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This article shares with you the methods I used to address Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) and lectin sensitivity, significantly improving my health status! I discuss diet, causes and supplements. I now eat a variety of foods again, from low to high histamine, and some lectins.
If you haven’t already downloaded or printed it, here is the food and grocery list for a combined low-histamine and low-lectin diet.
After damaging exposure to dioxins last summer, my body became highly intolerant to both lectins and histamines. After largely removing both from my diet, I began the more important quest for deeper healing. How to heal my histamine intolerance meant searching for its root cause.
What is histamine intolerance
Histamine intolerance is not a histamine sensitivity, but an indication that the body has developed too much of it. When histamine levels get too high, it can affect normal bodily functions.
We naturally produce histamine along with the enzyme diamine oxidase (DAO). DAO is responsible for breaking down histamine that we take in from foods.
Normal levels of DAO enzymes can’t break down the increased levels of histamine in the body, causing a reaction. DAO deficiency is a possible cause of histamine intolerance.
What triggers histamine intolerance and MCAS
Mast cells are a kind of white blood cell found in the skin, lungs, connective tissue, intestinal lining, cardiovascular system, neural system and reproductive system.
Mast cells release alarm chemicals when pathogens or toxins attach to their binding sites. The alarm chemicals call other white blood cells and histamines to the site.
Undesirable allergic reactions (hives, rashes, mucous production and many more symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, diarrhea, rapid pulse, shortness of breath and headaches) result.
An increase in toxins and stress in modern times means more people struggle with common allergy symptoms — histamines responding to environmental toxins.
In contrast to common allergies, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) assumes an individual has malfunctioning mast cells, a full-blown immune disorder resulting in over-responsive mast cells.
Known possible triggers for mast cell activation include:
- Underlying genetic factors increasing inflammation (including variants affecting conversion and absorption of vitamins A, D, and B12)
- Hormone changes
- Inflammatory foods (like lectins, glutamates, oxalates, histamines, salicylates, additives and preservatives)
- Processed foods and additives (including carrageenan, guar gum, flavorings, colorings, and preservatives)
- Stress of any kind (emotional, mental and physical)
- Certain medications
- Insect bites and stings
- Injuries (including head injuries)
- Infections (systemic and gut-related)
- Heat or cold
- Over-exercise or over exertion
- Chemicals (including those in perfumes, skin care products, cleaning products, forest fire smoke and cigarette smoke)
- Friction (including from riding in a car or an airplane)
- Low oxygen levels (due to elevation, poor air quality, or airway obstructions)
- Too much sun
- Chlorine (in drinking water, shower, swimming pool, or hot tub)
- Certain liver conditions
As one PubMed study says, “The cornerstone of therapy is avoidance of identifiable triggers.” (source)
While certain supplements are used to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life by reducing mast cell over-responsiveness, regimens are used to control but not heal the condition. Only partial improvement is considered possible.
Low-Histamine and Low-Lectin diet
To reduce symptoms, for several months, I adopted a combined low-histamine and low-lectin diet. My goal was to be able to reintroduce histamine foods and to address the underlying root cause of the imbalance.
I also trialed and used several suggested supplements.
I hoped to broaden my diet and reduce my supplements over time.
Most importantly, I wanted to protect my body from other imbalances and worse illnesses that can go hand in hand with the body’s inability to break down histamines. I wanted deeper healing.
I also had aggravating symptoms from which I wanted relief.
My goal was not necessarily to eventually reintroduce foods with lectins, as they are by nature aggravating to the gut. I have, however, since recovering, added some lectin foods back into my diet for convenience sake without incident.
Given how far I’ve come, I assume that over time I will be able to reintroduce more of these foods in moderation as my gut integrity continues to heal.
Low Vitamin A Diet (to overcome histamine intolerance)
After reading about the causes of and treatments for MCAS, histamine over-reactivity and lectin sensitivity, I searched MORE … well beyond the usual and most-read sites. I spent immeasurable hours looking for answers and reading studies. (And I prayed for an answer.)
What I found to be the most compelling, as I searched for causes of histamine issues, was the concept of chronic vitamin A toxicity.
While initially very skeptical, I read extensively on the subject and found it compelling enough to try. In addition to a combined low-histamine and low-lectin diet, I started the diet that corresponds to the concept of vitamin A toxicity and saw immediate results. You can read more about the Vitamin A Detox diet here.
I had an 11-month long chronic histamine related rash (on my face and behind my ears) that gradually disappeared within two weeks of starting the Vitamin A Detox diet. I was also struggling with depression, and that lifted immediately upon starting the diet.
The additional improvements I’ve seen are incredible: Every day is an adventure of symptoms: ups and downs as my body detoxes vitamin A.
By far the most exciting symptom that lifted for me was my histamine sensitivity. I marvel and feel thankful daily! I can now eat sauerkraut, cinnamon, aged meats and cheeses, kombucha and leftovers all without incident. I can also eat foods with seeds that used to cause a rash within 12 hours; foods with lectins no longer cause a reaction.
The dramatic improvement I’ve experienced is uncommon in the MCAS community. Can there really be such a concrete answer and cause to elusive histamine issues? I think so.
What causes MCAS and histamine intolerance?
The man who insightfully discovered the concept of vitamin A toxicity is Grant Genereux. I recommend both of his free e-books, here and here.
While many of us have read that histamine issues arise partially or largely from mast cell over-reactivity and various triggers, that explanation conveys a vague understanding.
The concept of vitamin A toxicity is specific and built upon hundreds of scientific studies.
Further research into the correlation between mast cell (histamine) triggers and vitamin A toxicity is still needed. But the organ systems involved are the same: gut, skin, lungs etc. We know that one of mast cells’ main jobs is defense against toxins. And science has already acknowledged that the processing of vitamin A is one main trigger for mast cell activation. Science also recognizes liver conditions as triggers for MCAS.
As one educator states, “Mast cells are the sentinels of the innate immune system, on the lookout for environmental changes or insults to the body. They respond by releasing mediator molecules that influence the behavior of other cells and tissues in an effort to maintain normalcy, or ‘homeostasis.'” (source)
Perhaps a full and toxic liver (the liver stores vitamin A) has no room to store or process additional toxins, so the body is sent into survival mode (think white blood cells and histamines racing to the site) when exposed to new triggers or additional excess vitamin A.
What is a possible solution to mast cell over-reactivity? Reduce vitamin A, so the liver can unload its burden and once again, over time, handle a normal amount of daily toxins.
I know: Most of us have been educated to believe that vitamin A is vital for eye health and many other systems in the body. I won’t go into all of the details of the theory here, but suffice it to say: The original lab studies on vitamin A that all of our modern views are built upon were conducted in ignorance before scientists understood the precursors to vitamin A. Chronic vitamin A toxicity is a known risk in the medical community: for those who supplement with vitamin A or eat diets high in vitamin A (think liver, sweet potatoes and cod liver oil).
My eyesight and skin health have both drastically improved since I reduced my intake of this “vitamin”. Curious? Skeptical? Read more on the theory here and decide for yourself.
When you have nothing to lose and really want to get better, a short stint on a diet of steak, hamburgers, lettuce and several other low-A foods is a pretty easy way to test for improvement in one’s symptoms! If you’re open-minded and desperate enough, like many of us searching for healing solutions to frustrating health diagnoses, I think you’ll find this theory worth considering.
Remember, MCAS is not a root cause. MCAS is an autoimmunity theory or description of symptoms. One of the reasons MCAS isn’t a curable condition is that it’s a theory which identifies a problem; but the theory doesn’t identify the root cause of the reactivity.
MCAS is considered idiopathic: a disease having no known cause.
If the vitamin A toxicity theory is correct, it is a root cause that comes with a solution.
Find a printable grocery list for the Vitamin A Detox diet here, if you’d like to try it.
Other root cause theories for MCAS include: heavy metal toxicity from vaccines (the purpose of using metals like aluminum and mercury as vaccine adjuvants is to create a heightened inflammatory immune response, to destabilize mast cells), pathogen overgrowth (stimulators of mast cell activation) and CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, a constant activation of mast cells to clear mycotoxins from the body). (source)
Methods for recovery
The following methods also helped me to support normal cellular function and reduce over-reactivity:
1. Reduce stress. If there’s one thing that continues to throw our bodies out of whack, it is stress. Stress comes not only from relationships and job or life pressures.
Stress also comes from the environment. In my case, it came from forest fire smoke. But consider other forms of day-to-day stress to see what you can remove:
- Wearing shoes all day. Get connected instead with the earth by intentionally going barefoot, called grounding or earthing. This modality helps our organ systems to function more effectively, and it helps our bodies to detoxify. I get grounded daily by touching my feet, sitting or laying outside on our grass for 20 to 30 minutes. (This practice also helps me to get Vitamin D from the sun, another way of supporting detoxification.)
- Working long hours and then neglecting exercise or exercising intensely to make up for a sedentary lifestyle. Instead, consider several short walks and stretching throughout the day or long daily gentle walks and yoga.
- Eating inflammatory foods such as sugar and processed foods.
- Exposure to chemicals.
- Persevering in relationships that may be detrimental. Consider neurofeedback for mental health, to improve gentle communication with the people in your life.
- To heal past emotional traumas, mild or extreme, and nagging feelings of frustration, insecurity or hurt, consider the wonderful book The Emotion Code.
Before I found and started the Vitamin A Detox diet, I could barely shut the doors on my supplements cabinet: It was full of pill-filled plastic bottles. While I considered each of these supplements well and carefully chosen, I am daily delighted that I am now off more than half of those supplements! The cupboard is half empty, and my esophagus finally has a break from all of that swallowing.
A couple of supplements are worth mentioning. These supplements have noticeably helped me in reducing histamine issues and improving my general wellness:
- Most importantly, don’t miss out on Histaminum Hydrochloricum. This is the most liberating and wonderful supplement, and amazingly, I haven’t read about it in any histamine articles. I discovered it through my own personal experience. Because of Histaminum Hydrochloricum, I was able to stop buying expensive DAO supplements and all of the others I had read about. This tiny homeopathic works effectively. (Find Histaminum Hydrochloricum 30C here.) Please comment below this article in the Comments section when you’ve tried this homeopathic. I’ve recommended this supplement to many friends, and everyone agrees: It is the most exciting and effective homeopathic remedy for anyone with histamine issues! I took just one to two pellets under the tongue before meals. Now I take just one pellet very occasionally. This homeopathic can also be used after you begin your meal (or exposure to other triggers) to abate symptoms, but it’s best to prevent the onset of symptoms. HH can also be used to reduce seasonal allergy symptoms.
- Basic Detoxification & Drainage Kit by Pekana. This liquid homeopathic trio addresses liver, lymphatic and kidney function and can be used highly diluted. Because it comes in an alcohol base, I wasn’t sure about the dosage and if the alcohol would cause a histamine flare. I found that just one to two drops in a couple of inches of water had a noticeable effect on my healing process without causing a flare, and can be used several minutes after taking Histaminum Hydrochloricum to prevent a flare. This product came recommended by my N.D. I used it daily (off and on) for many months. Initially it helped my lymph nodes to drain (after my exposure to dioxins and onset of symptoms).
- Tea Tree Oil — I believe that tea tree oil is the most powerful, safe and effective alternative to antibiotics. To add to its remarkable protective and restorative qualities, tea tree has unique anti-histamine properties. A 2005 study showed the antihistamine effects of TTO within ten minutes of dermal application. (source) Our internal body is dermal too (consists of skin). Using a carrier oil (always), TTO can have profound effects on our gut and cell function. I used TTO internally for six consecutive weeks. It was during this six weeks that I overcame my histamine intolerance. Further investigation and case studies are needed to determine just how directly TTO affects MCAS and histamine intolerance. Read more about how to safely use tea tree oil internally here. Find the tea tree oil I use here.
Perhaps mast cells know what they’re doing
In conclusion …
I would like to propose an alternative theory regarding MCAS, based on the diet that helped me to improve. Perhaps mast cells are not over-reacting. Perhaps mast cells in those who struggle with histamine issues are actually reacting to a toxin in the body that hasn’t yet been recognized.
My current diet supports the theory that this hidden toxin is excess vitamin A.
If you experiment with the diet yourself, to see what effect it may have on your wellness process, please comment below.
Please share your thoughts on MCAS and histamine over-reactivity.
Meagan, Thank you for this helpful post! I think it’s incredible that you reversed the symptoms of both issues. Thank you for the supplement recs, too. So helpful!! I just started manifesting (what I think is) histamine intolerance. I also have oxalate intolerance, so this post is super timely for me. How did you prepare your meat for the lowest histamine possible? I’m struggling with thawing a pound of ground beef (for example) and having too many left overs. I don’t need a fancy preparation, just anything. Thank you so much! Also, do you know if red potatoes are low histamine? (They are the only ones that are medium oxalate).
Hi Anna, you’re welcome! I’m so glad this post is helpful and timely!! 🙂 Great questions, and I remember having the same problem with meat. I ended up eating a lot of scrambled eggs, which for me were less of a trigger than beef. The best thing to do re beef is to buy it freshly butchered, then to get home and form it into patties, and freeze those immediately layered with parchment paper. The frozen patty can be cooked up in a pan without defrosting, especially if you put a lid on so it partially steams. I hope that method helps you! Also, I hope you get to try the homeopathic mentioned above, because that completely liberated me (until I found the vitamin A concept and recovered). With HH, I could eat meat and leftovers again and not have to worry about it.
Regarding red skinned potatoes, I recommend peeling them no matter what, because the peel contains precursors to vitamin A; anything you can do to reduce vitamin A intake is best IMO. Regarding the histamines in potatoes, potatoes are generally considered low in histamines, but they do actually cause histamine flares in some people, and are quite inflammatory for some people, as you know. Peeling does make them gentler. Eating them with K2 (butter if it agrees with you) also helps with their digestion.
Thank you for your thoughts about the beef and potatoes. So helpful!
My HH arrived today. : ) It allowed you to eat leftovers?! I’m so encouraged.
Peggy Sanders says
Megan, my doctor picked up my histame issues with the 23andme test when in 2011 I started breaking out in rashe/hives. I have had rosacea for years and have really struggled with diet. Your Vit A concept is interesting. Just trying to stay on a low histame diet is VERY challenging not seems even more restricted for Vit A. I noticed that you do not recommend fish oil, chia seeds, etc. How do you get enough Omega #.
Hi Peggy, thanks for your comments and question! The Vitamin A Detox diet has had amazing results for those with rosacea. I have a client who saw lasting improvement within the first week on the diet, and there are many testimonies in forums on this condition being resolved by the diet. I hope you get to try it and see results. Regarding omega 3s, I do not worry about getting the right nutrition right now for so many reasons. One is, this diet is meant to be temporary, 6 months to 1 year, or sometimes 2 years when there are a lot of health issues to be resolved. During that time, I am still eating a nutrient-dense diet. Most importantly, I am healing or preventing debilitating diseases in my body; so that takes precedent over omega-3 consumption. I have had five autoimmune diseases over the last 25 years, all while consuming plenty of omega-3 fats, pretty ironic. In contrast, now my body is healing one issue after the next, and I am not supplementing or eating with fatty acids in mind. Instead, I focus on getting enough K2, vitamin C, taurine and protein … as well as a few other things I know my individual body needs, like B12. So it’s an issue of priorities: detoxing my body of vitamin A is the most important thing right now. Many of us prioritize omega-3 fatty acids for years, all the while not realizing our bodies either aren’t assimilating the nutrients (like in unfermented chia seeds) or we’re getting too much vitamin A, like in fish oil. I hope this helps, and best wishes!
Improvement within a week for one of your clients is really incredible!
I am so impressed and inspired you are doing this diet and helping others with it. Thank you for sharing your research so that we can learn, too. The diet sounds so overwhelming to me right now, even though it is probably something I should consider. Three years of low-medium oxalate has left me a little weary…in part because it is not particularly healing, but that’s a different story. : )
Suzanne Stubbs says
Dear Megan, Thank you very much for your articles. This one is surprisingly relevant to my over-all health. I am going to try the homeopathic treatment recommended to see if things settle down a bit. I have had histamine issues for as long as I can remember. Thank you again. Blessings, Suzanne
Thank you for sharing Suzanne. I’m sorry, I know how hard and limiting histamine issues are! I’m so happy the article is helpful, and I think you’re going to love the homeopathic and the relief it provides! I’d love to hear back how it works for you and if you have any other questions. Praying for your improvement!!
Deb Miller says
This article is a true blessing. However, I have a problem, I am an ethical vegan and do not consume any animal products whatsoever. How can I follow this and get the proper nutrition I need. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all your great effort in helping others battle this issue.
Hi Deb, thank you for you comment and question. I respect your position and was myself a vegetarian for 10 years for the same/similar reasons. The answer depends on what foods are currently triggers for you. Do you react to all beans, or can you eat soaked and pressure cooked black beans or fermented hummus? How do you do with white rice? There are a few fruits, vegetables and starches that could comprise a workable diet. The very low vitamin A diet is meant to be temporary while the body detoxes, so there is in a sense “more important” work going on. The body is not going to become malnourished short term, is the line of thought.
Thanks for the interesting article. Lots to digest (pun intended). I have some questions and would love to hear your thoughts.
– You mention steak, white rice, and a few other things. Is that all you ate on this diet?
