Written by: Dr. Ben Lynch
Welcome to this week’s SNPit. This is where we get down and dirty on a specific topic about your health. Today’s topic is: Motion Sickness? Histamine could be the culprit!
I'm Dr. Ben Lynch — welcome to the Dirty Genes Podcast. I hope you enjoy the episode! If you do, be sure to give a thumbs-up, rate it, leave a comment, and Subscribe here.
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Welcome to this week's SNPit. This is where we get down and dirty on a specific topic. And today's topic is motion sickness. I'm Dr. Ben Lynch, and this is the Dirty Genes podcast.
Let's say you’ve been struggling...maybe on a Ferris wheel when you were growing up, or going to the playgrounds, parks, carnivals, roller coasters, or car rides. Maybe your uncle had a boat and you wanted to go out fishing with them, but once you were on the boat, things didn't go very well. Or, you wanted to go dancing or ice skating and you started spinning in circles. How did all that work out for you? For me, I didn't do well in any of these situations. I still don't. And just last week I realized why, and I want to share a couple of stories to illustrate.
I got a direct message from a lady on Instagram asking "Hey, why does my kid always get headaches? But only in the car?" And I was thinking, well, what could that be? And it's motion sickness.
One of the signs and symptoms of motion sickness is headaches along with a myriad of others.
Motion sickness is a common problem. But if you understand which genes are dirty, and what genes can contribute to the worsening of your motion sickness, or possibly even bettering it, if you clean those particular genes, then you're onto something.
When I was in Costa Rica, my son decided to organize a trip and I like to empower my oldest son Taz to choose some adventures to put the family through. And so he wanted to go check out this island and go snorkel around this island. And, unbeknownst to him, it was 40 miles offshore to go see this island and it was pouring rain and the seas were insane and the boat was long and narrow and we were getting tossed everywhere. And we did not eat. Well, I didn't eat breakfast because I knew motion sickness for me was a problem. I was okay, Theo, my youngest, struggled a little bit, but not too bad. And then there was this guy behind us. Let's call him Ralph. And he was hurting badly. I mean, awful. He was retching and feeding the fish almost, well, I'd say halfway there and almost all the way back.
When we finally got to the beach, he dragged himself off the boat and laid in the sunshine. Didn't care if the sun was going to burn him and he was toasted. Why did that happen? I said to him, "Man, I'm sorry, you're going through this, what happened?" And he goes, "Well, I'm known to have motion sickness, but not this bad. And what I think did it is I have acid reflux," and I was like, oh, okay, checkmark to a pathway I'm going to be quizzing you on in a second. Checkmark for acid reflux contributing to motion sickness and he goes, "And I had a big glass of orange juice and a banana that was in the waiting room of the tour agency before we got on the boat."
So this tour agency was kind enough to offer everyone free bananas and free orange juice prior to getting on their boat ride. But what they failed to understand is both of those significantly increase seasickness in their customer base. And so I happened to approach the owner, who was on our boat when we got to the beach and I said, "Hey, man, just want to let you know that you should change your snacks in your waiting room to not include such high," What is it? What do you think? High histamine-containing foods and drinks.
Yes, exactly, so histamine, once again is a culprit. So here’s a little trivia, if you will: pigs do not get seasick. Why is that? Pigs have an incredible ability to process histamine and that makes sense, right? They basically eat trash. They eat decomposing, rotting food, no problem. But we're not pigs. We do not have the ability to process histamine in such a great amount. And some of us really struggle with that.
Acid reflux is a high histamine problem.
If you take something to reduce the histamine, it will probably help your acid reflux. In fact, some of the common over-the-counter antacids are anti-histamines and, they block the histamine receptors in the stomach for binding histamine. And what about Dramamine? Dramamine is a very famous drug that is used by people going out on boats or who have motion sickness.
And what is Dramamine? Dramamine specifically targets the H1 receptor. So the histamine one receptor, which is located in many places in your body, but heavily in your brain. So what happens is, when you take Dramamine, you swallow it, and then that Dramamine binds to your histamine receptor so histamine can't bind to it. So if histamine cannot bind to the histamine receptor, no action gets taken. And if histamine is everywhere in your body and you take Dramamine, you're not going to feel the effects of your histamine. But as soon as that Dramamine wears off, what's going to happen? Histamine is going to bind to that receptor and you're going to get motion sickness.
So what do you think is the ultimate solution here for improving yourself? Would it be to take and swallow Dramamine or Benadryl all the time? Or antacids all the time? No, it would be identifying the reason why your histamine levels are so high, and yes, genetics can be a part of it. But what also could be a significant part of it is you could be stressed out. Why? Because stress increases the production of histamine. Infections increase the production of histamine. Exercise increases the production of histamine.
