leaky gut mast cells histamine

You know how people with mast cell issues have, erm, less than stellar memories? If you don’t, sign up for my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss my next post on stress, memory loss and brain fog in histamine intolerance/mast cell disorders. Well, I came across a piece of research last year that confirmed something I already believed, but had no proof to back up; and then promptly forgot to share it with all you lovely people.

In my defence, I spend several hours a day reading research, and what doesn’t surprise me generally doesn’t make it to print (so to speak).

So, for those of you who have been living on another planet for the last few years (or are new to the whole “google is my doctor” cult), leaky gut, or intestinal permeability as it’s referred to by people who worry calling something “leaky” will delegitimise it in the eyes of the scientific community, is a nasty piece of work. It’s basically an inflammation induced breach of the intestinal barrier that’s meant to keep food particles out of the blood stream.

Signs you have a leaky gut [1]

Digestive issues (gas, bloating/IBS)

Seasonal allergies/asthma

Diagnosis of autoimmune disease: RA, Hashimotos’s, lupus, psoriasis, celiac

Mood disturbances: depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD

Skin issues; acne, rosacea, eczema

Food allergies/intolerances

Hmmmm, where else have I seen all of these symptoms on one list?

Oh wait, histamine/mast cell disorders!

Since finding (and forgetting about) the research, a couple of great posts have been written on it. In particular, Chris Kresser, Dr Mark Hyman and others I truly respect as medical practitioners, are all talking about quercetin as a highly effective treatment for leaky gut [2,3]. This would be, because as studies now show, intestinal permeability is caused by increased mast cell activity in the gut [4].

Dr Hyman goes so far as to say: “We also use herbs like quercetin and turmeric to reduce inflammation and heal a leaky gut.”

Note: some people with the COMT or MAO genetic mutations may react negatively to quercetin and turmeric [5]. I myself have both mutations and reacted to both of them initially, but am now fine with them. The beauty of epigenetics…I truly believe we can influence the genetic blueprint we’re born with, it’s the cornerstone of my dietary philosophy.  

And get this, people write to me all the time asking if Crohn’s is related to mast cells. Well, I’ve seen some studies…but interestingly, as far back as the 80s, researchers at UCLA proposed that “increased intestinal permeability could contribute to the cascade of events that culminate in active Crohn’s disease.” [6].

Oh my.

I suffered from insanely horrific intestinal issues for most of my life. Basketball stomach doesn’t even begin to cover it. My poor (not so) little tummy has been busting at the seams for most of my life. Though I wasn’t a chubby kid, my stomach really announced itself. My big brother enforced sit ups from a young age; nothing doing. That stomach just wouldn’t deflate. How could it though? My intestinal woes swung from constipation to its counterpoint at the drop of a hat.


Man, you haven’t experienced severe bloating till your mom’s had to carry you screaming from a concert (no mean feat given that I was 11 at this point) and then use scissors to cut your jeans waistband, now so embedded into triple basketball stomach that it has disappeared into it, in order for you to breathe again.

Given that I’m no longer worried about embarrassing the hell out of a boyfriend by sharing even more than I usually do, I’ve decided, that as it’s #throwbacktuesday or thursday or whatever (oops I missed my post date – this’ll have to do), I’ll share with you a photo taken the last time I went off diet. It’s a funny story see, doctors wouldn’t believe me, saying that if I managed to control my symptoms through diet, then I obviously didn’t have a mast cell disorder…

I’ve decided that most doctors are inherently illogical beings when it comes to diet.


 My basketball tummy, taken against a black background. Quintuplets maybe? 

And then one day, I noticed that my stomach wasn’t going all alien on me. Then there was another day, and another, and suddenly the norm was a flat stomach. 

Thing is, I never set out to heal leaky gut.

Because by that point, I had decided to focus on the now. To let go of the reigns, to stop second guessing myself, to give myself a little space to be, to heal, to live life. L-glutamine, bone broth, nasty ass bovine collagen oatmeal – all kicked to the curb.


I’m not holding it in I promise! What my stomach now looks like 99.9% of the time. 

A high nutrient, histamine-balanced quercetin, luteolin and rutin diet, quercetin supplement, positivity and meditation all came together joyously (with a little whittling down of the very high oxalate foods) to give me, while certainly not a washboard stomach, sadly being “pregnant” or “with basketball” since the age of five has taken its toll on my stomach muscles and skin tone, it’s still freaking awesome.

You better believe that I give thanks to the universe, my dietary philosophy, the years of research and faith I finally put in my being the best judge of what will heal me, krishna, the almighty, you name it, I’ll kiss its feet, for my finally not having to plan my wardrobe, social and sex life around the inflated tyrant that ruled much of my life.

Yes stomach, there’s no better way to put it, you’re now my b*%&@!

Now, you better believe I’m getting back to my sit ups and quercetin rich juicies (more on that in the Anti-Detox and Anti-Cookbooks)


You’ll find a collection of all liquid high nutrient antihistamine and anti-inflammatory rich recipes for days when my histamine bucket overflowed in the new Anti-Detox book

The Anti-cookbook, while it doesn’t treat any conditions, due to its high nutrient, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory ingredients, has been instrumental in helping me feed myself on a limited diet. It features a six page list of antihistamine and anti-inflammatory foods. It comes in regular and Paleo. 

The Low Oxalate Cookbook features antihistamine and anti-inflammatory rich recipes. 

Don’t miss the Low Histamine Beauty Survival Guide for non-toxic beauty tips, the skinny on histamine releasing (mast cell degranulating) beauty ingredients, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory beauty alternatives and the top brands natural brands I’ve found.

Take a peek at my other low histamine and antihistamine cookbooks for more high nutrient recipes.

If you’ve found this information useful I’d appreciate your support (at no extra cost to you!) – please check out my online store for your health foods, supplements, kitchen items and beauty product purchases. Affiliate sales through my online store go towards maintaining the website, funding travel to interviews and purchasing all the lovely foods for my free online recipes. You’ll find these items in the “Shop with us” drop down menu on my homepage.  

Please don’t forget antihistamine, pain killing foods can still hurt us, so please always check with your doctor before adding new foods to your diet. 



[1] http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-10908/9-signs-you-have-a-leaky-gut.html


How to Cure Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a Few Days


[4] http://jem.rupress.org/content/205/4/897.long

[5] http://drbradstreet.org/2011/03/08/dual-role-of-quercitin-as-antidepressant-and-antioxidant-a-double-edged-sword/

[6] http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10620-013-2721-y


2 Responses to Leaky gut: the mast cell (histamine), Crohn’s disease connection

  1. Yes! Finally something about Stress.

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