Market Place Naturopathic
Market Place Naturopathic

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Naturopathic Medicine, Mold Toxicity & Lyme Disease Specialists located in Downtown Seattle , Seattle, WA

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome services offered in Downtown Seattle , Seattle, WA

Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) causes many possible symptoms in multiple body systems and often occurs together with other complex disorders. This means you need experienced physicians like Alena Zweben, ND, and the team at Market Place Naturopathic in Seattle, Washington, to evaluate your symptoms, run advanced diagnostic tests, and diagnose MCAS. To learn more about MCAS, submit a contact form to request a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with one of the doctors. 

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome Q & A

What is mast cell activation syndrome?

MCAS occurs when mast cells release chemicals at the wrong time or in a larger amount than usual. These cells typically send out chemical messengers when they meet a dangerous pathogen, like a bacteria, virus, or mycotoxin. They also release histamine after encountering allergens, causing allergy symptoms.

Mast cells are an essential part of your immune system. They serve as the first line of defense against invading pathogens, starting an inflammatory response and attracting immune cells to the area.

However, if you have MCAS, the cells send out chemicals in response to things that shouldn’t trigger a reaction. For example, stress, medications, foods, temperature extremes, environmental chemicals, and physical exertion are potential mast cell triggers.

What symptoms does mast cell activation syndrome cause?

Mast cells are found in every part of your body. As a result, they may cause many different symptoms in one or more body systems.

You may experience:

  • Skin: Itching, hives, flushing, angioedema
  • Respiratory: Nasal congestion, wheezing
  • Endocrine system: High blood sugar, PMS
  • Cardiovascular: Rapid pulse, low blood pressure (dizziness, nausea, fainting), POTS
  • Gastrointestinal: Abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, food intolerances
  • Neurological: Anxiety, forgetfulness, headaches, brain fog
  • General symptoms: Fatigue, lethargy, insomnia, pain

The severity of your symptoms depends on the number of mast cells releasing histamine and the frequency of your body’s triggers.

Do other conditions occur with mast cell activation syndrome?

MCAS often occurs together with:

  • ​​Sick building syndrome (mold toxicity)
  • Lyme disease and tick-borne illness
  • Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)
  • Autoimmune encephalitis (AE)
  • Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Periodontal disease

If you have MCAS, you have a higher risk of developing anaphylaxis. This severe allergic reaction occurs when multiple body systems react to the release of histamine.

Anaphylactic symptoms occur rapidly and include difficulty breathing, a swollen tongue or throat, hives, dizziness, and fainting. Without an injection of epinephrine and emergency treatment, anaphylaxis can cause death.

How is mast cell activation syndrome treated?

The first step is identifying what triggers your mast cell reaction. Then, Dr. Zweben helps you develop a plan to avoid triggers.

 You may also need to limit histamine-rich foods. This includes fermented foods, alcohol, dried fruits, avocados, eggplant, and processed meats.

 Other treatment options include detoxification, avoiding environmental toxins and molds, pharmaceuticals (antihistamines), nutraceuticals, and probiotics.

If you suspect that you’re experiencing MCAS, submit a contact form to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with one of the doctors.