don't mention it, but I am guessing that you have subtype 1, consisting mainly of flushing. Is that true?

    I have flushing issues too, and have always been a blusher...but my symptoms have progressed to subtype 2, and I was beginning to see hints of skin thickening on the side of my nose, which indicates subtype 3.

    I think the sugar and carbs connection relates more to subtypes 2 and 3, as does demodex...but I am unable to formulate a specific hypothesis.

    I used to have red blotchy flare ups--not necessarily flushes-- after eating leftovers. It was due to the release of histamines as food decays... I did lots of obsessive research (ha, no other way to describe it), and learned what to avoid--although the lists tend to vary from different sources.

    More recently, my sub 2 symptoms have been fading...I hope this positive trend continues ...fingers crossed. Oddly enough, I don't miss sugar or gluten anymore, but I will still look longingly at a glass of white wine. Oh well.


    Shikasta,

    Glad to hear that your sub-type II is clearing up!

    I have sub-type I and II. My rosacea started with inflamed skin, as sub-type II, which I still have, and progressed to full facial flushes in response to foods, stress, cold temps, black tea (I love myself a really strong cup of black tea) I just recently looked at older photographs, and I realize that I have had rosacea for longer than I thought. I got it right after I had my kids, (which is also the time that my diet went south and stress increased dramatically) so that would be for 11 years now, but was diagnosed by my dermatologist about seven years ago. I occasionally have p&ps, but only if I don't watch my diet. On the diet, I have mild inflammation, a mild red sheen on my cheeks, but am fine otherwise.

    Based on what I have read here, sub-type I and II are two different conditions. You go to a dermatologist with red facial skin and you get a rosacea diagnosis, but not all red skin is rosacea, which makes all these "cures" so confusing.

    All the harsh stuff that folks put on their skin, the tea tree oil, the sulfur creams and soaps, the selsun blue shampoo - I have tried it all, makes my skin worse. I have tried anti-fungals and permethryn (which I find scary), and it didn't do anything for me or made my skin worse.

    I think that those folks who are helped by these substances have a different condition than I do. They have regular seb derm, and if they find the culprit, they are cured. And perhaps, folks with seb derm are helped by staying off sugar.

    Flushing rosacea is a different animal altogether. It involves your entire body, not just your skin or your digestive system, but your entire physiological system. It's a systemic condition, not a skin condition.

    Some people have both flushing or a histamine-response and seb derm - perhaps that's true for you.


    Lisa

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    [QUOTE=lm4727;299837]
    Quote Originally Posted by Shikasta View Post
    Hi Lisa,

    You don't mention it, but I am guessing that you have subtype 1, consisting mainly of flushing. Is that true?

    I have flushing issues too, and have always been a blusher...but my symptoms have progressed to subtype 2, and I was beginning to see hints of skin thickening on the side of my nose, which indicates subtype 3.

    I think the sugar and carbs connection relates more to subtypes 2 and 3, as does demodex...but I am unable to formulate a specific hypothesis.

    I used to have red blotchy flare ups--not necessarily flushes-- after eating leftovers. It was due to the release of histamines as food decays... I did lots of obsessive research (ha, no other way to describe it), and learned what to avoid--although the lists tend to vary from different sources.

    More recently, my sub 2 symptoms have been fading...I hope this positive trend continues ...fingers crossed. Oddly enough, I don't miss sugar or gluten anymore, but I will still look longingly at a glass of white wine. Oh well.


    Shikasta,

    Glad to hear that your sub-type II is clearing up!

    I have sub-type I and II. My rosacea started with inflamed skin, as sub-type II, which I still have, and progressed to full facial flushes in response to foods, stress, cold temps, black tea (I love myself a really strong cup of black tea) I just recently looked at older photographs, and I realize that I have had rosacea for longer than I thought. I got it right after I had my kids, (which is also the time that my diet went south and stress increased dramatically) so that would be for 11 years now, but was diagnosed by my dermatologist about seven years ago. I occasionally have p&ps, but only if I don't watch my diet. On the diet, I have mild inflammation, a mild red sheen on my cheeks, but am fine otherwise.

    Based on what I have read here, sub-type I and II are two different conditions. You go to a dermatologist with red facial skin and you get a rosacea diagnosis, but not all red skin is rosacea, which makes all these "cures" so confusing.

    All the harsh stuff that folks put on their skin, the tea tree oil, the sulfur creams and soaps, the selsun blue shampoo - I have tried it all, makes my skin worse. I have tried anti-fungals and permethryn (which I find scary), and it didn't do anything for me or made my skin worse.

    I think that those folks who are helped by these substances have a different condition than I do. They have regular seb derm, and if they find the culprit, they are cured. And perhaps, folks with seb derm are helped by staying off sugar.

    Flushing rosacea is a different animal altogether. It involves your entire body, not just your skin or your digestive system, but your entire physiological system. It's a systemic condition, not a skin condition. Some people have both flushing or a histamine-response and seb derm - perhaps that's true for you.


    Lisa
    Hi .

    I don't think it is . because your Face bears the brunt of everything you do and when you go outside .1. Weather 2.Emotions . 3 Eating Habits .4 Exercise etc etc
    I got my subtype 1 Rosacea because of putting all sorts of crap on my face as a teenager .
    1. Fade Out to fade freckles . 2 And anything and everything to get of spots when I had them . If I had of left my skin alone I wouldn't be in this mess now . Its all about your skin Barrier subtype 1 [Flushing]
    Last edited by davekelly; 14th July 2014 at 03:39 PM.

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    Thinking of trying histidine supplement (normal dose). Will let you know how that goes. In meantime, my redness is way less now just from using VitC (2000 mg sustained release), L-Lysine (3000mg), 4g MSM, milk thistle, psyllium fibre/cholorphyll solution, and Metrogel for my nose (my only problem area now). Only have 4 small dots on my cheeks, visibly less red than it used to be. Unfortunately it's just my nose now that's still quite red but less than before.

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    Thank you for the tip on food high in histamine and the rosacea link! I needed it since ACV is so common for rosaceans, fermented foods and drinks don't work now, hopefully some will later on.

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