Let's say that you went to the gym or you played soccer, or you did something very active and you looked at yourself in the mirror before you got in the shower and you had this crazy red face and people were commenting, "Guy, or Sally, what is up with your face? Scott? Why are you so red-faced? Ben, what the heck is going on with you, man your face is just cherry red." And I was like, "Yeah, I get that way when I exercise." Well, and half an hour later, it's still cherry red. You’ve got some significantly high histamine.
Let me give you a little trick. If you are going to go on a boat or you're going to do something that has to do with motion in a circular or weird movement, roll up your sleeve, just like this, and take your fingers and then scratch your arm. Not crazy so you draw blood, but solid enough, I'm pushing pretty darn hard and I'm scratching right now, okay? And it hurts. And I'm looking for red streaks and I'm not seeing any red streaks really on my arm. So my histamine levels are pretty good right now. I see a little redness through the black fur on my arm, but it's not bad.
So what did I find out for me that contributes to my histamine intolerance in a big way, especially motion sickness? So first, for example, just an hour ago or so I was in the car with my wife and she drives and I have my phone and I'm on my phone checking some emails or some Instagram messages because I'm trying to be productive and our roads around here are just twisty, turvy, like crazy. And I'm starting to feel off. Every single time, it doesn't matter what. And so I just have to put the phone down. I can't be productive in the car. I just feel off. I feel nauseated and it lasts for hours. I took a helicopter tour with my family in Kauai was beautiful. Kauai was stunning. My family loved it. I loved it until the motion sickness was so bad that I'd had to lay down for basically the rest of the day. I was incapacitated.
So, I looked at my genes (through the StrateGene DNA test) and in my StrateGene Core Report, I looked at my histamine pathway. Surprisingly, most of my histamine genes are actually quite clean. Most of my histamine genes were born clean.
The DAO gene (as you've probably read in the book,Dirty Genes), is associated with breaking down histamine from food and drink and in the microbiome. But in my case, my DAO gene was born clean, no problems there.
My HNMT gene, which breaks down histamine in the brain and a lot of other places in the body, was also fine. But the gene that was really big on me, that was fast and super sensitive. Was, you ready? We discussed it already. Dramamine blocks it. The H1 receptor.
My H1 histamine receptor is off the charts, overly sensitive. So my ability to bind histamine on my H1 receptor is hot, too hot. So if I have a little bit of histamine compared to you and I get in a car, or I got on a boat, I'm in trouble.
I have to do everything in my power, not to increase my histamine levels. Like keep my stress levels down and stay hydrated. You've got to be hydrating. If you do not hydrate, then the histamine concentration in your blood could increase.
In hydrating, remember, it's not just drinking water, it's getting water into your cells.
Consider Optimal Electrolyte from Seeking Health to support getting water into your cells. If you just drink water and then 15 minutes later, you're peeing it out, you've got some electrolyte deficiencies. You have to replenish your electrolytes and Optimal Electrolyte may support you on that. Moral of the story? I drink water with electrolytes in it all the time when on a boat.†
Alcohol. Alcohol is a huge problem. And what do people drink when they go on boats? They drink beer, wine, and other alcohol. And what do they eat? Cheese and aged meats. All high histamine foods!
Think back to the old sailor days, they had lots of wines, cheeses, fermented meats, and they had oranges for preventing scurvy and possibly some other things. All of that is high histamine. Those poor sailors who were struggling with H1 sensitivity like me probably weren't actually sailors. They probably quit their job or were thrown overboard and lost their job.
If you are struggling with motion sickness, I invite you to consider ordering the StrateGene® genetic test. StrateGene shows you which of your genes were born dirty, so you can evaluate your lifestyle in regards to them.
Maybe it's your DAO gene. Knowing your DAO gene is born dirty will guide you to really dial things in, for example, don’t take probiotics that increase histamine like, Lactobacillus bulgaricus, or Lactobacillus fermentum, or Lactobacillus casei. Maybe you back off the yogurt, you back off the cheese, you back off of the foods that you know are problematic for you. Foods that cause intolerant reactions, like gluten or dairy. You back off, you don't eat those. You stay hydrated and you don’t drink alcohol in boats or anywhere there will be motion, and then you support your methylation pathway, which is another big one. We'll get into that later.
Want more info? Read the DAO chapter in the book, Dirty Genes, which will help you to understand the topic of histamine in depth. In sum, it's very, very handy to know what your histamine genes are doing in your own body because then you know exactly what you need to do to dial in, to try to figure it out.
Next time you are struggling with motion sickness, know that histamine is a big, big culprit.
Do everything in your power to knock down that histamine. Keep in mind, histamine also increases alertness and focus. If you don’t want to feel drowsiness or miss out on all the fun, you might consider looking at supplements that support histamine intolerance. Because you can support the degradation of histamine without having it affect your mood or your focus as much.†
I hope this information serves you well! Please give it a like, thumbs-up, and share and comment if you can. Take care, and until next time, keep those genes clean. And I hope the motion sickness for you goes away because it is not fun. Take care.
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