Glyphosate increases histamine, both may be a factor in COVID19

Recent posts include a long one on glyphosate, biofuel, and liver disease and how it may be increasing inflammation in severe COVID19; and two other posts (a, b) are about how an immune allergy type reaction increases histamine and a variety of symptoms, and which may be a factor in LongCovid. Foods and the health of our intestinal microbiome, bacteria and other microbes, can also increase histamine directly or indirectly. Some foods contain histamine and others cause more histamine to be produced. Glyphosate residue may also cause an increase in histamine. (1)

Genetics may be a factor in who is more at risk for having excess histamine. There is an enzyme needed to break down the excess histamine from foods, within the intestinal tract, which some people may not be able to make. It can be purchased as a supplement and taken with meals. Other people may have overactive mast cells which are the type of immune cell that produces histamine throughout the body. (1 , 2)

If the mast cells are overactive, MCAS – Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, symptoms may be more severe than a seasonal allergy type of histamine reaction and may include: “rashes, hives, itching, flushing, fainting, headache, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), fatigue, chronic pain, trouble breathing and many more.” (2) To complicate trying to figure out if this is a problem for oneself or a patient the overactivity of mast cells may also be associated with other complex conditions that have varied symptoms too, including: “allergies, autism, autoimmune disorders, cancer, diabetes, Ehler-Danlos syndrome, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, mastocytosis, migraines and obesity.” (2) Add the various symptoms together and a person might have a confusing mixture of “twenty to thirty symptoms” and feel “extremely ill.” (2)

Lab tests frequently are not helpful for many of the conditions or MCAS and it may also be unclear whether a person is having histamine symptoms because of intestinal digestion or microbiome problems or due to overactive mast cells throughout the body. Severity of symptoms may be worse if the problem is related to mast cell activation throughout the body. Treatment approach would also be different. Some people might be helped by use of the digestive histamine enzyme while others wouldn’t need it. Both types, digestive histamine excess and mast cell over activity, would be helped by decreasing histamine containing foods or ones that increase release of histamine from mast cells. Eliminating all histamine from the diet would be impractical if not impossible. Reducing the amount might make a significant difference though in reducing the negative symptoms. More details about identifying the type of problem with lab tests or other clinical indicators and an elimination diet description are available here: (2)

Glyphosate as a stimulator of histamine release (1) would create a different list of foods to avoid. See the previous post “a long one on glyphosate,” the list of tips are summarized at the top of the post, so the full length can be skipped if desired.

Over active mast cells may involve cannabinoid deficiency. Mast cells have both Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 and Type 2 on the cell surface and when activated they cause an inhibition of the mast cell.

Mast cells contain CB1 and CB2 receptors, which when activated inhibit mast cell release (R). Research shows that cannabinoids can suppress mast cell degranulation. … Our results show that CB1 and CB2 mediate diametrically opposed effects on cAMP levels in mast cells. ” (3, 4)

We have previously shown that exposure of mast cells to cannabinoids that bind to both CB1 and CB2 cause a net suppression in the proinflammatory responses.” […] “At short time points, ligation of either CB1 or CB2 leads to a suppression of cAMP levels. However, over a longer exposure time course, the cAMP responses that follow ligation of the two receptors are diametrically opposed. These results allow us to draw two conclusions. First, the results imply that CB1 and CB2 receptors are not redundant when co-expressed in mast cells. Secondly, the results suggest that the two receptors couple to distinct signalling pathways that diverge downstream of the Gαi/o proteins to which they are both coupled.” (4) – that may suggest that a short time, small amount of THC & CBD may not help suppress the mast cells, by increasing cAMP sufficiently, a longer exposure, larger dose is needed – and that both the CB1 and CB2 receptor types need to be activated for the suppression of mast cell. CBD activates CB2 receptors and THC activates CB1 receptors.

