The Women's Journal

Let’s Talk Allergies . . . Sinusitis!

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Photo by Shannon Adelson © 2016 Adelson Media, Inc.

By Dr. Cynthia Crosser  

Seasons are changing once again and the inclination to buy that OTC Claritin greets us on these days of falling leaves and more dust in the air. Over the years I’ve observed patients turn to antibiotics time and again only to end up worse. At the first sign of this, which could be vertigo or sinus pressure, others choose to employ the use of natural therapies such as nutritional supplementation or acupuncture or even to find the underlying reason for this immune reaction. Regardless, the body is reacting by way of its natural, innate immune system consisting of mast cells. They detect viruses, bacteria, mold, toxins or any threatening agent and release histamines as well as interleukins, prostaglandins, cytokines and chemokines to address this, and produce watery eyes, sneezing, itching, or GI issues as the body is in protection mode. This can actually develop into a condition called Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.  

How this develops is the interesting part. 1) Genetically, we may be predisposed because we might lack the genes necessary to produce HNMT (histamine N-methyltransferase) and DAO (Diamine oxidase) enzymes which breakdown the histamines in the brain and/or gut. 2) If your gut is unhealthy, which is very common, you will have a decrease in DAO even if you are not genetically predisposed. 3) If your diet consists of high histamine foods such as wine, kombucha, aged cheeses, cured meats, or avocados to name just a few, you further activate this mechanism. Have all three and you will suffer!! There are foods that even block DAO such as black tea, green tea, and energy drinks. So, while you might believe it’s better than soda, you could unknowingly be activating histamine release. To make matters more interesting, when we ingest probiotics, we may contain strains that produce histamines such as L. casei, Streptococcus thermophilus, or Lactobacillus bulgaricus.  

In doing stool samples on patients, often times pathogenic bacteria and yeast that tend to become systemic and have an affinity for the respiratory tract are present. In addition, there are blood and urine tests that can be done to see if this is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. If so, the underlying triggers such as mold exposure, biotoxins, Lyme disease, or chemical irritants need to be handled. A strong foundation needs to be established first in the gut and enhanced by lifestyle changes such as improving sleep and reducing stress. There are also foods that will mediate the histamine response such blueberries and cruciferous vegetables. Supplements and minerals such as selenium and Vitamins C and E also regulate mast cell function.

While there is a difference between histamine intolerance and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, the wisest choice would be to address diet and lifestyle and move towards better health overall. Learn about yourself as an individual as there is available testing to obtain so much valuable information so you can make perfect changes for you specifically. Reap the benefits of long-term good health!! If you are an allergy sufferer and need change, I welcome working with you as an individual with your own set of circumstances.  


“Within 1 day of treatment, I had relief from chronic sinus pain. Dr. Crosser is knowledgable, compassionate, and thorough. I highly recommend this practice!”  ~ M.K.

“Dr. Crosser has been wonderful and she listens and is also supportive and caring.  She is also medically extremely knowledgeable and thorough. I have found great relief in seeing her.” ~ G.M.

Wellness within reach!


5700 Kirkwood Hwy., Suite 101, Wilmington, DE 19808

Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Weight loss, Neurofeedback, Nutritional Counseling

Headshot by Shannon Adelson of Adelson Media, Inc.