My supplement dilemma

So this is my supplement dilemma…

Previous to my issue with histamine intolerance, I really didn’t put much stock in taking supplements. I believed that you should control your health with whole foods. As an example, I even juiced for quite a while, but after doing a lot of research and reading, I decided that this was not the way to obtain nutrients because this wasn’t whole foods either.

But once the intolerance hit with a vengeance, I had to look to alternatives to literally survive. So I turned to supplements. Now, the supplements I take are food derived. Quercetin can be found in a variety of foods. I think the capsules I take, the quercetin comes from beans. The olive leaf capsules are made from the leaves of the olive tree; the DHA, omega 3, from algae, and the ginger capsules from, well, ginger.

But I am not entirely comfortable taking supplements. I’ve tried to find information on the effects on your body of taking large doses of quercetin long term, but can find no definitive answers as to the negative effects, or positive ones, for that matter.

My dilemma is, I’d really like to see if my body is healed and I can get off the supplements, but I am feeling so good and doing do well I’m hesitant to try. I’ve tried a couple of days here and there when I didn’t take my morning doses, but I always take the night time dose.

And it’s not just about the itching. It’s about being menopause-symptom-free. What a gift it’s been to sleep great. No insomnia, no restlessness, no hot flashes, no getting up five times in the middle of the night to pee.

I know the thinking is you’ve reached full menopause when you haven’t had a period for a year. Maybe I’ll continue until I hit that benchmark and then try to eliminate some of the supplements. I don’t know. Right now, I just don’t want to tip the boat.

I have to also put in a plug for my immune system and what I think they’ve done to keep that humming along. I drove for three weeks back and forth to school with my friend and colleague who wound up having a terrible case of bronchitis. My nephew and my sister, and my mom come to think of it, have all had colds on and off for the last few months. And I’ve traveled in planes, trains, and cars in very close quarters with all sorts of people, eaten in restaurants and used more public bathrooms then I care to think about. (And let me tell you, train restrooms are not all that hygienic.) Yet, through it all, I have not even had a sniffle. So I know I’m doing something right.

Writing this all down makes me think that the benefits at this point totally outweigh the risks of taking supplements to maintain my health and happiness, so I guess I’ve answered my own question. And as a note, when I talk about supplements, my beloved olive oil is included in the mix. That I am sure I will never give up!

So what does anybody else think? Please weigh in and let me know what you are willing to do to maintain your quality of life.


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Posted in histamine intolerance, menopause, Women's health
7 comments on “My supplement dilemma
  1. Susan says:

    Since I developed the histamine problem a few months ago, I stopped my supplements because I was getting so many reactions and decided to start from scratch. I have taken a lot of supplements throughout the years. One of the doctors I saw recently said to me…How do you know what these unregulated supplements ( not FDA tested ) will do to your body down the road? He made it a joke by saying that tree bark could cause Cancer!!! I am back on antihistamines unfortunately as the symptoms were ruining my quality of life and I had to go back on them until I figure out how to get a healthy balance back. I take Vit. C in a powder form. Plan to go back on D and K. Started back on Quercitin today and my probiotic tomorrow. I do beleive in juicing and try to ingest a vegetable juice every day. Outside of my histamine problem, I am very healthy with no know allergies. I think the food is more important than the supplements now in most cases and I am going to be a bit more cautious on my supplements in the future as you really do not know what is going on in the process of making that pill or capsule. Susan

    • I think everything you said has a ring of truth to it. But honestly, I’d rather be taking the supplements to manage my intolerance than antihistamines. I feel, from what I’ve read, they mess your system up even more.

      But this is exactly the kind of dialog I wanted to start so I am so glad you responded.

  2. Audrey says:

    I agree. It’s very new to me to take all these herbs and supplements but I have benefitted greatly from them. Especially stinging nettles and ginger.

  3. Kim Konash says:

    I am pretty new to this whole thing – about 5 months now of trying to find out/figure out what the heck is wrong with me. I will be 44 years old in November, am 5′ 4 1/2″ and 109 pounds. AFTER having EIGHT children (23, 19, 17, 15, 13, 11, 2, and 5 mo.). I did go through several years of being ill with Lyme Disease between 2004 and 2008, but regained my health and got my life back after hyperbaric oxygen therapy and high dose B-12. My pregnancy and delivery with my 7th child was pretty uneventful (at least from a health standpoint). But with my last one, I developed an adrenal problem and periodic high blood pressure that got worse after delivery and then seemed to resolve. For a while I felt better, but then I started getting illness symptoms. Just so this comment doesn’t turn into a book (it could), suffice it to say that I’ve done a TON of research (mostly on medical sites and with research studies, NOT places like WebMD) and have been to many doctors and the hospital. All roads seemed to point to either a carcinoid tumor, a mast cell problem of some kind, or a histamine intolerance. And there is A LOT of overlap with those conditions.

    One thing that I HAVE found a connection with (repeatedly) is a little trace mineral called copper. Yes, I do know that true copper deficiency is considered unusual, and it isn’t easy to diagnose. I had too much of it at one time, along with low zinc (which is more common, especially in women). However, our bodies change over time, absorption of nutrients can change or get out of balance, etc. In my case, I found out through research that a combination of factors had probably swung me too far the other direction – taking a multi mineral without copper and increased zinc, plus extra vitamin c. And then there was the diet change that increased my zinc intake/absorption, probably without bumping copper enough (though I thought I was). Then TWO babies in 2 years, which increases copper demand.