– And how long did you do it for?
-Is chicken allowed?
-would be be able to give a brief idea of your menu. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner…
I just checked out the list of Vitamin A foods, and some of them have lectins (potatoes, beans) and high histamines (black tea). Did you include those in your diet? And do you have a combined list of foods that don’t have lectins, histamines, or high Vitamin A? Thanks!
Hi Meghan, yes, I did selectively use this list for my histamine issues at the time. I quickly got over my potato sensitivity, though, on the diet, and now they’re a staple for us, same with my husband (they used to cause him joint pain and don’t anymore). We’ve also added black tea back in. I still avoid beans, as I don’t digest them well. Regarding lectins, I was very strict in the beginning and gradually added in things like peeled zucchini. I don’t have an official combined list for you, but I’m happy to answer specific questions as they arise. 🙂
Hi Meghan, yes, lots of information to think about, for sure. Regarding beef and rice, that’s a simplification. When I first started the diet I made myself egg white omelettes with sauteed shitake mushrooms in butter, for breakfast + some kind of nut or rice flour-based baked good. For lunch, I’d roll good quality deli meat or leftover meat in iceberg lettuce leaves (eventually with probiotic sauerkraut and Dijon mustard). For dinner, I ate hashes: ground meat with diced cabbage, peeled apples, chopped radishes etc. as well as steak and burgers + white rice or white rice noodles. Yes, you can have chicken. After many months on the diet, our foods have expanded a LOT, because we keep making progress. My sons and husband have added more foods back in than I have, but I still have been able to add some foods in. Now – basic breakfast for me is some kind of meat patty and carob waffle; I make sourdough waffles for the rest of my family. Lunch is leftovers from dinner or still lettuce and meat + kraut or kombucha. My family eats fruit; I don’t. So they’ll also add in sides or snacks of applesauce, dates, raisins, peeled apples, grapes, frozen blueberries or blackberries etc. For dinner, we have a lot of variety, relatively speaking: for starches, we use rice, rice noodles, potatoes, tapioca pearls, tortillas, biscuits, breads etc. We can utilize soaked nuts, so I bake with those too. Meats and veggies are integrated into stir-fries, soups, hashes, stews, savory cobblers, burgers, tacos with plantain tortillas etc. We all do well with pasture-raised raw cream and butter, so we also eat those generously with no issues. Time-wise: I expect my family to be on the diet for 1 year total, about. I expect to be on it for two years.
Thank you so much for your amazing article sharing everything that helped you reverse this aweful condition!
Exactly one year ago on August 5 I had substance of immense symptoms that woke me up from sleep with massive heart palps and pain as a result of overload of histamine from good I had eaten that day.
I have been suffering from Hyves from dust mote allergy drops almost ten years and before that mildly and had pollen allergy before but was heard from it miraculously.
The dust mite allergy was out of wack and I prayed an searched endlessly for a solution. A homeopath advises me to take Histaminum so I went with the 7CH drops, possibly the heaviest since the allergy was so aggressive.
And that instance I mentioned marked the fifth day I was using HH, so I thought it was correlated especially as I experienced some heart palps usually after taking it.
Long story short I lost almost a third of my weight and the minority of muscle fiber on my body as I ended up avoiding pretty much all histamine rich food since the reactions were so strong!
So I’m surprised you recommend the HH, however, your recommendation may be very useful – even to me – I’m not one to disregard any advice based on experience.
I still suffer every day from the histamine and tyramine intolerance since that day, it seems more like anime intolerance generally.
I may have vitamin A toxicity, so I’m willing to try the detox diet!
After starting taking DAO supplements about two months ago I noticed a Greta improvement in the dust more allergy on the days I take this expensive DAO pills. However the amine intolerance is just mildly less than usual.
So other than the vitamin A detox, I don’t know what to do!!
Don’t know if the histaminum you suggested, which is lighter and comes I pellets is an option?
Also, all oils give me instanced since I can’t tolerate Tyramine since that instance! So not sure if the TTO is an option for me either?
I rally hope and pray to find a solution and I would appreciate it immensely if you can help!
All the best
* Sorry for the typos Megan, I can tell I have t had any sleep and it’s almost 7 am lol.
So I meant to type: “ Exactly one year ago on August 5 I had an instance of immense …” not substance.
I hope the rest makes sense! Thanks for all your help I advance, Megan!
No problem! Thanks for clarifying. 🙂
Hi John, I’m so sorry for all your health troubles! I can’t speak highly enough of the vitamin A detox diet. If you can afford it, there’s a doctor who works one on one with patients who are on the diet. His name is Dr. Smith. You’d be in good hands and have someone with whom to address all of the specific issues. If you can’t afford the doctor, I’d consider starting the diet. There are many folks in the support groups who have overcome histamine issues while being on the diet. You can plug into Dr. Smith’s group for not too much money, or his free articles, and you can join Grant Genereux’s Discussion on his blog by emailing him a request. You can go to either of their websites. You can also use the link on this page about the dietary guidelines to get started. Best wishes! (P.S. I was glad to get off the DAO pills, because, yes, they’re so pricey!)
Thank you so much for your helpful reply to my comment!
I’m just now looking into Dr Smith and Grant’s work, watching a YouTube video right now do them actually.
I’m definitely taking all your recommendations on board and looking into each and every one of them. 🙂
Your help is immensely appreciated, Megan! Thank you very very much again! And I hope you are blessed generously for all your support!
So kind, John, thank you! 🙂 I wish you good health and best wishes as you start some new ideas!
Mindy F says
This is very interesting. I was having these symptoms, but not officially diagnosed with MCAS. I was exposed to mold. So I am interested to know if I my liver was overburden with mycotoxins from the mold exposure. Then I started supplementing with beef organs and supplements… adding more toxicity 🙁 I was eating vegetarian prior to this, and became healthier after supplementing with beef organs… So I am a bit anxious about dropping them since they did seem to make such an improvement on my health.
