Gut Dysbiosis, Food and Histamine Sensitive Symptoms of Brain Inflammation

Proactive measures toward immune system health that support brain health, too

The brain is primarily an immune organ—a fact that most people don’t know.

Along with a network of neurons in the brain, there are immune cells called glia cells, which actually comprise 90% of the brain. In fact, there are ten times as many glia cells as neurons in the brain, and these glia cells protect neurons.

When the immune system is turned on, an inflammatory response follows—this is inflammation that occurs in the brain and other parts of the body. So what are the factors that push the immune system to create inflammation? There are a number of them, and since most people have several if not all of these issues going on at once, it’s helpful to look at them as a whole.

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The following are some of the more frequent, underlying root causes for systemic inflammation. The list points to why addressing only a single cause —-for example, why focusing on food sensitivities only (and nothing else) won’t correct inflammation, and nor will it restore calm. Likewise, having two or more of these problems for any length of time can predict chronic body inflammation that includes the brain. These will create an ongoing negative loop of information between systems, where each one increasingly impacts the other and causes eventual harm:

  • Food sensitivities
  • Stress
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Anemia
  • Impaired liver detoxification
  • Digestive disorders
  • Chronic infections
  • Lack of sleep
  • Environmental toxins

Once the above co-activation “feedback” loop begins, chronic body inflammation becomes systemic and further alters the gut environment. This is often seen as what is called gut “dysbiosis”, or bacterial overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract. To push it further, dysbiosis and systemic inflammation will further heighten the body’s stress chemistry. Being in this kind of pro-inflammatory state makes a person at higher risk for infection, including from viruses, and so forth.

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Suddenly, the body’s stress chemistry will trigger at anything and allergies become less seasonal and more frequent. Truly “seasonal” allergies occur when there’s a histamine response to environmental allergens, such as grass, pollen, and trees. It’s technically the chemical “histamine” which causes the sneezing, watery eyes, itching and other symptoms suffered by those with allergies, and not the pollen itself.

What does this have to do with brain health? Well, prolonged exposure to histamine can degrade our brain’s protective barrier, called the blood-brain barrier. This protective barrier serves to prevent bacteria, toxins, and viruses from getting to the brain in the same way the gut barrier is meant to protect us from dysbiosis. Think of it like having an allergy response in the brain! This is experienced as brain fog, which includes symptoms like anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

Could Histamine Be at the Root of SIBO Health Concerns?

The longer I’m in practice, the clearer it becomes that there is one common denominator to all behavioral problems, mood disorders, hormone imbalances, brain changes, and chronic diseases, and that is the immune system. The good news is that while there really is no quick fix, “magic pill”, or elimination of one type of food that will reverse these co-activations, a functional approach can be used to systematically consider all the systems of the body together. And because inflammation is the result of an overactive immune system, a few lifestyle changes and targeted nutrients can help lower inflammation and many issues are reversed.

Learn more about our brain and mental health, and our body’s innate and adaptive immune systems. Watch Episode 10 of The Root Cause Solution Radio Show, where I discuss “A Blind Spot Toward Mental Health” and answer listeners’ questions. Short on time? Become a subscriber on YouTube for this and all episode trailers. Go to

Douglas J. Pucci, Founder, Pucci Wellness. High-Level Functional Medicine located in Oradell, NJ, using Cutting-Edge Wellness Technology & the Telehealth Advantage. At Pucci Wellness, we are dedicated to elevating your healthcare experience to a level of prestige. Find out how by scheduling your first step success call today.

READ MORE: New to Functional Medicine? Learn how you can conquer the symptoms of hormonal, metabolic and thyroid imbalances during life's important transitions using the 5 Foundational Principles of Functional Medicine. Get off the medication merry-go-round and conquer your health issues naturally.

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