    That said, I found out through more research that high histamine is usually connected with low copper (though you’ll find some sites that say it’s connected to low zinc). Interestingly, though there are studies published on Pub Med that have found that mast cells increase in numbers, degranulate, and that histamine production increases when copper levels are low. But copper levels themselves are tough to test for. Zinc and copper levels tend to see-saw, though, and it’s easy to figure out if your zinc levels are low/high. You can get an idea from a liquid zinc tally, which is a liquid zinc supplement. 1 TBSP in your mouth, count to 10. The longer it takes you to taste it, the lower it is. If it tastes like water even when you swallow it, you’re very low. If you taste it right away or within a few second, it’s not bad. If it’s so bad you spew it out (or want to), you could have an imbalance. And a lot of people can have sub-clinical symptoms of low copper (high histamine or even
    worse). The studies I read describing situations where doctors “finally” figured out that someone had low copper were ones where there was already permanent neurological damage.

    I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous about taking a copper supplement again, so I started with a small dose. As I worked up, I began noticing some small improvements. Which is good since one time when I went to the ER I was so weak and numb on my left side that I literally couldn’t stand. What is unique about this particular trace mineral (other than its connection to high histamine) is that it’s difficult to overcome a deficiency with food, because most of the foods that are higher in copper are also even higher in zinc. And a lot of copper rich foods are things that set off the histamine symptoms. Additionally,
    I also came across a link about copper supplementation during menopause, which said that any menopause “type” can take copper. And if you look at the things that it’s been used to treat, I’d say that it’s more likely that menopausal women tend to be lower in copper and that copper is not so much treating the condition as it is treating the deficiency. I’m including the study links as well as the information on what copper supplementation has been used for from the menopause site:

    If you have low histamine, you have high copper AND VICE VERSA:

    It really is worth checking into and/or seeing a doctor about. I’m going to have my levels checked because I seem to be see-sawing, possibly still not taking or absorbing enough copper. I do know the safe upper limit, but I haven’t gone to that yet, and am not likely to unless a dr. tells me to. But one theory this suggests is that it is possible that at least some cases of high histamine are permanently reversible with correction of a copper imbalance, so to me, it’s definitely worth checking out. I’m having a LOT of trouble eating right now, and the last thing I reacted to was an H1 antihistamine!

    • Wow, eight kids from 5 months to 23 years old?! Now that’s an accomplishment!

      Thank you so much for your input. I hope you are on a road to healing with what you are researching and discovering. I will take the time to do some research on copper also.

      I would warn you though, that what I do know of copper is that you can get way too much and really do a lot of damage supplementing with it, so I would be careful. Make sure you take a look at your eyes daily. People with too much copper have a copper colored ring around the iris of their eyes which is a clear indicator you have too much in your system.

      You have peaked my curiosity though, so I’ll definitely take a look into both copper and zinc.

  4. Kim Konash says:

    lol…I’ve heard a lot of variations on that theme. The really funny thing is that I’ve always looked young for my age – so much so that every provider I had this last pregnancy asked me if this was my first baby. And I wish I’d had a camera at the looks that followed my answer. What I didn’t mention was that I’m also expecting my first grandchild any day… 🙂

    You’re welcome. I don’t know if I’m on the road to healing or not; I’ve see-sawed so much, and it’s frustrating. Some of the symptoms I was having earlier seem to have abated or improved, but a lot of what’s left is downright disturbing. I’m having a lot of trouble eating and am still losing weight. While I’m fairly certain I DO have a copper deficiency problem (for the reasons I’ve mentioned), I’m NOT certain that that’s all I have going on. Which is why I’m still going to doctors. Yes, I DO know that you can get too much copper; I had that before, which is why I was so nervous about taking the supplement. I checked my zinc levels with the zinc tally before I took it the first time, though and it was more horrible than I’d ever tasted it. And the last time I had an analysis when my copper WAS low (without symptoms at that point), it wasn’t that bad. And zinc displaces copper. It’s pretty easy to balance a copper overload by taking liquid zinc, but unfortunately the reverse apparently isn’t so easy. I accidentally got a dose of supplemental zinc this morning (didn’t know it was in something) and it really threw me for a loop. Zinc is so effective at displacing copper that the liquid is used as a remedy for Wilson’s Disease (a condition that causes toxic copper levels to build up in your body).

    I’m glad I peaked your curiosity, and that you’re going to look into it. You don’t know me, and I’m not a medical professional, so that makes sense. My only motive is to offer the information that I’ve found in hopes that it might help someone else, if applicable. Just because you don’t need a lot doesn’t mean that a deficiency isn’t a problem. A serious deficiency can lead not only to the neuromuscular problems I’ve had, but can also lead to an aneurism, many of which are unrecoverable. I’ve thought, at times, that maybe the histamine thing is a blessing in disguise – a kind of warning bell from God that something is wrong and needs to be fixed. A lot of people don’t get that.

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