Would love to hear any insight you have.
Hi Mindy, my feeling is that short term use of organ meats yields energy and benefits because they are nutrient-dense. But long-term, they are damaging because of how high in vitamin A they are. This was my experience.
I’m wondering, did you only begin taking Histaminum Hydrochloricum once you got your symptoms under control through diet, or did you take it to help reduce symptoms in conjunction with a careful diet?
Hi Sally, the latter. I definitely used it as a tool to help with symptoms before I got well. I’d take it before meals to help prevent a reaction or if I felt a reaction coming on, to help reduce it. All in conjunction with a careful diet.
Thank you for responding. To piggyback on my original question, I seem to have a flare up of symptoms (mainly dizziness and chills) after I take a dose of HH. Could there be something in it that’s causing an opposite response in my body?
Also, I thought you mentioned something about alleviating your depression symptoms (it happened quickly, if I recall). What was it that helped so much?
Hi Sally, I know that when my doctor sees a homeopathic remedy increase symptoms he tries something else. So it sounds like HH is not a good fit for you, that it stimulates instead of addresses the cause in your body. Re my depression symptoms, I overcame them and my MCAS through the Vitamin A detox diet. You need to be open-minded to consider it. I was desperate and had relief almost immediately. I actually liked the ideas and the academic research, so I felt it was worth a try. I’m now over 2 years in and a “believer” in the concept. Here’s the post I wrote about it: https://eatbeautiful.net/vitamin-a-detox-diet-free-printable-food-lists-avoid-eat-toxicity/ You’re welcome! 🙂
On another note, I am wondering if doing the detox drops you mention above would be enough to detox Vitamin A without having to go on such a restrictive diet?
Hi Sally, no way. 😉 Haha, wouldn’t that be lovely if it was so easy?! The homeopathic drops help the lymphatic system to detox, but the restrictive diet allows not only the liver to detox vitamin A, but all other tissues as well, including the skin, eyes, fat etc. It’s a major detox. We all wish there was an easier way, but I can say it is well worth it. I’d do it again in heartbeat for all I’ve gained and been given back. 🙂
Megan, I’m so grateful for your help. I’m really in a dilemma here. When I read about MCAS, I see most of my symptoms listed. One nagging symptom that I don’t see as a symptom for MCAS is leaky blood vessels, particularly in and around my lungs. My functional medicine doctor says that mast cells are involved in leaky vessels, and I understand that Vitamin C works wonders to “shore up” those blood vessels, but I see that Vitamin C is not recommended on a Vitamin A detox diet.
I’m struggling to identify if I may have toxic levels of Vitamin A or symptoms relating to MCAS. I struggle with regularity, so I would often have a half a sweet potato each day to help with that – not everyday, though. I don’t take fish oil, and I don’t eat liver. Do you know if eating sweet potatoes would be enough to put my Vitamin A levels over the top?
I’ve been working with a functional medicine doctor since July 2020, and with his help, I’ve eradicated H-pylori, mold, and three different mycotoxins. I’ve also resolved my leaky gut issues. Just trying to determine if I need to try your Vitamin A detox diet or just stick with low-histamine foods/recipes. Your insight would be so valuable to me. I see foods on your VitA detox list that are not recommended on a low-histamine plan. Could that be my answer: try your VitA detox diet, and if my symptoms persist or worsen, switch back over to MCAS food list? This quandary has been weighing on me.
Hi Sally, you could consider contacting Dr. Smith. Because he’s a doctor (with a lot of experience who spends his time researching and working with patients) he’d be better suited to address your specific health needs, as related to your lungs. The sweet potato daily is certainly a big contributor of vitamin A. I’m happy you’ve made so much progress so far with your current doctor; that’s encouraging. Sticking with the low histamine diet, in my opinion, is just a stabilizing tool. It does not address solving the root cause. It does sound like you need a doctor to oversee your process, though, if you change course and decide to do the low vitamin A route. Best wishes!!
Thank you, Megan, for your recommendation. I would like to reach out to Dr. Smith. Do you have his contact information?
Hi Sally, yes. You can email [email protected] to reach Julie, and she can help you from there.
