Allergies? Have you checked your vitamin A? Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite, where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” And today we’re going to talk about vitamin A and allergies, a connection that I think is very under appreciated. So a couple episodes ago I talked about how I completely eliminated my allergies at the beginning of this summer by cutting out histamine and probably by cutting out casein from my diet. Well then I went to Greece and when I went to Greece at first I didn’t have, I went to Greece in August I spent most of August in Greece, at first I didn’t have a problem with allergies when I when I got there but within a week or so I started developing allergies and I just figured it was something related to the local environment. And during the course of my stay in Greece I was staying at a few different Airbnb’s, then I went to Άγιο Όρος, Mount Athos, where I was staying in some monasteries. Then I was staying, then I was staying in in the city in Thessaloniki, and each time I moved to different places that I was staying in it seemed like my allergies got a little bit worse and I kept inventing a story in my head of why the new place was making my allergies worse, maybe it was where it was, or it was the flowers in the garden at the monasteries, or maybe the room was moldy. But looking back on it I think it probably was just the case that my allergies were just getting worse and gettin worse and getting worse throughout my time in Greece, and everything else about me moving to a new location was just me trying to make sense of it. When I got to Thessaloniki in the last week of my trip I started thinking, you know, maybe it was the foods that I was eating. Because in fact I had been eating cheese while I was there. In fact I’ve been eating a lot of bread while I was there, far more bread than I usually do and kinds of bread that I wouldn’t usually eat. Maybe it was these things. I had been drinking a little bit more, maybe it was the alcohol, so I did a little searching on PubMed, and yes in fact alcohol can interfere with the clearance of histamine, so maybe it was these things. So I start cleaning up my diet the first day, then I wake up in the morning and I wake up with conjunctivitis. I can tell because my eyes are partially glued shut, then I look in the mirror one eye is very red, one eye was very swollen and immediately I thought about vitamin A. I thought about vitamin A because I have in the past gotten even more severe conjunctivitis during periods of time where the vitamin A in my diet has been very low from not using cod liver oil, from not eating organ meats, and at that point I thought about my diet since I was in Greece and before I came to Greece I was taking 10,000 IU of vitamin A a day that I was no longer taking. I was taking 4 capsules of a mix of fermented cod liver oil and butter oil a day that I was no longer taking. I was eating liver at least occasionally, which I was no longer getting. During the course of my stay in Greece not only had I not gotten any vitamin A supplements, not only had I not eaten any liver, not only had I not taken any cod liver oil, but I also didn’t have that much red, orange, yellow, and green vegetables in my diet, which supply the plant form of vitamin A. I was across the board basically eating a vitamin A-deficient diet while I was there. So I went out to get vitamin A. I tried to get vitamin A in the drugstores. It was actually very hard to get in Greece I got, I had to order it. I had it ordered and as soon as I started taking 90,000 IU of vitamin A per day my allergies started very quickly going away. It was to the point where I could take a 30,000 IU dose with a meal and within minutes feel an improvement in my nose and eyes. And so why might this be the case? Well research that’s been done for a very long time has shown that vitamin A suppresses the activity of mast cells. Mast cells are the cells that make histamine, and if you make an animal vitamin A deficient that animal will in fact have more mast cell activity and will produce more histamine either at baseline or in response to allergens. So in me I really do believe that I have higher vitamin A needs than the average person and so it may be the case for me that vitamin A is more often my missing link than it is for you. On the other hand the connection between vitamin A and allergies is supported by research, it’s very underappreciated and many people don’t think of vitamin A because of the bias that’s created by the fact that no one in our society suffers from the type of severe vitamin A A deficiency that leads to blindness anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you’re getting enough necessarily. So if you have allergies that are hard to deal with you might want to first check your vitamin A status if you have problems with dry eyes, if you have problems with your night vision, if you have problems with bumpy spots in your skin, or flakiness in your hair, these all make vitamin A deficiency very likely. If you have trouble getting sick often, if you have problems with your circadian rhythm, if you have problems with your hormones, all these could be additional signs that vitamin A is the culprit. But you might want to just trial-and-error it. Vitamin A can be toxic at very high doses prolonged over the course of weeks and months, but if you’re taking a standard regular fat-soluble form of vitamin A you can tolerate taking ten, twenty, thirty, even a hundred thousand IU of vitamin A providing that you’re not in, providing that you’re not pregnant these guidelines are fine and providing that you’re an adult or of adult body weight, adjust body weight downward for for children. But in otherwise healthy adults suffering from allergies who are not pregnant can tolerate taking thirty to a hundred thousand IU of vitamin A for a short period of time. You can trial a dose like this for a week and see if it improves the allergies. If it doesn’t then you don’t want to sustain that high dose, if it does then you do want to be careful with decreasing the dose over the long term and making sure that you’re not maintaining such a high dose so you don’t get toxicity and it would be wise to test your your status for vitamin A through blood testing if you’re going to continue these high doses, but in the short-term it’s a very good test just to take the high dose and see if it impacts your allergies. If it does that could be a sign that in general you need more A, more vitamin A than you’ve been getting to protect you from the allergies that you seem to be experiencing. The audio of this episode was enhanced and post-processed by Bob Davodian of Taurean Mixing. You can find more of his work at taureanonlinemixing.com This episode is brought to you by Testing Nutritional Status: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet. Everything you could ever need to know to optimize your nutrition all in one place. Easier to find and use than ever before. Get your copy at: chrismasterjohnphd.com/cheatsheet. Use the code LITE5. That’s all capitals L I T E and the number 5. LITE5 to get five dollars off. This episode is brought to you by Ancestral Supplements. Our Native American ancestors believed that eating the organs from a healthy animal would support the health of the corresponding organ of the individual. Ancestral Supplements is a nose-to-tail product line of grass-fed liver, organs, bone marrow, and more. All in the convenience of a capsule. For more information or to buy any of their products go to ancesteralsupplements.com. All right, I hope you found this useful. Signing off, this is Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com. This has been Chris Masterjohn Lite. And I will see you in the next episode.