Updated: Sep 2
Some patients who experience restless sleep, hives, sinus congestion, muscle twitches, heart pounding, heart palpitations, particularly strong hypnic jerks (those muscle contractions you get when you are falling asleep), or full-blown insomnia at night can get significant relief when they take activated charcoal.
In this article we will find out why this works and what could be the cause of these varied symptoms.
Why Activated Charcoal Can Help High Histamine
It has to do with histamine! Histamine is released in response to a perceived threat like an infection, injury or allergy. When mast cells explode in your body, an increase in histamine increase is the result.
Histamine in small amounts is part of a healthy functioning immune system but often, things like stress, underlying infections and environmental allergens can cause your body to release an excess of histamine or cause you to have a hard time clearing up histamine once it is released.
Your body releases higher levels of histamine naturally at night as well as after meals so taking activated charcoal at night (about two hours after an early dinner) sweeps up excess histamine and can alleviate some, if not all of the symptoms associated with high histamine at night.
High levels of histamine (sometimes described as Histamine Intolerance) is a very common underlying cause of insomnia that is rarely treated or tested for.
Heart pounding or palpitations at night are also often written off as anxiety when they too can be the result of excess histamine.
Remember that charcoal absorbs good minerals vitamins and necessary medications as well as excess histamine so you do not want to take activated charcoal long term - it is a temporary fix to a systemic problem.
Sourcing is important with activated charcoal, only get brands whose activated charcoal is derived from coconut shell.
How to Get to the Root of High Histamine
So how do you find out what's really keeping you awake or hivey or congested at night? That's where functional medicine comes in. With blood testing, or sometimes just by a conversation with me about your symptoms, we can isolate the probable cause of your high histamine levels.