There is a lot of worry out there about losing our memory. In fact, when I ask people what they fear most about growing old, dementia is number one. I also have noticed that loss of memory, not necessarily dementia, is occurring more often in younger folks than seems reasonable. As a naturopath, we frequently look for toxins, nutritional deficiencies, and disease processes that may be occurring that would cause this. Perhaps, however, you have not considered allergies as one of the causes. Here we are in the midst of allergy season and I have really noticed that as the histamine levels rise, so does cognitive decline. Then you add antihistamines into the mix and you get groggy and sleepy and really can’t think. Has anyone else noticed that the “daytime” allergy formulas still make you tired and groggy? Histamine has several functions that are interesting. Histamine produces wakefulness, while antihistamines produce sleep. Increased histamines produce motion sickness, as well as the well known effects of bronchoconstriction, hives, pain, itching, and nasal congestion. You need histamine for a healthy libido as well. There are studies that show that histamine controls mechanisms by which memories and learning are forgotten (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19126417). Research by Dr. Carl Pfeiffer reveals information about histamine levels and mental health. You can find more complete information on my website about histadelia and histapenia that you may want to glance at. Briefly, histadelia is the condition of high histamine levels. Histadeliacs are highly motivated and achievement oriented although they can tip over into obsessive-compulsive tendencies. They can be suicidally depressed, or become addicted to things easily, drugs, alcohol, sex, chain smoking. Commonly this can occur in the teenage years and often these kids are labeled “oppositionally defiant.” Histadeliacs, of course, tend to have allergies. Low histamine (histapenia) is also indicative of certain behaviors. They tend to have a high pain threshold, are night owls with short attention spans, need lots of sleep, can be very irritable and paranoid behaviors can ensue. Both of these conditions can lead to very severe depression, anxiety, and life without joy. I have found that by modulating histamine in the right direction great relief can be found. This usually involves dietary changes, supplements; occasionally a prescription is needed in severe cases. If you or someone you know is affected by histamines, the test is a simple blood test that can verify if this indeed is one of the causes of symptoms.
I am currently writing my blogs either with the question that most frequently came up the previous week, or the most thought provoking question. If you have a topic you would like to see addressed in a future blog, let me know via email, Twitter, Face book, or Linked-In. Thanks!