by Greg Lee
How is being drenched by a little kid with a hose similar to excess mast cell inflammation caused by an underlying Lyme disease, parasitic, or mold infection?
Similar to being totally soaked by a giggly little girl and a garden hose, many infections can trigger a flood of excess mast cell inflammation
Multiple infections can trigger mast cells to release a large amount of inflammatory compounds. In animal studies, Lyme disease1, parasitic helminths, nematodes, protozoa including Malaria, mold including Aspergillus fumigatus hyphae, bacterial infections including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Pseudomonas aeruginosa, group A streptococcal (GAS) skin infection, and E. coli peritoneal and urinary infections, Haemophilus influenzae otitis media; and polymicrobial intra-abdominal sepsis can trigger mast cells to quickly release inflammatory compounds2. In human and animal studies, viral infections including Dengue3, H1N54, Herpes5, and respiratory syncytial virus6 are also capable of triggering the release of mast cell inflammation. Mast cells are an initial line of defense against invading pathogens.
Mast cells inflammation is a normal immune system response to invading pathogens
Mast cells are white blood cells that have the ability to trigger the release of infection fighting inflammatory compounds upon invading germs. These cells are are found in most tissues of the body. Immature mast cells circulate through the blood and implant in tissues with a vascular blood supply. They are particularly concentrated in the tissues exposed to the outside environment: skin, airways and intestines, which are perfect for detecting an incoming invader. These cells are also effective at keeping many infections in check.
Mast cells may also help to suppress certain infections
In mouse experiments, mast cells mediate the expulsion of parasite worms: Trichinella spiralis and Strongyloides. Moreover, mast cell–deficient mice develop larger number of parasites and larger lesions in a Leishmania major infection7. Mast cells decrease the uptake and growth of pulmonary tularemia in macrophages in another mouse study8. Unfortunately in chronic infection patients, mast cells can be hyper-activated which results in the over-production of inflammatory compounds.
Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is defined as the excess over production of mast cell inflammation
Mast cell activation syndrome has been known to produce a wide range of chronic symptoms in patients with mold exposure9, Lyme disease10, recurrent infections and low antibody levels, specifically in immunoglobulin (Ig) types IgG, IgM and IgA. Symptoms often include new infections, chronic lung disease, and inflammation and infection of the gastrointestinal tract11, Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS) and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)12. Different systems in the body may present with these MCAS symptoms13 including:
- Dermatological: flushing, easy bruising, either a reddish or a pale complexion, itchiness
- Cardiovascular: lightheadedness, dizziness, presyncope, syncope
- Gastrointestinal: diarrhea, cramping, intestinal discomfort, nausea, vomiting, small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Swallowing, throat tightness
- Psychological & Neurological: brain fog, short term memory dysfunction, difficulty with recalling words, headaches, migraines
- Respiratory: congestion, coughing, wheezing
- Vision/Eyes: ocular discomfort, conjunctivitis
- Constitutional: general fatigue and malaise, food, drug, and chemical intolerances especially fragrances, sense of being cold all the time
- Musculoskeletal: osteoporosis and osteopenia including young patients
- Rapid weight gain, obesity, diabetes
- Anaphylaxis especially if too many inflammatory compounds are dumped suddenly into a patient’s system, difficulty breathing, itchy hives, flushing or pale skin, feeling of warmth, weak and rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and fainting
Symptoms can be caused by or worsened by triggers, which vary widely and are patient-specific. Common triggers include: alcohol, and high-histamine content foods, temperature extremes, airborne smells including perfumes or smoke, exercise or exertion, emotional stress, hormonal changes – particularly during adolescence, pregnancy and women’s menstrual cycles. These symptoms are thought to be caused be genetic issues and are therefore incurable. Since mast cells are widespread throughout the body, symptoms can also occur in virtually all organs and tissues. Moreover, symptoms can flare up from time to time, waxing and waning over years to decades14. Specific inflammatory markers have been found in MCAS patients.
Specific inflammatory compounds have been identified in mast cell activation patients
Many different inflammatory compounds can be produced and released by mast cells. These compounds have been identified as markers in patients with MCAS: Beta-Tryptase15, histamine, heparin, proteases and cytokines such as Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-α), arachidonic acid metabolites PGD2 and LTC416, and a number of other cytokines/growth factors and chemokines including Interleukin-5 (IL-5), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Interleukin-13 (IL-13), Interleukin-16 (IL-16), stem cell factor (SCF), granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), nerve growth factor (NGF), basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) and Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), as well as several C-C chemokines17. Medications can help with managing MCAS symptoms.
