Rebuilding your Mast Cells
If you listen to Duke and the Doctor regularly, you will hear Dr. McBarron talk about “mast cells”. Anyone who suffers with allergies should become familiar with them and what they do. Mast cells, or tissue cells, are part of the immune system and are found in the deep vascular inner layer of the skin, outside of the capillaries that circulate red blood cells throughout the body. When someone encounters an ‘allergen’ (i.e. dog hair, pollen, mold, etc.), these little guys burst and release histamine, thus triggering a series of events that lead to an allergic reaction. Histamine is a natural component of the immune response and is useful when triggering the body to trap and detain a virus or bacteria. The problem arises when hypersensitivity occurs, and the series of cascading events, recognized as an allergic reaction, is overstimulated and impairs quality of life.
“The immune response is a stimulus response sequence of events. Unfortunately in the allergic person, the immune system is continually at work, similar to a car left with its engine running. It can be said that allergic individuals have high-powered engines and a weak brake system, which under the right circumstances can lead to an out of control condition. An overstimulated immune system follows the same general law that applies to other overstimulated tissues: Over-stimulation eventually leads to dysfunction. This continuous assault can, over time, lead to recurrent infections and inflammatory disease such as sinusitis, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, colitis, myositis, migraine headache, ulcers and eventually to a myriad of degenerative diseases.” (1)
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to rebuild or strengthen mast cell integrity so chronic allergic responses become infrequent, and in some folks, disappear entirely. My close friend and herbal educator, Kelly Clonts, shares her amazing experience with grape seed extract during her seminars on natural allergy remedies. Grape seed extract is a potent antioxidant and bioflavonoid that strengthens and protects the vascular system and is considered to be anti-allergenic, anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory. Kelly, who suffered miserably with allergies for years, was able to strengthen her mast cells by “saturating” her system with this potent antioxidant, and has not experienced any seasonal suffering since then!
Doctor McBarron, MD, ND also advises using bioflavonoids to strengthen mast cells. She recommends using a bioflavonoid rich vitamin C supplement, usually Vita Logic Bio-C 1000, in high doses for a short period of time to “saturate” the mast cells. Everyone is different with their vitamin C threshold (the term “threshold” is used to describe the dosage of vitamin C an individual reaches before it causes loose stool), but she usually recommends starting with 1 tablet (1000mg) 2-3 times a day and building on that dosage gradually until a dosage of 6000 mg – 10,000 mg is reached. She then recommends staying on this increased dosage for a short time (around 3 months for most folks), then tapering off gradually until a normal “maintenance” dose is reached.
Doctor McBarron and other clinicians also recommend probiotics for chronic allergy sufferers. These are the good bacteria that help your immune system form a barrier from the outside world. Research shows that people who have more allergic reactions have far less of the “good” bacteria in their systems and more of the “bad” bacteria. For a fantastic article on this subject by Dr. Scott Olson, click hear: http://www.jigsawhealth.com/resources/probiotics-and-the-gut.(2)
- . Kroltn, Jacqueline et al, The Whole Way to Allergy Relief and Prevention, Hartley and Mirk Publishers, 1991. p. 18.