It's a slow-rolling train.
The signs start to pop up slowly around your mid 40's.
Hmmm...I can't eat jalapenos any more.
That's weird...my sunscreen causes a rash now.
Oh...I can only wear make-up with pronounceable ingredients.
You generally don't pay much attention since you've never been through perimenopause before.
It only happens once (Thank God!).
There's an entire shift at foot in your histamine response system as a result of hormones changing.
Progesterone actually starts to go down late 30's and early 40's.
It then drops off a shelf early perimenopause.
It may be the star of this allergy and histamine show (it's a trajedy by the way).
Can CBD help with this response?
We're going to look at that and also cover other useful tools we found along the way in our research.
These are the topics we'll look at:
- Can perimenopause cause allergies and high histamines?
- Why do allergies go up during perimenopause?
- Progesterone, estrogen and perimenopause allergies or histamines
- Can CBD help with perimenopause allergies?
- How much CBD to take for perimenopause allergies?
- What type of CBD is best for perimenopause allergies and histamines?
That last one is so important as 90% of what's on the market is going send allergies through the roof!
Let's get into it.
Can perimenopause cause allergies and high histamines?
Welcome to perimenopause...now go suffer!
Seriously...you can learn all about perimenopause versus menopause but a quick recap.
Basically, it's a period of hormone transition.
As we mentioned above progesterone has been declining for about a decade and estradiol is about to go through loop-to-loops during the 1-3 year transition that is perimenopause.
Around 25% of women will have a debilitating process.
Allergies and histamine responses are definitely part and parcel of this transition and it will become clear why when we dig down into the hormones below.
First, is there even an effect during perimenopause for allergies?
Let's take a quick look at asthma, a more severe allergic reaction:
They found that the odds of getting asthma were more than twice as high for women going through the menopausal transition or after menopause, compared to non-menopausal women.
Obesity and weight made this worse and we'll see why in the hormone section below.
Another study followed women to look at newly onset asthma as they transitioned through perimenopause:
In analyses adjusted for age and other potentially confounding variables, women who were in transition, early postmenopause, and late postmenopause were significantly more likely to have developed asthma (odds ratios, 2.1, 2.4, and 3.4, respectively) than were women who remained premenopausal.
These were women who didn't have asthma before perimenopause but developed it due to this transition and/or after it (menopause).
It's not just Asthma.
Hay fever, food allergies, and the whole gamut of histamine issue spike during this time.
Why does this happen?
Let's get into it.
Why do allergies go up during perimenopause?
It's all about hormone flux and reduction.
Allergies can occur during significant hormonal fluctuations such as adolescence, childbirth years and around menopause, even when someone has been exposed to a particular allergen for decades.
First, you have to understand that hormones are not just for reproduction.
They are intimately tied to every aspect of your health.
It's the "flux" or change in perimenopause that's causing the issue.
Some clues come up during other periods of flux:
Among allergy and autoimmunity, there is a disproportionate representation of males before puberty and females after puberty, suggesting a role for sex hormones.
We can also look to the monthly cycle for further clues.
Allergies tend to spike around week 2 of our cycle which is also peak estrogen change.
One study looked at women during their cycle on birth control and off to see if estrogen and progesterone (the primary actors in our perimenopause play) are involved:
OC intake led to an intensifying of neurogenic symptoms near the end of pill intake, a result which could be due to a protective effect of the endogenous progesterone, in contrast to the orally administered hormones.
Another study looked at skin-prick allergic reactions during times of the cycle.
The same effect:
Serum estradiol and LH levels showed a positive correlation with SPT reactivity to allergens at mid-cycle.
And to put a dot to it...
Additionally, allergens seem to cause mast cell degranulation to a greater extent in subjects in which endogenous hormones like estradiol and LH are elevated.
Mast cells are the immune cells that release histamine.
Histamine is the chemical that's causing all of your allergic reactions.
Is it really affected by hormones?
Finally, 30–40% of the women with asthma have perimenstrual worsening during phases of rapid changes in estrogen and progesterone concentrations.
Its role is simple...get bad things out of the body NOW!
The issue is when it's overreactive.
So...why would this histamine response be overreactive during perimenopause (and other times of hormone flux)?
Now let's really drill down to estrogen and progesterone's effect on this entire process.
Progesterone, estrogen and perimenopause allergies or histamines
Did you notice above when allergies tended to peak?
At times of maximum estrogen.
That's our first clue.
