Nutrition and Mental Health: Professional Issues and Ethics

Depression Cause 7: Abnormal Histamine Level

Discussion: Histamine is a chemical normally found throughout the body. It plays key roles in many bodily processes. One of these is to serve as a neurotransmitter in functions concerning wakefulness and alertness. When there is too much or too little histamine in the body, we're over- or under-energized. The consequences to emotional and intellectual life can be dramatic. Most of us have experienced the drowsiness associated with use of antihistamines, which lower histamine levels.

Type A. Individuals with chronically high histamine levels are called "histadelics." They tend to be "type A" people driven, compulsive individuals who operate at high energy levels. They are often good achievers in life due to their ability to carry tasks forward. Unfortunately, they also tend to suffer from depression. Even more unfortunately, they are candidates for impulsive suicide. This is a consequence of combining their tendencies toward depression and action.198

Histadelics tend not to respond to pharmaceutical antidepressants. However, they do benefit from lowering of histamine levels. This can be accomplished over time with nutritional supplements.

Nutritional approaches:

1. Lower histamine levels. A strategy involving supplementation with the amino acid methionine, tryptophan, and other nutrients can safely lower histamine levels. In her book Depression Free, Naturally Joan Larson provides a complete treatment protocol to accomplish this. 42

Further reading: Dr. Carl Pfeiffer was a pioneer in the identification of histadelia as a factor in depression. His book is an excellent introduction to the topic: Pfeiffer, C. Nutrition and Mental Illness: An orthomolecular approach to balancing body chemistry. Healing Arts Press, 1987.


Copyright (c) 2005 by Thomas Whitehead, All Rights Reserved