Hello Megan, what another great article especially ur dedication to help out people out here, l can see this diet helping a lot of people despite a lot of doctors recommendations of high vitamin A diets with fish oil and fake pills, to me doing the opposite seems the right things nowadays, l think my body was low key rejecting high vitamin A foods especially if they have lectins/oxalates in them too like carrots/A1 milk/cantaloupe/avocado even oak leaf lettuce as it seems to have higher vitamin A content? When l eat these foods especially the carrots l would have nose bleeds like what’s the connection there you think? But just got a question about romaine as l saw you took it out on ur low vitamin A diet? Is it really high in vitamin A aswel that it can not be included? Thanks
Hi George, thanks for your encouraging words and sharing some of your experiences. I don’t know about oak leaf lettuce for sure, but it’s always good to share our experiences, as it can be helpful to build information. We are suppose to only eat milder tasting lettuces, so if the oak leaf was more bitter/stronger, that might explain it. In general, nosebleeds can reflect low vitamin K2, and vitamin A does deplete vitamin K, so that’s super interesting. Re romaine lettuce, I think some gremlin got in and changed that without me knowing LOL. I have no remembrance of changing that (weird), and we still eat it. Hmmm. So, that’s still a yes in my book, and I’ll update the post accordingly. 🙂
Hey megan, l saw ur article where you mentioned about milk cream/A2 milk being a detoxing food hmmm, ur into something here especially l can testify on this literally, l never tried A2 milk before but l was intolerant to store bought milk so l avoided milk for a while since it was causing acne and other skin issues but one day l decided to try A2 organic milk that is grass fed and omg l was okay with it for about three days then on the fourth day my skin was literally cleared up and l was feeling like a brand new person inside out l couldn’t believe what was going on l thought l was dreaming ? but the milk cleared my skin blemishes and left it pure, then on the 5th/6th day my health went down hill along with my skin health then all the good benefits of the A2 milk was gone l had to stop drinking the milk because l was not not feeling better again, so what do you think was in that A2 milk that cleared my skin that very quick without even change anything in my diet as that l was eating wheat/lectins and all other foods but the A2 milk managed to detox my organs? Is there any food that can do similar detox? Am still trying to figure it out the compounds or nutrients that were in the A2 milk that made me feel great and cleared my skin within days not even months, what’s foods do you can do this miracle to the body? Can A2 organic grass fed cream be a better alternative than the actual A2 milk since am sensitive in the future? Thanks
Hi George, A2 cream is gentler and safer than A2 (or any) milk because it does not have lactose or the milk protein, casein, which are both more prone to cause a negative response, partially because they’re carriers of vitamin A. For broader uses of just cream, you can dilute A2 cream with part water and use it as you would milk, which is what I do in my morning oatmeal (and it’s yummy). 🙂
Thanks for taking ur time to reply, U seem to be more in tune with body and it’s healing process than the doctors l know 🙂 so do you think vitamin A deficiency is to blame? Because seems like with that the hypothyroidism was gone with the intake of the A2 milk within days aswel? So some people might says it’s overload of vitamin A but l think it’s a vitamin deficiency that might seem like a vitamin A overload? Seems like a lot of people who had Oxalates and lectins problems have thyroid problems too so is not just focusing on healing one but tackling the minerals and the vitamins the body is missing? Thanks
I’ve come to believe vitamin A is a toxin. I’ve been detoxing it for 2.5 years now, and my health just keeps getting better. When I first started, I had major issues resolve, and everything keeps getting better, including my thyroid issues are all resolved (I had Hashi’s). On this diet, I limit my cream intake to about 2 Tablespoons daily and don’t do any milk at all. I assume I’ll enjoy A2 milk again in the future, but not until my body has detoxed the A from all my tissues, and I’m back to square one. The doctor who oversees this diet is great at troubleshooting nutrition and making sure vitamin and mineral needs are in balance. I don’t work with him personally, but appreciate his work and research. I do have a friend who has loved working with him on fine tuning her nutritional needs.
I believe ur healing journey and that the vitamin A is toxic to the body especially than vitamin A that is synthetic taking for long time and God knows how much they put in our milk too that the body doesn’t want.. am glad you get to know about vitamin A toxicity and most people even take this vitamin A in enormous quantities told by their doctors is ridiculous that most doctor will let you buy ur way in to ur bad health, so obviously avoiding the main vitamin A sources for while but still eat romaine which most say it has vitamin A? Or that vitamin A is okay since is plant based? Thanks
Vitamin A that is plant-based is usually still dangerous because it stores in the liver and tissues. Romaine is one of just a few exceptions. If you decide to look more closely into the diet and understanding it, you can see Dr. Smith’s website. He goes into a lot of detail about the whys of everything nutritionally. But yes, synthetic vitamin A is certainly a problem. I supplemented from many food and non-food sources for years.
Hey by the way l could not get into his website l mean smith website without asking to pay up? Even to view his anti vitamin A diet food list? Do you have his food list in hand as seems like l would have to pay up before l see his stuff well l would pay for a good health but not now, so what other vegetables vitamin A sources are exemptions? Is asparagus ok? Am trying that diet but so far romaine is ok as you said but would love to know other vitamin A exemptions foods or if you have any know of his diet list. Thanks
I updated my food list today, so you can read my Vitamin A Detox Diet article, and the information is accurate. Asparagus is a yes for many people and can actually aid detox, but Dr. Smith says there are some who won’t do well, so to listen to your body, and don’t eat it if you think it bothers you. You may be able to add it in, but just not in the beginning. I’m glad to hear you’re trying the diet. When you’re ready, it’s worth paying to have access to his information, and it is the only way he can survive and spend so much time researching. I purposely provide the free food list here so people can get started on the diet, and I did my own research on so many of these ingredients, but long term, it’s great to have him as a resource as well.
Thanks for that, but what about them Oxalates in blackberry and mushrooms like oyster as you said can cause problems because l can see these foods are included in ur vitamin A detox diet? How suddenly the demonic Oxalates and lectins are no longer problems in our diet? And l can’t see romaine lettuce in ur new updated Vitamin A detox diet still. Thanks
You’re welcome. What happened for me and others I’ve encountered on the diet is… those oxalate, lectin and histamine issues go away on the VAD diet. It’s very exciting!! So, in the beginning, I observed all necessary limitations by combining the VAD diet with low histamine, low lectin etc. Gradually, I added foods back in, first histamine foods at 2 weeks, then lectins a bit later. I now eat oatmeal daily, for example, and find it gentle and nourishing. So you’ll need to see the timing for your unique body. Romaine is on the updated list beneath lotus root, but it’s not in list form, rather as the final sentence of those approved foods paragraphs, because it doesn’t fit into the other categories. I’ll get to also updating the printable soon.
Hi Megan, do you know if neurofeedback would train mast cells to not over react? My mast cells react after eating, and sometimes during. Doesn’t matter that I eat low histamine and now lectin free, it’s the act of eating. Thank you for your article.
Hi Janet, that’s a great question. I don’t think even an NF practitioner would know the answer, as it’s such a new modality, but some practitioners who are tuned into nutrition or sensitivities might have experiences or observations, at least theoretically if nothing else. As NF increases the rest and digest mode of the body, I think it’s a great idea to try it. You might also consider other compounds such as oxalates which can lead to histamine over-reactivity.
Thank you for replying. I have an upcoming appointment at a facility that has bio-feedback, so I’m going to inquire about it. I don’t think it would hurt to try. I’ll post again on here with the results.
Great, Janet, I look forward to hearing and best wishes.