CBD alone without THC maybe ineffective at treating dysfunctional mast cells because THC has a strong binding affinity for both CB1 and CB2 receptors, cannabidiol (CBD) has no particular binding affinity. Instead, many of the therapeutic benefits of CBD are created through indirect actions.” (3)

Edibles or smoke? “However, when it comes to MCAS patients who are more severe, they tend to not tolerate ingesting the Medical Cannabis oil or edibles but may can inhale the actual Organic Medical Cannabis Flower and find great relief from MCAS symptoms.” (3)

More information about mast cells and what they do is included in Mast Cells: MCAS, genetics and solutions. (1) Viruses can activate mast cells, which then release histamine and other inflammatory cytokines and chemicals. The immune mast cells are also called granulocytes because when activated they release little packets, granules, full of the inflammatory chemicals. Flu virus has been found to activate mast cells and mast cell inhibitors helped reduce lung damage and mortality in severe cases of influenza. Too much inhibition during an active infection might not be helpful though, because the goal is to kill the virus infected cells or other pathogens that can activate mast cells. (1)

What does histamine do?

Brain histamine promotes wakefulness and orchestrates disparate behaviors and homeostatic functions.” […] “Dysfunctions of the histaminergic system may also contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and its murine model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis,” […] “Histamine neurons send broad projections within the CNS that are organized in functionally distinct circuits impinging on different brain regions.” (5)

Histamine promotes wakefulness, so an excess may lead to insomnia problems, and it affects a lot of varied behaviors and balance of functions throughout the body, disparate – a wide range of behaviors, which suggests why there can be such a wide range of symptoms, and homeostatic – balance of body functions – no longer as able to stay at an even center, too tired, or too excited, too cold or too flushed, numbness or pain – roughly. Too itchy too often.

Histamine itch and non-histamine itch are mainly mediated by TrpV1 and TrpA1 respectively. In addition, Trp channels can be coupled to cytokine receptors, toll like receptors or may even be directly activated by pruritogens.” (6)

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can involve overactive mast cells and excess histamine activating Trp channels in the intestines, (1), leading to sudden diarrhea and/or pain. “Pruritigens” refers to other chemicals that directly activate Trp channels such as horseradish or Latex that cause itching, (pruritus). Others may cause the bowel symptoms of IBD including cinnamaldehyde from cinnamon, capsaicin from hot pepper, curcumin in turmeric, and other chemicals in spices or herbs like ginger, cloves, and mint. Previous post 1, post 2/webpage G3.5-3.6.2, G5.

Yes, it is not easy to figure out what you can eat if you have Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, or to safely use as skin care products or medications as some of the ingredients might be Trp channel activators.

Medications that may help reduce mast cell activation in the condition of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, similar to Inflammatory bowel disease but less severe, include mast cell stabilizers and “a medication to reduce prostaglandin E2 synthesis (e.g. a COX2 inhibitor) stopped the hypersensitivity in the animal model of IBS. [ref]” (1) Pomegranate peel extract and other antioxidants may act in part through COX2 inhibition. (previous post) Prep tips for pomegranate & the peel: G13.

Mast cell activation may also be involved in autoimmune diseases including Multiple sclerosis, Type 1 Diabetes, and Rheumatoid arthritis. (1) The excessive release of cytokines and inflammatory chemicals can lead to cell damage in surrounding tissue. Mast cells tend to be located within specific tissue areas of the body or along epithelial layers (skin and membrane linings of blood vessels or other tissue), rather than be free moving like some other types of immune white blood cells. (1) Some people may have overactivity in some areas of the body rather than throughout the entire body.

Regarding COVID19 illness, the cytokine interleukin 6 (IL-6) tends to be present in excess, (8), and it is a mast cell activator. (1) Vitamin C can help inhibit IL-6. (7)

Psychological stress causes mast cells to release their histamine and other chemicals – uh oh, time to think serenely about that. (1)

Tips to worry less – can you do anything about them? If no, try to let them go. Writing worries on notes and putting them in a worry jar is one idea – you did something about it. You can look through your worries later. If yes, plan your time – 1. write down your goals, long term – 5-10 years, mid length, this year, and short term, this day/week/month, and 2. make an action plan, what steps to take today, write a list. 3. Do your plan, cross off your list items. It can feel more organized and good to check off your short term goals, and more peaceful to have a plan. (9)

Regarding the complexity of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, or histamine from food – writing down your symptoms and daily food, beverages, and other lifestyle issues that standout from your routine can help to start seeing a pattern of which foods or habits might be adding to the problem. Elimination diets are quiet simple to start and need to be followed for a couple weeks to get the body cleared out of the potential problem foods and hopefully start feeling better, whether itchy, headaches, fatigue, brain-fog, or pain, numbness, or other symptoms. Then add only one thing back and see if symptoms return. Symptoms may be fairly immediate, or the next day or two so gradual reintroduction will be easiest to track whether it seems to cause symptoms.

