In practice I work with many clients who have chronic illness. With some individuals it is common to have trouble taking nutritional supplements, or rather, the client will say "I can't take supplements". This is often due to something described as the HAMP effect (homeostasis altering molecular process effect), where any change in homeostasis (even positive changes) can create discomfort in the client.
If you believe this applies to you, you may want to consider some of the following:
1) Mammal Meat Allergy: is an immune response that is caused when IgE antibodies have a reaction to a substance called alpha-1,3-calactose, also commonly referred to as alpha gal. Individuals with this antibody react to the carbohydrate moiety of mamma meat, and can happen as the result of an antibody reaction that occurs after a bite from the Lone Star tick. What does this have to do with supplements you may ask? The connection with potential sensitivity to supplements is in the gelatin capsule which can come from animal proteins. In this case it is not the ingredients of the supplement, but rather the capsule. This can be helped by simply switching to a plant based capsule.
2) Gastrointestinal Dysregulation: When a client has significant inflammation and GIT dysregulation to a point that the consumption of any food will cause both further inflammation and possible mast cell degranulation. This may be heard in the complaint of the client "Every time I eat something I feel sick!" or "When I take supplements I feel worse". Clients with this issue generally lean to adapt to this relation to food, simply because there isn't another option. They will say things such as "I feel bad all the time" and will openly have reactions to supplements and foods. In situations such as these, food choices will commonly be narrowed, thus further adding to the problem due to dietary insufficiencies. They are stuck in a feedback loop that can be hard to overcome.
3) Psychological Influence #1 Anxiety: Generally, clients with a complex chronic illness often have body inflammation that drives central nervous system inflammation (CNS). This inflammation then triggers corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH), a stress hormone, which then further drives sympathetic nervous system activation. The reaction caused by this is the worsening of the underlying anxiety that has developed over time, especially when clients find themselves unable to get proper help.
4) Psychological Influence #2 Pavlovian Reaction to Foods or Supplements that Cause Worry: This can certainly happen, especially when a client has had so many problematic experiences with foods or supplements. In this type of scenario, the client tries a new supplement, anticipates a negative reaction, which drives the sympathetic nervous system. This then makes the client more inflamed, thus increasing further histamine release and stress chemistry - thus increasing the likelihood of a problematic histamine reaction. The fact that this may be happening does not mean it is simply "in your head", it means that the body has a strong enough reaction to make worry into a physiological response.
5) The HAMP Reaction: A HAMP reaction can be simplified into this - any change in homeostasis, even towards positive changes and better biology, can trigger inflammation in susceptible individuals. In these cases hope is not lost, there are things that can be done early in the process. Some of these options are:
a) Start Slow - introducing changes in diet and supporting the individual with gentle herbs and small changes.
b) Regulate the Inflammatory Cycle - through the introduction of the anti-inflammatory diet and the use of standard vitamins and minerals to form a better base for the client to begin recovery.
c) Reduce the Histamine Burden - Stabilizing mast cells and improve histamine clearance with the use of foods, supplements, herbs, and also the reduction of environmental toxins through changes in what we eat, use on and around our bodies, and the introduction of gentle liver support.
My goal is always to meet and support my clients where they are. It is important to me that my clients realize that wellness is their own journey and what will work for one individual will not necessarily work for another. My wellness plans are solely designed with your individuals needs in mind and are subject to continual change as you continue to make strides.
In health and wellness,
*Original Article by Dr. Yanuck for Cogence LLC , adapted by Petra Sovcov
Petra Sovcov is not a Medical Doctor (MD) nor a Naturopath (ND), she is a Clinical Herbal Therapist (CHT) and holds a Doctorate in Natural Medicine (DNM). The suggestions or recommendations made on this site are not meant to be a substitute for advice from your MD, or as a substitute for any prescriptions you may be taking. Suggestions followed will be the responsibility of the reader, and are stated with the intention of interest and education only. If you have a health issue, please see your primary care physician (MD) first and foremost.