Histamine – is naturally decomposed by a methyl dependent enzyme. When histamine is elevated it suggests the body is undermethylated.
Whole blood histamine is a useful measure of methylation status because histamine methyl transferase, a SAMe regulated enzyme degrades histamine. In the presence of elevated methionine, or SAMe, histamine levels are reduced; which tells us that ‘overmethylated’ synonymous with low histamine. And vice versa, if there are low levels of methionine and SAMe, then histamine is not degraded; an elevated histamine condition is an indication of being ‘undermethylated.’
Histamine itself is a neurotransmitter influencing the body with it’s role in the hypothalamus projecting throughout the brain. It increases wakefulness and prevents sleep. During REM and non REM sleep, histamine stops firing completely. Therefore it plays a significant role in the sleep wake cycle.
In the 1950’s the late Carl Pfeiffer, MD recongnized the role of histamine in schizophrenia. From the BIoBalance website it is noted that he found that histapenia, or low histamine was present in as many as 50% of persons with ‘schizophrenia.’
Histapenia – Histamine is an important brain chemical involved in many reactions. It has been found that 50% of patients classified as “schizophrenic” have low histamine levels in the blood and it rises to normal as they improve. These same patients are found to have high copper levels. Elevated copper decreases blood histamine. Excess copper is linked with psychosis. According to Pfeiffer, people with histapenia tend to have classic signs, including canker sores, difficult orgasm with sex, no headaches or allergies, heavy growth of body hair, ideas of grandeur, undue suspicion of people, racing thoughts, the feeling that someone controls one’s mind, seeing or hearing things abnormally, ringing in the ears, and others.
Histadelia – his is a disorder of too much histamine in the blood, noted primarily in males with schizophrenia. It is stimated to affect 15-20% of patients classified as “schizophrenic.” Symptoms include hyperactivity, compulsions, obsessions, inner tensions, blank mind episodes, phobias, chronic depression, and strong suicidal tendencies. Physical signs can include little tolerance for pain, rapid metabolism, lean build, profuse sweating, seasonal allergies, and frequent colds.
Although histamine is small compared to other biological molecules (containing only 17 atoms), it plays an important role in the body. It is known to be involved in 23 different physiological functions. Histamine is known to be involved in many physiological functions because of its chemical properties that allow it to be versatile in binding.
Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker that plays an important role in the methylation cycle.
When elevated, the body can be supplemented with nutrients that either increase methionine (methylation) or else send homocysteine a different direction to produce glutathione, one of the “Three Musketeers of antioxidant protection.”
It is an amino acid not used in protein synthesis. Its role is to serve as an intermediate in methionine metabolism. Homocysteine itself is located at a branch-point of metabolic pathways where it is either irreversibly degraded via the transsulphuration pathway to cysteine or it is remethylated back to methionine.
Homocysteine is tested with as part of the Walsh Panel in order that therapy for undermethylation does not result in higher levels of homocysteine. It is a marker of cardiovascular inflammation so treatment with methylation supplementation may increase levels and increase risk of cardiovsacular incident.
In it’s re-methylation pathway, homocysteine requires the presence vitamins B12 and folic acid and or TMG -trimethylglycine to convert back into methionine. But an elevated level alone is not enough reason to treat these supplements. Folic acid, for instance, may improve methylation while lower homocysteine but it also has a remarkable effect of reducing the activity of serotonin and dopamine, which could be harmful to ones mental or emotional well being if functioning at low level of serotonin and dopamine. On the other hand it may not be good to supplement with B12 and TMG without knowing whether or not someone is overmethylated (histamine test) if they are emotionally unstable. This is because increasing methylation will worsen the condition by increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are already elevated in these persons. With genetic evidence of MTHFR SNP’s and other problems associated with folate deficiency, one has to carefully consider the importance of each symptom and consequence of remedy.
Given the complexity of this issue it is always advisable to consult with a trained practitioner before supplementing to treat homocysteine and methylation imbalances.
Lab reference ranges for homcysteine are often stated as >15uM. A more conservative approach would address the homocysteine levels if elevated to >8uM.