A number of practitioners use whole blood histamine levels to classify people into undermethylators and overmethylators. I don’t agree with using histamine levels to assess methylation status. Tune in to find out why.
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This is why you shouldn’t use histamine levels to assess methylation status.
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com, and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!”
And today we’re continuing our series on what doesn’t work for methylation.
In this episode I want to describe why I’m against using histamine levels to assess methylation status. And this is something that’s been popularized by the Walsh Institute as a way of classifying people into undermethylators and overmethylators based on their whole blood histamine levels.
In the last episode, I talked about why I don’t believe we should be classifying people into undermethylators or overmethylators. And so that’s a big part of why I don’t think we should be using whole blood histamine to make that classification. But we have to go a little bit beyond this because you could say, “Well, okay maybe we shouldn’t strictly divide people into under- and overmethylators, but maybe we should still use histamine levels to assess methylation status because one of the ways to get rid of histamine is to methylate it, and so it kind of makes sense that if you have more histamine in
your blood, you have less methylation and vice versa.”
But I want to go further and say that I don’t think we should be doing that either. And there are a few reasons. If you’re measuring histamine levels in whole blood, then most of that histamine is going to be intracellular. And the intracellular histamine is in fact mostly detoxified through methylation. But it’s also the case that the histamine is largely going to be in the cells that release histamine, such as mast cells, and there could be variation in the number of those cells in the blood that has nothing to do with methylation. Furthermore, there could be variations in the production of histamine within those cells that has nothing to do with methylation.
On top of all of this, the level of methylation of histamine within those cells, even if you could ascertain that based on the whole blood histamine alone, is not necessarily going to reflect the level of methylation of other things because you can have variations in the enzyme activity of the enzyme that methylates histamine that are independent of other variations. You could have higher methylation of histamine and lower methylation of dopamine or vice versa. As noted in the previous episode, the undermethylation of most of these targets, such as histamine or dopamine, will correlate with the overmethylation of glycine, and whole blood levels of histamine aren’t telling you anything about your glycine status. And then finally, if you are undermethylating, then you may have a deficiency in any given one of the relevant nutrients, and your whole blood histamine status isn’t going to tell you anything about why you’re undermethylating.
So for these reasons, I wouldn’t consider it a valuable metric of methylation status. For the blood tests that I do recommend for assessing methylation status, take a look at chrismasterjohnphd.com/methylation. And you can see them in even more detail and integrated into the overall context of how I recommend using laboratory testing in Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet.