Posted 11/21/2020 1:05 PM (GMT -7)
How long a treatment takes to help depends on how severe your mast cells' current level of over-reaction is. A couple of examples:
1. For years I would wake up feeling alert and okay, and often remarked it was the best part of my day. But within an hour I'd feel massive brain fog set in, along with fatigue, irritability, nervous system issues (POTS, dizziness, peripheral neuropathy, paresthesias), and sometimes unsettled intestines. Eventually I figured out that the kombucha I had for breakfast and miso soup I had for lunch most days were keeping my histamine levels high. So in this example - triggered by foods - the flare dissipated every day, so the treatment (a low-histamine diet) worked instantly. If you identify and remove a trigger - stress, abrasive fabrics, cleaning product fumes, mold exposure, cardio exercise, hot showers, etc. - then the reaction to that trigger might stop within an hour or two, and then not recur as long as the trigger can be avoided.
2. My friend has MCAS, characterized usually by multiple food intolerances (which for her lead to congestion, fatigue, and intestinal upset), difficulty with heat and cold, intolerance of cardio exercise, and significant skin sensitivity. A few years ago, she was gardening and came in contact with a lot of poison ivy (and probably also mold). Within an hour, she was in a flare that lasted for six weeks. Eating anything (even drinking water) made her system react strongly, so she did not eat or drink anything until the evening, when she'd immediately go to bed afterward - congested, exhausted, foggy, and with GI distress. The poison ivy itself as well as hives stayed visible and itched for six weeks. She lost a great deal of weight, eating just rice at first, then seaweed, then olives and sour cherries (for whatever reason, those are the foods she reacted to the least). An allergist told her that she could not help because MCAS isn't an allergy, and mainstream doctors were not familiar with it. She read Toxic by Neil Nathan, and waited patiently for her body to get a grip, which it did, once it was free from triggers for a while. But it took a very long time!
In example number one, removing the trigger was enough to help. In example number two, though, my friend's body could have used some other treatments. She drank stinging nettle tea, which she said calmed her reaction as long as she kept a steady stream of it going. But there are many options for treatment, and for each option, there will be people it helps, and people for whom it does nothing. If you try a treatment and it doesn't help, then keep trying a few more. A few ideas:
DNRS limbic system retraining (mast cells communicate with nerves, hence the connection with neurological health)
H1 blockers (Claritin, Zyrtec, etc.)
H2 blockers (Pepsid, etc.)
For many of us, the goal is to control the symptoms with these treatments and with trigger avoidance, so that we can treat the underlying cause of this mast cell misbehavior - microbes, mycotoxins, toxin exposure, etc. In theory, once the underlying cause is addressed, then we will not need the MCAS treatments anymore, and our mast cells will be more chill again.