Lab tests and other help and medication may be nice too, if available, but an elimination diet can be done fairly easily and safely. Stick to a variety of foods from the different food groups and read bottles on any supplements or medications to check for ingredients that might also be trigger substances ‘starch’ is usually wheat or corn based unless specifically labeled like tapioca or arrowroot starch. Other post (a) includes links with a food diary and information about elimination diets for histamine issues. Not all people have exactly the same sensitivities and there can be an additive effect, many problem foods on the same day as stress – may become a flare up. Some of the lists vary and some are more restricted than others, but most have similarities in the worst risk foods. Starting with eliminating some of those and seeing if you start feeling better can also be a way to work towards learning what are problem foods for you personally.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Reference List

  1. Mast cells: MCAS, genetics, and solutions,,
  2. Hidden in Plain Sight: Histamine Problems,,
  3. Www.TickedOffMastCell.Org, Medical Cannabis: Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, 10/24/2019,
  4. Small-Howard AL, Shimoda LMN, Adra CN and Turner H, Anti-inflammatory potential of CB1-mediated cAMP elevation in mast cells. Biochem. J. (2005) 388, 465–473
  5. Passani MB, Panula P, Lin JS. Histamine in the brain. Front Syst Neurosci. 2014;8:64. Published 2014 Apr 28. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2014.00064
  6. Sun S, Dong X. Trp channels and itch. Semin Immunopathol. 2016;38(3):293-307. doi:10.1007/s00281-015-0530-4
  7. Härtel C, Puzik A, Göpel W, Temming P, Bucsky P, Schultz C: Immunomodulatory Effect of Vitamin C on Intracytoplasmic Cytokine Production in Neonatal Cord Blood Cells. Neonatology 2007;91:54-60. doi: 10.1159/000096972
  8. Grifoni E, Valoriani A, Cei F, et al. Interleukin-6 as prognosticator in patients with COVID-19. J Infect. 2020;81(3):452-482. doi:10.1016/j.jinf.2020.06.008
  9. Gerry McCann, How to Manage Your Time Worry Less and Discover more Happiness,,

Glutathione, Nrf2, Autism and glyphosate

Glyphosate use has escalated (1) at a similar rate and overlapping time frame to the increase in autism in children. The rate of autism in Japanese children is even greater than in U.S. children. The Japanese children may be consuming a larger percent of GMO soy from the U.S. as the country is a significant importer of the crop. (4)Testing has shown that basically all GMO soy, Roundup Ready, has residue of glyphosate. (1) Glyphosate residue has been found in all foods tested by the FDA except for broccoli. (6)

The herbicide Roundup has been shown to induce oxidative stress in animal studies (5), and children with autism have been shown to have an increase in oxidative stress and reduced levels of an antioxidant, glutathione, (2), that is made within our bodies during normal health.

Use of Nrf2 promoting foods might help increase our own production of glutathione. (3) Broccoli is one food that may help promote our own supply of Nrf2 which then helps us make the antioxidant glutathione.

Glyphosate may be metabolized into other chemicals within the body and it or the metabolites may inhibit enzymes important for a variety of functions throughout the body. (7) Radioactive labeling of glyphosate in animal studies by the company Monsanto showed that bioaccumulation of the chemical does occur, particularly in blood cells found in bone and bone marrow, also in the testes and ovaries, see slide 11 for a copy of the table of data: (8).

A thorough overview of the theoretical and known health risks of glyphosate is available by a personal fitness coach from Australia, Alex Fergus, (9), in part two of a three part series on his website. Part one covers the history of the synthetic chemical’s discovery and patent history and increased agricultural use in the U.S. and globally, (10), and his list of tips on how to protect yourself and try to reduce exposures through diet and supplements, (11). The list is comprehensive however doesn’t include Epsom salt/magnesium sulfate as an additional source of bioactive sulfate. Baths or footsoaks provide a topical absorption route that would bypass any problems with malabsorption in the digestive system or problems with sun exposure to bioactivate other forms of sulfur into the bioactive sulfate form.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. John Peterson Myers, Michael N. Antoniou, Bruce Blumberg, Lynn Carroll, Theo Colborn, Lorne G. Everett,Michael Hansen, Philip J. Landrigan, Bruce P. Lanphear, Robin Mesnage, Laura N. Vandenberg, Frederick S. vom Saal,Wade V. Welshons, and Charles M. Benbrook,

    Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement.  Environ Health. 2016; 15: 19. Pub. online 2016 Feb 17,

  2. S. Rose, S MelnykO PavlivS BaiT G NickR E Frye,  S J James, Evidence of oxidative damage and inflammation associated with low glutathione redox status in the autism brain, Translational Psychiatry Vol. 2, page 134 (2012),,
  3. Megan L. Steele, Stacey Fuller, Mili Patel, Cindy Kersaitis, Lezanne Ooi, and Gerald Münch, Effect of Nrf2 activators on release of glutathione, cysteinylglycine and homocysteine by human U373 astroglial cellsRedox Biol. 2013; 1(1): 441–445. Published online 2013 Sep 12,

  4. Zen Honeycutt, Shockingly Higher Rates of Autism and Developmental Delays in Asia, Report from Japan speaking tour, March 1-10, March 21, 2017,,
  5.  Low toxic herbicide Roundup induces mild oxidative stress in goldfish tissuesChemosphere, Vol. 76, Issue 7, Aug 2009, pp 932-937
  6. Toxic Weed Killer Glyphosate Found in Most Foods Sold in the U.S.,,
  7. Ford et al., Mapping Proteome-wide Targets of Glyphosate in Mice, Cell Chemical Biology (2016),
  8. Anthony Samsel, Glyphosate Herbicide Pathways To Modern Diseases Synthetic Amino Acid And Analogue of Glycine Mis-incorporation Into Diverse Proteins , Slides 2016,, (8)
  9. Alex Fergus, Glyphosate: Why You Need to Eat Organic, (9)
  10. Alex Fergus, Glyphosate: The Weed Killer Found in Our Food & Water, (10)
  11. Alex Fergus, How to Protect Yourself from Glyphosate, (11)

Good ideas and essential ideas – a comparison

Good ideas are those that might be useful in some situations or with some fine-tuning to make them work well or to fit a particular situation.

Essential ideas are those that would be useful in all situations because they address basic facts about nature. Essential ideas would be helpful with fine tuning to particular situations or not – they pertain to physics and physiology. Gravity works basically the same in all situations on earth but would be different on different planets. Physiology – the physics of the human body and other life forms also works basically the same throughout all humans and for many types of species. Some fine tuning for slight differences across species or for different groups of humans might be needed for best results but the underlying physics of physiology works roughly the same for much of life. Nature loves a good design and repeats it from single celled organisms through much of the plant and animal world.

I keep sharing information in the hope that it can be useful for creating a more sustainable society. Our current trajectory is heading towards extinction for the human race and many other species because we are polluting the environment in ways that reduce health and fertility for our own species and across the plant and animal world and for single-celled organisms. We are also polluting the air and water and soil in ways that are affecting weather and climate and ocean physics/physiology. Ocean water is somewhat alive in that it is the host for many microorganisms and is somewhat like blood plasma for the planet. Between the rain and ground water and ocean water there is a cycle that can clean toxins but only within a range of acidity and then the chemistry is tipped towards less oxygen and less support of the life-forms that we are similar to and accustomed to living with. Much of geological history during the early years of Earth the type of life that predominated was sulfur-loving bacteria – humans would not have been able to survive in that environment.

Ignoring physiology and physics is not a good idea. Sustainability and respect for nature is an essential idea.