Let's take a step back and understand the roles of estrogen and progesterone especially in terms of how nature uses them for reproduction.
First, estrogen is pro-growth...it's all about getting the machinery running for egg production.
It even boosts libido to coincide with this event.
In general, it's pro-growth. Excitatory.
Histamine is also excitatory by nature! This means that these substances speed up activity in certain pathways.
Estrogen has direct control of histamine and mast cell response:
More mast cell number and higher histamine concentrations were observed in the oestrous stage than that in the prooestrous and dioestrous stages.
More estrogen = more histamine and mast cell response.
Keep the potential mother safe from foreign invaders.
Estrogen doesn't just plummet during perimenopause though like most people (and doctors) think.
It can get caught in a cat and mouse game with FSH and spike to levels above even pregnancy!
Check out the perimenopause versus menopause comparison to understand why.
These spikes in estrogen will undoubtedly result in spikes of allergic response and histamines based on everything we've seen above.
Think of a monthly cycle that erratic, extreme, and drawn out!
Thanks, Mother Nature...like we don't do enough already??
What's the countering force to estrogen's pro-growth, pro-histamine effect.
Hello, Progesterone (said kindly).
Progesterone is almost the opposing force to estrogen.
Let's look to reproduction now.
Progesterone is released after the egg leaves the ovary.
An interesting fact is that progesterone then calms the histamine response (actually, the entire immune response) down so that the mother's body doesn't attack the fetus.
To geek out a bit, the placental sac is actually made by the father's DNA and IS a foreign entity.
The net effect of progesterone on allergies and histamine response??
These results suggest that mast cell secretion may be regulated by progesterone and may explain the reduced symptoms of certain inflammatory conditions during pregnancy.
Catch that last bit…" during pregnancy".
Progesterone's anti-histamine effect is seen across the spectrum:
Reduced levels of maternal progesterone during pregnancy increase the risk for allergic airway diseases in females only.
Unfortunately, our entire medical field just focuses on reproduction.
We're losing progesterone starting early 40's!
No wonder allergies creep up as we get older.
It's estimated that 40-60% of people have allergy and histamine issues.
Women are hit much harder and it goes up as we get older.
So...during perimenopause, you can have spikes in estrogen combined with ever-decreasing progesterone.
Abrupt estrogen spikes are alleviated with oral contraceptive use, which was shown to stabilize asthma symptoms in women.
Now you know WHY!!
Let's look at two common and associated questions.
Perimenopause and new food allergies
I mentioned this in the beginning.
Toward my mid 40's, I started to have issues with food that were never a problem before.
Peppers. Onions. Fermented foods. Even tea!
It was a classic allergic reaction.
Is this also affected by hormone changes we looked at above?
The Norwegians completed a 10-year study of food allergies with some interesting results for our discussion.
From early adulthood, there is a constant ratio of 40:60 male-female, in contrast to small children showing the opposite ratio of 60:40 boys: girls.
It flips with the addition of steroidal hormones like estrogen.
And just like with hay fever and asthma:
The observed age-related gender difference is similar to that reported for asthma, hay fever, and atopic disease, suggesting that puberty and the influence of sex hormones may have an important impact on the prevalence of atopic diseases in general.
Time to introduce DAO.
Not to be confused with the Eastern religion, DAO is short for Diamine Oxidase.
Its role is simple...break down histamine in the gut.
There's a known drop in food allergies after menopause (along with other allergic reactions) without hormone replacement.
This is because estrogen reduces DAO which consequently, leads to more histamine in the gut!
Estradiol pretreatment elicited a significant fall in DAO activity in the liver and a specific increase in the uterus.
Why on earth would Mother Nature create this loop?
Histamine boosts libido!
It also makes us break out in hives when we eat certain things.
The problem with perimenopause is that progesterone has been dropping for some time (a decade roughly) and goes even further.
In addition, you have estradiol which can actually see-saw through these transitions with spikes.
That's going to be bad for food allergies.
The real player though maybe the progesterone.
In fact, when progesterone is at its highest level, check out the effect on DAO:
However, serum DAO levels during the luteal phase were significantly higher than those during the follicular phase.
Finally...a study that connects the dots:
Furthermore, our findings suggest that serum DAO levels should be interpreted cautiously in premenopausal women.
Really? About time.
The lack of NIH studies on the interaction between perimenopause and allergies is a disgrace!
Check out B6 to boost DAO. Also, there's a great run through this whole relationship here.
There is one area that the medical community has actually decided to grace us with its presence.
