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Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Franklin Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine provides treatment for Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS). 

Mast cells are found throughout the human body.  They have gotten a bad rap recently due to their involvement in a variety of inflammatory processes. Mast cells are a type of white blood cell found throughout the human body.  They exist under the skin, near blood and lymph vessels, and around nerves.  Mast cells are important to the functioning of the innate immune response.

Inflammation is attributed to a variety of problems nowadays.  Inflammation is a widely misunderstood process.  Due to the environment that we live in,  it is commonplace to be experiencing a variety of chronic inflammatory conditions.  Inflammation can include a large variety of conditions, but can include a specific set of uncomfortable symptoms.  This includes muscle and joint pain, allergies, gastrointestinal distress, chronic fatigue, and a myriad of  mental-emotional issues.

Mast cell activation syndrome and histamine intolerance is associated with a number of inflammatory processes in the human body.

However, mast cells are not entirely negative in nature.

Mast cells are most noticeably recognized for their connection to severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis.  Mast cells release an abundance of inflammatory bio-chemicals, referred to as mediators.  These mediators include histamine and around 200 other inflammatory biochemicals.  Unfortuneatley, high histamine levels result in a profound disruptions of normal physiological processes.  MCAS (mast cell activation syndrome is a complex inflammatory condition that is highly misunderstood by the majority of medical professionals.

The terms mast cell activation syndrome and histamine intolerance are commonly used together.  Histamine is just one of over 200 biochemicals that mast cells release.

Mast cells are known for their role in allergies.  They are also central to autoimmunity and inflammation.

These include and a variety of additional bio-chemicals. There are over 200 inflammatory biochemicals released from mast cells.








Mast cell releasing histamine during allergic response

MCAS is not due to an exaggerated amount of mast cells. Rather, it is due to hyperactivity of the mast cells present in the body.Mast cell degranulation is connected to a wide array of inflammatory processes in the human body.  MCAS can manifest a

When working with MCAS, it is important to understand the triggers associated with this condition.  Mold toxicity, tick-borne illness

  • Skin-related symptoms of overactive mast cells:
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Swelling
    • Flushing
  • Gastrointestinal-related symptoms of overactive mast cells: 
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal cramping
    • Bloating
  • Cardiovascular-related symptoms of overactive mast cells:
    • Low blood pressure
    • Rapid pulse
    • Passing out
    • Vascular permeability (inflammation and swelling)
  • Respiratory-related symptoms of overactive mast cells:
    • Wheezing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Cough
    • Asthma-like symptoms
    • Sinusitis
    • Rhinitis
    • Increased mucus production
  • Brain-related symptoms of overactive mast cells:
    • Brain fog
    • Anxiety
    • Headaches
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Sleeplessness
    • Neuropathic pain
    • Vertigo

Because mast cells are present in virtually every tissue in the body and release mediators which can have a range of effects on other cells, many different symptoms can be seen.  There are often acute “spells” of more severe symptoms suffered at irregular intervals in addition to the “baseline” of chronic waxing/waning symptoms.  Although it’s certainly not the case that each MCAS patient will suffer all (or even a majority) of these symptoms, symptoms commonly seen across the population of MCAS patients include:

  • Fatigue

  • Pain (often in a fibromyalgia-type pattern)

  • Lightheadedness

  • Headache

  • Itching

  • Tingling

  • Nausea

  • Feeling hot or cold or both (and intolerance of heat or cold)

  • Swelling in potentially any part of the body

  • Eye irritation

  • Difficulty taking a deep breath

  • Reflux of stomach acid

  • Brain fog

  • Rashes

  • Hives

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Throat irritation

  • Fast or irregular heartbeats (palpitations, tachycardia)

  • Sweats

  • Environmental allergies and medication and chemical sensitivities

  • Chest discomfort or pain

  • Easy bleeding or bruising

  • Diarrhea or constipation

  • Difficulties with swallowing

  • Flushing

  • Anomalies with vision

  • Irritation/sores in the mouth

  • Waxing/waning enlargement and tenderness of lymph nodes

  • Urinary frequency or hesitancy

  • Frequent sense of urinary tract infection despite urine tests often showing no infection

  • Frequent or odd infections

  • Poor healing

  • Sinusitis

  • Unexplained weight gain or loss

  • Dental deterioration despite good dental hygiene

  • Cough

  • Anxiety/panic

  • Unusually uncomfortable or unusually heavy menstruation

  • Asthma

  • Hair thinning/loss

  • Depression

  • Insomnia

  • Tremor

  • Brittleness and ridging of nails,

  • Unusually vigorous insect bite reactions

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