Examples from a few recent posts – the solar windmill air cleaning ideas are examples of good ideas that might be implausible as I wrote them but with some fine-tuning by mechanical and chemical engineers might become plausible and helpful ideas. (Imagining solar windmills)

The information about phospholipids and fertility and nutrition are essential ideas that will always be important for humans and in the care of the environment for supporting many other species that we value – more than we value or could survive if sulfur loving bacteria become the predominate type of microorganisms living on the planet again. (Phospholipid and infant formula) (Phospholipid and fertility)

The chemical invented by humans initially as an antibiotic and mineral chelator that is now being used in large quantities as an agricultural herbicide (glyphosate) may also be inhibiting the function of CYP enzymes which are needed for many important functions in metabolism for humans and plants and animals and single celled organisms – 195000 search results: (CYP enzymes and phosphorylation) Farmers are now being recommended to rotate fields where the herbicide Roundup/glyphosate containing herbicides are in use because it has been found to build up in the soil and can affect crop yield due to inhibition/destruction of the actively growing root tips.

Phospholipids can be made in average healthy humans but the process does require phosphorylation – the question to ask yourself is: What percentage of infertility and birth defects will be too much? When will we stop polluting our environment and our food supply with chemicals that cause infertility, birth defects and other types of chronic illness and cancer? Agricultural workers and people living near agricultural fields are the ones most prone to cancer and some other rare diseases. Is that what we want from our food supply?

Coastal areas near agricultural areas (ocean dead zones map) and some regions of the Pacific Ocean (Pacific coastal dead zones) are now without oxygen – sulfur-loving bacteria can survive without oxygen. Far more information on sulfur-loving bacteria than the average person probably knew existed, is available online, in free full text, thanks for sharing: (Biochemistry and molecular biology of lithotrophic sulfur oxidation by taxonomically and ecologically diverse bacteria and archaea)

Some of the types of sulfur-loving microbes are how life exists in extreme climates such as thermal heat vents in deep ocean areas. A few have evolved as symbiotic species living within larger organisms and which provide energy in low oxygen or oxygen free areas of the ocean for species of mussels and tubeworms. Sulfate sources allows growth in environments that lack oxygen and light. Even they need to be able to metabolize phosphorus – it is used in enzymes to metabolize energy. Sulfur loving bacteria may need to make the enzymes: “adenosine 5′‐phosphosulfate (APS) reductase” and “ATP sulfurylase” Other types of bacteria can grow in environments that lack oxygen but have light. Extremely acidic briny marshes and highly saline salty marshes also can support life for some of the group of anoxygenic (don’t need oxygen) photolithotrophic (can make energy from light) bacteria:

 “However, diverse groups of optimally adapted anoxygenic photolithotrophic bacteria thrive in moderately extreme temperature, pH or salinity conditions, and act as primary producers in such unusual habitats (Madigan, 2003).” – (Biochemistry and molecular biology of lithotrophic sulfur oxidation by taxonomically and ecologically diverse bacteria and archaea)

Even arsenic-loving bacteria able to grow in extreme environments  need phosphorus. Six nutrients are essential to all life forms, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. there was some controversy over a new type of bacteria that was discovered because it can substitute arsenic for phosphorus in some of its chemical composition but further study showed that it also needs some phosphorus. (Arsenic-loving bacteria needs phosphorus after all)

Why care about phosphorus? Because we all need it and the Earth’s supply of bioactive phosphorus is in limited supply. Estimates suggest that at the rate it is currently being used in agriculture (wastefully, without being recycled back into the growing cycle) that we have about forty years supply left for the planet. That is two generations of people – what are we going to tell our great grandchildren? Sorry kids we enjoyed life but you have to figure out something else – or enjoy extinction.

More traditional farming methods used recycled fertilizers such as composted manure or compost made from other vegetative material such as last year’s leaves and lawn clippings. The current chemical fertilizer is more wasteful in that it gets washed off into ground water and eventually ends up in coastal waters where algae overfeed on the excess nutrients, using up available oxygen in the process and then dying off leaving dead zones with no oxygen and no more excess phosphorus in the coastal region. So returning to more traditional agricultural methods that conserve phosphorus and cause less runoff into coastal regions leading to less dead zones in those areas of the ocean seems like an essential idea for our great great grandchildren and like a good idea for us to tackle right now, this generation.

Recognizing that phosphorylation is an essential part of health and fertility and that some people, such as infants, need an external source in their diet seems like an essential idea for this generation if we hope to have a healthy generation of grandchildren or great great grandchildren.

Disclosure: This information is being provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of Fair Use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health care guidance. Please seek an individual health care provider for individualized health care guidance.