Medications can help with reducing inflammatory compounds from mast cell activation
There have not been any therapeutic trials of medications for MCAS. Medications that have been effective have been used in animal studies, individuals, or small group human case studies. Due to the wide variance in patient symptoms, triggers, genetic and epigenetic factors, highly individualized treatment is necessary18. Anti-allergy drugs reduced mast cell inflammation in mice19, antihistamine drugs, immunosuppresive medications, kinase inhibitors, chemotherapy drugs, and in rare cases stem cell therapy have had varying success in reducing symptoms in MCAS patients20.
What else can help you to reduce runaway inflammation caused by mast cell activation?
Here are five treatments for reducing excess mast cell inflammation
Inhibiting mast cell inflammation production may help to stop chronic MCAS. Formulating remedies into microparticles called liposomes has been effective at mediating mast cell activation21. Liposomal remedies have also been effective at reducing the production of inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α22 in a mouse study. Liposomal remedies also have been shown to penetrate deeper into host cells23 and into pathogens24 than their non-liposomal counterparts. Fortunately, liposomal encapsulation and delivery of essential oils, herbs, and supplements may increase their penetration and effectiveness against mast cell activation syndrome inflammation.
Reducing Mast Cell Inflammation Treatment #1: Essential Oils
Lavender oil inhibits mast cell inflammation in mice and rats and TNF-α production25. A 2:1 combination of essential oils of Lavender and Thyme reduced mast cell degranulation and inflammation when applied for twenty-one days in a mouse study26. German chamomile oil was highly effective at inhibiting mast cell degranulation in a lab study27 and a rat study28. Geranium essential oil inhibited cultured mast cell degranulation in another rat study29. Not only essential oils, but also herbs have been effective at inhibiting mast cell inflammation.
Reducing Mast Cell Inflammation Treatment #2: Herbs
Compounds in salvia miltiorrhiza root, Chinese name Dan Shen, blunt mast cell degranulation in a lab study30. Sanguisorbia root, Chinese name: Di Yu, inhibited mast cell degranulation, Interferon-gamma (INF-γ) and TNF-α production in a lab study31. Houttuynia, Chinese name: Yu Xing Cao, blocked the mast cell inflammatory production of TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8 and nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-kB) in a lab experiment32. Magnolia flower, Chinese name: Xin Yi Hua, has been effective in inhibiting mast cell histamine release33. Agaricus mushroom, Chinese name: Ji Song Rong, inhibits the mast cell anaphylactic shock reaction in a rat study34. Supplements can also help with mast cell inflammation.
Reducing Mast Cell Inflammation Treatment #3: Natural supplements
Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, inhibits the release of inflammation from mast cells35. Alpha lipoic acid decreased mast cell histamine release and the anaphylactic shock reaction in a lab study36. Quercetin has also been effective in blocking the release of mast cell histamine and inflammatory cytokines Il-8, TNF, and NF-kB37. Theanine inhibited the mast cell production of histamines, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8 secretion by suppressing NF-κB activation in a lab study38. In addition to supplements, electro-acupuncture has shown to be effective at reducing mast cell inflammation.
Reducing Mast Cell Inflammation Treatment #4: Electro-acupuncture
In one rat study, electro-acupuncture on acupoint Stomach-25 inhibited the activation of Substance-P and VIP in mast cells39. Frequency Specific Microcurrent can also help with reducing histamine and inflammatory compounds.
Reducing Mast Cell Inflammation Treatment #5: Frequency Specific Microcurrent
Frequency Specific Microcurrent uses very low level electrical currents to reduce histamines, inflammatory compounds, and bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections and toxins40. These currents are combined with a second set of frequencies to target inflamed or toxic areas. As a result, allergic symptoms and inflamed areas can be dramatically reduced. A combination of remedies and treatments can help with reducing mast cell activation symptoms.
These five treatments may help to reduce excess histamines and inflammation from mast cell activation syndrome
People with Lyme disease, mold or parasites that have allergic sensitivity due to excess histamines, way too much inflammation, and symptoms that are not improving with Lyme medications may have a condition called mast cell activation syndrome. Just like redirecting a girl to rinse the car instead of soaking her dad, remedies and treatments may help to reduce the overproduction of histamine, inflammatory cytokines and persistent symptoms of mast cell activation. Processing herbs, essential oils, and supplements into microparticle remedies, called liposomes, may help them to be more effective at reducing mast cell inflammation symptoms. Since liposomal remedies requires special knowledge and equipment, work with a Lyme / liposomal literate natural remedy practitioner to develop a customized, safe, and effective treatment plan for your condition.
Next step: Come to the Getting Rid of Lyme Disease evening lecture on Monday March 6th at 6pm in Frederick, Maryland to learn more about essential oils, herbs, and treatments for healing Lyme disease, co-infection, and mast cell inflammation symptoms.
Also learn about effective remedies and treatments for relieving persistent symptoms of Lyme and co-infections including: cold laser, Frequency Specific Microcurrent, cupping, LED therapy, moxabustion, acupuncture, liposomal herbs, essential oils, bee venom, and more!
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