Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Histamine and Allergies

Histamine can dilate blood vessels to bring more blood flow and white blood cells to local areas, which causes rashes, redness, heat, and pain. This process can help the body clear up damaged tissues or can lead to chronic inflammation or allergies if too much histamine is released for too long. An allergy is an abnormal, acquired sensitivity to certain substances including pollen, drugs, and numerous environmental triggers. Type I hypersensitivity is characterized by the excessive activation of mast cells and basophiles by a kind of antibody called IgE, triggering a systemic inflammatory response that can result in symptoms as benign as a runny nose or as life-threatening as anaphylactic shock and death.
It has been shown that cells that produce histamine have the most wakefulness-related firing-patterns of any neurons so far recorded. They fire rapidly during waking hours, fire more slowly during periods of relaxation or tiredness, and completely stop firing during REM and non-REM sleep. Firing of histamine-producing cells is recorded just before an animal shows signs of waking. That is why if a person does not sleep enough, he/she will produce more histamine in the body. Abnormally higher histamine level in the body can lead to chronic allergies and inflammation.
Certain kinds of drink and food can also induce higher levels of histamine such as spoiled fish and red wine. So if you have allergic reactions right now, it is wise to avoid seafood and red wine until your allergy clears up. If you have an acute injury and your body tries to clear up the damaged tissue by releasing more histamine, you may rest more than you usually do. In that way, your body will not produce too much histamine to cause chronic inflammation.
Many histamine releasing cells can be sensitized by estrogen. When women are close to menopause, their progesterone level drops dramatically and their estrogen level fluctuates, creating the condition called estrogen dominance. Estrogen dominance can also be caused by high sugar intake, non-ovulation cycles, too much coffee, obesity, environmental pollution, alcoholism, and post-partum hormone changes. That is why women tend to develop different kinds of allergies and autoimmune diseases during their periods of hormone changes such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause if the histamine level is too high.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Weight loss and acupuncture

Why do some people gain weight and others do not even though they eat the same kind and amount of the food?
Scientific evidence explains the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the development of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. N. Tentolouris of the Athens University Medical School in Greece suggests that sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity is associated with both energy balance and the metabolic syndrome. Medications, which stimulate the SNS, also decrease food intake and increase the resting metabolic rate (RMR) and the thermogenic (heat-production) responses. Conversely, a blockage of the sympathetic nevous system exerts the opposite effect. Fat in the internal organs become prone to lipolysis (breakdown of fat) when epinephrine, released from the adrenal gland, combines with certain proteins found in intra-abdominal fat cells. In addition, central fat distribution is associated with disturbances in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, suggesting that a disturbed, stress-coping axis may be implicated in the development of the metabolic syndrome.
Dr. F. Kawabata et al. at Kyoto University in Japan conducted a research indicating that one of the ingredients in a non-pungent red pepper can enhance energy expenditure in humans in the same way as pungent red pepper. They investigated the effects of the repeated intake of this particular red pepper for two weeks on body weight and body fat in humans. Changes in the autonomic nervous activity after ingesting the red pepper were also measured. They observed that repeated intake of red pepper reduced the body weight and suppressed body fat accumulation. Moreover, the weight loss due to the repeated intake of red pepper correlated significantly with the increase of the sympathetic nervous response after the ingestion of the red pepper. The scientists proposed that the repeated intake of non-pungent red pepper reduced body weight and suppressed body fat accumulation by stimulating the sympathetic nervous system in humans. That is why those strong professional people, who can not stay still for a minute, never gain weight even though they eat junk food. If a person is very thin due to hyperactive sympathetic nervous system, he/she is not necessarily healthy.