While many of these "crashes" are due to unstable blood sugar, food chemicals are also notorious for causing post meal reactions as well. At one point, I was convinced that my reactions were due to unstable blood sugar, however when I started monitoring my blood Sugar with a glucose monitor I found that my blood Sugar never dipped as low as I thought it was.
While on a zero carb ketogenic paleo diet, my fasting Sugar was actually up around the 120s, which is considered prediabetic. After eating it would go up, and then an hour later would drop. I do believe that at this time I was so sensitive that I was not only reacting to the food chemicals, but also the tiny dip in blood sugar. After I reintroduced carbs, grains, and moderate amounts of natural sugar (maple syrup and golden delicious apples) my fasting blood sugar went down to the 70s and 80s within about a month, completely reversing my prediabetes. While on zero carb paleo I also had a ravenous appetite and HAD to eat something every two hours. Now my appetite is normal again and I can go 4-5 hours easily without eating and be fine.
When I first became ill I had no idea of histamine or salicylates. I thought I had a "leaky gut" so I went on the GAPS diet and almost went to an early grave! This diet is LOADED with histamine and salicylate, not to mention completely tanks the thyroid due to its lack of carbs. I suffered IMMENSLY with all kinds of seizure/stroke like symptoms, full body rashes, dizzy/fainting spells, and all sorts of fun stuff. I whole heartedly believe that trying to heal my "leaky gut" and "killing candida" damaged me far worse than what I had started with.
After going off GAPS I went to zero carb paleo and entered a Nutritional Balancing program with Dr Wilson. I improved somewhat due to the elimination of all the fermented foods but was still very very sick. I was ordered to eat loads of high salicylate veggies, beef (high histamine), CANNED SARDINES (also very very high histamine) and do daily coffee enemas. Everytime I did a coffee enema I was completely wiped out and felt paralyzed. Couldn't speak or move my head off the pillow. I was told by my practitioner that this was a normal reaction to toxins leaving my body so I kept on with it. After a month of this I wound up in the hospital, on my death bed from salt wasting syndrome. I had already had insufficient aldosterone and the coffee enemas were depleting my sodium even worse. So I'm not going to ever tell anyone they are good. They almost killed me.
I had a true laundry list of food intolerance symptoms, some that had no idea were related to this until I went failsafe. I'm going to list them, but probably won't even get to all of them!
Dizziness, nausea, anxiety attacks, panic, restlessness, insomnia, shaking, sudden blood pressure drops, slurred speech/unable to speak, shortness of breath/unable to breathe, burning eyes, eyes rolling into the back of my head, itching, rashes, muscle twitching, stomach pains/burning, chest pain, passing out, joint pain, diarrhea,constipation, blood in stools, vaginal itching/burning, headaches/migraines, blacking out while awake, sweating, cold spells, hot spells, hives, burning skin/ears, bloating, irritability, tongue swelling, throat swelling, racing heart, stroke like symptoms- partial paralysis in arms and face, and the worst- anaphylaxis.
I had been to Florida's top allergist and had a battery of tests done. They found that I had no true immune related allergies. Unfortunately they know nothing of intolerances and labeled me with an eating disorder.
The first cause of Histamine Intolerance involves mast cells. Mast cells are a major part of the immune system and also the cells responsible for the release of histamine. When the body is irritated enough with inflammation, mast cells get involved as a response of the immune system. Cortisol is also a big player here. Ironically cortisol breaks down histamine and inflammation (hence the cortisone creams prescribed for hives), but chronic high cortisol will also create inflammation itself. When there is enough irritation for a long enough period of time, mast cells will go haywire and get on a hair trigger response, attacking anything and everything they perceieve as an enemy, including your own digestion. Once you can calm the inflammation (taking away offending food chemicals and other allergens helps ALOT) the mast cells will start to calm down and the body will cease to perceieve it is being attacked.
The has to do with a slow metabolism. I have been making this connection for quite some time (studying it for about two years). When the adrenals burn out, the thyroid soon follows suit. The thyroid is the master gland at controlling the speed of metabolism, including the speed of digestion. When the thyroid is not getting the right message to the gut, gastric emptying will be low. This causes an accumulation of food that will begin to decay and therefore create histmamine. Histamine is always created in the natural break down of anything. It is also created in the digestive process itself. So when your histamine "bucket" is already full, and you add more to it, its going to overflow and cause a reaction.
Now salicylates and other phenols are broken down in the liver. But most people think that they need to go doing coffee enemas and liver flushes. This is completely WRONG. In fact, you're adding high amounts of phenols and sals to your body with these procedures and it will make matters much worse. The real culprit is again the thyroid. When the thyroid is slow, the metabolic processing in the liver is also going to be slow (including the conversion of T3 thyroid hormone which is also converted in the liver). So a sluggish liver cannot break down the sals and phenols properly, they accumulate, and cause problems.
Before I went failsafe I was eating a completely organic additive free/ gluten free diet but was still very ill. Then I went failsafe, and still stayed organic and additive free and got much better within six weeks. In the months to follow, I began to tweak my intake of carbs and worked on healing my thyroid by loosely following the Ray Peat protocol (my own failsafe version). As my thyroid improved, I noticed that my liver began to pick up (my stools were previously very pale, and then they began getting to be normal color, showing that bile was again being produced). My body temps went up, my hair stopped falling out, and my SEVERE constipation issue was resolved. This was after about 6 months failsafe, 2 months loosely following Peat.
I can now handle small amounts of salicylates. A handful of carrots here and there, some raw cane sugar, a cup of decaf coffee every once in a while.
As for histamines I'm much better with that now too. I can eat unseasoned rotisserie chicken from whole foods whereas before I had to go to the chicken farm to get my meat slaughtered that day, run home to freeze it, and then boil it immediately, no thawing. I can also have white fish now as well (fresh frozen, quick thawed) and egg whites. Even small amounts of vinegar.
I am very skeptical about the "leaky gut theory". My current diet would be horrifying to the so called "leaky gut" expert alternative docs, yet I am making leaps and bounds in my health. Going from being almost dead to having the ability to return to work part time in less than a year is pretty awesome in my opinion :)
Even though I'm feeling much better, I still stick to my failsafe eating plan. I plan to get my thyroid checked again in a couple of months to see how things are going. Will I ever be rid of these sensitivities? That I cannot say. I know I have improved quite a bit, but I may always have to stay low histamine/ low sal. from all the research I've done, it isn't so bad considering sals and animes are actually quite hard on the body.
I've come to know when my histamine bucket is getting full, so this is when I will get really strict with my food and stay away from anything that might upset my pissy mast cells.
Sorry for the long post, but there really is no simple way to explain this complicated issue. I hope I answered your questions :)