Oh my goodness. I’m attempting to figure out my post-covid issues which seems to have aggravated an already undiagnosed MCAS issue. Every food gives me somw kind if reaction, UT ive basically been fasting most of the time for a couple weeks. I would like to combine the vitamin A diet with a low oxalate, letting, histamine diet. But that leaves approximately 10 food items! I have been eating whole eggs with very little issues so far. I am also currently taking an otc antihistamine and some supplements recommended for post-covid MCAS. Do you have direction for me? Thank you for all of the great information!
Hi Janis, good for you. Sounds like you’re off to a good start. And 10 foods really isn’t too bad if you’re seeing improvement. You can always build from there when the time is right. It’s not actually bad to start with eggs included, because it can slow down the initial detox of vitamin A and give you that one extra food + protein source. As you begin to see progress, you can try to add in low histamine beef, which I’m excited to have just found! — and created a relationship with them for 20% off discounts for my readers (1st time customers only). Here’s my code when you’re ready: whiteoakpastures.com/BEAUTIFUL , and use code BEAUTIFUL at check out. This has worked great for one of my clients recently. When I was low histamine, I didn’t have that beef to add in. As you phase in beef, phase out at least the egg yolks. If you keep egg whites in your diet, be sure to consider supplementing with vitamin B1. There is actually a lot more I could say, but sometimes it’s best to just keep it simple in the beginning with great dietary choices and removing the toxins. Also, be sure you’re having two bowel movements daily, as your body needs to excrete the toxins. This can oftentimes be helped along with Magnesium Malate and soluble fiber, if you struggle with this issue. And, also take note of using activated charcoal daily. I take one with breakfast. This importantly binds to vA as it detoxes. Best wishes for great improvements! I’m here if you have questions.
What a wonderful resource! Thank you, thank you for sharing what you have learned with others!
My question pertains to something mentioned above. By the way, do appreciate all of your real life examples!
Trying to maneuver the Vit A Detox diet with my other food lists (MCAS, low lectins, low histamine,food sensitivities, etc), not to mention the current Candida cleanse (so no grains, starch or beans) I’m doing with the help of my FM team. I revisited your site after I had a bad flare up of MCAS symptoms last week and looked a bit closer at the Vit A detox.
Like you shared, I’m eating as many low Vitamin A foods as I can and am also including other foods that I think are ok. So lunch looks like chicken and cabbage and a salad with berries and cucumbers and a few sunflower or pumpkin seeds on occasion. I was happy to read they you had chosen cabbage too. I just read a recent comment that sounds similar to my story. So encouraged!
I have been checking each list to make sure foods are safe before eating. Is there a website that helped you determine which foods were least in Vitamin A? I would like to modify the Vit Detox as much as I can and still at the same time try to stay as true to the list as possible. I am trying to stay away from those items with high Vit A.
I will slowly add histamine, then lectins like you suggested.
I did try to navigate the group that you mentioned but not sure that I want to pay the fee. I am also not sure exactly were I would find the food list on his app.
Do you have any thoughts about Rutabega. This has been my filler. You mentioned radishes. Are they ok?
Will miss coconut milk. It was a staple for me. Perhaps that was a key player in all this?
Hi Alfreda, I’m happy to hear of your progress, and so glad the article is helpful. My low A list is the most complete one I know of; have you seen it? It’s here, and there’s a printable grocery list: https://eatbeautiful.net/vitamin-a-detox-diet-free-printable-food-lists-avoid-eat-toxicity/ Other questions: rutabagas and radishes are out, sorry. I know it’s tricky to just find enough foods for the weeks or months it takes your body to get to that next stage. And, yes, so hard without starches. Keep up the good work, encouragement and progress. If you have to make a small exception/compromise here or there to get by, just remind yourself that you’re still reducing the compounds significantly overall and working in the right direction.
Thank you so much for your reply! I will think over what you shared!
Are all foods that are not on the Low Vit A and Avoid list out?
You had mentioned eating radish with some of your meals while detoxing Vit A, Would you mind clarifying this?
I guess in some cases I will have to choose some foods lower in Vit A than others. Is that ok to do? Or not at all?
Your list is excellent and I am using but I’m looking for a place go to check Vit A in each vegetable not on the list, I did find dietgraiil but found it a bit confusing.
I also read that coconut milk (canned without any gums) has no Vit A. Is coconut milk like that ok?
Thanks so much for your help!
Happy to help! The reason this list is the best is I based it on Dr. Smith’s deep research into precursors and other food compounds that complicate or exacerbate vitamin A in the body, for example, foods with sulphur. So radishes aren’t ideal, but it is a process. It makes the process go smoother and faster to stick to the list; I wish I had done that and known more from the very beginning. Coconut milk is also not a good choice. It is high in copper and fat, and I think Dr. Smith would even say it has too high of levels of vitamin A? (can’t remember for sure), although that may contradict what you read. As far as choosing some foods lower in vA than others, yes, that is one approach. Some people who plan to do the diet for many years or their whole lives prefer that approach, and that’s fine. It’s just a slower detox of vitamin A by reducing the amount considerably.
One more thing, do you think it is possible to fix my other food issues if I can’t be completely true with the diet at least while I’m detoxing from Candida? I am not currently eating any starch,
Yes, I do. Just avoid all high A foods, and do the best you can. Try not to make any major exceptions, and be consistent with what you feel you need to eat, so your body isn’t going up and down with its detox pathway availability or free roaming vitamin A damage. If you observe, you may notice, as I did and do, that certain compromises really cause setbacks, and others aren’t a big deal. So just do the best you can for each goal that’s at the forefront, and try to create a smooth process without any major symptoms or setbacks.
You are so kind! Thank you!
Happy to help!
Just realized that my last name appears on all of my comments. Would you mind deleting them for me!