Hormone replacement and allergies
There's a known effect where replacing hormones can cause an increase in allergies for women after perimenopause.
Postmenopausal use of estrogen alone was associated with an increased rate of newly diagnosed asthma in menopausal women.
Notice the "estrogen only" part. Very important based on everything we've seen above.
Progesterone is critical for downregulating the immune response.
The allergic response to hormone replacement appears to be tied to estrogen-only delivery:
Furthermore, rates of new asthma diagnoses have been reported to increase after HRT initiation but diminish with the cessation of HRT.
This is probably the best (and most recognizable) explanation of what I went through and what's driving it:
Very cool read. A bit too close to home but important.
Also, berberine is a fascinating tool for remodeling the gut and inflammatory response. Purchase here
Speaking of tools for perimenopause allergy and histamine response…
Can CBD help with perimenopause allergies
So I cut out most foods, cosmetics, and chemicals known to drive allergies in perimenopause.
I try to avoid the environmental sources of estrogen such as BPA.
What about CBD?
First, the endocannabinoid system is all over our allergic reaction system.
In fact, when CB1 and CB2 receptors (where endocannabinoids react) are blocked, the effect on allergic response is telling:
In an animal model for cutaneous contact hypersensitivity, we show that mice lacking both known cannabinoid receptors display exacerbated allergic inflammation.
CB2 receptors, where CBD interacts primarily, is intimately tied to our immune response including allergies.
The activation of CB2 receptors on mast cells has direct anti-inflammatory effects, causing the decreased release of pro-inflammatory mediators by these cells.
Translation...it calms down the allergic response at the site!
Learn all about CBD and allergies or histamines here.
We talked about asthma quite a bit with perimenopause since that's a better researched allergic response.
What about CBD for asthma?
Cannabidiol reduces airway inflammation and fibrosis in experimental allergic asthma.
Maybe more importantly...
CBD treatment decreased the inflammatory and remodeling processes in the model of allergic asthma.
What about allergic reactions of the skin...dermatitis (rash, etc).
Don't get scared by the language...we'll explain after:
CBD elevates the levels of AEA and dose-dependently inhibits poly-(I:C)-induced release of MCP-2, interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-α.
AEA is short for anandamide, a naturally occurring endocannabinoid named after the Hindu goddess of bliss, Anand.
We'll let you guess its effect. Quite different from allergic reactions!
The other Klingon terms are cytokines...nasty inflammatory agents that rush to the scene when we have an allergic response.
CBD reduces its level.
We have quite a bit of research on CBD for histamines and allergies here:
Let's look at some practical questions.
How much CBD to take for perimenopause allergies
We don't have hard research on this yet.
Researchers are still investigating the bigger issues like schizophrenia and anxiety.
A test dosage is usually accepted at about 25-30 mg to see how your body responds.
- Sleep studies are reflecting 160 mg
- Neurogenesis (brain repair) peaks at 300 mg
Beyond that, allergy and histamine response is probably going to show between 50 - 150 mg depending on the severity and a person's general state.
One note...CBD is no replacement for hormones!
There is a very important consideration of the type of CBD
What type of CBD is best for perimenopause allergies and histamines
We have key concerns for any CBD (or supplement product really).
These are the basics:
- Organically grown in the US at an FDA registered farm
- CO2 processed (cleanest option)
- 3rd party tested for:
- No THC
- No pesticides
- No heavy metals
- No bacteria
- No mold
Most of these items can set off allergic responses and with good reason!
THC can actually increase histamine response which why it's estimated that 24-36% of the population is allergic to it.
See CBD versus THC to understand the difference.
The bigger issue is this...the vast majority of the market is pushing Full spectrum CBD.
This is CBD added back to hemp oil essentially.
All that plant material can send women with histamine issues the wrong way.
Just look at our reviews...1/2 of them are women who tried full-spectrum, had allergic responses which went away with Isolate.
That's exactly why we started IndigoNaturals. our story is here.
We go into more detail on CBD Isolate versus Full Spectrum for allergies and histamines here.
This glimpse into perimenopause is just the beginning. 'Dre's Story' offers our complete, research-rich journey into hormones, tools to feel better, and safety. The full Perimenopause Toolkit with new additions can be found Here. Please review so other can learn. Feeling better starts with understanding what is happening.
Get specific links for CBD and Perimenopause symptoms and questions here.
Always work with a doctor or naturopath with any supplement!
The information provided here is not intended to treat an illness or substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.