|Source: Break the Rules podcast
In this podcast, host Dr. Lauren Lax interviews Beth O’Hara, a naturopathic doctor and owner of Mast Cell 360.
From childhood past college, Beth O’Hara suffered from horrible allergies. By the time she was in college, severe joint pain left her nearly bedridden. Beth spent over $150,000 seeing 50 doctors, and was no better for it.
Eventually, her research led her to a condition called mast-cell activation syndrome, or MCAS, which she suspected in herself. When our mast cells (immune cells) do their jobs, they protect us. But chronic toxicity or chronic infections can disregulate our mast cells, O’Hara says.
With ongoing illness, our mast cells can become overly vigilant – which can cause itching, runny nose, hives, congestion, joint and muscle pain, heart palpatations, dizziness, low blood pressure, food sensitivities, sleep issues, digestive problems, mood problems and more.
O’Hara says it affects 10-15 percent of the general population and about 50 percent of the chronically ill.
She attributes her own MCAS to growing up in a moldy home, plus Lyme disease, Bartonella and Epstein-Barre virus. Other potential causes of MCAS: food triggers, genetic factors, nutritional deficiencies, low oxygen, hormone imbalances, and stress or trauma.
Over time, Beth successfully turned around her MCAS by resolving her own root causes. Now, she’s active and runs a busy naturopathic practice.
Reversing MCAS can take a while. Beth says it usually includes gut health, mold testing, testing for Lyme and co-infections, and more. By going slowly, you avoid a “mast-cell cascade” that can lead to more inflammation. Curious if you may have MCAS? Take Beth’s symptoms survey.
The takeaway: 10-15% of the population is estimated to have over-active immune cells that can be behind symptoms such as those above. If you suspect you may have MCAS, find a practitioner with expertise in this condition.