Yes!! I’ll make those changes now! <3
Carla H. says
Hi Megan! I found this blog in a pretty desperate moment of histamine overload. I had just started trying a low FODMAP diet and quickly realized I was chasing my tail. That’s when I found your article here, and I haven’t turned back. I joined the Love Your Liver network and have been devouring all of Garrett Smith’s resources & videos ever since. And Grant Genereux’s story of healing (& subsequent ebooks) are fascinating. Thank you so much for this eloquent overview of your experience and for kindly sharing the vitA detox theory. It has been so enlightening to learn about all this!!
With the help of the homeopathic remedy you mentioned, in addition to stopping high vA foods (ceasing the “in-toxing”), I started feeling almost normal within a few days…wow! I’m about 1-month in now and very hopeful. I had a flare this past weekend (mouth burning/tingling symptom came back), but I’m hoping that is just a minor setback that will subside. My major symptoms (terrible neck/TMJ pain & muscle spasms, plus major worsening of gut pain) are still gone thankfully.
Thank you again for your beautiful website and devotion to helping others. I’ve been enjoying several of your low vA recipes. So grateful!????
Yay, Carla, this makes my day! I think so many people just aren’t willing to dig into low A, but thankfully more and more are. If we’re desperate enough, it’s definitely logical; why not try it! SO happy for your success and yes, minor setbacks can be part of it. Thank you for sharing, and hopefully your comment will inspire others, as well. 🙂
Jennifer K says
I’m so thankful that I found your posts on Pinterest and all of the helpful information that you are sharing with everyone. Before reading a lot of your material yesterday, I had never heard of the low vitamin A diet.
I have been struggling pretty significantly with mcas and histamine intolerance symptoms since last March — so for the past year. I may have had intermittent symptoms leading up to that time, but prior to that I could still eat a lot of foods and live a normal life.
It’s been so difficult dealing with all of these symptoms that hit me quite unexpectedly a year ago. It is only by God’s grace that He gave me the understanding right away through a Google search, that I was experiencing histamine intolerance because I had never heard of that before and I didn’t know anything about it.
I was diagnosed with sibo and sifo last spring, and treated with antibiotics for the sibo, which left me severely ill. I was then treated with fluconazole by another doctor for the sifo, which helped start to stabilize me as long as I continued eating low histamine.
I’m also dealing with perimenapause and hormones that need to be balanced. I’m using bioidentical hormonal creams to help with that.
I’m in the midst of getting more testing – blood work, stool and urine tests. I also had mold exposure for a while within the past couple of years because my husband thought the fan in the bathroom was a fire hazard when he was looking at it one day and he took it out. That eventually allowed small specks of mold to start growing and spreading on our bathroom ceiling. Ugh!!!! Thankfully it has been remediated, but I am still struggling with all of these histamine symptoms, hypothyroidism etc.
I guess when I think of this diet change to low histamine, low lectin and low vitamin A, there is hardly any foods left which is of great concern to me. I lost a lot of weight last spring when I got very sick and I was down to 101 pounds at 5’3. That was a very scary weight for me. It took me a while, but by God’s grace, I have been able to gain 9 pounds so I am at 110 now.
My biggest concern is that if I did this diet, I probably would lose 15-20 pounds without eating carbs, and that would put me at about 90 – 95 pounds which would be 15+ pound underweight. I want to experience the healing that you did with this diet, but I don’t know how to do this if my weight would drop so dramatically.
The registered dietitian that I have seen have not been very helpful because they just say eat as much as you can.
I did just have an Igg food panel allergy test about 3 weeks ago, and it did come back high for soy, corn, and oats. I never have soy or corn that I am aware of. But I had been having oatmeal every day, so this is a big disappointment because I don’t know what to replace it with. I seem to have histamine reactions to flours of various kinds.
I’ve been using Quercetin and dao, but I don’t feel that it has made that much of a difference for me.
I did order all 3 of the supplements you mentioned that helped heal your histamine issues, so hopefully they will help me as well.
Any thoughts on what I can eat, especially for breakfast that will be low histamine, low lectin and low vitamin A?
Thank you for all of your time and efforts in sharing your health journey here. It is a gift and an encouragement, and an answer to my prayers to have more hope regarding being healed of mcas/histamine intolerance.
Oh, I also have Coseva fulvic acid and Advanced TRS. I bought those a few weeks ago but I have not started these yet. Any advice on taking these? My doctor wasn’t really familiar with them, and so she didn’t offer any clear specifics. Should I start taking these at the same time? One before the other? Will they help with detoxing mycotoxins and parasites?
Thank you again for your thoughts and suggestions!!! Many blessings to you and your sweet family!
Hi Jen, I’m sorry for the delay in responding, especially about such important questions that affect you daily. Our new 4 year old is keeping me busy! 😉 Thank you for sharing, and I’m so happy you found the article, too!! I am encouraged for you, actually, and while I’m not in your shoes, I don’t think you should worry too much about weight loss (and I share why). It’s one step at a time, and here are some things that I hope are helpful for keeping weight on: First of all, the IgG tests are not to be taken with too much weight (no pun intended), as the results change, and limit the diet too much. I would definitely keep oats in! 🙂 Any temporary sensitivities will be outgrown as you heal in other ways. Egg whites are low histamine, and they’re how I started the diet. You may wish to (I did) supplement with vitamin B1 while you eat a lot of egg whites. Actually B1 is very important in the process of overcoming histamine issues, and any excess is excreted in the urine. I take a minimum of 100 mg with breakfast, but sometimes take 200 with breakfast, and 200 with lunch, depending on my diet that day (some foods deplete B1 more than others. While eating a lot of egg whites, I supplemented more. For the low A diet, it’s best to remove quercetin. So for breakfast: oatmeal and an egg white omelet. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t recommend any supplements or dosages; I can just tell you what I did. I took the fulvic with breakfast every day, and I took and still take TRS in the morning and in the evening: 2 sprays in the morning and 3 at night. I hope that helps, and blessings on you, too!